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Locksmithing/Major Safe o. rusted lid


Hi Terry, you helped me with a question (just about exactly a year ago, oddly) regarding my Major Safe Co. floor safe in my bathroom.  I cannot rotate the lid of the safe.  I should be able to rotate it even if locked, correct?  I've been told that it should spin and I'm assuming it can't because it is rusted from water getting into it when I washed the floors.  The dial rotates just fine.

At the last time we were in touch you suggested that, as i didn't have the combination it could be quite costly to repair.  Well, I've found the combination.  Do you think it possible and cost effective for a safe Tech. or locksmith to free up this lid now that I have the combo?

Thanks in advance.


Hi John,

AMSEC still manufactures one MAJOR, round door lid.    Cost for the replacement door is around $500 or so.

Depending on the problems or issues with your safe, it could easily cost this much to get it opened - repairs wouldn't be known until it is open.   If the door opens with the combination you may be looking at about $200 plus parts, if not it may be closer to $500 to open and repair it, plus parts.

My recommendation now that you have found the combination would be to test dial it to see if the lock will actually engage.   If it does, and the bolt work won't retract and/or the door won't break free, then try soaking (around the edge of the door) with a penetrating fluid.    Use a dead blow hammer to vibrate the door, attempting to break the rust loose enough to finish rotating the dial to retract the locking bolts and/or lift out the door.

NOTE:   DO NOT strike the dial.   If you don't have room to hit the door with the dead blow hammer, then you may need a block of wood, cut to fit.    You are NOT hitting the door with enough force to damage the door, ONLY to vibrate or break it free from the rust.

Once open the door can be looked at to determine whether or not it can be repaired or should be replaced.

I've managed to open these doors when they were severely rusted and underwater, so I know it can be done - obviously the first question is whether or not your combination is correct or actually works.

If you CAN get the combination to engage, and IF you can loosen the door enough to extract it, then you would only have to take it in to a local safe company to have it serviced - and don't forget to completely clean and remove any rust from the door jamb area.

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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