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Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

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Oldfast

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Post Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:54 am

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

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:spinning: . . . . . . 2017-18 Winter Safecrackin' Season . . . . . . :spinning:

.
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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Oldfast

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Post Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:56 am

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

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MAJOR lift-out Round Door (Old Style)

This one was discovered during the renovation of a store nearly 80 miles from me. Well over an hour
drive was worth it though. The safe was soon destined to be covered back over with the new floor.
So if I'm able to open it, I can keep it. Moreover, was the welcomed thought of seeing the caller -
a friend of mine (best friend), whom I've not seen in many years. Life just goes that way some-
times. This safe brought us back together & we're now making the effort to keep it that way.

Image

You may recall I opened one of these during last years safecracking-season.
I've posted this one because there are some differences and, considering this
one came home with me I was able to take more pics for you guys than before.

Image

Had a good deal of trouble with this one. Took two visits. I actually hooked up my amp as the CP's were so faint.
After making some progress though, the contacts became more pronounced and I was able to ditch the audio.

By the time the store was winding down for the day I was insanely close to an opening. The fence desperately
wanted to drop in. I've never been so close to an opening and had to walk away, lol. But the closing bell rang.

Returning for round 2 I was thoroughly convinced I would finish it up in minutes. But I continued to struggle!
It was not until I very reluctantly let go of a previously found gate that I began making progress again. This
gate was so clean and defined I would've bet my life on it. It was a low spot obviously, and it did allow me
to locate gates on other wheels - but I hung onto it for far too long afterwards. Another lesson learned.

Image

As to the contents? For once, this one did have something inside! The thrill for me is the lock giving in.
So the other thrill - opening the door - I left for them. As I gathered up my tool bag, I heard them
both at once say, "no way!". I turned around to see 'em pull out an old leather bank bag.

They very slowly unzipped it and found it to be... empty. Ahhhhhhh. Well, I suppose it's
better than finding nothing at all. It gave us all a cheap thrill, if only for a moment. lol

Below are some random photos; Gutted, cleaned, greased, reassembled, etc.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image



And my prize(?) :mrgreen: now shines brightly in a cozy little corner of the lockroom.


Image



Major's own lock w/ S&G wheels

CONTACT AREA: 26 - 35 (keep in mind this varies)
DIALING: LRL Right to stop (@ approx. 16)

Group 2 ... 3 wheel ... mesh change .... spring-load lever



Differences between the old and new style doors were discussed earlier in
this thread here, where I initially labeled the lock as a Sargent&Greenleaf
But technically the lock itself is Major's creation. The old style doors will
have S&G wheels, while the new style doors will use LaGard wheels.




Some thoughts:
Bare in mind I'm not speaking from an immense amount of experience here!
To date, I've dealt with only two of these. Both were Major's Old Style door.


Many of these have been drilled (needlessly in my opinion). I'm not saying these
are a cake-walk to spin open.. but if everything's in working order, manipulation
is a very feasible option! Certainly what I would consider "manipulation-friendly"

So if you're looking at tackling one, don't be too intimidated! First order of business,
(as with most floor safes) is to vacuum out all the debris. Then get the dial turning as
smooth as possible- whatever that takes. Next locate the contact points. Remember(!)
they can be anywhere. The bolts, drop-in, and relocker positions were all intentionally
randomized from factory. Naturally you'll want to go through the usual motions to make
sure everything's intact and interacting with each other. But after that... get to spinnin!

Fluctuations and gate sigs I've found to be quite drastic. I'm talkin' in the neighborhood of
a half to even a whole increment. Sorting them out can prove challenging sometimes, but
overall these locks are rather talkative. The RCP will give the most info... but this is one
time I might advise taking readings on both; as the LCP can provide you with some pretty
fantastic drops as well.

So go in with some confidence! If you've done your time, odds are... you'll open this one.
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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Riyame

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Post Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:32 am

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Glad to see you are back at it and congrats on the crack. And DAMN! The lock room looks sweet man.
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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mdc5150

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Post Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:40 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

I love reading your work. It's good to know these are possible to do.

