How do I get a safe out of my basement?

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I recently purchased a nice little WWII era bungalow. The previous owner left us with two safes in the basement. Access to the basement includes the standard wooden stairs through the house and a "walk up" exit to the backyard. One of the safes is fairly small and I should be able to get it out with a hand-truck and some swearing. But the other is a monster. It's roughly 4'x2'x2' and heavy as hell. I though about hacking it up with a cutting torch, but I doubt the torch would make much head way. Trying to get it up the outside steps sounds like an excercise in futility (and injury).
Anyone have any clever ideas? Anyone want to come and take away two antique safes? They're free! :^)
--
Joe Wells


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-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
Save the baby humans - stop partial-birth abortion NOW
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On Wed, 02 Jul 2003 15:48:10 +0000, Doug Miller wrote:

St. Louis (but the safes are in pretty bad shape).
--
Joe Wells


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I would agree a cutting torch would not be a good idea. Safes sometimes include a layer of copper to make cutting difficult. If it were solid steel it would weigh 16 x 489 Lbs. The walls are likely no more than 6" thick so the interior would be 3x1x1 and the maximum weight would then be (16-3) x 489 Lbs. But a large part of the safe construction consists of fire protection (insulation) so it would be probable that the weight of the safe is no more that 1/2 the weight based on solid walls or about 1.5 tons max. It could be quite a bit less but I would plan for 1 1/2 tons. If you know the combination and can open it then you can refine the weight estimates by using the actual interior measurements.
You are going to have to build a reinforced ramp up the stairs since a standard starway is not going to be strong enough to safely carry this much load.
I would advertise it as free to anyone for the taking but require removal to be done at their expense by a competent millwright. Since this will be pricey you may not get any takers.
Another option is to break an opening in the floor and dig a pit for it--RIP.
Regards,
John
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(or even a 4x4 with a winch.) Lay down a couple heavy planks or steel plates, run the winch cable down the stairs and loop it around the safe and drag it up the stairs. (NOBODY in the stair well while this is going on- steer it with pieces of 2x4.) Tow company may even do it for free in exchange for the safe, if it is intact and has has the fancy paint and stuff on the outside. If no access for a truck, is there a stout tree in line with the outside stairs that you could pad with carpet, and use a come-along to pull it up with? Rental places exist just for this sort of wierd project.
Otherwise, either make it part of the basement decor, or dig a hole in floor and bury it.
aem sends....
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wrote:

Dude:
Check Ebay first. Some of those safe's are very valuable and would more than pay for the cost of a rigging crew to remove it.
Bob
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Call Geraldo Rivera. Tell him some 1920's gangster used to live there and ya think they're full of cash and tommy guns! Make coffee for the film crew and sit back and watch!
Oops - you said clever - not smart-ass.
Disregard
:-) Jummy
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The safe had to be put down there somehow in the first place. If the previous owner is alive, and assuming they are the person who put the safe there, ask them how they got it there. Or, call a safe company and ask how they would put something like that in place - maybe you can reverse the process.
---JRE---
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if you can get it open ,I'm guessing tha door could be removed with some effort ,remove the door before trying to move .what is the rise and run of the stairs leading out side ? and can a truck be backed up to or near this outside door?. also stop by your rent all store they sell some rigging tools . I think 3 or 4 guys with some ental tools should get it out.

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I'd call the real estate agent that sold you the house and tell them that the previous owners left a chattel behind and you would like it removed asap.
Peter H
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It's not the realtor's problem it's the vendor's, but the realtor will have their new address.
Peter H
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Check with a heating contractor.
My daughter recently had a boiler replaced in her basement. It weighed over 500 pounds. When they delivered the new one, they moved it down the outside steps with a battery powered hand truck. They brought the old one up with it, as well. The hand truck was rated at over 1000 pounds.
The contractor may move them in exchange for the safes.
Frank

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Hey I did this..it's not such a big chore. Assuming the stairs are safe, renting an 'appliance dolly' for the rental place and getting two guys to help and you would be surprised how easy it is.
If the stairs are suspect...obviously you need to fix them anyway...do it first.

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On Wed, 02 Jul 2003 15:45:38 -0500, FireBrick wrote:
Thanks to everyone for the advice! I didn't expect quite this much interest. :^)
1) Both of the safes are in pretty rough shape. I don't know much about antique safes (OK, nothing) but the monster is missing the handle and combo wheel, and the small one has had the hinges hacked off. I doubt there would be too much interest in them.
2) There's just no way to get a vehicle into the backyard.
3) The stairs leading out of basement to the backyard are concrete, so I should be OK there.
4) The comealong idea sounds good, I'd been thinking along those lines. There is a huge oak tree more-or-less inline with the stairs. Hmmm. Lay some plywood over the steps, build a sled for the safe to ride on. Some steel cable, a comealong. Maybe.
5) I'll keep the "bury it" ideas as a last resort :^). I sure as heck didn't think of that one!
6) Isn't Geraldo still in Iraq? :^)
7) "battery powered hand truck"? I'll have to look into that!
Once again, thanks for the suggestions. If I survive the removal process, I'll let you know what happened.
--
Joe Wells


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I got a good sized safe into my basement, almost single handedly. The safe is awkward, but not unmanageable.
- I took 4 2x4's and stapled some ropes between two pairs to make two sets of tracks sized to the width of the safe's wheels. - Using these tracks, and leapfrogging them, I rolled the safe to the bulkhead over the lawn. - Then I used one set as a ramp into the basement. Slid it down on it's side (not the wheels) You can control the descent on the stair steps.
Using a ramp or a appliance dolly in your bulkhead should work.
Dave.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Joe Wells) writes:

Your first idea was probably the best. Rent a plasma cutter and chop the safes into little pieces. You will find that the safe has a double wall construction, a fairly thick outer shell, several inches of gypsum filler for fire protection, and a thinner inner wall. A plasma cutter would make quick work of the outer shell. You break up the gypsum and haul it out in buckets, then just keep cutting until the pieces are small enough to handle.
You may have to take the door out in one hunk. The door is always the toughest part of a safe. I once opened an abandoned safe for a friend by just laying it on its back and cutting a hole in the bottom with a cold chisel. The door was heavy steel with six 1" bolts. The bottom was 1/8" steel and a lot of gypsum. It taught me that a good safe installation is only accessible from the front, with the rest of it cast into reinforced concrete. Once the safe was open, we reset the combination and welded our way back out, pouring some gypsum cement to replace the fireproofing.
You may have the solution to some ancient burglaries there. The easiest way to crack a safe is to take it home with you and open it at your leisure. St. Louis was pretty wild and woolly at one time.
--
http://home.teleport.com/~larryc

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wrote:

I agree. Hauling it up the steps into the back yard will just move the problem a little. What are you going to do with it when it's sunk into the back yard 6 inches deep ?

Be aware that not all safes are gypsum (or some other cement type product) filled. Some of the smaller ones are solid steel.

Sounds that way, eh ? If there are any names on the safes, call a local reporter and see what they can dig up on them. You could call Geraldo, but he's probably safe-shy. Maybe Springer, I hear he needs a job.
Bob
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wrote:

Anyone besides me smell a troll?
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On Thu, 03 Jul 2003 00:45:33 +0000, Ben Dover wrote:

Well, as unlikely as the situation may seem, it's legit. I'm just asking for suggestions, nothing more.
--
Joe Wells


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Joe Wells wrote:

Keep in mind that two days after removing the safes you will probably need one :)
Good Luck
Lorence
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