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Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

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Oldfast

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OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer
OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer

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Post Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:33 am

Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

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Every year about this time, I begin entertaining the thought of bringing my passion out into the
real world. And every year I have far too many reasons, good reasons, not to take such a leap.

For some years now I have been faithfully, obsessively!, spinning. And yet I know only a little.
Every evening I pour over files, viewing hundreds upon hundreds of various locks and safes;
knowing that many of 'em I may never get a chance to experience. Certainly not from home.

Ebay has been a good friend to me. Over the years, slowly & patiently gobbling up whatever
my pocketbook would allow. But what I pull from my mailbox nowadays doesn't always align
so closely with my current learning curve. Just doesn't quench my thirst as often as it use to.

The only logical next 'step'... next 'phase' of my self-taught schooling is to go beyond the lockroom.
So after several years of planning - I feel it's time. I've gone public and I'm crackin' safes... for free.


To those who may come across this and think it's a wonderfully exciting idea. It is! And I wouldn't dream of discouraging you. I would simply suggest, STRONGLY suggest that you thoroughly do your homework first. That's all. Gather as much info as possible from credible sources - then make an informed decision. At that point you might conclude the risks are minimal and it's worth pursuing. Or, you may realize it's a very bad idea. If it feels like you shouldn't do it... then you probably shouldn't do it. As disappointing as it is, I know.

For what it's worth, here's some of what led up to this: I've spent a small portion of each year for the last several years preparing. A lot of web browsing, phone calls, footwork, and (as it turns out) a chunk of money in order to really do it right. I touched base with both my local and State Police. I visited these agencies, in person, and had a lengthy discussion with each. I also worked with two different law firms and a printing company. With all this said and done - how I've come to operate - I'm told is still not ironclad. There are no absolute guarantees.

Laws vary drastically, not only from state to state, but from county to county. Go through your State AND County laws with a fine-tooth comb. You may need professional help deciphering them. By the way, doing it for free does not alleviate me from being liable in the least. It's not like the 'Good Samaritan Act'. Ha! So here in Michigan, unlawfully breaching a safe is considered a Class I felony that carries with it a possible max life sentence. On the other end of the spectrum, Michigan does not regulate the locksmithing trade. Even if I wanted to be 'certified' as a safe technician and have the state send me a license, there's no such thing.

There's just so many scenarios that could happen either on site or after the fact. Too many to list or even dream up. What if the very safe you worked on is burglarized just a couple weeks later? Or maybe you open a safe for Homer only to find out it belongs to his Grandmother who's in Florida for the winter? How about jumping straight into the middle of a divorce (or any nasty breakup for that matter)? No thanks!! You wouldn't be notified of a legal issue till weeks later. Think about it. The police knocking at your door - then weeks/months of litigation - wouldn't that suck? Not trying to scare anyone. Just looking to get your thoughts to wander off a bit further. Because I care. And 'good intentions' don't go very far in court nowadays.

I've talked mainly about legality and liability, since this was my main concern. But what about people? The crime rate in my area is excruciatingly low. What type of clientele will be calling you? Suppose the safe is stolen and you're unknowingly finishing the job? Or worse yet, maybe you're lured to one home only to be forcefully brought to another location to assist in a crime. This may seem a bit far fetched, I know. But greed and/or desperation can bring some of the most unbelievable plots to life. Crime is closely monitored and recorded. You can find this information if you look. Assess both the nature and frequency of the crime in your area.

And lastly; the other reason I was so hesitant for so long was lack of experience. I kept telling myself I was not good enough yet. Looking back on it now, I was probably being pretty honest with myself! I'm sorry, but if you're able to count the safes you've opened on your fingers and toes, you probably have exactly what I had at that time; a lotta ego and a little bit of knowledge. I've been at this now for a good solid 5 years. I just feel like one should reach at least some level of moderate proficiency with manipulation before going out. Otherwise your wasting peoples' time. Again, it's just my opinion - but if you hit the road prematurely you're basically just entertaining yourself at other peoples' expense. Pay your dues first.


The original Chronicles was an attempt to document much of my beginnings. My ups & downs.
I present a variety of locks (as I acquire them) and a detailed manipulation of each. That thread
is FAR from finished and I'll continue posting to it. Currently mounting more locks for the winter.
Lock room shelving has reached the ceiling & real estate value has reached an all-time high. lol

Obvious difference here in Part II of the Chronicles is that I'm working on safes that are not mine.
For this reason, I will exercise extreme caution as to what I share and how I go about sharing it.
Every person who calls has entrusted me with a very sensitive & secretive portion of their life.
This, I feel is a huge privilege that I will do my absolute best to honor, always.

