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Locksmithing/Opening Sequence For a Bernardini


Bernardini Safe
Bernardini Safe  
I was given a Bernardini (Tag in rear) safe by a jeweler friend of mine when he moved.  The safe is 20.75 (H) x 18.75 (W) x 20.0 (D) and is quite heavy (broke a 1000lbs dolly when moving).  He was kind enough to give me the combination, but did not give me very clear instructions on how to use them (Even his wife has trouble opening it).   Can you please provide the opening sequence – 4 full turns left and stop on #1, then 2 full turns right and stop on #2, turn key… etc  -- , so that I can apply the combination?  Also, I live in Phoenix – the safe in very good condition; very clean inside, one or two small scratches on the outside – can you give me a ‘ballpark’ value (assuming I can get the damn thing open, of course.)?


the correct dialing sequence is:

4 times left to the first number,
3 times right to the second number,
2 times left to the third number,
Once right,  slowly,  until the dial stops.

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 opening index.

You can either unlock the key lock before or after the combination lock, doesn't matter!

If it still won't open,  you are either making a dialing error,  or you don't have the correct combination.   You would need a safe technician at this point.

Hope this helps,

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

QUESTION: Totally Awesome!!!!  Worked first time!


Glad it worked, if you have any other questions feel free to run them by me.

Note:   Bernardini's are notorious for developing hinge problems.   If yours doesn't have any yet, then make sure you get the hinges serviced on a regular basis, as well as the bolt work, locks and operating system.    Waiting until something is a problem, can get really expensive.  


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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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