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Locksmithing/Allied Gary Safe Model# SPL-ER-3628-14 G

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Dial w key on bottom
Dial w key on bottom  
I am considering the above ref safe for my valuables at home. The concerns I have is: can a plasma cutter get the hinges or cut into it or access the locking mechanism?
This was in a chain store office. The person selling it has combo & key and has never been able to open it as they don't know dialing sequence. ( of which I suspect is:L4x1st#,R3x2nd#etc?)
I also saw that dial on top did not have numbers/marks and had an open hole? Where do I send pics?
This concerns me as I had bought a rather large safe via Home Depot 5-6 yrs ago. It was key /combo 3'x3'' (approx.) I believed it to be "safe" from easily getting into by thieves...luckily, on a gut feeling I had emptied it taking my valuables with me because while I was gone, all it took was a screwdriver placed at angle to key insert and good whack w single jack or hammer and it was opened!!!  The plus about this A-G is that it will take a flat bed/truck to transport and a winch/ come along/chain fall to move, although I am considering welding chains w rebar to bottom or 5 chains w middle one being attached to small craft boat anchor and cementing it in w rebar crisscrossed ... Just to make it more of deterrent in work & noise to move..but again, if it's easily accessible with hinge or other strategic penetration cuts with plasma cutter/or/Freon I won't bother...
Please let me know if this safe is worth my $,time & logistics to have... I understand locks are to keep honest men honest, not thieves! But I want to have a safe that will be one hell of trials and noise getting into by sev thieves determined!? I believe it to weigh over 1500 lbs? can you tell me more about this safe including its weight?  And Andy, may I send u the pics as I am concerned by the opening in top section dial and no numbers marking dial and I will need some other guidance if I choose to take possession...I am a female living alone for now in a rural high desert area & in over 15yrs here I have seen it all! I hope this safe will take over 30-60 minutes to break in to,- as the longer it takes, the safer it is...
It is a single unit with larger 2door/2handled combo safe on top with smaller single door with combo dial that has key insert below. It has sticker: Notice:This dual controlled safe requires your armored carrier service for access (only collector has key). Seller has key and combo #.
One other question: in a ballpark figure (rather high than low) what would I be looking at if I had to have a safe man get it open and reset combo & key?
And please keep oxy acetalyne torches etc in mind along with plasma cutters in my ease of access breaking in..
For any pics or other info you may want just ask
I hope this helps others too. Thank you Andy!!

Answer
Hi Gabi,

I'm glad you learned your "Home Depot" or Chain store safe buying lessons, without losing a lot.   I wish that more people would EDUCATE themselves on what a safe actually is before wasting money and/or learning a hard lesson AFTER getting burglarized.    ALL safes are NOT created equally and just because they have a dial and/or key lock does NOT make them more secure.   Chain stores DO NOT sell burglary resistive safes!     

Now lets see if I can answer your questions concerning your new safe, in some sort of order.

As far as "cutting the hinges off"!    Manufacturers figured this trick out, over 150 years ago.   With the exception of EXTREMELY CHEAPLY made safes, cutting the hinges off will NOT allow the safe to open.   The ONLY function that hinges provide is to carry the weight of the door WHEN the door is open.   They provide NO security, they are ONLY hinges.

Allied Gary safes like the one you are referencing have a large angle-iron type bar welded down the entire back side of the door.    If you cut the hinges off, you can't pull the door open because of this bar.    Many of these safes also had three way bolt work, providing protection on ALL four sides of the door.    If you cut the hinges off, you are basically making your job that much harder.

As far as your using cutting torches or plasma torches to open the safe up, while I'm sure that you will eventually get the safe open, your chances of ruining the safe are greatly enhanced.    Use of cutting torches or plasma cutters is a one way street.    The amount of heat generated over the time necessary to open the safe WILL warp the safe, meaning that chances of the doors opening and closing correctly are greatly diminished.

Your questions have me kind of confused as in one statement you want to know if it is worth your time and effort, and in the next statement you want to chop it up using cutting torches and plasma cutters??????    The questions are kind of self defeating!!!

As far as the burglary resistance of the Allied Gary safe you are interested in, the "ER" in the model number indicates that it is a TL-15 rated burglary resistive safe.    This safe is built out of thick steel plates - generally about 1-1/2" thick door and 1" thick steel walls.   It has drill resistive hard plate protecting the lock, and several relocking devices to help secure the door in the event of a burglary.    This safes were designed to be used in businesses where large amounts of cash were kept over night.   Note:   These safes do NOT offer any fire resistance for document storage.

As for your plans to weld or add rebar, chains and a boat anchor to it to make it harder for someone to haul away - what ever makes you feel safer.   In general, UL only requires safes UNDER 750 lbs to be bolt down securely, to concrete to have the UL TL-15 label.   As yours is estimated about 1500 lbs, this wouldn't be necessary, though anchoring it is not a bad idea.    I would however get rid of all the hokey ideas of extra security and keep it simple.    As many of these A-G safes had hollow bottoms, making anchoring it difficult, I would recommend welding on angle iron feet, which can be bolted to the concrete floor.    The anchors can then be welded to the feet so they can't easily be removed.    Keep it Simple!!!

As to your question concerning the cost to have the safe opened and repaired CORRECTLY, as opposed to ruining it with a torch, it will depend on what you actually have on your hands.

We've established that at least ONE door is probably a TL-15 rated safe.   Many of these safes were built for supermarkets, and the second door may have been used for cashier "till storage", meaning that it MAY not have the same rating as the other door.   If the safe was utilized for main cash storage behind one door and armored car pick up behind the second door, both doors may be TL-15 rated.

Generally the cost to open each safe will be treated INDIVIDUALLY, though you may get a slight discount for opening two doors at the same time, as the safe tech will already have all his tools ready for the first safe - AND/OR the combination for one door may work on the second door.

Costs WILL vary based on your location and/or how far the safe technician as to travel to get to you.    Costs could easily be in the $500-$1000 per safe door, depending on who comes out to open the safe doors and what fees are in your area.

As you mentioned that the seller has the combination but hasn't got it to work, may be the simple solution.    Many times combinations are passed along the way that they are understood and NOT necessarily the way that they actually work - I would definitely check the combination out before trying other solutions.

Correct dialing sequence for the lock on this safe would be:

4 times left to the first number,
3 times right to the second number,
2 times left to the third number,
1 time right, slowly until the dial stops.  

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, then you would turn the dial counter clockwise (left), stopping the fourth time the number 50 arrives at the index mark.

I'm not sure what your concerns are with the dial / dial ring combination.   These are standard on the A-G safes.   The top reading dial is called a spy-proof, and is designed so that no one can easily look over your shoulder to see what numbers you are dialing.

Again with the exception of the lack of fire resistance, this is a good burglary resistive safe.    The cost to buy a new, similarly designed safe would be around $3000 to $4000, so even considering your spending around $1000 to have the safe opened and repaired plus your original outlay of cash and the moving expenses, the safe may be a good buy.

I wouldn't recommend spending over $350 to $500 for the safe if it can't be opened.   If the seller wants more for this safe, then THEY should have the combination checked out and confirmed before selling the safe.     

If you need the name of someone in your area that can open the safe, I'll need a better idea of where you and/or the safe are located (zip code) so that I can recommend someone.

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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