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Archive for January 2014

Leabank Royal safe

leabank royal safe









Here is a small Leabank royal safe. It is key and combination. Here is another example of a cheap combination lock that confuses most of its users. Nearly every single one of these safes I’ve attended has been the same story. The dial is taped over and the owners just use the key.

These safes are easy to disable so you don’t have the problem of dialling if you forget the code or are unaware of the code. Just give me a call or email to discuss. Price to disable will only be a standard area call out. These safes hold no real cash rating and are referred to as ‘tin box’ safes. If the combination lock is disabled the security will rely on the keylock only so I would advise the owner to buy a cash rated safe.


chubb renown










First of all, sorry for not many updates this month. It has been a bit quiet and I have been very busy in other areas so far this year.

Towards the end of 2013 I invested in a couple of very expensive safe opening tools, one of which was for the lock on the safe pictured in this post. The lock is a very high security chubb safe lock with 8 levers. I have spent a good few weeks with locks on the bench practicing my opening technique. I wasn’t getting very far until I spoke to Martin at Safeventures and he put me on the right track straight away. That day I opened a lock, first attempt. I subsequently went on to open another bunch of locks in very quick succession. This safe was the ‘test’ to see if I had actually understood my lessons from the bench. Following what I had learned previously I went to work on this Chubb renown safe. With really positive feedback from the lock I felt confident it would open. Within a respectable amount of time I had this safe open.

Another tool cracked and another safe cracked. Looking forward to the next one!

lagard audits and reset











Over the course of 2013 I have reset, reprogrammed and audited quite a few Lagard locks. There are a few versions, the 66e being most common when used for audit purposes. For this operation you require specialist software and hardware. I purchased a separate laptop for this very purpose. I can reset a lock with a lost manager code back to factory settings and reprogram the lock. Set up various functions, add users and audit data recovered from the lock.


I have recently obtained software for the Kaba 252 / 552 electronic lock. This will allow programming and auditing functions as well.

Audits can be done discreetly or as part of a general safe service. A manager code is not required as a factory reset does not delete the audit trail. All other users however and all other settings will be lost so if an audit is required a manager code makes everything much easier.

Adrian – Horsham locksmith







Just had to write a post for Adrian a local Horsham Locksmith. When I first went live with SO Safe Services I had years of experience and contacts in the locksmith and safe engineer trade. Not really knowing the area or any other working locksmiths in the Horsham area I decided to reach out and get in touch with local locksmiths.

Adrian could not be more local, literally just down the road. What a top guy. He has helped me out so much over the course of 2013 and become a very close and trusted friend. Adrian has really helped me in establishing my business for this and many other things I’m very grateful.

Adrian is re discovering the joy of lock picking, recently purchasing a set of Peterson picks – I wish him luck!

So if you need a locksmith in Horsham or the surrounding area I would recommend Adrian




Stratford concord – lost combination











Here is a refurbished Stratford Concord safe with a combination lock to which the code was lost.  Fortunately I managed to get this safe sorted in quick time as I was on the south coast on my motorbike and a severe weather warning had been issued meaning I needed to get home asap.

If you have a safe with a mechanical combination lock that you struggle with electronic locks can be fitted or even key locks if that is preferred. Please email via the contact page for up to date prices for me to install a different lock to your safe.

Eagle home safe











This is an Eagle home safe. A fairly cheap import safe with direct drive combination and key lock. The key acts as the handle and when the correct code is dialed the key turns unlocking the safe.

I got called as the customer did not have a code or keys. A quick search of a tub full of keys I found the safe keys, so job was 50 % complete, now onto the combination. There is a technique that allows a safe technician to manipulate these types of lock with a minimum of equipment and fuss, certainly no damage. However if the dial refuses to turn in either direction there is not much you can do without drilling into the safe. With a pair of mole grips firmly attached to the dial I began to turn the dial. It bound tighter and tighter as I turned it. Realising that this was not going to work I had to drill the safe open and manually line up the wheels. The spindle post had sheared off and a spring, used to compress the wheel pack had lodged firmly into the spindle. Apparently a family member had ‘had a go’ trying to open it before…


Chubb leamington – lost keys











This is a Chubb Leamington safe with lost keys. The safe is actually open in the photo but it put up a battle. The tool used for opening the lock contained within this safe was designed for the various gauges of key that have been employed in this lock for different variants. My tool was not the correct gauge so I could not achieve the correct lift on the levers. Starting to doubt myself and the tool after some considerable time I had to resort to drilling a small inspection hole into the safe and into the lock case to see what was actually going on I was sure that 2 levers were not correct and I had tried every conceivable code on those two levers. As soon as I could see the gates of the levers I could see two levers, clearly out of line and after a very quick change to the tool and a bit of a wiggle the tool turned and the lock opened.

A great learning curve for me as I’ve since found out that the tool now comes with a sleeve (I now have one!) for this exact situation. Thinking that many other safe engineers that came before me had possibly had the same problem.

The door had also dropped on this safe so it required some force to get it open to be refurbished.

Thankfully I took many photos and measurements of this safe as I got called to open one a few days later in which the live relocker had fired. The relocker locks the safe up from within. With the photos and measurements I had taken a couple of days before I was able to make a tool in my workshop that worked first time opening the safe without any damage.

Antique safes opened

websiteblogdec-1 copy










Here is an old C H Griffiths safe that had not been open in many years. After picking the lock the door had jammed so tight that it was very difficult to open. Using an angle grinder I removed material from the leading edges of the door.

I cut a few keys to the lock for the customer to use the safe, I did however advise him that he should look to invest in a new safe as this one had clearly had its day. Safes of this age can fail without warning. The mechanisms are old and worn, metal fatigue in the springs of the lock can cause a lock out. Handles, most of which were made of brass wear before the steel spindles. My advice to anyone with an old safe like this if it shows any signs of failing get a safe engineer to look at it before it becomes a lock out.


Next is a John Tann wall safe. Again, an old antique safe that had been built into a wall by the previous owner. This was a nice old safe but it was another time consuming opening. The lock was quite tricky to pick and as the one above, once open the safe door had jammed shut. A similar technique was used to grind down the edges of this door and make it work smoothly.


Chubb Eurosafe grade 1











Here is a Chubb Eurosafe grade 1 that I recently opened. Using a specialist decoding tool I opened the safe without damage. I prefer to open a safe without using invasive drilling where ever possible.

The benefit of using lock picking tools and decoding is that the container keeps its original integrity. With modern repair techniques the repair is arguably as good as the original standard.

Matching paint to old and faded safes however can be quite difficult at times making the repair visible.

The downside to picking and decoding is the amount of time required to become proficient and the cost. I spend nearly all my spare time picking locks, measuring and photographing locks and safes for my files.

On many occasions though this has really helped me out when faced with a problematic safe.