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First time safe install

mikefamig

Senior Member
I just finished refurbishing a floor standing safe built (I'm guessing) in the 40's or 50's and would love some input from anyone who has installed a home safe.I had a lot of fun refinishing the cabinet and fixed up the door hinge pins and latch mechanism and learned to replace the combination lock and now it's time for the install. It turns out that I should have given more thought to the install,
 
My first thought was to put it in the garage and bolt it to the concrete floor but I learned that the safe needs to be in a controlled climate. The garage has extreme temperature change and extreme humidity changes. Because of this I am now planning on installing it in our dining room. The basement has no external doors and would be very difficult to get it down there so the dining room is looking like the next best thing. The dining room is at the far end of the house away from exits and we can disguise it with a cloth cover and a lamp or something just for esthetics.
 
So my question is about securing the safe to the wall. A fairly large friend and I were able to get this thing off it's feet by putting nylon straps under it and just dead lifting it so it probably isn't much heavier than ~200 lbs. I'm thinking that a thief could easily carry it away with a hand truck which made me think that I should at least put a lag bolt into a wall stud and attach it to a hole in the safe's wheel with a cable lock. It would at least add a little more security to it.
 
So any thoughts? Has anyone installed a safe in their home?
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
In the Dining room?  And you got spousal go-ahead for that

I don't know whether to be impressed or shake my head and think of so many other demands I'd make looooooooooong before a safe in the living spaces....

But to your question, I've had one offered for free to me.  It had been in a shed and you're correct about avoiding temp swings.  I passed.  I did have a 3' high one in an office a while back, be mindful of how much weight the metal roller wheels will carry.  Wood floors and metal casters do not mix.  I did not secure it as there's limits to just "secure" anything can be made.  Be sure to keep it as far from regular foot traffic as possible.  The dead weight and metal corners do not make for friendly surfaces to bump against accidentally.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
I agree that living space is not the place for the safe but we could make good use of a safe and have little to no options. It is just my wife and myself and the dining room has been more of a home office for years now. We're not decided yet but the dining room was not a demand that I made, it is her choice. I'm also thinking of hiding it in a closet but we would definitely miss the floor space in the closet.
 
Mike.
 

tmbrown97

Senior Member
I have a rather large modern one... and I'm now in my 4th house with it, so I've learned a little along the way.  One of the first things I learned was to pay the professionals to move it when possible!  However, one of my moves was across states, so I wasn't going to pay the $400 trip charge on both ends for them to come use their fancy lift.  For reference, mine is ~800lbs.
 
Securing it is definitely smart...  One of the most common ways to get more leverage to pry open a safe is to get the thing on its back so you can attack it with gravity in your favor and be able to get your whole body weight into a pry bar.  By keeping it upright you eliminate that.  I'd also agree with wkearney99 that wheels are less than ideal - is removing the wheels an option?  Normally you bolt these things to the floor.  Also, my safe does have a power outlet inside and a power pass through plate - that allows me to keep a dehumidifying rod inside.  You could possibly adapt yours the same way if you prefer the garage.  Since the doors aren't generally air tight, the heat inside creates a convection effect inside and actually causes it to circulate fresh air in.
 
Otherwise if you actually wanted to get it into the basement, I've done this a couple times.  With my safe, I rented the proper stair climber - it's basically a dolly with 2 parts on sliders and a motor - you put the safe on a hard surface, then the back wheels raise up to reach the next step up - then you tilt back on the wheels, and the safe slides up to where the wheels are - then you set it down and raise the wheels again... expensive to rent but Sunbelt rentals had them.  At an old office, we also sent an antique safe down the stairs with blankets, LOTS of muscle and a bunch of straps - we made sure everyone was above the safe vs. below and wrapped straps around and just lowered it down carefully.  It took all we had but it was successful - no injuries or blown out walls.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
In doing this restoration project I learned something about the improvements that have been made to safes through the years. W2P, you mention the wheels and the dehumidifying rod. Old safes had wheels. New safes are flat on the bottom and have locations that are designed to be drilled for anchor bolts. This safe has none of that. It also has no way to get a wire inside for an electric dehumidifier and I don't want to drill through the fire-proof insulation. This had been a learning experience and it only cost me a couple of hunderd dollars so I have no regrets. If it doesn't end up in the house I can use it in the detached garage for keys and things. Down there I can just frame it into the wall shelves.
 
