Locksmithing/Identification

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QUESTION: My Grandparents had a safe and when they died the combination was lost. My parents had someone come in to open and reset it for us a few years ago, now once again we cant figure out how to unlock it. The safe is open but the lock is set and like I said, we are stumped. My mother seems to think the combination was set to 0-0-0-0, I've tried numerous sequences using 0 as my numbers with no luck.

  I don't know what type of safe it is so I'll try and describe it for you. It's 9.5H x 12.75w x 13.5d, weighs a good 40-50 lbs, and is a dark grey color. The way its setup is with the door on the top not the front, with the hinges on the right side, 2 handles 1 on each the front and back, and 4 I guess you would call feet on the bottom. There is no name or etchings or anything other than the dial and handle on the outside of it. On the inside the only thing is a metal label on the top of the door. The top left of it says "spec F2-ND" and on the top right it has what looks like a serial number "4Y218822" the 4Y are black and bold with the rest of the numbers etched in. The main part of the label say "Built to comply with Safe Manufacturers National Association", it also says its fire insulated for 1 hour.  


  I have a few Questions, from my description can you identify the type of safe it is? And if so what would be the correct way to put in the combination? Is there any way to reset the combination other than taking it to a professional?


  Thank you for your time and expertise.

ANSWER: Matt,

While all of the wheels could be set to a "neutral" number like 50 or 0, it isn't that common a practice.

Without knowing what safe you have and/or the lock that is installed, all we can do is make some assumptions.

Try dialing counter clockwise (left) 5 or 6 times, stopping on "0", then turn the other direction until the dial stops.    If it doesn't stop, then try turning the dial clockwise (right) 5 or 6 times, stoppping on "0" then turn the dial clockwise until it stops.

If neither of these work, then this may not be the correct combination.

The SMNA (Safe Manufacturers National Association) label has nothing to do with the safe other than indicate what standard it was built to.  In this case, a specification F2-ND indicates that it is fire insulated container, NOT a safe.   Generally these were filing cabinets.   The fact that it has a combination lock installed, does not make it a safe, it just adds a level of security.

Combinations can NOT be reset, unless the container is opened and the safe tech has access to the lock.   If the door is locked closed, it will have to be opened first.



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

QUESTION: Thanks for such a quick reply.

  I tried what you suggested and it still wont unlock. I guess I left out the part about it being open but locked so it wont close completely.

  Since the advice you gave me didn't work is the only option I have left to take it to a professional safe tech or is there anything else I can try?

Answer
Matt,

Yeah, actually that info would have changed the answer!

as long as the container is open, the combination can either be recovered or reset.   This is something that can be taken care of rather quickly by a safe tech at your local safe company, probably while you wait.

as far as identifying the safe manufacturer - if the safe company can't tell you what you have, when you take it in, then you can send photos to me, and I'll take a look at it.  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 42 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.

Experience

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. 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 Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes".

Organizations
SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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 Expert 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 and Western Nevada)

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