Don't be too tough on locksmiths who drill. There are far fewer locksmiths who manipulate than you might think and they have to make a living too. A lot of people look at safes as an object to keep things safe and that is it. They don't have a passion for manipulation etc.

My boss sent me to the manipulation class because I asked but he had no faith in it. Now I get first shot at manipulation over drilling.

The most recent was a Gary. I don't know how manipulable it is because I couldn't get the customer to leave me alone. Lots of questions, noise, etc. It is not going to be fun to drill.
Last edited by mdc5150 on Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jaakko Fagerlund

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Post Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:17 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

mdc5150 wrote:The most recent was a Gary. I don't know how manipulable it is because I couldn't get the customer to leave me alone. Lots of questions, noise, etc. It is not going to be fun to drill.

Stethoscopes. You bring those out and usually everyone just stops breathing.

Otherwise if the customer doesn't shut up, I say that for every word I double the price or I will walk. I don't deal with assholes.
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MartinHewitt

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Post Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:40 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

In case of Oldfast, doubling the price is not very effective as an deterrent.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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Oldfast

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Post Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:40 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

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Hey! Some great thoughts guys. And thanks for having a look at the latest here.

Riyame wrote:Glad to see you are back at it and congrats on the crack. And DAMN! The lock room looks sweet man.

Thanks Riy. You might spot a couple of your locks in there :mrgreen:
Actually, I think the locks on either side of the Major were from you.
A 4-wheel S&G to the right and a Taylor to the left. Thank you kindly.

Your gorgeous vault lock still sits on a temporary 2x6 :/
One of these days though :D ......one of these days.


mdc5150 wrote:Don't be too tough on locksmiths who drill. There are far fewer locksmiths who manipulate than you might think and they have to make a living too. A lot of people look at safes as an object to keep things safe and that is it. They don't have a passion for manipulation etc.

Ha! And you're right! My bias has gotten much better over the last several years though. As my ignorance fades, my respect grows. Some of these guys, it's amazing what they can do and how quickly they can do it. The time they've devoted to honing their craft - the surgical drilling, the expert repair work... truly an art in and of itself. What an enormous knowledge-base! And lets face it, the absolute fact of safecracking is that there are no guarantees with manipulation. With some locks it's just not happenin'. With others, it might, but certainly not in a timely manner.

Also true that fewer people do it. So it seems in my area anyway. Of the people who call me, I always ask if they've inquired and called around prior to me... and if so, what were they told? They're normally quoted somewhere around $300-800 and told that it will definitely require drilling. So far, the word manipulation has not come up even once.

mdc5150 wrote:My boss sent me to the manipulation class because I asked but he had no faith in it. Now I get first shot at manipulation over selling.

Good for you! Ironic though isn't it? You have to push to be taught something that years ago would've been demanded of you, lol. You've always inspired me Matt! Your desire to learn and aggressive work ethic to get what you're after. No doubt you'll get there... and I'm tellin' ya, you'll be glad you did! Much of what manipulation entails will convey BEEEAUTIFULLY into your troubleshooting and drilling game. You WILL notice a huge difference.

mdc5150 wrote:The most recent was a Gary. I don't know how manipulable it is because I couldn't get the customer to leave me alone. Lots of questions, noise, etc. It is not going to be fun to drill.

Two things struck me when I first started going out (well, three, if you count the crazy frigid temps most of my jobs are in, lol). First, as you mention, are the people. Very inquisitive or just generally talkative even if it has nothing to do with the safe. It can be very draining and divide your attention from an already very demanding situation. Second, I learned that I was a horrible teacher, lol. First time I sat down with someone to get them comfortable with using their safe, it was a real mess. I've gotten much better in both these areas and will continue to over time. In fact, I now usually have people dialing open their safes on the first try - which gets them really excited. I think we all have our different approaches for different scenarios and people. It just takes time to figure out what works best.

Jaakko's right. Settin' up your amp and slappin' on some headphones usually does the trick. Though I've had several occasions where it didn't shut 'em down at all. Instead, I succeeded only in amplifying their voice, lol. As to one of the most frequent questions, "How do you do it?" The approach I've adopted recently; "If you're really interested, I'll show you after I open this up. I'm horrible with words so it'll make a lot more sense to you once we're actually looking at the lock together". When the time comes they've often forgot they were even curious. And if they are still inquisitive, I'm at least capable of multi-tasking at that point - showing them some things while I service the lock.

