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Locksmithing/Unable to open floor safe


QUESTION: We purchased a house recently and was told there was a floor safe but they didn't have the combination.  The house was built in the early 90's and there is nothing that identifies the make or model.  We cannot open the safe.

The combination dial moves about 10 points but that is it.  The handle seems slightly turned but won't move any direction.  When you do twist on the handle the combination dial moves a bit.

Any suggestions on how to, or who can help me open the safe?




Based on your description of the problems, AND the photo, it sounds to me like the lock MAY be unlocked, however the reason the handle won't turn, and/or the door won't open is due to the amount of rust.

Even a small amount of rust along the open edge of the door, can cause enough swelling to keep the door from opening.   Similarly, rusting under the handle, handle cam and bolt work could easily keep it from rotating.

While you can soak a penetrating oil along the edge of the door and around the handle, it is doubtful whether it will actually penetrate inside the door and along the bolt work.

WARNING - I don't recommend forcing or being forceful with the handle.   If you can't get it to release, then you will need to have it checked out by a safe technician.   "IF" the lock is locked, forcing the handle won't result in any meaningful movement, and may infact break the handle, causing more problems.

Contact a local safe company to have their safe technician check it out.   if you don't have a local safe company, let me know where you are located (zipcode), and I'll see if I know anyone in your area.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

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


Thanks for your response!  I suspected that it may be unlocked but rusted shut.

If you know someone around the 78654 zip code that would be helpful.  We are about an hour from Austin.

Again, Thanks,


Hi Mike,

My first recommendation would be:

K&S Security Products,          Ken Foo
11509 Brandon Parke Trail

Or you can try the next two companies.   I don't know anything about Fortress Lock, but we do use Fuller's when we have work in the San Antonio area - though he is much further away.

Fortress Lock, Safe & Security
512-800-3030          Jon Lorquet
14213 Running Deer Trl
Austin, TX   78734

Fuller's Alamo Safe & Lock
3723 West Ave
San Antonio, TX  78213

Note:   Discuss the safe opening with the company that you choose, and make sure that you understand what they plan on doing to open the safe, what their charges are to open it, and/or to open AND repair the safe.    There should be no hidden charges.    If you have questions concerning their proposed methods or charges feel free to run it by me first.

Note:   While they may not describe the actual open and repair method, they should be able to tell you that they "plan on" drilling the safe, and/or how they "plan" on repairing it, and "what" they anticipate the costs to be.    Unfortunately, they will not know what parts need replacing, but they SHOULD be able to give you a "worst case" amount to open AND repair the safe, AND replace the lock, dial and dial ring.

Anyone that can't give you a "WORST CASE" price, which would be the MAXIMUM amount you should expect to pay, probably shouldn't be used.    Obviously a Best case price would be if the door is unlocked, they can open it, clean, service and repair it, without replacing any parts.

Hope this helps.


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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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