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Antique Safes/Safe Combination Question


Hello, I have a question for you. I just purchased a house with a J. Baum "A.J. Woodbury" safe in the basement. The safe is locked. When doing some painting in a closet I noticed some small print written in the corner of the closet and I believe its the combination, but its confusing. I will tell you exactly what is written, but I may need more detailed instructions on how to actually open it. this is what is written :

       42 to R
       50 3 times to L
       2 Times to right to 5
       Left to 43

I tried to follow those, but failed. Does "to right" mean turn the dial clockwise? Hope you can help me. Thanks for your time. -Jacob

Hi Jacob,

The dialing sequence should be:

4 times right to the first number,  42
3 times left to the second number,  50
2 times right to the third number,  5
1 time left stopping the first time  43 comes up.    Turn handle to open

Note:   Left is counter clockwise, right is clockwise.    Do not count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

For instance for your first number, you will turn clockwise (right) stopping the fourth time the number 42 arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

"SOMETIMES", people pass on combinations the way that they understand them, and NOT actually the way the lock works.   If it doesn't open as above, then reverse the directions and try again - or - LRLR instead of RLRL.

If it still doesn't open then you may not have the correct combination.

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

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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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