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Antique Safes/1920's Cary safe


We have an old company safe that our company purchased in the early 1920's that we would like to have restored. It is all origional except for front dial replacement (who knows when) G&G and one missing drawer an many missing drawer keys.  We are located in Bakersfield Ca. And would like to find someone within driving distance (LA - Sacramento) that can perform a complete restoration.  Any recommendations?

Hi Ken,

Unfortunately there are only about 1/2 dozen guys in the entire country that do restorations on antique safes, and only ONE guy that does it as a business.   In southern California the one man that would take on restorations passed away last year, so that leaves me as the only other company that will take them on in California - HOWEVER, as they are very time consuming, we only work on them as time allows, which means that it could take up to a year to do a restoration.   My regular work doesn't stop and does take priority over restoration work.   I have one that I'm getting back from my painter (for the second time) on Monday, so hopefully it is completed and I can ship it out next week.

There are several problems with restoration work that most companies don't want to deal with.   First being that the "vision" that you the owner have, and the vision that we and/or our painters have may not coincide.   For instance if you are expecting a high quality digital animation when you open the Sunday paper only to find the regular, hand drawn funnies, you might be disappointed.    Not quite the same thing, but you get the picture.

Generally most companies would rather restore a safe, they own, and sell it before taking on a customers project.   The reason being the buyer accepts the safe in "as is" condition.   With a project you expect it to be exactly the way that you see it in your mind's eye.

If you would like me to take a look at your safe to discuss it with you, I would be more than happy to.   As long as you understand the problems associated with this type of project I think we can possibly work together.

Pricing is a "time and material" type job.   Meaning it costs what it costs!   Every safe restoration is going to be different depending on the amount of work necessary.   For instance the last safe we did had some severe body damage which would have impacted the overall appearance.   We literally had to "skin" the safe to repair it.   It came out looking very nice, but it added an extra day's worth of time and material to the cost of the work.

Pretty much the next nearest guy that I would recommend (and perhaps the best in the country) is in Ohio, meaning you would have to ship the safe across country.

If you are interested in discussing the project I would be more than happy to, however the earliest start date I would be looking at might be in May or June of this year.  

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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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