Attention locksmiths...need some advice/help!

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by emt1581, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

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    I found an AWESOME deal on an old jewerly safe. This thing has doors that look to be 8" thick! However, the one snag is that the combination is only one number....not the typical three numbers. Now I have pics of the safe, pics of the dial and access point to the lock on the inside...but I have no brand name.

    The safe functions just fine...but only has the one number combo.

    Now the access plate looks to be a circle (about the size of a soda can) with three screws and a skeleton hole key on the inside of the door. I can show pics if need be.

    But I'm wondering how easy/cheap this would be to update it to a three number combo? I could care less about looks...I'm concerned with function.

    Thanks!!

    -Emt1581
     
  2. Ol Timer

    Ol Timer ↓ hog hunter ↓ Millennium Member

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    Did the owner tell you this. If not, I tend to agree with the reply in your thread running on this same safe in another forum, that the combination is the original and hasn't been changed.

    Come on, even a cheap bike lock from Dollar Tree has three numbers.
     

  3. skorper

    skorper harborrat

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    Even antique safes have more than one number. You may be mistaken. All that strength built in to this thing and only one number opens it? Anybody could just try all the numbers in sequence then and open it within an hour.
     
  4. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

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    I had it confirmed by the owner...it only takes ONE NUMBER to open it. But in the other thread people are saying I can get it changed or swapped out.

    Is that true?

    If so, how much would something like that run?

    Thanks!

    -Emt1581
     
  5. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

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    You probably can... Cost, I wouldn't have any idea. I'd take detailed pictures, and if you have a laptop, walk into a locksmith and show them to them, and ask their advice... or if you don't want to do that, ask them how much they charge to send someone out and give a service estimate. Service call would probably run in the 30-45 range, have them come out and look at it. IF they tell you it can't be changed, you've basically wasted $30 bucks.. if it can be changed, they'll give you an estimate to do it. Their advice would be a lot better than asking people on the internet who can't see the safe..

    Does seem odd only 1 number opens it.

    IGF
     
  6. vafish

    vafish

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    Not a lock smith, but it sounds to me like the lock is broke and only working on 1 tumbler.

    If the safe was cheap I'd buy it in heartbeat and put a new lock in it.
     
  7. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

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    But again, can that absolutely positively be done, and if so...ballpark...how much would it cost?

    Thanks!

    -Emt1581
     
  8. SnowCajun

    SnowCajun Old, no cure!

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    My safe combination is changable by changing round brass disks with notches in them and holes that I can move around a screw in stop, so I can have a fairly large selection of combinations. To see what the new combination is I just spin it while looking into the guts of the door until the first notch lines up, then noting the number on the dial, then turning the opposite way until the second notch lines up and so on until all three are lining up allowing the handle lever to turn.

    I wonder if possibly someone removed two combination disks, it really doesn't make sense to have a one number combination, that's not very safe for a safe. Safes are nice to have, I've never regretted buying mine, but I have wished I'd held out and found a larger one, but this one has done me well for 30+ years. The one thing I did learn early on is you can't store leather items in them, I don't know if it's the lack of humidity or what but they get this fuzzy mold like stuff all over them, at least it does in mine.
     
  9. oldsoldier

    oldsoldier

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    Maybe someone set all three disks to the same number or the lock was never changed after purchase. You said it has a place for a key. Could be a sargent and greenleaf lock. http://www.sargentandgreenleaf.com/

    The greenleaf combination padlocks are set to 25 at the factory and you turn them to 25 and open them to change the combination. You use the special key to set the combination to what you want. I don't know if this is the case with locks built into a safe but its possible.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  10. Flying-Dutchman

    Flying-Dutchman

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    My guess is that a former owner set the combination to one number so it could not be inadvertently locked.

    An old locked safe without the combination has a negative value as it costs more to remove or open than it is worth.

    Like other posters said, you can change the combination by going through the access plate to change the position of the brass disks.

    Call a local locksmith who sells safes if you are unsure about doing this.

    Do not lock the safe until you are sure you can open it with the new combination.
     
  11. Caver 60

    Caver 60

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    Agree completely including that a previous owner set a one number combo. I've seen my dad change the combo on a bunch of these old safes. Unfortuntely he's dead now. My brother can also do it, but he is in the hospital now with a broken back.

    But it can be done, if you can find someone who knows how. If one locksmith doesn't know how to do it, try another. Also some of these old safes actually had a four number combo. You will just need to hunt until you find the right expert.

    ETA If you can find the brand name of the safe or the name of the maker of the combination lock, try an online search. Perhaps you can turn up something. Some of the makers of those old combinations are still in business.

    I know it isn't hard to change the combo. I just never took the time to learn from my brother or dad. It might require a special key or something like that, but it can be done.

    2nd edit. I'd buy the safe even if it only works on one number.

    The main thing you're probably after is fire protection with a safe that small. Also it will buy time, even if it's only set on one number. It would take a real smart crook to figure it was only set to one number. And time is the crooks enemy.

    Third edit. Even if you get a new combo set, those old safes are easy to punch or peel.

    I've seen my dad punch one when the owner had lost the combo. The owner would usually give my dad the safe as part of the fee for punching it. My dad would then weld up the hole, put in a new combo set, and the safe was as good as new. I've even seen him repair one that had been peeled by a dumb crook that didn't know how to punch it, and then my dad would sell it after he had repaired it.

    So don't think you're going to stop a crook that's got lots of time on his hands. Actually if the crook is that smart, he could make a better living as a locksmith. But that's work and most crooks aren't inclined to work. Ha ha.

    Remember a lock is only to keep the honest man out.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010