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Locksmithing/Reconditioned and Used safes?


1) whats the difference between a reconditioned and a used safe?

2) when buying a used or reconditioned safe what questions should I ask?

3) When buying a used safe are there any tricks I should be careful of? (example like holes in safe covered up by inferior material).

4) How can a expert tell between a crappy used safe to a good one? what are the signs?


While some of the "definitions" may vary slightly depending on who you talk to, I'll give you my version.

1.  Difference between a used safe and a reconditioned safe.
    Generally a used safe is in:  "AS IS" condition.   Very limited warranty if any.  
    A reconditioned safe would be cleaned, serviced, any necessary repairs, possibly new locks, and should come with a warranty of some sort.

2.  Questions to ask when buying a new, used or reconditioned safe?
    Generally any questions that you would have should apply to all safes.   These would include locks installed, options available, warranty info, etc.     Obviously if you are looking at a prospective safe and something catchs your attention, you should ask a question about the item.

3.  Unfortunately, without examining each safe thouroughly, I can't really answer this question.   You could request information concerning "has the safe ever been burglarized, attempted burglary, or did it have any type of failure which resulted in it being drilled"?   Chances are no salesman is going to reveal any of this information, and/or their answer is probably going to be "no"!    Without having a trained safe technician thouroughly examine the safe to determine if it has ever been drilled and/or repaired correctly, you are simply trusting the salesman's word.

4.  Inspection of the safe.   If it doesn't meet certain standards or was built "slopply", inspection would reveal this.

Hope this answers your questions


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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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