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Antique Safes/Safe opening


Hello.   I have a York lock and Safe Co, safe that I need to get opened WITHOUT drilling...Any idea who I can contact about this??

Hi Joe,

I'm not sure why you are limiting your options.   Manipulation is NOT a guaranteed method of opening the safe for a number of reasons.    1.  you may not have someone in your area who is trained and/or proficient in this method.    2.  even if you have someone, you may wind up paying for the service and not the result.   3.  While mechanical locks CAN be manipulated open, it may not be cost effective and/or prudent.   4.  some mechanical locks simply refuse to "talk", making them very difficult to open.

Recently at a Safe Tech convention in Reno, NV.   An old Cary safe from the late 1800's resisted all of the best attempts of many trained safe techs, and it wasn't until a following convention that they were finally able to open it.   A ridiculous amount of time was spent on this safe.

Bottom line, unless you are dedicated to opening the safe by manipulation, and are willing to pay for the possible time required, there are other methods available which WILL open the safe in a minimum amount of time WITHOUT damaging or destroying the safe.

While I never rule out manipulation, I won't waste over about 30 minutes on a safe.   If I'm not getting satisfactory results in that period of time, I won't hesitate to drill a small hole in the safe to open it up.    Sorry, but I can't see charging a customer $$$$'s for something that can be accomplished in a short period of time.    Unfortunately there are many lock and safe men that don't share my "ethics", and/or may not have any other jobs for that week, so they can possibly sit and work on the safe for hours on end.    I cover about 120,000 square miles for a service area, and may have 4-6 calls every day, for each of my service techs.    It isn't fair for me to spend an exhorbant amount of time on one customers safes, when I might have 1/2 dozen customers that are waiting for work on their safes.

Drilling when done correctly and by a professional, trained safe technician will NOT ruin or damage the safe or the lock.    When working on safes that may be antique or collectible, damage should NOT be an option.    Generally the single, small hole (1/4" or less) can easily be repaired and the safe would be totally operational afterwards,   assuming there are no other issues.

Caveat - If the safe can be brought to my shop, and you aren't in a hurry to have it opened, then I can work on it in between jobs and strictly manipulate it open, if that is your wish.    However, again, it would be billed strictly on a time required basis and not as a flat fee, though I would have a minimum fee (starting level).

As far as some one in your area - sorry but you are going to have to tell me where you are located (zip code).   You didn't provide any address info with your request.   Let me know where you and/or the safe are located (zip code) and I'll see who I might know and/or recommend in your area.  

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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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