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Posted: 4/29/2010 8:24:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/29/2010 5:28:04 PM EDT by safe1]
I had been kicking around buying a bigger safe for a couple of years and finally bought one two weeks ago and moved it down stairs the following weekend.  I went with a Heritage FSR 4372 labeled with the logo of the retail outlet where purchased.  It was the largest size that would fit through the 36" doors and at the bottom of the stair well.  The safe (I know, really a RSC) measured 72"x43"x28".

Why move it myself?  I am not really keen on inviting unknown folks from the major metro areas into my home so I wanted to be able to move the safe with some help of family and friends.  I called around the area (before the safe purchase) for one of those stair climbing dollies mentioned here but no luck.  One rental place had one but it was limited at 650lbs, no go for me.

I was planning on taking pic's during the process but with everyone helping tight on time, MS paint and a few AA pic's will have to do.

Fin Feather and Fur offers free delivery within 75 miles but I am about 130 miles, besides, they have a pretty cool store so I chose to pick it up.  Loading it in the back of the truck was no big deal, I removed the tailgate and they slid it right in.  Once home I used my small front end loader with forks to unload from the truck and set in garage.

While the safe was up right on the skids I unbolted the lags securing it to the skid then strapped a heavy duty utility cart to the 28" side of the safe with a piece of carpet for cushion .  This cart is similar to a flat cart you would find at Lowes but has removable handles, it came from a plant that was closing so it is industrial grade.  Why the cart?  I knew there would be allot of jockeying at the top of the steps to line it up, the cart seemed like the easiest solution.  We had enough people we could have laid the safe down on the cart manually but since the loader was there we went that route.

I placed a couple 2x8's for ramps into the house

We planned on rolling the cart up the ramps but my dad suggested using the forks to push the cart up the ramp into the house.  It worked like a charm.

I have a pretty tight entry from the garage to the house and removed the doors from the closet, basement and entry from garage.  I laid plywood on the floor to protect the vinyl floor covering while we positioned the safe, bottom side headed down.

I didn't want anyone getting hurt so having anyone below the safe while being lower was NOT an option.  My dad was in the basement to position "rollers" once the safe was lowered but stayed clear til then.  

My solution was to lower it using a 6000 lb come-along hooked to the cart anchored to a 4x4 spanning the opening for the closet opposite the basement steps.

I used 16’ 2x12’s cut to just over 14’ with cleats secured to the underside for ramps.  I also went a little over kill and supported the steps underneath with 4x4 posts in three places.

Once the cart was in position and chocked we attached the come-along and slowly took up the slack and started lower the safe.  All went well until the handle of a ratchet strap caught the corner of the drywall.  I knew it was going to be tight but never thought of the strap handles, it caused very minor damage.

I had one unplanned adjustment with the safe half way down when I saw the cable was down to the last couple of windings.  We stopped, used a ratchet strap to hold the cart, rewound the cable  and added a length of chain.  We planned on doing something like this at the bottom so everything was at hand.  There was only 48” at landing in the basement.  Our plan was to stop the cart short, reposition the cable and let the safe slide off the cart and ease it upright onto golf balls.  


It worked as planned!

The golf balls worked very well, in fact it took more effort to keep the safe from rolling too fast than anything.  We had two people guiding the safe (really, pushing wasn’t needed) and one person feeding balls and one person on cleanup of balls as they rolled out the back.  I think a hoola-hoop would have been the ticket in keeping the balls from rolling all over basement floor.  My kids were dying to help but had to stay upstairs til the thing was in position.
They only real physical work was sliding it onto the ¾ oak boards from the balls and that wasn’t bad at all.  

The safe is in it’s happy home, with a little room for me to expand the collection.  The move went very well and nobody got hurt. Everybody, including me, thought it went MUCH easier than expected.
The only things I would have done different (besides the golf ball control and the strap handle)  is add a dedicated rope on the high side to help steer the cart down the steps.  We ended up using a 2x4 to push the tail around but a rope would have been easier.