So your talkative and brief session with the Gary... do you feel like you were able to take anything at all from it? Were you able to locate contacts? How'd they feel and where were they? The wheels have fixed or movable flys? Is this one in the floor?
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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MartinHewitt

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Post Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:26 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Oldfast wrote:while I service the lock.

How do you service the locks? Do you do anything on a modern lock?
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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mdc5150

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Post Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:24 am

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Oldfast wrote:.

So your talkative and brief session with the Gary... do you feel like you were able to take anything at all from it? Were you able to locate contacts? How'd they feel and where were they? The wheels have fixed or movable flys? Is this one in the floor?


I located the contact points right away, left contact 36 right contact 41. This is a double door safe and as it just so happens we have one exactly like it in our yard so I was able to get a look at the inner workings of the lock and see that it is a screw change lock and the drive cam can also be changed as well so the contact points can be different. In fact on the safe we are working on the bottom lock has different contact points. i don't remember what those were as I didn't work on that lock. The this that struck me about the locks on the safe in our yard though is that the drop is a 90 degree drop and not an angled in drop like on a 6730. Much like the round door you have pictured above. In fact these are round doors as well and have that same style drive cam as big as the wheels. I even thought about contacting you to see if you would be willing to fly out to manipulate this safe as they really don't want any holes, but we are still waiting to see if the autodialer will work.
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Oldfast

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Post Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:32 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

MartinHewitt wrote:
Oldfast wrote:while I service the lock.

How do you service the locks? Do you do anything on a modern lock?

Yes, modern locks too. Even if they look fairly new. But use your own judgment.

I suppose there's different levels of servicing, depending on how deep you (or they) want you to go. Complete servicing would involve removal of all the parts, clean em, re-lube, and reassemble. The critical part of this is very closely examining each part while they're all clean. The lock case I'll usually leave mounted and clean it up there. Don't forget to torque down those mounting screws though! And, as you know, the dial is a crucial piece to the puzzle - which should be clean and solidly mounted. If your dealing with an older lock with mesh-change wheels, the dial may have to be calibrated to the lock. Not necessary with key-change wheels though.

Do yourself a favor and closely observe the operation of the lock before you start tearing it apart. It may clue you in on some issues to address that you otherwise wouldn't realize till after you put it all back together. Been there, done that lol! When servicing a lock, think looong-term. Years. Odds are good, the lock will not see any love again for a long time, if ever. Some strange things can occur over long periods of time.

We could discuss it further sometime if you'd like. I myself am still learning. The more we know about what can go wrong, the more we know what to look at. You might be surprised to find out just how many little things can create big problems down the road. I'm learning more all the time.


mdc5150 wrote:
Oldfast wrote:So your talkative and brief session with the Gary... do you feel like you were able to take anything at all from it? Were you able to locate contacts? How'd they feel and where were they? The wheels have fixed or movable flys? Is this one in the floor?


I located the contact points right away, left contact 36 right contact 41. This is a double door safe and as it just so happens we have one exactly like it in our yard so I was able to get a look at the inner workings of the lock and see that it is a screw change lock and the drive cam can also be changed as well so the contact points can be different. In fact on the safe we are working on the bottom lock has different contact points. i don't remember what those were as I didn't work on that lock. The this that struck me about the locks on the safe in our yard though is that the drop is a 90 degree drop and not an angled in drop like on a 6730. Much like the round door you have pictured above. In fact these are round doors as well and have that same style drive cam as big as the wheels. I even thought about contacting you to see if you would be willing to fly out to manipulate this safe as they really don't want any holes, but we are still waiting to see if the autodialer will work.

Ha! I'd say they might just have a little too much money if they're willing to fly me out there just to play with their lock, lol. Really though, if they're that adamant about not poking holes in the thing, you would think they would've been a little more considerate of you and the time you did have on the dial. Hmm. They probably just didn't know any better.

