Locksmithing/jamed slide bars



I have a old halls safe I  bought it was open so I assumed I could just take back off and get comboe, the safe was in the open stage with bars in but tumbler would spin to a stop and then go again to the stop ome complete rotation and stop

I took combo out and got bars to extend one time then turned them back to open now they will not go out or in combo is out and it should work I want to know what to do and if I have to take fire proofing out of door and go inside can I replace it

Help chris

ANSWER: Chris,

This is one of the reasons that I NEVER recommend working on safes as a DIY project, for the same reason that I NEVER recommend using locksmiths for safe work.   Lack of Training, Knowledge and tools can result in expensive lockouts.

Based on your comments, I would assume that you still have the lock wheel pack (curb) removed.  If this is the case, then you should be able to open it by simply rotating the dial every couple numbers and trying the handle.   As this should be a straight tail piece type lock, when you align the drive wheel gate with the bolt work fence, it will unlock.   Note:   this should be around "0" (100).
If this is a later model Hall's, it may have a relocking device that has engaged and is blocking the bolt work.

While I do understand DIY projects and do them all the time myself, before taking something apart, take plenty of photos to assist you in reassembly, and/or to figure out what is going on.   Also research never hurts.

As there were basically two different companies using the Hall's names, your safe may or may not be an antique.   The first company was manufacturing safes from around 1846 until 1892.   The second company from 1896 until around 1929 (might be later - I'm still doing some research on this company).   The first company was owned by Joseph Hall, the second company was owned by his sons.

If the safe door is still open, you should be ok, and the problem will be easy enough to resolve.   If the door is locked closed, you will need to have a safe technician resolve it.

Look inside the lock cavity, there may be a trip lever to the right of the lock case, lift this up and down while turning the handle to find the point the bolt work frees up.   Note:  The drive wheel will also have to be correctly aligned so the bolt work will engage the lock.

If you still can't figure out what is going on, I would recommend contacting a local safe company to have their safe tech check it out.   NOTE:   I NEVER recommend using locksmiths for safe work.

Sorry, I can't be more help, but mechanical problems tend to be "hands on", for diagnostics and solutions.

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

QUESTION: I have already taken the lock out and the rod is in the open position
the tuumblers are out and it is still and it will not move in or out
There is a thin layer of fire cement on door and underneth I see there is a thin layer of tin protecting works I want to know if I take refractor cemnt off how do i remove the tin appears to be sealed aroun edges with some type of compound do I will have to remove refractor cement before I can go any farther how do i remove the tin so I can reinstall it latere

Thanks chris


The tin material is called a "dam", used to keep the mortar or insulating material away from the lock.  The dam is probably much bigger than you are anticipating, and the resulting hole to gain access will be larger also.

You have probably activeated the relocking device.   This should be spring loaded, more gravity.   There will be a blocking bar on the bolt work carry bar, which the relocker is simply blocking.   The relocker is on a pivot pin, so moving it up too much will block the bolt work, and moving it down too much will block the bolt work, it needs to be in the middle.

You should be able to access it through the opening in the mortar where the lock is.   When the lock is correctly installed, it will hold this relocking device out of the way.

If the door is small enough, you may be able to lift it off of the hinges to take it in to a local safe company.

I still don't recommend that you chop through the insulation material to access the bolt work, but if that is your plan, do it a little at a time, until you have exposed the complete dam and are able to remove it.

As long as the door is open, you aren't in any major trouble yet.  


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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 AllExperts.com

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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