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Antique Safes/Safe Restoration

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Question
I have inherited a small safe that stands 30"hx21'Wx21"d and will have it moved to my house in Las Vegas soon.  It is badly in need of restoration as it has surface rust on it especially the handle and some of the dial.  I do not see a manufacturer on it but I have the combination and keys.  It seems that the most famous Restoration shop in Las Vegas is the most recommended restorer but the shop is very backed up with projects.  Since I believe I will be spending a lot to ship it to me I would not like to ship it too many other places along the way to keep the cost down.  Can you recommend any other place near Las Vegas or somewhere that can reduce my shipping costs by combining it with another load near there?  I have 3 photos if you need them.

Answer
Hi Lori,

If you are discussing "Rick's Restoration" (American Restoration - History Channel) in Las Vegas, I am very aware of them, and I haven't been impressed with some of the work they have done on safes.   They are simply backed up with work because people are more interested in having them work on their projects, than on having the item restored.

My priorities are on the project and NOT the person doing the work.    That being said, if your project doesn't have much documented history of its own, what a way to start.   Having the work done and documented will possibly add value to the item.

Unfortunately, there are ONLY about 1/2 dozen or so, professional safe restorer's in the US.   As you didn't mention where the safe is currently located, I have no way of knowing if it is in the vicinity of someone that I would recommend.

Unfortunately, Rick Dale is the only person in Las Vegas that I know of who does any type of restoration work - problem is Rick isn't the one who will work on your safe, his crew of misfits are!!!

You do have other options though,

1.    DIY project.    Depending on your skills, you can do the work yourself.    I don't pretend to be a painter, and so I sub out all of the painting work to someone else.

2.    Other opportunities - check with a local art department at a local college.   They might be interested in taking your safe on as a restoration project.    if not, they might have some talented artist who could work on your safe.

3.    You can also check with some local safe companies to see if they can assist.    While they may not do the whole restoration, they may have others that they use like painters and artists.

Let me know where the safe currently is, and I'll see if I know of someone who can possibly do the work before shipping the safe to you.

I would be happy to look at your safe, to see what you have.   You can send the photos that you have to me at:    andy@securitysafeusa.com    Note:   If you have specific questions concerning the safe, I may need additional or better quality photos.  

Antique Safes

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

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

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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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