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Locksmithing/Identify Old wall safe?


There's an old safe in my house I've never opened. I just found the key but the whole things too rusty to open, even after using WD40 and graphite powder. I've never seen a safe quite like this and I'm not sure what it's called. If you could identify it and give me any tips to open it that would be great. Thank you!

Hi Charlotte,

First off, I "NEVER" recommend using WD-40 or graphite powder as a lock lubricant.   Graphite just takes up a bunch of space that the lock needs to operate in.   WD-40 was designed as a water displacement chemical - not a lubricant.

If the lock is bound up and/or doesn't operate correctly, I would suggest using something more like Tri-Flow, which is a Teflon lubricant, to flush out debris and provide some lubrication.

If the key turns, but won't retract the locking bolts, I would try a "Dead Blow" type of hammer, to try to loosen the door and retract the bolt work.   You would need to rap on the door while trying to turn the key.   Obviously if the key is bending - stop!   It won't do any good to break the key.   In fact I would recommend having several copies made, so that you have fresh keys to work with while playing around with it.

As far as a possibly manufacturer - sorry but I don't have any info on a door like this.   The closest thing I could find would be either a single or dual bolt door by Security Wall Safe Company.  This company was eventually taken over by John D. Brush & Company, which eventually became the Sentry Group (Sentry safes).    Once open, I might be able to give you a better ID.

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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