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Antique Safes/Safe hinge pin


1956 Schab Safe
1956 Schab Safe  
I have an old Schab safe that was manufactured in 1956 in Lafayette Indiana. It had been in my parents basement for 30 years. I now have the safe in my basement and am trying to clean it up by sanding off the rusty places and repainting it ( I have the combination ) ..  I noticed that that the middle hinge pin is broken off and the bushing is missing. Are these hinge pins pressed into the hinge ? Any helpful ideas on getting this fixed or replaced on my own ?
Any info you can share concerning the weight or other characteristics of this safe ?

Hi Carroll,

Unfortunately there are no manufacturers technical or reference manuals to answer these questions, even for professional safe techs.    In most cases, we have to pull the doors to determine what type of hinge pin, hinge and bushing arrangement is present.

My company probably does 4-5 times as many hinge repairs as any other company in the US, and we do around 4-6 every month (between 50-60 each year).   This is NOT the type of work that I would recommend as a DIY project!

We do hinge repairs on many different types of safes, and in most cases we actually have to fabricate new pins and bushings.    While some parts can be purchased from supply sources that you can obtain bearings and bushings from, many parts are very specific to that manufacturer or safe model.

Some hinge pins are free floating on both sides of the hinge, and some are pressed in place, on one hinge, designed to rotate on the other hinge.    Regardless, tolerances are going to be very small on both sides, so that the door aligns correctly.    Needle bearings and ball bearings are used to provide friction free surfaces for the hinges and pins to rotate on in some cases.

Basically if you decide to make this a DIY project, you will need to have necessary equipment to do the job.    Lifting heavy doors and reinstalling them, requires specialized equipment which will pull the door straight, and allow you to realign all of the hinge pins exactly, prior to lowering the door.    This is not something that can easily be done by hand, and while an overhead winch will support the weight, trying to realign the door will still be difficult at best.

With the door off, you can determine what type of hinge and hinge pin that you need.   If it is pressed in place, it will need to be pulled and/or punched out.    New pins made and installed.   Dry test fit the pins in the holes they will rotate in, to ensure they are tight enough to keep the door straight, but yet free enough to allow rotation.

Don't forget to grease the pins and all moving or rotating surfaces prior to assembly, as you won't get this chance again, unless you pull the door.

Based on the photo you provided, I would expect the safe to weigh around 1200 to 1500 lbs, with the door weighting around 400-500 lbs.    This is not a weight that you want to deal with, without specialized equipment and another set of skilled hands.   Even a slight pinch, can remove a finger or toe!

If you don't have the knowledge, tools and equipment to do this job safely, then I would recommend having a local safe company do it, or just leave it the way it is, on the two remaining hinges.    Most safes of this size only use two hinges anyway, the three hinges was one of Schwab's design features, not because the door actually needed the extra hinge.

At a minimum, if you are doing maintenance and restoration to the safe, I would have the remaining hinge pins re-greased.    If there are no adjusting screws, then the door would need to be pulled to clean and lube the hinge pins and holes.    Again - have it done by a local safe company.

Check your yellow pages under "safes & vaults" for a local company.   If you don't have one, let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see if I know of and/or would recommend anyone in your area.

Hope this helps,

Antique Safes

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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

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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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