Another improvement is in the combination lock. That I was able to upgrade by replacing it with a modern tamper-resistant lock.
 
As I mentioned, a friend and I were able to lift the safe off the ground (it was NOT easy to do) so I think that a young guy with a good back can get it down the basement staircase with a good hand truck.
 
Mike.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
Work2Play said:
  At an old office, we also sent an antique safe down the stairs with blankets, LOTS of muscle and a bunch of straps - we made sure everyone was above the safe vs. below and wrapped straps around and just lowered it down carefully.  It took all we had but it was successful - no injuries or blown out walls.
 
How did you manage to tip an 800 lb safe on it's side to slide it down the stairs? I'm guessing that mine weighs under 300 lbs and it was very difficult to tip on it's back and then onto it's feet again when we moved it.
 
Mike.
 

tmbrown97

Senior Member
Muscle and about 4 guys...   The model is a Lincoln Liberty 25 so you can verify specs if want... we got it a while back when money was kinda tight - they always run specials at the CA state fair and I was drooling over one like I did every year... so my wife went back the next day and bought it for me - but the delivery cost was relatively steep all things considered.   When my wife bought it, she asked if they could load it in the back of a Suburban, and of course the sales guy said "yeah - no problem!".   Jerk must've been laughing his a** off after. 
 
I showed up to pick it up, and it should've been a sign that they used a forklift very artfully to lift up the one edge and push the thing into the back of my truck.  This was an 2003-2006 Suburban with the little flaps behind the 2nd row that fill in nicely to make the whole floor perfectly flat (you could load a stack of 4x8 sheetgoods in that model perfectly and still close the door)... Those were tweaked for good and had to be drilled out and trashed.  This 800lb behemoth was pushed in with a forklift but when I got home, it was me and another big guy to get it out.  It was on its side, but still bolted to the pallet.  I used a jack on the rear bumper against the pallet to lift up one side of the safe while I slid one of those 4-wheel dollies under the side of the safe and we rolled it as far rearward as we could, then the two of us lowered the end to the ground carefully.  It took EVERYTHING we had, but we lowered it out and there was no damage to truck or safe.
 
From there, we threw it on an appliance dolly...  by then, two more friends showed up.  We rolled it around and had to go up 3 steps into the house.  We did it all wrong... we had no idea that lifting on the bottom puts WAY more weight on the guy holding the dolly - we almost killed that poor guy (he was the one who got it out of the truck with me) - but we got it in.  Once in the main level of the house, we had 2 more steps onto carpet so we basically tipped it onto the carpet, pushed it down the hall to the bedroom, then the 4 of us tipped it upright.
 
So that's my story of how I got it home... it was a PITA... but we got it.
 
The one we slid down the stairs was the antique - but again, 3-4 BIG guys made it happen...
 
 
I get being afraid of messing with the fire proof part...  but with mine, the old models came with a single outlet... the new ones come with 3 outlets, alarm pass through, RJ45, and USB passthrough.  I had to have a warranty service done, so while the guy was out, we swapped the manual lock for the nice new S&G electronic lock, AND I had him upgrade to the new pass-through panel.  It required the service guy to widen the hole in the fireproofing quite a bit.  I was concerned, but I was assured that we weren't really hurting the ratings of the safe at all.  I bought this model because it has like 120 minutes of severe fire tolerance (may be wrong, but it's definitely one of the higher ratings).  That's why I wouldn't worry about a little hole in the corner.  The whole thing with the safes is dispersing the heat over the whole unit.
 
IMNSHO, the same goes for finding a nice way to bolt through.  Ditching the wheels and drilling bolt holes shouldn't hurt the fire rating at all. 
 
 
It's all personal opinion - and I think it sounds like an awesome project rebuilding the one you did!
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
OK first off I had to Google IMNSHO, I like that.
 
While this safe is much lighter than yours it's also much smaller and only two guys can get around it to carry it. I see this one going on a hand truck but I'm a little worried about the wheels on the floors. I can put down a couple of 2'x2' sheets of Luan plywood and roll over that.
 
Now I'm thinking that it can hide in a corner of our living room which is now a TV room with a 63" TV on one end of the room. The safe is only 20" wide x 24" deep x 42" tall and would be barely noticeable if I tuck it in the corner next to the entertainment center that the TV sits on.
 
