Locksmithing/opening safe


Hello, I have a Star American Security Products small safe 18  in wide X 22 in tall by 18 in deep. It was bought used about 20 years years ago - ($250.00 ) and was told it came out of a Walmart store. It worked fine until Someone beat the dial and handle off trying to get into it. They were unsuccessful but now I cannot get back into it. I would like to salvage it but at least get my stuff out of it without taking a torch to it. I know the combination but I don't know where to begin. The serial Number is #453631 but couldn't read the model #.  Thanks, Mike

Hi Mike,

The problem with having the dial breakoff or be broken off, is it loses its "calibration" to the lock.    When they are installed and the combination set, its like the dial and lock are both speaking English.
When they have become disconnected it would be like you trying to speak English to a Martian.   

When a trained safe technician comes out, they will install a special emergency dial, and calibrate it to your lock so that they can dial up your combination to open the safe.    This still may take several dialing attempts as the calibration is fine tuned, until it unlocks.

Once the safe is open, a new dial can be installed - assuming there is no damage to the lock - the combination reset and everything tested.

This is going to be one of those hands on projects.

I recommend that you contact a local safe company in your area to see if there safe technician can work on your safe.

If you don't have a local safe company, I will need your zip code to see who I might know of, and/or recommend in your area.

If you can take the safe into their shop to have the work done, it will save you money.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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)

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.