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Antique Safes/Kershaw


I have an extremely heavy safe in my basement.  It appears to be on four iron wheels w/a front plate that says "Kershaw Boston".  That's all that is on the safe.  I can't move it and at some point in the past someone broke into it causing a ton of damage to the door.  I don't want/need it and am wondering if I can simply scrap it and not feel too guilty about it.


I wish I had an easy answer for you on this one, but without seeing the "damage" to the door, I can't tell you whether it is repairable or not.

There were several "Kershaw's" manufacturing safes and locks in the Boston area between 1850 to the early 1870's - most notably Robert Kershaw and Charles E. Kershaw.   So at a minimum your safe would be an antique of possibly 150 years old (+/- a few years).

Obviously your choices hinge on a number of questions which come to mind:

1.   Amount of damage?
2.   Is damage repairable?
3.   As parts are not available, can they be made?
4.   Your level of/or capabilities to take this on as a DIY restoration project?
5.   Availability of Safe Technicians available for repairs or assistance"
6.   Cost to repair the damage done?
7.   What are your goals for the repaired safe?

While this safe can be totally repaired and/or restored - just as in any restoration project, the first question would be YOUR level of commitment.   While simply scrapping this container is the "easy way out", I don't know what your attachment to it might be.    If this safe has been in your family for quite a few years, or assuming it has been in this house for possibly a century or more, then it may be a very significant display item for you.

I'm not trying to play the "guilt card", but as YOU brought it up - this is not going to be something that you are NOT going to easily find a replacement for.    If you have ANY family attachment to the safe, and you get rid of it - this piece of your history is gone for ever!!!
I understand that you "don't want or need it", but THAT is not the question you asked!   You asked about "NOT feeling too Guilty" about scraping it.

If you simply acquired the house, and have no commitment to the damaged container, then getting rid of it may be an easy consideration.   On the other hand if this was the case, I don't think you would be visiting this site and asking me that question!

Restoration WILL depend on your capabilities, whether as a DIY project or in your ability to pay someone to repair it for you.    Repairing the damage to the outer skin and insulation mortar, including repainting the safe is the easy part.   The hard part is repairing or rebuilding the lock to an operating condition.    As of right now, without knowing what damage it may have sustained, I can't answer this question.    Fortunately I'm fairly familiar with this type of lock.   Also fortunate for you, is that you have a master Safe Technician not too far from you, who also has a machinist back ground.    He may be willing to assist you in a restoration project.

This brings us to our last point of business (at this time), which is your commitment.   Cost for repairs and restoration WILL depend on how much of the work YOU can do, how much you have to SUB out, and ultimately HOW much damage the safe has sustained.    Generally most restoration jobs can easily run in the thousands of dollars.    If you don't have unlimited dollars laying around, you can spread out the restoration work over several years to ease the cost somewhat, just remember that subcontractors like machine shops or safe technicians are NOT going to be on your time table.    They want to get the job completed and get paid in a minimum amount of time.   So planning the restoration and repairs is critical to your cash availability.    You would need to reverse plan the job, so that individual items can be completed, eventually bringing the whole project together in the end.

If you are asking for my PERSONAL recommendation, my answer would be an easy yes (just remember that I haven't seen the amount of damage to the container yet).

If you would like me to look at the container, I would be more than happy to.   Obviously I will need good quality photos of the damage so that I can asses the damage and/or make recommendations.

Send the photos to me at:  

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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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