Some of my outings will have a bit of a story. Others may be rather vague, consisting of some
lock-porn followed by some specs of the safe and/or lock. As always, I hope to learn from you!
I also hope you can learn some things from me. And I know some of you share my passion for
safes - so it really excites me to know you'll enjoy browsing this thread. Let's enter into a world
of homes, garages, sheds, basements, and businesses. A world.... beyond.... the lockroom !!!!
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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Oldfast

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OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer
OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer

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Post Sun Dec 04, 2016 5:45 am

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Within my first handful of calls - this was certainly one of my favorites.
Up until now, I had only seen & read about these fire cabinets.
So it was a real treat to actually meet one in person.

Image

The original Safe Cabinet Company started in 1905.
Remington Rand acquired the company in 1926 and
ran it for about the next 30 years when they merged
with the Sperry Corporation in 1955. So we can figure
this box to be somewhere between 60 and 90 yrs old.

Image

Caller: Had acquired the safe from an old business some 15 years ago.
She was given the combination but had never been successful in using it.

Upon receiving a second call... the plot thickens, lol. This is partly my fault.
As I'm finding out it's not only what questions you ask, but how you ask them.
Instead of a single door and dial - now, all of a sudden it's two doors, two dials.
She also informs me that one of the dials is "froze". And at some point through the
years her son had attempted to get it turning; lots of spray lube followed by vice grips.

Once they got around to sending me some pics, things began to make more sense.
Of the two dials, only one of them is actively connected to a lock; the right-hand door.
The left handle does control some bolt work, but the dial does not turn and has no lock.

Image

Certainly one of the more striking features is the integration of handle and dial.

Image Image

I took some time exploring her combination to no avail. Meanwhile, the son still seemed
hellbent on attacking that left-hand dial again, lol! Even a thorough explanation from me
didn't seem to dampen his enthusiasm. All-in-all phase 1 went pretty well; I was able to
rule out her #'s while simultaneously protecting the other dial from being raped again.

With that out of the way; my plan now was to get some coffee, warm up enough to where
I could feel my fingers again, and start fresh. When I returned from the gas station I could
see everyone had lost interest at that point and had gone inside the house. PRIME TIME!!

Image

An all out spin-session (w/ no assumptions this time) led me to an opening within 30 mins.
But not without struggles. The lock uses indirect drive. 3 gears in total. It took me a minute
to get a use to the feel this gave. In fact, I was not even entirely sure where my RCP was.
I had narrowed it down to either 12 or 24. So my initial all wheels rotation simply involved
checking both points each time. Not long after, 24 clearly revealed itself and things went
pretty smoothly from there on. But prior to that, I'll admit... I definitely had some doubts.
The combination originally given to me is now thought to possibly be to a safe they previously owned.

Image

Another interesting feature was the doors. Hinged in a way that allowed them to ride a track.
They could then be pushed in along either end of the safe and out of the way. Also worth
noting was the boltwork, which would automatically extend when the doors were closed.
This allowed convenient and repeated access while still maintaining the fire protection.

Image

With the back panel removed from the left door, we can see
(as mentioned before) the bolt work this handle operates.

Image

Behind door #2... the BIG reveal. ALWAYS my favorite part.

Image

Here you see the handle gear mesh with the partially visible idler gear.
This idler gear in turn meshes with the drive cam gear. So basically you
have a handle gear & a driver gear, with the idler gear between the two.

Image

Image

Rem Rand used four different lock configurations for these cabinets.
This one is the 072-3/4. The lock itself is a Sargent & Greenleaf 6764.
A Group 2 lock w/ 3 mesh-change wheels and a spring-loaded lever.

RCP: approx. 24 (with this one anyway)
DIALING: L R L Right to stop (approx. 4)
HANDLES: Turn toward each other to open.

On a side note: Most safe companies and technicians view these more as 'fire resistant cabinets' or
'office equipment' rather than a safe. I'd assume a drill bit would go through one of these like butter.
But you'll still catch me calling this a safe. Probably due to the fact that I rarely give much thought
to the structural integrity of a box. I tend to look at a safe with tunnel vision. I see only a lock. lol

Speaking of locks; one of the other assemblies RemRand used was the 073. This one incorporated
a Yale B40 Series! A 4-wheel manipulation resistant lock that had a primary and secondary fence.
Each of the wheels, in turn, have a primary and secondary (false) gate. Additionally, the true gates
were only cut into half the width of each wheel. I've never met one, but I'd imagine they're no joke.
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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Riyame

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Post Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:20 am

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Haha, awesome new thread. I wish you much luck and joy in your new endeavor.

