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Archive for 2013

Antique chest











I was called to open an antique chest. The customer had this chest in a outhouse for many years, now moving on he didn’t want to leave the house without seeing what was inside. The lock is handmade, intricate warding protects a very simple sprung loaded mechanism. If required a key can be made by hand but you would need the chest too. This would be a perfect non destructive opening leaving the customer with a working chest, however, the labour involved in making a key to this kind of safe prohibits many people from going ahead. If you have an antique chest or lock that you require keys making to please email me or give me a ring. I would normally work on the lock in my workshop, repairing if necessary where I have all my tools accessible. Its a time consuming job and one mistake can ruin hours of work.

Still, its great to make keys by hand, especially for these old antique heavily warded chests

Lockmasters floor safe

lockmaster floor safe









This is a Lockmasters floor safe. Its an old safe that used to be made in Alton, Hampshire. The owner had inherited the safe many years ago with a small bag which contained a change key and allen key. The customer had always just used the key lock but the dial had been moved and the safe had locked. The combination, unknown. I attended and opened the safe, reset the combination to a number that the customer was happy with and re-secured all bolts (the two hinge bolts were loose, binding the door so it would not open)

Dave over at E3 locks sent me over a photo of the internals as I had nothing in my files and he had recently opened another Lockmasters safe. Cheers Dave!

Chubb wall safe

chubb wall safe










This is a 4 brick Chubb wall safe. It is fitted with a lever lock that can be a problematic pick. Fortunately I have recently invested time in practicing how to pick these locks. The investment paid off as the safe was open in a few minutes. No damage and I replaced the lock so the customer could continue to use the safe. The safe was fitted high in the wall. It was pretty awkward, arms outstretched above my head. Picking in a stress position is never good!


SMP Economy safe

SMP Economy










I got called to open this SMP Economy safe. Keys had been taken by the previous occupier and the safe was needed to store valuable paperwork. These safes are fitted with a lever lock but can have a combination lock too. Fairly basic but a good solid safe.

I picked open the safe and replaced the lock supplying the customer with two new keys.

SLS Cashguard

SLS safe










This is a SLS Cashguard safe. Staff had reported they were having problems with the key. The key had jammed into the lock and it would not move.

The key was stuck in an original SLS lock. The lock was older than me and had stood the test of time but it had finally worn out. The key was removed and lock sorted.

Safes used day in day out will wear out eventually. Most I see are abused and show signs of failure well before I get called to open. With most things prevention is better than cure. If you find your safe difficult to open,

you rely on one key or its started being unreliable give me a call. I can service safes and recommend solutions if the safe cannot be saved.

Tann bankers safe

tann bankers










Here is a great example of a Tann bankers safe. These safes, along with SLS and older Chubb units are some of the toughest safes to crack out there. Used by companies that still trade in large volumes of cash and valuable items.

This safe is fitted with both a key lock and a mechanical combination lock. If you’ve only got one key or your starting to experience problems with the combination lock give me a call. I can service and restore your safe before the day comes when your key fails or the combination no longer works.

FAS safe lock decoder

FAS Lock










Recently I purchased a FAS safe lock decoder tool. Now this tool is very complex, very small parts and the locks themselves are basically unpickable with conventional tools. I have encountered a few of these, fortunately on open safes.

Currently a work in progress but I have made good steps in understanding the tool and the decoding process. The tool will unlock the lock without damage and then you can reset the lock to new keys. No unbolting locks, no replacement locks just replacement keys, much easier for all parties involved.

The tool is precision made, the component parts so small and delicate you must be in the zone to successfully get it to work.

I’ve had one lock on the bench open and one very close to opening on a live safe, probably another 10-15 minutes and the safe would have opened without invasive drilling. It was very time consuming but I was learning whilst trying to open the safe so time was not wasted and I learnt a great deal in how the lock responds and what happens when you have a correct code.

This tool does FAS 6868, FAS 6870, FAS 6880, FAS 6890 and FAS 6980. All these FAS locks look pretty similar but its only with a scope and reference files that you will know exactly what your dealing with.

I have a safe lined up so after some more bench practice I’ll be cracking that safe!


Sistec safe cracked – failed lock

sistec safe










Here is the handle and keypad of a Sistec safe with a failed electronic Cawi lock. The Cawi digital lock is pretty reliable and user friendly, this one however had an unknown fault and refused to work. In the case of an electronic lock if it fails there is

very little you can do apart from resort to the drill. Using specialist drill bits and a technique I had seen another engineer do I managed to open this safe with no damage to the integrity of the container. The clever design of this unit is that the top lock needs to be open before the handle can move. Under this handle is another keyhole, for a secondary lock. So you have to crack on lock just to get to the next one.

Dudley Dudley safe opened

dudley safe










Apologies for the delay! This Dudley Dudley safe was opened well over a month ago now. Business is good and its difficult to update the website!

The safe had been put on a large quantity of carpets and junk from a room clearance so it wasn’t as stable as I would have liked. I propped it up and started to pick it open.

It didn’t take too long to open so the position and movement of the safe was never an issue.

I replaced the lock and supplied the customer with two keys, the safe now ready to be put back into use.

If you have a Dudley safe and need it opening, the locks changing or even a combination change give me a call

Chubb Lichfield









A customer called about a safe that had just stopped working. They had the key but it would only turn so far. They only had one key. The lock contained within this safe is reliable and with the correct tools good to work with. I inspected the key and identified the fault using medical grade optical equipment.  This enabled me to open the safe, quickly without damage. The lock was replaced and the customer was given two new keys. Hopefully the safe will continue to work freely for many years to come.

If you’ve only got one key, don’t leave it to chance, get a spare. The cost of a spare key is negligible compared to the cost of a safe opening.