Locksmithing/Old Sentry Safe

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Question
Hi Terry,
    I have an old Beige color Sentry safe on casters that my Grandparents had in their garage for years and they've passed away. It's approx. 24" tall x 17" wide x 17" deep. The silver name plate is approx. 6" x 6" with the name Sentry in the right corner.In fine print under sentry is written John Brush Rochester N.Y. My question to you is this: While looking for a model number I noticed underneath the bottom of the safe that there's a circle cut out plate  about 5" in diameter that is held on by 2 clips. I popped it off to find a hardened white material inside similar to plaster. It's a perfectly round plate so I doubt my grandfather cut into it but I don't know for sure. Have you heard of this? When trying to pop the dial off it broke so I'm not sure what to do at this point.Trying to figure out the combo now isn't an option. I was wondering about getting access from the cut out underneath by drilling through the plaster if that's what it is. Any thoughts? Thank you so much, I really appreciate any info you can provide. - Tom

Answer
Hi Tom,

The round plate you are referring to is the "FILL PLUG".    The inner and outer shells are formed and fitted together and the last thing that is done is the insulation material is poured in from the bottom.   The plate is simply a way of closing off the hole to protect the insulation on the bottom.

As far as parts and/or repairing Sentry safes, there aren't any parts readily available and these cheaply made safes are only intended to last about 10 years and/or one fire.   They have absolutely zero burglary resistance and so aren't worth the effort to try to restore them.

I'm assuming that what your goal is, is to open the safe to recover what ever is inside the safe.

While I'm sure that you can open the safe or gain access by destroying it, you have to understand that for security and liability reasons, other than telling you how the combination sequence works, we can provide no other information.    We have no idea who you are and/or your relationship to the safe, much less whether or not you are authorized to even work on it.
For these reasons the only recommendation that we can give you would be to contact your local safe company to have the safe opened.
In general with a death in the family, the only way that we would open the safe at this point, is with a letter of authorization from whom ever was appointed as executor of your grandparents estate.

Sorry I can't be of more help at this time.   If you have further questions that I can answer I would be more than happy to.

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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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