I remember a while back you saw a loose lock on ebay with the gear on the side and I tried to show you what it went to and now you meet one in person :lol:
PhoneMan: I always knew I'd say something stupid and it would be someone's sig
macgng: i am an equal opportunity pervert
macgng: aww fuck thats goin in someone sig :-(

If life gives you melons, you might be dyslexic.
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MartinHewitt

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Post Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:51 am

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Oldfast, so you are advertising your services? And the service is "opening old safes"? Or "opening all safes"?

To me all these enclosings are safes too. They certainly will stop the average burglar armed with a screw driver.

Have fun with your "business"!

Martin Hewitt

PS: What will you do if you are not successful with manipulation?
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tumbl3r

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Post Sun Dec 04, 2016 5:41 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Congratulations on your new path! I know how much joy spinnin' brings you, and I'm really happy for you that you've found a way to make it so much a part of your life. No matter the price, zero dollars or a thousand dollars, anyone for whom you provide services is a very lucky individual.
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Oldfast

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OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer
OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer

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Post Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:39 am

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Riyame wrote:....I remember a while back you saw a loose lock on ebay with the gear on the
side and I tried to show you what it went to and now you meet one in person :lol:

Yeah, that's right!! Ha! It's been great man. Many of my outings so
far has placed me in front of a lock that I haven't encountered before.

MartinHewitt wrote:Oldfast, so you are advertising your services? And the service is "opening old safes"? Or "opening all safes"?

New or old, if it has a mechanical combination lock, a spin-dial, I'm usually up for it.
Not so much with any of the electronic locks. I won't turn 'em down immediately though.
It depends on what model we're talking about. But for the most part I steer clear of those.

MartinHewitt wrote:PS: What will you do if you are not successful with manipulation?

End of story, lol. My niche is spinnin' dials. Anything beyond that is outside of my realm.
If for any reason I'm unable to do so, I'll recommend they seek someone more qualified.
Humble pie is hard to swallow. But if I've tried everything I know - it's time to step away.

I'll also do my best to school 'em on the 'does' & 'donts' when shopping around for such
a person - hoping they'll avoid the stories we've all heard of; some schmuck shows up,
makes your safe look like swiss cheese (maybe opens it, maybe not), then gives you
a large bill to cover the disaster. Many people seem reluctant about having their safe
drilled. But IF you find the right person; a small, precisely placed hole will open it up.
The hole can then be repaired in such a way that the original integrity and security
is preserved. In some cases it's left more secure considering the ideal drill-point
will now be tougher to drill the second time around.

tumbl3r wrote:Congratulations on your new path! I know how much joy spinnin' brings you, and I'm really happy for you that you've found a way to make it so much a part of your life. No matter the price, zero dollars or a thousand dollars, anyone for whom you provide services is a very lucky individual.

Thanks so much for that Tumbl3r. It means alot, really.

And you've been quite busy yourself I see...
Tearin' up some pretty high-end stuff :hbg:
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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tumbl3r

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Post Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:32 am

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Oldfast wrote:Thanks so much for that Tumbl3r. It means alot, really.

And you've been quite busy yourself I see...
Tearin' up some pretty high-end stuff :hbg:


Yeah, I tend to go down rabbit holes with these things. I'll get a new lock in the mail and it totally consumes me until I get it figured out. Sometimes it's safe locks and others it's key locks. Lately I have not been spinning much, but I'll get back to it. Any suggestions on a different type of lock to hunt down? Literally all of my experience is with S&G's.
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Fritz the Cat

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Post Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:36 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Oldfast ,If your field trips ever bring you to the Detroit area I can offer you storage space , strong backs and some moving equipment just to tag along perhaps some spinning :drool:
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Neilau

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Post Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:55 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

O.F.

Great new thread and beautiful pictures. :hbg:

I look forward to reading about your adventures and seeing the locks that you come across.

Maybe, one day, they will do a TV special on your special skills. :D

Can't wait for the next installment.
Clark's Law (Arthur C)

For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.
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Oldfast

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OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer
OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer

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Location: Michigan

Post Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:19 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

tumbl3r wrote:.....Lately I have not been spinning much, but I'll get back to it. Any suggestions on a different type of lock to hunt down? Literally all of my experience is with S&G's.

Hmm. Can't think of any particular direction to send you in necessarily. I too started with a handful of S&G's.
Not long though before I wanted to start experiencing other brands. For whatever reason, Mosler & Diebold
were on my mind. I remember Yale was on my hit list for some time too, but they always seemed so pricey.

There's a number of brands to choose from, and plenty of variations within each brand. Each one will teach
you a little somethin' different.... force you to up your game in some way. Certainly not an all-conclusive list,
but generally speaking; The 'oldies' include S&G, Yale, Mosler, and Diebold. And then of course you have
what you could call more 'modern day' brands like S&G, Ilco, and LaGard. Producing locks for well over a
century and a half now, Sargent & Greenleaf falls into both categories for sure.

