Locksmithing/Cary safe


I have read a bit about how to open a Cary safe when the combination is unknown. So far nothing has worked. The serial number is 97434. The tumbler dial is not as smooth as one would hope. Any suggestions as to what else to try or could you recommend a safe tech?

Hi Dave,

I'm not sure what info that you have read up on, concerning "opening a Cary lock, with an unknown combination" as there isn't anything out there that I'm aware of that would be of any use.

I possibly have the best serial number listing available, to determine what lock is probably installed on your safe, and "I" don't have any secret tricks for obtaining combinations.    This is probably why, just because its on the internet, doesn't mean that you should believe it!    In the early days of computers the term that was used to describe this same scenario was "GIGO" - meaning "garbage in - garbage out"   The internet is ONLY as good as the info on it, and there are a bunch of SB's putting out worthless info - pardon my description!

The lock that I would expect to find on your safe, would be a Yale Y-6, four wheel lock.    The dialing sequence for his lock would be:

5 times right to the first number
4 times left to the second number
3 times right to the third number,
2 times left to the fourth number,
1 time right, slowly until the dial stops - turn handle to open

Note:   Left is counter clockwise, right is clockwise.   Do not count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

With 4 wheels and a 100 number dial, this gives you about 100,000,000 possible combinations - testing 500 every day would only take you about 530 years to test them all.

Some times owners don't want all of the extra dialing turns, so the combination will be set on three numbers - this means that the first and second wheels are actually on the same number.

The dialing sequence for this would be:

5 times left to the first number,  (first & second wheel)
3 times right to the second number, (third wheel)
2 times left to the third number,   (fourth wheel)
1 time right, slowly until the dial stops - turn handle to open.

If you don't have a combination to work with, then unless you are planning on making this a family project - for the next 50 generations - then I would recommend contacting a safe tech from a local safe company.    Check your local yellow pages under safes & vaults to see who is in your area.

If you don't have any safe companies, then I will need to know where you and/or the safe are located (zip code) so that I can see who I might know in your area.

There aren't going to be a lot of safe companies in Wyoming, so you may have to go to Denver or Salt Lake City to get someone to come in.

You can check with the following company to discuss the project, though I don't personally know them or what their skill levels are.    So make sure you have a thorough understanding of what any charges are going to be, and what you should expect after the safe is opened.    As parts are no longer available, except from donor safes, they either don't exist or are very expensive, so any work on the safe which damages or ruins the dial or lock should be avoided.

If you have any questions run it by me BEFORE having anyone work on the safe.

Wyoming State Safe & Lock Co
228 Superior Ct
Laramie, WY 82072

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 AllExperts.com

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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