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Antique Safes/antique stick safe sticks


QUESTION: Dear sir:
 I have a 32" by 36" black antique safe pat 1870.  It open with a sheet metal strip that you insert in a slot and press to the right. After not opening it up for a long time I tried it and the handle would not open. I made sure the marking up was up the right way After five or ten min. with the stick and WD-40 I got the handle turned and was lucky enough to get it opened. Removed all from the safe and now left it open. With the safe open I noticed Screws on the inside of the door. Does this mean the safe can be checked and fixed from the inside?  How Do I find a locksmith in my aria that can do this kind of work?
         Thank you  Fred

ANSWER: Hi Fred,

Glad you got it open, however WD-40 is not a lubricant.   While it does have some penetrating qualities, it will allow the "gunk" to harden up worse than before.    The lock needs to be thoroughly cleaned and lubricated correctly.    DO NOT close and lock the safe until it has been serviced.

While it may have an 1870 patent date, this has nothing to do with when it was made, other than to indicate the safe was made AFTER that date and up to 20 years later.     While some of the older safes had access to the locking mechanism many did not.   If the locking mechanism is covered over with mortar, then it would have to be chipped out to gain access.    After cleaning, service and maintenance it could then have new mortar installed.

As old as this safe is, hopefully you aren't using it for "daily" use.     Your safe wouldn't meet ANY standards for fire or burglary resistance.

I don't recommend using locksmiths for safe work as they generally don't have the training, knowledge and/or tools to work on safes - especially antique safes.    If you don't have a local safe company I'll need to know what your zip code is to see who I might know and/or recommend in your area.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Sir:    I live in New Haven CT.   06515.
  Thank you   Fred.

Hi Fred,

The three companies that I would recommend in your area are:

S.G. Clark Safe Services
(845) 855-9046          Scott Clark
7 Sage Rd.
Pawling, NY   12564

Precision Lock & Safe
516-616-0854          Elaad & Dov Israeli
240 Jericho Turnpike
Floral Park, NY   11001

Capital Safe & Lock
888-870-LOCK          John Labbe
77K Tolland Tnpke
Manchester, CT   06040

You can contact these companies to discuss your project with.    While there may be some smaller companies in your area, these are the ones that I would recommend.  

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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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