Anyway, it's interesting to talk Gary's with you, as I've not run into one yet. But you have me looking at my files here. Looks like they dealt mainly in round doors and usually used one of several locks; S&G, Federal, or (like you have) Gary's own lock design. I see what your talking about; 3 hole-change wheels and a screw-change driver. Gate of the driver just as you described. The sides of the gate are probably 'slightly' rounded, but even if they were perfectly square, remember the lever nose is rounded - which will still produce the fluctuations we're looking for.

It's probably too late now, but one thing you could always try: With AWL, take 3 or 4 readings evenly spaced around the dial. Say 4 readings, quarterly. Then take readings at the same 4 points, but with AWR. If you note some fairly large fluctuations between these two sets, you might just have yourself a good candidate for manipulation. Admittedly, this is a somewhat halfhearted/halfhazard way of 'previewing' a lock... but it should give you at least a rough idea of what it may have in store for you.

Annnnnyoot, it's too bad. I'm sure you would've loved to put some solid time in front of this one :/ And I would've loved to hear of the results.
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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MartinHewitt

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Post Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:31 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Oldfast wrote:We could discuss it (lock servicing) further sometime if you'd like. I myself am still learning. The more we know about what can go wrong, the more we know what to look at. You might be surprised to find out just how many little things can create big problems down the road.

I have not seen many problems in locks so far. Only three come to my mind.

1) Kromer Novum
The control lever (the back lever with the spring) was so worn from use, that the gate was lightly binding. And it was only lightly binding because it was worn too. My solution was to open the gate more. After all I have no replacement parts and the control lever is not important for security. And most of all the lock is not used.

2) Hobbs Protector
The longest bit on the key was worn. This cause the stump to get caught with the lever. Which caused the lever to push the stump back, which then activated the Protector mechanism preventing the moving of the bolt. So some apparently applied so much force on the key, that the Protector mechanism was deformed and hence disabled. Solution was to use the worn key anymore and to fix the mechanism, i.e. hammer the brass block to have again an edge. Also a lock which is not used.

3) Kromer Protector
It was used in a Pohlschroeder safe with a Lafette (a mechanism where the key is inserted and then moved into the safe to unlock the lock). This Lafette had quite a bit movement and if you just rammed the key inside the safe it collided with some parts before getting into the lock. Even so the key is made of steel it got some bends here and there. This made problems with one or two tumblers which were not able to slide easily into the opening where they should go. This again caused wear and deformations on the tumblers and some difficult operation.

So the defects I have seen are due to wear inside the lock and "wear" of the key outside the lock. I don't believe cleaning and oiling the lock would have really made a difference in the occurrence of the problems.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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Oldfast

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Post Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:57 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

I'm often in the same boat as you when it comes to spare parts. Mainly with the really old locks - replacement parts can be practically non-existent. I'd say you're doing great. You work with what you have. IF there's a solution and YOU are comfortable with the fix you've settled on... all that remains is to thoroughly convey the situation (including any possible risks) to the owners... and it's ultimately up to them to decide.

Keep in mind, I'm thoroughly unfamiliar with lever locks of any kind (which is why I'll continue to enjoy following your chronicles)... but given what you've described, I'd agree - simply cleaning the locks was not likely going to alleviate those symptoms.

And just like you, I haven't come across many locks that couldn't continue to be used safely. Only one to date. After the opening I noticed a multitude of problems (surprising I was even able to open it). The owners had no interest in putting any more time into it, so no servicing. Honestly, I was relieved for it's hard telling where this one would have taken me. I strongly advised they not put it into use and left it at that. It sounded like they had an interested buyer. If the guy buys it... I hope he never calls me. lol

Keep up the good work Martin!!
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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mdc5150

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Post Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:52 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

mdc5150 wrote:
Oldfast wrote:So your talkative and brief session with the Gary... do you feel like you were able to take anything at all from it? Were you able to locate contacts? How'd they feel and where were they? The wheels have fixed or movable flys? Is this one in the floor?


