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Locksmithing/Yale lock on old safe


My grandfather passed and we are trying to open his old safe with a Yale lock.  I do not know the safe age or manufacturer.  I do know the combination, but have not yet been able to open it.  

What do I do to start the opening.  Do I have to do a combination of left and right before resting on "0" and then beginning?  I think this is a 4 times, 3 times, etc situation, but I'm not sure if I start by going left or right.  Most importantly, on the left/right 4 times, 3 times, etc, do I go 3 complete revolutions and then stop on the next number when I approach it, or do I stop on the next number the third time I get to it.

Attached is a picture, though I'm not sure how helpful it will be.  At this point, I'm seeing what assistance I can find before trying to move this heavy thing to find out the manufacturer/age.


Your safe appears to be 1940ish.   There were a couple of manufacturers that used hinges similar to this.

The standard dialing sequence for most Yale locks (OC5 series) that I would expect to find on this safe, would be:

4 times Right to the first number,
3 times Left to the second number,
2 times Right to the third number,
1 time Left until the dial stops (around 10).

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 if your first number is 50, you will turn the dial clockwise (right), stopping the fourth time the number 50 ARRIVES at the index mark.
There is NO STARTING POINT, simply start dialing right and count 50 once, 50 twice, 50 three times, stopping on 50 the fourth time.

Hopefully this helps you.


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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland safes from the 1860'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.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. 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

SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association

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 - 2014 - 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

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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 and Western Nevada)

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