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Locksmithing/Vault Door Restoration


Vault Door
Vault Door  

Inside of door
Inside of door  
I am in the process of working to restore a late 1800's Diebold Bank Vault Door - I believe Model 474.  Looking for suggestions on what types of lubricants to use for the various areas on the door and frame i.e. hinge bearings, combination lock mechanism, slide bolts, mechanical system that moves all of the locking bolts in and out, etc.  The door was previously stored outside (under a covered roof) for about 10 years after it was removed from a local bank.  I have disassembled the door in order to clean it and re-plate parts that had been damaged and or rusted.  Also looking for recommendations or suggestions on replacing the rubber seal on the door and the frame.  Thanks for your time.  Paul


I'm not going to get into proper lubrication procedures - this forum isn't a class room.   I'll go over the basics that I use, and you will have to use your best judgement with your door.

1.  Sealed gear areas, use a good quality gear grease
2.  Bearing surfaces, use a lighter lithium grease
3.  Most lock parts, clean the lock with Tri-Flow or similar, and wipe dry.
   Note:   I NEVER recommend lock disassembly as a DIY project for the same reason that I NEVER recommend using locksmiths for safe service.   Lack of knowledge, training and tools can result in an expensive lock out.   I recommend having a safe technician perform this maintenance.
4.  Do not service the time lock, have someone qualified work on this.   while I may work on the time lock bodies, I don't mess with the movements.   I have a trained watch and clock person that does all the work on movements for me.

In most cases when lubricating, less is more.  Any wetted surface area is simply a dust & dirt magnet, which in turn converts the grease or lubricant a grinding compound.

Clean everything of old dirt and lubricant, before applying new lube.

These doors did not have a rubber seal.  If anything they had a lead seal, for a pressure fit.   If it has a rubber seal, it was added by someone.

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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