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Antique Safes/changing the combination


How do  I change the combination on a herring-hall-marvin safe. Inside the door is a steel plate. When removed there is a smaller round plate, which is behind the combination wheel. I know the combination, since it was my grandfathers. Now I would like to change the combination, so only I know it instead of the whole family, since it now belongs to me.
thank you for any help you can provide.
Donald 48

Hi Donald,

I never recommend combination changing or any type of lock disassembly as a DIY project, for the same reason that I never recommend using locksmiths for safe service.   Lack of training, knowledge of the locks and tools can result in an extremely expensive lockout.

Than being said,   If you still want to try this yourself, I will need a much better description of the lock, and/or photos so that I can see what you have.

Take photos of the dial, and the lock curb so that I can see what you have.   You may have to remove the back panel of the safe to obtain access to the lock.

Send all of the photos to me at:    so that I can see what you have, and look for the correct combination changing instructions.

Note:   If you can't pull it appart to get the photos, without having problems then I would recommend that you have the combination changed by a local safe companies safe technician.    Cost would be MUCH less than making a mistake.

As we are not in the business of training you to do the work, the only thing we would provide would be the instructions.    I also have a holdharmless form which you will need to sign prior to our releasing any instructions.  

As soon as I receive the photos and your request, I'll send the form for your signature, while I put together any instructions.

Hope this helps,

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

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