So back to the original questions about securing it. I don't want to damage the hardwood floor so I will have to cover it with some parkay wood tiles or pieces of Pergo or something. I'd welcome suggestions for that. And then I'm thinking about putting a lag bolt into a wall stud and connecting a cable lock to the safe wheel. The wheels are the only place on the entire safe that have holes that I could attach a cable to.
 
Anyone have any good ideas on what material to use under the safe to protect the floor that will look decent with the oak hardwood? Or a better way to secure the safe to slow a thief down or make it harder to thrash the safe?
 
Mike.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
For protecting floors there's stuff called Ram Board that contractors use during construction.  It's basically cardboard.   That, taped to the floor (use blue painters tape) will provide some degree of protection to the flooring.  If you're worried that's not enough then use two sheets of masonite on top of it.  The Ram board will protect the flooring from any lateral motion of the masonite that might cause scratches from dirt trapped under it.  Just move the masonite sheets along as needed.  Roll across one sheet, onto another, moving the first one around to the front.  

If you're gung-ho about attaching something, have something welded onto it.  I have to wonder just what kind of heroic attempts you think are going to be perpetrated on it to warrant such things, but that's your decision.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
mikefamig said:
ow I'm thinking that it can hide in a corner of our living room which is now a TV room with a 63" TV on one end of the room. The safe is only 20" wide x 24" deep x 42" tall and would be barely noticeable if I tuck it in the corner next to the entertainment center that the TV sits on.
 
"Barely noticeable"  right next to the single most likely theft target in the house... the TV.  
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
A nice feature on this safe is that it has two re-locker bolts in the door. These two bolts are not connected to the door latch. They are spring loaded and  permanently held in the open retracted position by the metal inner door cover. They never move under normal conditions and only come into play when a thief tries to force the door open.
 
These re-locker bolts will spring into the locked position whenever the inner door cover is disturbed. If  you bash the lock dial in from the front with a sledge hammer the dial spindle will push in on the inner door cover and release the re-locker bolts. Likewise if you hammer in the latch the re-locker bolts will be released and spring in to the locked position, Once these are locked the door can not be opened even after you get the door latch open because the latch only opens the three normal bolts and have no effect on the re-locker bolts.  I have no idea how I would get into the safe after these are activated. I'm thinking about calling a locksmith and asking him but thought that someone here might know?
 
Mike.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
wkearney99 said:
For protecting floors there's stuff called Ram Board that contractors use during construction.  It's basically cardboard.   That, taped to the floor (use blue painters tape) will provide some degree of protection to the flooring.  If you're worried that's not enough then use two sheets of masonite on top of it.  The Ram board will protect the flooring from any lateral motion of the masonite that might cause scratches from dirt trapped under it.  Just move the masonite sheets along as needed.  Roll across one sheet, onto another, moving the first one around to the front.  

If you're gung-ho about attaching something, have something welded onto it.  I have to wonder just what kind of heroic attempts you think are going to be perpetrated on it to warrant such things, but that's your decision.
 
 
I understand that most thieves just quickly grab some things and get out fast. I also understand that some thieves back a van into your garage, close the door and take their time filling it with your stuff. This safe is small enough to carry out with a hand truck and they won't worry about damaging the floors.
 
This is my problem with a safe. It sits there in your house screaming ALL OF THE GOOD STUFF IS OVER HERE! I'd rather have a good hiding place like a false wall but haven't come up with one yet.
 
Mike.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
mikefamig said:
It won't bother me any.
 
The point being if you want to have the added security of having a safe you'd probably want to choose a location that's not going to make it glaringly obvious to the thieves.  Or to anyone else that might come through the space (contractors, delivery, cleaners, etc).  
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
mikefamig said:
mikefamig, on 27 Aug 2018 - 09:38, said:
This is my problem with a safe. It sits there in your house screaming ALL OF THE GOOD STUFF IS OVER HERE! I'd rather have a good hiding place like a false wall but haven't come up with one yet.
This is when I start thinking "and why do you continue to live where this is such an issue"? Me, I'd have moved long before entertaining some of the security notions I sometimes see posted. Don't get me wrong, but sometimes I think people get their shorts bunched up way too tight and overdo the security expenses.
 
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