Locksmithing/Schwab safe


I bought an old Schwab safe at an antique dealer,combination included. It has star safe mfg on the dial. Neither the store,the seller,or myself can get open unfortunately. R2x number L one turn past number to number R to 1 stop press and turn..then doesn't open. Any suggestions? It's an in the floor type model F912

Hi Len,

I received the photos you sent directly to me.   Here is the answer that I returned

As suspected – the safe was actually built by “Star Safe Manufacturing”.    Current manufacturer of these doors is AMSEC (American Security Products, Fontana, CA).    Schwab was just a dealer, and the logo was simply so you would come back to them.

This is one of the older Star doors, while parts are available, they are for the newer style doors.    I’m not sure if they will even work on your door – so you don’t want damage done while opening it.

The proper dialing sequence for this door is 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 at zero (0) – push dial in, and continue right to stop – about 75.

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 (looks like a Y).   

I don’t believe the combination that you have is for this safe – notice the serial number written on the combo card does not match the serial number on the safe, and also, the dialing sequence on the card does NOT match what I have provided above.

You basically have two options available at this time, you can test dial all of the 1,000,000 possible combinations for the lock on this door, or you can have it opened by a safe technician at a local safe company.


Hi Len,

I would have to see what you actually have, but based on the info, it doesn't sound like an antique safe - so I'm wondering why you would buy it from an antique dealer????

There are ONLY three reasons that a safe lock doesn't open.   In order they are:

1.   Incorrect dialing sequence, operator errors,
2.   Incorrect combination, wrong numbers
3.   Mechanical problems.

Based on your description, sounds to me like the problems you are having may be a combination of either items 1 and/or 2.

Again, I will need to see your safe to determine what you actually have, to have an idea WHAT lock is installed, so that we can come up with the correct dialing sequence for that lock.

The dialing sequence also isn't correct for the majority of the locks that I see on Schwab safes.   I'm not sure where you came up with a "model" F912, but again, I'm not sure this is a Schwab model number.   There are a couple other manufacturers that have models similar to this though - so again, I will need to see your safe.

I'll need good quality, in focus photos of the full safe, and close ups of the dial, handle, hinges, castors or supports, and ANY name plates, plaques or decals on the safe.   Also I'll need your combination EXACTLY as written down, so that I can try to decode it for you.    Many times previous owners pass on the combination the way that THEY understand it, and NOT necessarily the way that the lock works.

Send all of the requested photos to me at:    andy@securitysafeusa.com

As soon as I get a chance to look at them, I'll try to get back to you with a better answer.

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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