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Locksmithing/Opening safe with Yale lock


My father recently passed & we've been trying to open the safe with no luck. I've opened in the past as Dad wanted to be sure I could open. I've read your previous posts and tried too many times to count. I'm at the point of hiring a locksmith. Should any trained locksmith be able to open or do I need one specialized in yale locks?


The answer is both a "YES" and "NO"!

The key point of your question is:   "Should any TRAINED Locksmith" be able to open the safe, yes they should, HOWEVER, the majority of locksmiths have little formal training, and even less safe training.    While this doesn't mean that EVERY locksmith, is little more than a "trained monkey", there isn't much to let you know who is competent and who isn't!    Unfortunately there are not any "STANDARDS" in the industry to guard against untrained persons advertising just as a trained professional would.

My recommendation would be to look for an actual safe company to have their "Trained" safe technician check the safe out.    Generally the majority of safe technicians HAVE had some formal or basic safe training.

This by no means removes YOUR responsibility to query any service technician - regardless of whether they are working on your car (automotive) or on your safe, to determine that you are actually getting what you are paying for!

As to opening your safe, I'm assuming that you actually have the combination for the safe.   If not we are NOT talking about dialing your safe open, we are talking about opening a safe with an unknown combination - apples and oranges!

In general, MOST Yale locks dial RLRL  (three wheel versions), and the sequence would be:

4 times Right to the first number,
3 times Left to the second number,
2 times Right to the third number,
1 time Left - slowly, until the dial stops - should be around 10.

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.   For instance, if you first number is 50, you would turn the dial "CLOCKWISE" (right), stopping the FOURTH time the number 50 arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.    After you have dialed a number - forget it, it no longer matters.   Move on to the next number.

If you still can't get it to open or unlock, then you either don't have the correct numbers, or they are not in the correct sequence, or you are making a dialing error.

As you didn't provide the combination, that you are trying to work with, I can't try to decode what you have to ensure you have the correct sequence for the lock on your safe.

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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