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Posted: 3/13/2002 7:30:00 PM EDT
I want to build my own safe but need the door locking parts. Any web sites that sell safe parts? Thanks Rick
Link Posted: 3/13/2002 11:18:01 PM EDT
I tried looking at going this route - never could find much info. I wish you luck!
Link Posted: 3/14/2002 12:52:46 PM EDT
I've bought from [url]www.flash.net/~wamco1nm/gsp.htm[/url] Great guy, and very helpfull. A little long, and probably nothing you don't know, but FWIW, Most people, who's gun collection is a smaller fraction of their net worth than say, their car, the standard gun safes that are commonly available are quite sufficient to the task of keeping children, irresponsible adults, and the street criminal out of their guns. The standard gun safes are good protection even from street criminals that happen to bring a few tools with them. If however, you are one of the people who have more than $5000 or $10,000 in guns, you are now in the region where the semi-professional safe cracker may become interested in getting to your guns. The > $5000 translates to $1000 or so of fenced value, and is quite a decent pay off for 10 minutes work for the semi-professional safe cracker. Keep in mind that in these days of hyper-inflated priced, banned guns and magazines, it only takes an AR or two, a Benelli M-1, your favorite pistol, and a good supply of magazines to have $5000 worth of gun stuff to protect. Obviously the best way to forestall this problem is to keep these people from knowing that you have enough to be worth stealing. This can be hard to do, if one of the people in your shooting club notices that you've brought many different guns to the range, and tells his no-good buddy that "gee, I wish I had a collection of HK's as nice as Mr. About-to-be-a-victim' does". In order to motivate you to get serious about your safe, I'll first scare the wits out of you by detailing how easy it is to get into your high priced gun safe.
Link Posted: 3/14/2002 12:54:25 PM EDT
2. There are a few set vectors for attacking a safe: 1) Manipulation. This means twiddling the dial on your safe so that the numbers can be determined. The standard Group II dial combination locks can be manipulated by a professional safe cracker in about 15 minutes, according to various people I talked to at some safe manufacturers. This means that when you get home and discover your safe is open, and everything is gone, you are going to have a hard time convincing the insurance company (if you have one) that the guns were in fact stolen, or that you had the safe locked. It is in fact very rare that a safe is opened by manipulation, mostly because it takes many years of practice to manipulate a lock, and anyone that has the dedication to learn how, can make quite a bit of money working as a locksmith opening safes legitimatly, without the risk of engaging in high risk crime. The fix for this problem is to get a Group I lock, which is non- manipulable. These cost about $100 more than a Group II lock. Also if you have a very nice collection, a Group IR (radiation resistant) lock will prevent those safe crackers that haul around a portable x-ray machine from x-raying the lock to read off the numbers. They cost only a few dollars more, however there is a theoretical disadvantage that the acetate wheels in the lock would be less durable than the metal wheels in the standard Group I lock. Because this method of attack is a sophisticated one, it is unlikely to be used except by professional burglars, and only if the potential haul justifies it. Also in this category is a Group II electronic push button lock. These have a telephone style keypad, and require that you punch in a 6 digit code. Some of these locks are very good, some have nasty drawbacks. At least one of these locks has a serial number on the back side of the dial. Thus, the safe cracker can remove the dial, and take the serial number to his crooked companion that has a Locksmith/Safe dealership, call the company, and get an override combination. Sargent & Greenleaf's Group II electronic lock does not have this drawback. Two models are available with and without the factory override option. The model without the factory override can be programmed with an override code of your choosing IF you do it before you change the default combination. All of these electronic locks have external batteries, so they can be replaced from outside the safe. None of these locks are manipulable from the electronic point of view, i.e. attaching them up to a laptop to try all the combinations will not work in a reasonable time, as the locks shut down for a period of time after a number of wrong combinations have been entered.