A four wheel lock maybe? Or hell, even something beyond Group 2?! You seem to really enjoy a challenge.

Fritz the Cat wrote:Oldfast ,If your field trips ever bring you to the Detroit area I can offer you storage space , strong backs and some moving equipment just to tag along perhaps some spinning :drool:

Well thank you very much sir! And who knows... maybe I'll see ya someday.
Not any time soon. But eventually I imagine my fun will dry up around here
and I suppose it's possible my travels could one day bring me that far.

Neilau wrote:Great new thread and beautiful pictures. :hbg:

I look forward to reading about your adventures and seeing the locks that you come across.

Maybe, one day, they will do a TV special on your special skills. :D

Can't wait for the next installment.

Thank you Neilau!! This has been tremendously exciting for me.
The highs & lows are insane! Sometimes I practically float home...
other times the ride home can seem rather long. lol

I look forward to sharing a little bit of both here. It's worth the effort
to post. And, I'm really grateful there's a place like this to do it,
where there's other's that share my passion.

TV special?! :rofl: Ha! Shit, I'm still getting use to having someone
looking over my shoulder, lol. Surely I would crumble to pieces
under the pressure of a camera! NO THANKS!!

And thanks for the kudos on the photos. I'll always try my best...
but I'm finding that time restraints and/or the environment does
not always allow for the quality I like to tryn' present. In those
cases, I just figure somethin's better than nothin'. We'll get by.
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
<<

Oldfast

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OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer
OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer

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Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:16 pm

Location: Michigan

Post Tue Dec 13, 2016 6:09 am

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Image

Caller: A local business has used this for many years, never truly locking it by spinning the dial.
Instead, they simply used it to fireproof their files - closing the doors and turning the handles.
But what do you do when you see a dial?! Ya gotta give it a spin! Surely I can relate. lol
One of the new employees this past summer succumbed to that urge, and locked it.

Image

Nearly as tall as me, the sheer size could be rather intimidating.
I've been running into some massive beasts lately and so I've adopted
the attitude of: A lock, regardless of what it's mounted on, is still... just a lock.


Image

And for the second time this week I run into the same problem. With the dial spun open
and the handles turned - it won't open. These doors are so massive and heavy. Over time
they tend to sag / bind on each other. Light pulling pressure on the right-hand door coupled
with a deadblow hammer on the left door does the trick. As I gently work my way up & down
the edge of the door, I can see the other side ever so slowly work it's way out until it releases.


Image

Image

This lock was used exclusively on Victor safes. It's a Yale L2.
A fairly large footprint at approx 4 1/2 wide by 3 3/4 tall.
3 wheel ... screw change ... gravity driven fence.

Image

Image

Couple of things; First notice the movement of the lever arm when retracting the bolt.
It moves backwards (left to right), just the opposite of most levers which move forward.

Image

Second; Normally, the nose and fence are two separate entities on the end of a lever arm.
You have a lever nose riding solely on the drive cam while the fence hovers over the wheels.

But this design is unique as the lever nose IS the fence. It spans the entire width of the wheel pack.
As a result, there's always the possibility that this type of lock may leak some 'bonus' material to help
get you started. Be sure to do some spinnin' with a keen touch & ear before going all out on graphing.


Image Image

RCP: approx. 15 (with this one anyway)
DIALING: L R L Right to stop (approx. 94)
HANDLES: Turn toward each other to open.

I was all too excited to spend my morning with such a beautiful old safe.
Worthwhile cause too, as this business does a great deal for the community.
Felt really good to be able to save them a few bucks (maybe a few hundred). lol

What a wonderful morning that was... but the day wasn't over. People are stratin' to talk!
There was a wall safe to be tackled that evening. I'm like a fuckin' kid in a candy store. Ha! :rofl:
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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femurat

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Post Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:17 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

That's a beautiful safe. I feel your joy! Great job!

Cheers :)
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Fritz the Cat

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Post Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:36 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Fantastic story ! You will have enough material to write a book soon ! Looking forward to reading more . :smile:
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Neilau

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Post Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:08 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Quote "TV special?! :rofl: Ha! Shit, I'm still getting use to having someone
looking over my shoulder, lol. Surely I would crumble to pieces
under the pressure of a camera! NO THANKS!!"

The Masked Twirler!! :D
Clark's Law (Arthur C)

For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.
<<

jeffmoss26

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Post Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:43 am

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Wow...just wow! Beautiful!
macgng: i just thought the cat was a real tiny bear
GWiens2001: Great video! Learned a lot about what fun can be had with a forklift and a chainsaw.
pmaxey83: but i first have to submit the proper forms for a new hobby to my wife
xeo: i root for the kernel
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