Locksmithing/Shaw Walker Safe

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Question
safe
safe  
My father recently passed away and none of the kids have a combination to his safe. Any tips on how we maybe be able to open this. Is there a serial number somewhere we could get the manufacturer involved to maybe get a combination. What photos do you need to figure out the worth?

Answer
Kirk,

Sorry, but using a serial number to contact a manufacturer for a record search would suppose that the manufacturer was still in business.

Shaw-Walker has basically been out of business since 1990 with all assets acquired by SMEAD Manufacturing.   To my knowledge they hadn't made any safes since the late 1960's or early 1970's.

So unless you have a time machine available, you are basically limited to two options:
1.   You can try all of the 1,000,000 possible combinations that the lock has available, or
2.   You can contact a local safe company to have their safe technician open the safe for you.

Note:   I never recommend using locksmiths for safe work, as they generally don't have the training, knowledge or tools to work on safes without causing excessive damage or charging exhorbant fees.

If you opt for option 1, and test 500 combinations every day, it would only take you about 5.5 years to test them all.   Though hopefully you would find the working combination long before you went through them all.
Option 2 would be the quickest.   If done correctly by a trained safe tech, it will not result in damage, should be accomplished in 2-3 hours (possibly less), and cost should be in the $350 to $500 range to open and repair it, plus any necessary parts.

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

Hope this helps.

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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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