Link Posted: 3/14/2002 12:58:01 PM EDT
3. 2) Punch attacks. All of the standard gun safes have some sort of cam attached to the handle that pushes the locking bars in or out. If this cam is not well reinforced, a simple attack is to drill a hole near the edge of the cam, insert a long punch bar, and push the cam out of contact with the lock body. Alternately, knock off the dial, insert a punch and push the lock body out of contact with the cam. Both of these attacks should be melt with with a device called a relocker. All locks (that I know of) have internal relockers, if you try to punch them, the damage to the lock body prevents the lock bolt from retracting. The second relocker is usually a shear pin so that trying to force the handle will shear the pin, rather than forcing the lock body to give. A third relocker (or more) is needed to deal with the punch attacks. These are usually spring loaded bolts that snap into place on the cam if the lock body is punched out. Use common sense and look out for stupid design flaws. One flaw I noticed on a small safe manufacturer was that his 3'rd relocker was not spring loaded, so when the lock is punched or melted, you simply turn the safe upside down, the relocker falls back into the unlocked position, and the handle is turned to open the safe. Protection from punching the cam is usually done by adding bolts through the cam itself so that there is more than just the handle holding it to the door, and/or adding `keepers' that prevent the actuating rods from being moved away from the door if the cam is broken loose. You should make sure that the cam has such reinforcement, and that the cam body is made from a sturdy piece of steel. Some of the higher end safes use a handle that is not centered around the cam. The handle is connected to the cam with a gear system of a gear-chain system. If the thief doesn't know where the cam is, punching it gets much harder.
Link Posted: 3/14/2002 12:59:43 PM EDT
4. 3) Cutting Torch attacks. Any safe cracker that arrives armed with a cutting torch will probably get into your safe, assuming he or she is not an idiot. The ease of getting into the safe with torch is amazing, to those who have never watched a cutting tourch in opperation. Obviously if the thief doesn't care much about the contents of the safe, they can just cut a big hole in the side of the safe. In a single walled safe (i.e. non-fireproof) it's a matter of 50-100 seconds to zip a hole big enough to remove all the contents of the safe. This time is more or less independent of the wall thickness, until you get into very thick (probably > 3/8" ) walls. The main difficulty is getting the initial hole in the wall to start the cut. That's where the power drill comes in. If you have a double wall safe, with fire liner between the walls, it's more like a 1/4-1/2 hour job. Defending against this kind of attack is difficult, adding plastic encapsulated water bubbles to the fire lining will, in theory, explode when heated, hopefully slowing down the attack by putting out the torch. An approach used by professional safe crackers when they have reason to fear or respect the contents of the safe is to use a torch to head up the hard plate around the lock body. The lock bodies are made from ``pot metal'' meaning they melt at relatively low temperature. So, after heating up the door for 3-5 minutes, the lock melts out, and they get in quickly. The two best ways of dealing with this threat is to use a electronic lock, with a long cord. This allows you to put the dial face up to a foot away from the lock body. If they head up the area around the dial, nothing happens. The other approach is just the 3'rd relocker mentioned above under punch attacks. You may be able to deter the use of a cutting torch if you put an ``Explosives'' sign on the safe. 4) Grinder attacks. Professionals generally will not use grinders, as they are very loud, and take significantly longer than torches. The only instance where a pro will use a grinder is if they know that torching the safe will damage the contents or that there's gunpowder or something similar in the safe, and they've failed with all the other methods of attack. The only defense against a grinder is thicker metal walls, and possibly adding tungsten carbide bits or something similar in the fire liner. These bits will decrease the lifetime of the grinding wheel, and will require that they stop often to remove the bits.
Link Posted: 3/14/2002 1:01:29 PM EDT
5. 5) Brute force. Since most gun safes use a bent body shell, the only welds that are available for attack are on the top and bottom caps. This is the most common method for gaining entry to home safes. It's loud, it's hard work, but once the safe has been knocked over onto it's face it's just a matter of a little sledge and pry bar work to pop the top off the safe. This only works because most low grade safes don't use full length welds, only a small fraction of the seam length is welded. You may be told by some safe manufacturers that their bent bodies are stronger than a welded body. The report I have gotten from people who weld is that a welded seam will be stronger than the bent corner, provided more than just spot welds are used. Defeating this attack is mostly a matter of keeping the safe bolted down so that it can't be knocked over. Make sure the welds on the top and bottom are full length, or nearly full length welds, and not simply spot welds. On most of the commonly available commercial safes, the body is 10 gauge steel, about 0.140" think. This thickness of metal can be attacked successfully with axes or splitting maul. Thus the thief just hack their way in with an ax. A heavier wall thickness is the only defense against this form of attack. I would guess that a 1/4" body thickness would be sufficient to defeat this form of attack. Pry attacks are also in this category. Pry bars are inserted into the crack between the door and the safe body. Then, they attempt to bend the safe body away from the door, or bend the bolt carriers, rip out the door box, etc. Browning has very light sheet metal that holds the bolts, and when the door is forced open, the bolts rip though the door box. A variation of that kind of attack is to use something similar to ``the jaws of life'' that are often featured in TV drama's to pry the doors off of cars. These hydraulicilly operated jaws can be inserted in the door-body crack, and the whole safe pride open with a minimum of fuss. These devices are not cheap, and it seems to be more of a theoretical concern, since none of the safe people I've talked to have heard of such an attack being attempted on a home safe in their area. Minimizing the door-body gap, and having a good strong door box and door sill will minimize the effectiveness of this kind of attack. 6) Take the safe. If the thief can take the safe with him, he can spend all the time he wants to get into the safe. Make sure you have the safe bolted down in such a way that it can't be removed from outside the safe. If bolting down the safe is impossible or impracticle, a large amount of weight can have the same effect 300 lbs. of lead in the bottom of the safe is going to make it much less portable. B) General solutions There are several things you need to do to protect your investment, other than the safe itself: 1) Get an alarm system. If the burglars hear an alarm go off, they are less likely to stick round to finish the job. Alarms on both the house and the safe area are a good idea. 2) Hide the safe. If the safe is built into a wall, or behind a false wall and they can't find it, they can't break into it. It may help to keep a cheap gun cabinet around with a couple of junkers guns in it, in order that the thief that know you have guns will find it, break in and leave disappointed, without looking for your real safe.
