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Locksmithing/opening a Cary co. safe.


QUESTION: I have a safe which says on the front:  "Cary Safe Co., Buffalo, N.Y.  I have the combination, and have opened it many times in the past.  However, I have not been able to open it for the last 3 years.  My son used to open it, and he cannot open it now.
I think some tumbler must be hanging up??
Is there some way a locksmith could open it without drilling holes in the lock?  Can they listen with ear phones, or is that only in the movies?

ANSWER: Lamont,

Tumbler's are a group who work in the circus, similar to clowns.   Your lock has "wheels" which turn.   The correct alignment of the wheels is what allows the safe to open.

Lack of maintenance CAN seriously effect the lock operation and consequently your ability to open your safe.

While most safe locks CAN be opened by manipulation, manipulation is NOT a guarantee which means that you may be paying for the service and NOT the results.   Contrary to what you have seen in the movies, with the exception of really cheap safes, we do not LISTEN to the lock to obtain the combination, we listen to amplify what we are feeling, these senses are used along with the dial to measure the lock to obtain possible numbers to open the lock.   If the lock is NOT operating correctly to start with, then it may also hamper manipulation.

If you have an actual combination to the safe, no safe man would drill a safe without exhausting a series of diagnostic technicques to open the safe.   If all else fails, then drilling, when done correctly by a trained SAFE Technician, will NOT ruin the safe or the lock.

NOTE:  I NEVER recommend using a locksmith for safe work as they generally DO NOT have the training, education or tools necessary to work on safes without causing excessive damage.

If you DO get the safe opened, DO NOT close and lock it until you have had it correctly serviced to ensure proper operation.   If you can't get it open, then you will need a trained, professional safe technician from a local safe company to work on it.

If you don't have a local safe company, let me know where you are located (zipcode), and I'll see who I know in your area.

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

QUESTION: Thank you very much.  My zip code is 95746, or try 95661 (Roseville, CA.)
I don't see a local safe company.  Only locksmiths, which you advise I don't use.


As my service area is most of Northern CA, including Roseville, so you would be in my area.   I'm usually in the Sacramento area once or twice a week, and the Fry's electronics store on Sunrise Blvd, has me work on their safes at least once each quarter.

If you would like to check out our business, you can go to our web page:

If you would like to schedule up service or having the safe opened, feel free to contact me at:   800-326-4224.  


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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

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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