Locksmithing/J&J Taylor safe


Hi Andy
I bought a old J&J Taylor safe, when I bought it, the seller operated the locks, when taking it home, the door was removed to make it lighter, unfortunately the door was move up side down,, my problem is that I can't operate the safe, open or close the locks,, I have the instructions to change the combo, but no key, do u think I've done something with the move, any ideas? Please help, it's a beautiful safe, & hoping to use it a as safe


My first question would be why you would want to use a possible antique to guard your treasures.   This would be like buying a Model A Ford to use as a daily commuter vehicle?????

If you are going to use it as a display item, having some of your collectible items inside on display and occasionally locked up - then ok!    However if you are planning using it on a regular daily basis as a safe for business use or even to keep your valuables "secure", then I have to council you against this.    This would be kind of like having your great grandfather visit, and making him your security guard.

Ok, now on to the problems - generally "mechanical problems" require hands on diagnostics and solutions.   As I don't have access to your safe, and you haven't provided any photos, the best I can do is to guess what you may have done to the safe.

Your description is rather vague and/or misleading.   When you indicate you "can't operate the safe, open or close the locks", this is confusing - is the bolt work retracted or extended???

NOTE:   "IF" the bolt work operates with the door "OPEN", then the problem is NOT the bolt work or the lock.   Something is keeping the door from closing correctly.   Check the hinges, shelves inside the safe, or anything that may keep it from closing correctly.

"IF" the bolt work will not operate with the door "OPEN", then you have a problem with the locking mechanism, which needs correcting before closing the door AT ALL!!!

Moving safes by themselves is an easy way to damage or cause problems, when done incorrectly.   Removing the door to move the safe, is rarely done even by professional safe men, and then only with correct equipment to avoid having problems.    Unfortunately DIY projects like this or using untrained men to move safes can result in a lot of problems.

At this point, my recommendation would be for you to have a trained safe technician, from a local safe company inspect the safe, bolt work and door to see where the problem lies, repair or reset the lock and/or bolt work, and go over the proper operation of the door so that you understand everything about it.

Having the instructions does not mean that you understand the operation of the door or lock.   generally it takes a new owner several weeks to actually understand HOW the safe operates correctly, and to get use to its characteristics.   Different safes operate differently, and learning to use it correctly can be the difference between having future problems or not - especially if you "plan on using it as a safe"!!!!


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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland safes from the 1860'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.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. 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

SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association

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 - 2014 - 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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