I located the contact points right away, left contact 36 right contact 41. This is a double door safe and as it just so happens we have one exactly like it in our yard so I was able to get a look at the inner workings of the lock and see that it is a screw change lock and the drive cam can also be changed as well so the contact points can be different. In fact on the safe we are working on the bottom lock has different contact points. i don't remember what those were as I didn't work on that lock. The this that struck me about the locks on the safe in our yard though is that the drop is a 90 degree drop and not an angled in drop like on a 6730. Much like the round door you have pictured above. In fact these are round doors as well and have that same style drive cam as big as the wheels. I even thought about contacting you to see if you would be willing to fly out to manipulate this safe as they really don't want any holes, but we are still waiting to see if the autodialer will work.

Ha! I'd say they might just have a little too much money if they're willing to fly me out there just to play with their lock, lol. Really though, if they're that adamant about not poking holes in the thing, you would think they would've been a little more considerate of you and the time you did have on the dial. Hmm. They probably just didn't know any better.

Anyway, it's interesting to talk Gary's with you, as I've not run into one yet. But you have me looking at my files here. Looks like they dealt mainly in round doors and usually used one of several locks; S&G, Federal, or (like you have) Gary's own lock design. I see what your talking about; 3 hole-change wheels and a screw-change driver. Gate of the driver just as you described. The sides of the gate are probably 'slightly' rounded, but even if they were perfectly square, remember the lever nose is rounded - which will still produce the fluctuations we're looking for.

It's probably too late now, but one thing you could always try: With AWL, take 3 or 4 readings evenly spaced around the dial. Say 4 readings, quarterly. Then take readings at the same 4 points, but with AWR. If you note some fairly large fluctuations between these two sets, you might just have yourself a good candidate for manipulation. Admittedly, this is a somewhat halfhearted/halfhazard way of 'previewing' a lock... but it should give you at least a rough idea of what it may have in store for you.

Annnnnyoot, it's too bad. I'm sure you would've loved to put some solid time in front of this one :/ And I would've loved to hear of the results.[/quote]

So the first pictures of the locks are of the safe we have at our shop. Same lock as the one in the field. I gave you two angles on it. The third picture is of the door up close and the last of course is the safe we worked on in the field. We drilled it open today and I can't believe how easy it was to get through the doors after all the buildup from my coworker. He was telling me that the Gary doors are all case hardened and it took forever to drill, but it had been years since he had to drill one. I think it is probably better quality of drill bits these days that may have mad the difference. He also explained to me that there was never a reliable way to tell where the fence might be because of the nature of the round doors. When they are made the door gets put on in a different position every time and then it is drilled and tapped for the hinge and handle. I wish I had more to tell you but the rest is destructive entry. If you want to know anymore detail Oldfast you can PM me.
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Oldfast

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Post Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:26 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Oh, hell yeah. Those are some nice photos! Thanks for taking 'em.
Much MUCH better than the blurry shit I came across. SAVED.

And that last photo... that towering stack of joy?!
I felt like a dog at the end of my leash. Grrrrrrr
Get it! Gimme it! Get it! Get it! Gimme it! lol

Must've felt damn good to crack that one though, eh?!
Nice job(!) and thanks so much for sharin Matt. It helps.
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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MartinHewitt

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Post Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:36 pm

Re: Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom

Oldfast wrote:Keep up the good work Martin!!

Thanks, you too! Can't wait for more reports. Btw. a safe man has asked me if he may forward to me jobs where his trip would be to expensive. So there is a chance, that there will come more from me.

I have attached photos of two of the problem locks.

The most obvious problem why I get some action I forgot. It is obviously because the key has been lost. I never made a lever lock key from scratch. I have here an old cash box in wooden style painting with a three lever lock where I have to make a key for. Waiting for some sheet steel and then will try to make a really nice key for it. I am certain that I will get a proper key made for that, but I do not trust me making a proper key with hand tools for an 8 or 11 lever lock. For my first safe there was luckily a replacement lock at hand by accident. In future cases I will see what can be done. The last four safes I had a look at had all non-standard locks. Replacement keys would not be easy. One safe has a broken spring in the lock, which I hope I will get. Replacing a spring should be doable.

Is the drive cam of the Gary on the dial side? Is there a description how those round door floor safes work?
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In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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