Locksmithing/Safe

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Question
My fathers safe does not now open with the combination he has used for years. It is a Saga International Model 910 it is called saf-d-posit. There is a number 18301651 on the back. Is there anything to try other than call a locksmith? I looked on the website and tried there suggested combination processes. He has been spinning past 73 5 times then doing 3 more numbers with decreasing numbers of turns like most safe combinations

Answer
Hi Donna,

There are ONLY three reasons a combination lock will not unlock - in order they are:
1.   Incorrect dialing sequence, operator errors
2.   Incorrect combination, wrong numbers
3.   Mechanical problems.

If you had provided the dialing sequence your father was trying to use, I could have tried to clean it up a bit for you.    Unfortunately, many times combinations are passed along the way they are "understood" and NOT necessarily the way that the combination works.   This is evident in your fathers indicating he is dialing 5 times to the first number.

Many of the SAGA Safes had what we term straight tail piece locks, these can be dialed LRLR or RLRL, however EACH dialing sequence WILL have different numbers.   You can try both of them with your father's numbers.   If it still doesn't work the numbers may be wrong.

The dialing sequence will either be LRLR or RLRL as follows:

4 times left to the first number,
3 times right to the second number,
2 times left to the third number,
1 time right - stopping on the last number.     Turn the key or handle to open the safe.

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 your first number is 50, you would turn the dial, stopping the FOURTH time the number 50 arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

If this doesn't work, try the same dialing sequence but substitute RLRL for the LRLR.

If it still doesn't work then you may not have the correct numbers, or they may be in the wrong order.   If you can't get it open, then it is time to call a SAFE TECHNICIAN from a local SAFE COMPANY, NOT a locksmith.    While most safemen are also locksmiths, very few locksmiths are actually safemen.

Check your yellow pages under "Safes & Vaults" for a local company.    If you can't find one, let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see who I might know and/or recommend in your area.

hope this helps,  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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".

Organizations
SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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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