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Locksmithing/cant get my safe open


i recently bought an old cary safe and had a lock smith get the combo for me i had gotten good ad unlocking it with the door open now that i shut and locked the door i cant seem to open it i was wondering if the cogs could be slipping inside or am i just slipping if you know any tricks i would be grateful please help


I'm not sure WHAT cogs are, or how they would be slipping.

Probably the biggest majority of Cary safes (serial numbers between 89500 to 202000 - approximately), used either the Yale Y6 or M16 lock.   These were virtually identical locks except the M16 had an internal relocking device.   The Bolt of the lock which blocks the bolt work on the door, is a gravity drop bolt, with a friction type fence.   When the combination is dialed correctly the combination of the friction fence and the weight of the bolt, cause the fence to pivot into the wheel pack allowing the retraction of the bolt.   When it has dropped out of the way, the bolt work "tailpiece" is allowed to enter the lock during bolt work retraction (bolts in).

Biggest problem with this set up, if the bolt work is not FULLY extended (bolts out) for any reason, it can jam the tailpiece against the lock bolt, trapping it, which will effectively feel like the lock has not engaged correctly during normal dialing.

Make sure that the door is fully closed, and that the handle is in the locked position - fully counter clockwise.

If this doesn't work, then you may need to have it checked out by a safe technician from a local safe company.
Note:   I never recommend using locksmiths as they generally don't have the training, knowledge or tools, and can result in excessive damage to the safe.   while most safe techs are also locksmiths, rarely are locksmiths also safe techs.

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

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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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