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Locksmithing/Opening a locked safe


I moved into a home in CT that has a safe installed in the bedroom. It is a dura vault or at least that is whatvisbwritten on the outside. It is a combination safe about 18x18 inches. Unfortunately, I did not receive the combination from the owners and now they are divorced and impossible to reach. Is it possible to have this safe opened and a new combination set or am I out of luck?


ANSWER: Julie,

Short answer is yes, and no!

Yes you can have it opened, and no you aren't out of luck.

Fortunately, you have a number of good, well trained safe techs in your area, so you can choose from several.    I'll start with some of my favorites, and you can go from there.

Precision Lock & Safe          58 miles
516-616-0854          Elaad Israli
240 Jericho Turnpike  
Floral Park, NY   11001

Prestige Safe          45 miles
201-696-1735          Eddie Lopez
29 Wyandanch Ave
Wyandanch, N,Y.  11798

Connecticut Lock & Key         36 miles
203-348-5975          Bruce Urban
934 East Main St.
Stamford, CT   06902

Capital Safe & Lock          38 miles
888-870-LOCK          John Labbe
77K Tolland Tnpke
Manchester, CT  06040

Hope this helps, though it does give you several choices.   Prices may vary, so discuss the opening and repairing of the safe before you have them come out.   Also, there should be NO hidden charges.   I flat rate my openings so that their are no surprises.   You get a flat rate up front.    If I'm able to open it really quickly and have few repairs then I make out.  On the other hand, if for some reason it turns into a nightmare, you don't get stuck with some HUGE open and repair bill because the safe tech either shouldn't have been working on the safe to start with, or has made some mistake which caused more problems.    People charging hourly charges have no incentive to do a good job or work quickly, and the longer they work the more money they make.

If you have any questions regarding proposed opening and repairing methods, or charges, feel free to run them by me.   If you have a question about a particular charge, find out WHAT they are charging you for.    Better to understand up front, than to call me complaining afterwards, by then it is basically crying over spilt milk, which I can't help you with.

Good luck.

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

QUESTION: Thanks for your quick response!  I live in Westport and the only place listed that's close to me is in Stamford. Unfortunately, when I called they informed me that the individual you recommended is no longer employed there. Should I still use that company or do you have others near me which would be better?

Thanks again


ANSWER: Julie,

My first two recommendations are my main recommendations.   If you want someone closer, then you need to discuss what their proposal is to open and repair your safe.   If they don't have a trained safe technician any longer, then I wouldn't use them.

Bottom line though is YOUR understanding of what you are getting into, regardless of whom you choose.   There should be NO surprises or hidden fees.   You should understand how they plan on opening and repairing your safe, and exactly what their charges for opening, repairing and any mobile service fees.   If they appear bland about their description of the project or open ended about their charges, then they are probably NOT the right choice.   Anyone who knows what they are doing, can easily throw out a flat rate fee.   They make a little extra if they can get it open in less time, and YOU don't get stuck paying extra if the job goes south and it takes them substantially extra time.

If you have any questions about proposals or pricing, feel free to run it by me first.

Hope this helps,

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

So I've got a little more information. The safe is a duravault serial number 3945.  I have contacted a company that's given me an estimate of $300 to open and repair the safe. Does that seem reasonable to you?  I assume it would be more costly to buy and install a brand new wall safe of similar quality. Thanks again.



That sounds like a great price.   I'm in a fairly expensive area, and I charge $375 to open AND repair unrated safes, plus $105 mobile service charge, or $480 TOTAL, plus any necessary parts.   Generally I open the safe as damage free as possible so that parts are not necessary, however, you never know what you will find (condition wise) until the safe is opened.   So if they are charging (total) $300 to open and repair it (plus parts), that is a good price.

Unfortunately, in many cases with inexpensive safes, the cost for service or repairs, can easily exceed their value.   Sometimes it is wiser to simply replace it with a new one (hopefully of BETTER quality).   Of course if you have important items locked inside the safe, you will still need it opened to retrieve these items.

I try to help customers as much as possible.   If the safe is small enough for them to bring into my office, AND if they are buying a new safe of comparible or better quality, then I will open it and dispose of it for free.   Not many companies will offer this incentive, but I'm not in it for the sale, I'm in it for the long term customer relationship.

Hope this helps,


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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


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.


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".

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

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 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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