Here it is all bolted down and plugged in:

Here is the start of my collection:

The .380 ammo alone is worth the work and expense of the safe.

Link Posted: 4/29/2010 1:17:47 PM EDT
Nice job!  Glad it worked out for you.

Question: How did you get the come along to work the way you did. I thought they only allowed you to pull an object, not slowly release an object.
Link Posted: 4/29/2010 2:58:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/29/2010 2:59:07 PM EDT by safe1]
Originally Posted By benzo:
Nice job!  Glad it worked out for you.

Question: How did you get the come along to work the way you did. I thought they only allowed you to pull an object, not slowly release an object.


The come along has a release on both the handle and the spool.  I would release the lock on the handle, move it to the last cog that I could to relieve pressure from the spool.  I would, while holding tension on the handle, release the spool latch.  With the spool released and tension on the handle I would back the handle to the farthest positiion and then let the spool latch catch, then repeat.  It wasn't the easiest thing to do but it worked pretty well once I got a rhythem going.

Link Posted: 4/29/2010 6:05:10 PM EDT
Holy crap.  I'm impressed, man.

I'm gonna have to do this someday - I'll bookmark your 'how-to' for later.
Link Posted: 4/30/2010 5:07:12 AM EDT

I'm going to assume that if you ever sell the house, the safe will just transfer cuz that sucker is there to STAY.
Link Posted: 4/30/2010 11:34:55 AM EDT
Why in the world would you need wheels on that thing?
Link Posted: 4/30/2010 12:16:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/30/2010 12:17:56 PM EDT by safe1]
Originally Posted By retrodog:
Why in the world would you need wheels on that thing?

Originally Posted By safe1 in his OP:
Why the cart? I knew there would be allot of jockeying at the top of the steps to line it up, the cart seemed like the easiest solution.

This and I didn't want it getting chipped and scratched too much.

Link Posted: 4/30/2010 6:55:18 PM EDT
I did it almost the same way but tied off on somthing else. Also used a moving blanket on the stairs and not wheels
Link Posted: 5/5/2010 6:18:11 AM EDT
Just an FYI for others following this method. Use a thicker board at the top of the stairs to support the safe being lowered down or turn the board 90* so the weight is on the proper plane which the board is designed to be loaded. You listed a 4x4 which would be great, but it looks like a 2x6 from the pictures. If you had a bigger knot at the force application point, that board could have snapped and caused major damage or injury. Glad it worked out for you. Nice safe.
Link Posted: 5/11/2010 3:28:58 AM EDT
Nice safe! I would of put it on concrete blocks to keep it off the floor in case of water getting in the basement.Just a thought.
Link Posted: 5/20/2010 12:01:16 PM EDT
I did very much a similar thing, except I used the winch on the front of my Jeep,

Its a Warn, M8000, and didnt even begin to flinch at the weight of the safe (I was moving the safe out, instead of in...)

Safe movers wanted $600, I did it for $30, including the cost of the 5/8 ply.  (I bought damaged ply from Lowes from the top of two bound pallets of wood)

I used an inverted caster, with a ground-in grove on the top to allow the cable to slide over the top of the stairs.

Link Posted: 5/20/2010 1:42:21 PM EDT
To the future readers of this thread, please be cautious about bringing safe's up and down stairs.  1100 pounds spread out over the 2x6's that the OP used is not a big deal, but using a climbing hand truck where all the weight could be on a single stair at one time could have been a problem.  Using something not as rigid, like plywood might have been a problem, but most likely not.  The real concern comes when moving a "real" sale up or down stairs, and with the availibility of said TL, etc rated safes on craigslist for some ridiculasly low prices, it's worth mentioning that a TL safe that's the size of your average gunsafe will weigh about 3-4 times as much as the OP's.  The stair framing will need to be reinforced, and really professional safe movers should be used.

Nice job OP.
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