Home Safe

Hi, all ..
Sorry for the long post, but I'm trying to find a medium size, non- electronic safe for storing documents, titles, family keepsakes,
cash, coins, gold nuggets (I wish), diamonds (I wish), that sort of stuff. I don't need a five footer; no rifles or shotguns that I
need to store (I keep mine under the bed; no kids).
My present safe is a mechanical dial-turning thingy (Sentry) with a special round key for the handle. The safe is bolted to the
concrete foundation. I'm happy with it, but it's too small.
I've looked around on the Web for quite a while, with not much success. My research tells me that it's not hard to break into an
electronic safe, even for a novice with just a screwdriver and a piece of wire.
The safe will be in a corner, so it will be hard to get to the back of it without breaking through a plaster wall. So the
screwdriver/wire thing with an electronic safe may be a little more difficult. But I just want a spin dial, old-fashioned safe.
I've worked in defense companies with classified info for many a year, and the mechanical safe approach was good enough for the DoD.
Why not me?
Tom
snipped-for-privacy@kendra.com Good spam filters at Kendra, BTW, and Xnews uses news.1dial.com server, whatever that is.
Should I just start dodging now? 8-) <grin>
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On 8/9/2011 9:40 PM, Tom wrote:

Go to a surplus/used office supply place in a government town. GSA class-whatever security containers are available on secondary market- there is nothing classified about them. Or if you are rich, you can buy them new. Here is a fun link, once I got past Google's brain-dead search algorithm- http://www.gsacontainer.com/classes/classes.html . But the main part of Govt. classified security isn't the safe- it is the nit-picking procedures and logs and audit trails and forced collusion and no-lone zones. (I'm talking vanilla below-TS, not SCIF)
For household use, I'd be more worried about fire/flood safety than burglars. Burglars you can protect against by hiding in plain sight- a fire/water proof cubby that blends in so well they don't even notice it. Despite the promotional lit from safe companies and what you read in novels, most burglars are pretty dumb, and most do NOT want to spend a lot of time searching, unless you live in an isolated location, and they know you are out of town and don't have an alarm system. A fake sewer cleanout in basement wall is always good, but probably too small for your stated needs. A dummy electrical subpanel, lined with fireproof material, with a locked door, would probably be totally ignored. Put a fake duct run in basement ceiling, tied into main trunk, but not really connected. Replace the toe-kick on the bank of cabinets furthest from kitchen sink with something held on with magnets or velcro- there is usually room to slip a thin fire-proof box under there. Look for dead spaces in your house where something normal looking could cover an access hole. Lots of places to make hidey-holes. Rule number one- never show it off to anyone, even relatives. Think like a drug dealer- DEA is good at finding hiding spaces, but most crooks and local cops are not.
But having said all that- off-site storage is still the most secure option. Other than escape kit (cash, passport, copy of DL, etc.) and a valid recorded copy of your will, most of what you mentioned are what safety deposit boxes were designed for.
-- aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote:

Good points all. Add these ideas:
1. There are two kinds of safes (sometimes combined): Fire safes and security safes.
A fire safe (e.g. "Sentry" brand) consists of two layers of relatively thin steel sandwiching a one or two inch layer of concrete. This kind of safe can be opened with a hatchet(!) by chopping a hole in the side or top. This requires no more than fifteen minutes. (Of course thieves are not capable of a quarter-hour of muscle exertion. It's against their religion or something.)
2. If you have an alarm system, you can connect the safe to the system via a teeny hole in the back of the safe (for the wires) and a magnetic switch on the safe door. In series with all this is a secret switch.
Now, if the goblin puts a gun to your head and demands you open the safe, go ahead. Without throwing the secret switch, a "holdup" signal is sent to your monitoring company.
It's prudent to keep a pistol (no holster, no safety) in the safe, just in case the squint has his guard down as the door opens.
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Go see your local locksmith. They usually know where to go for real safes.
nb
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On 8/9/2011 9:40 PM, Tom wrote:

Find an antique one, I got my 2 ton safe for free for moving it. Walls are about 10" thick concrete and steel layers.
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@Tom:
You want a burglary rated safe... Not the toy safes that provide a tiny bit of fire protection for documents... If you have many documents you want to keep safe from risk of fire, store them in a Sentry safe you keep inside the burglary rated safe as fire inserts for professional safes get very pricey...
Real safes with real electronic combo locks are very secure, again they are not the same thing as you would have installed on a toy safe...
As other people here have suggested pay a visit to several local locksmiths, you will find one or more of them has a showroom full of adopted safes that they have collected and have up for sale...
~~ Evan
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You want a burglary rated safe... Not the toy safes that provide a tiny bit of fire protection for documents... If you have many documents you want to keep safe from risk of fire, store them in a Sentry safe you keep inside the burglary rated safe as fire inserts for professional safes get very pricey...
Real safes with real electronic combo locks are very secure, again they are not the same thing as you would have installed on a toy safe...
As other people here have suggested pay a visit to several local locksmiths, you will find one or more of them has a showroom full of adopted safes that they have collected and have up for sale...
================================================
Also some scrap places will have them. The very corrupt City of Yonkers (NY), has a pile of safes in the municipal building that look like they are on their way out. Some used furniture places, as well. Vacant industrial buildings may have some.
Here is an inneresting tid-bit.
My house has an old built-in Schwab safe, which of course was locked with no combo. So I called up bunches of locksmiths, safe companies, figgering they'd show up with a Burgular's Stethoscope, and open'er up.
No way. Drill it, only. And for big $$$.
So I called the mfr, who was very accommodating, but still requiring me to send house ownership documentation before they would help. So after that, they gave me the "stock combination" over the phone, and guided me into the rotation sequence -- it'd been years since I'd even seen a Master combination padlock....
Usually these stock combinations are changed by the installer, and indeed mine was, but by some freaking HYOOGE accident, I stumbled on the combo, as one number was left the same, and another was semi-close.
The guy on the phone didn't believe me, figgering I was just another dumb neurotic N'Yawker (not far from the truth), but still, it happenned. With the door open, I was able to unscrew the tumbler cover plate and accurately assess the new combination.
Old safes can have a second "jewelry safe" inside, with a second small round very thick door and combination dial, which are SUPER-neat. Fortunately, this one was already open, so I was able to sleuth out that combo as well.
So I sat in front of my lottery-like find for a few days, like an effing moron, and now just show it off to metal-heads mebbe once a year.
--
EA




~~ Evan



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