Link Posted: 3/14/2002 1:03:43 PM EDT
6. 3) Realistically, fire is probably more of a danger to your guns than theft. Spend the extra money and get the fireproofing in any safe you buy, or add it yourself later. Many safe manufacturers use common sheetrock as firelining. This is not the best solution, because when heated, standard sheetrock will crumble. There is a sheetrock that has fiberglass embedded in it, these fibers will maintain the physical strength of the panel as it is heated. Also, keep in mind that the top of the safe is the part that will get the brunt of the heat in a fire. Store everything as low as possible in your safe. An additional safeguard that has been suggested (by me) is to put several well sealed bottles of water in the top corners of the safe. If the safe gets above the boiling point of the water, the bottles burst, spraying water around the safe and keeping things cool, at least for a while. C) What to look for in a commercial safe. 1) Good body thickness. I recommend a minimum of 1/4". Many safe manufacturers have false thick doors, they look to be ~1" thick, but are really constructed as a hollow door. As long as the front sheet is sufficiently thick this doesn't hurt anything, except possibly your wallet, since the manufacturers will charge for this feature . 2) Double wall construction, to defend against torch attacks, and as fire protection. If your house burns down, you guns may still be saved. A fire lining that is cutting torch or grinder resistant is a plus. Some providers of such linings are: http://tradepoint.tidco.co.tt/harricrete/refr.htm http://www.thermalceramics.thomasregister.com/olc/thermalceramics/fire.htm http://www.zircar.com/ainterne/products/flexmat/alblank.htm
Link Posted: 3/14/2002 1:04:42 PM EDT
7. I've never seen a safe that such linings and products were built into the unit, but if you are getting a custom or semi-custom safe these kinds of ceramic blankets could easily be installed between the walls of a double wall safe. \(Thanks to Jon Syder for these links) 3)* Full length, or nearly full length welds on the top and bottom cap, and else where in the safe. Because local heating caused by welding may cause buckling, full length welds are not usually used. I'd recommend at least 50% weld coverage on all seams. 4)* Provisions to bolt the safe to the floor. 5)* Robust construction of the sill, door and door box. Also minimal door-body gap. This can be ``safe-smithed'' by welding up the edge of the door and grinding it to fit. 6) At least a Group II lock, and preferably a Group I or Electronic lock. You can buy replacement locks for about $150 and up. 7) Relockers in the lock body that lock the mechanism if the lock body is punched. Additionally, the use of a backing plate behind the lock body will make punching the lock body much more difficult, if not impossible. 8) A secondary relocker (consisting of a shear pin or the like) in the handle to prevent putting enough force on the handle to break the lock body. 9) A third relocker that lock the bolt carrier arms or locking cam, if the lock body is punched or melted out. Make sure that this relocker is sturdy, and spring loaded. 10) Hard plate, either a tool steel or similar hard material that is welded to the safe door around the locking mechanism. This will slow down or defeat drilling holes for punch attacks. 11) The locking cam should be held in with more than just the operating handle and/or the arms that attach to the locking cam should be held onto the door with sturdy keepers. This helps prevent punching the cam out from working to get into the safe. 12) A considerable advantage can be had if the safe manufacturer makes a variety of internal door mechanisms. This variation can help prevent the safe cracker from studying the mechanism in order to finesse an attack. 13)* ``Sneaky Locks'' are locks that you install yourself, something only you know about. This can be a simple bar that when inserted in a small hole in the side of the safe keeps the door from being unlocked, or a string actuated latch, or what ever you can come up with. In order for this concept to work, it has to be more or less unique, and very much non standard. * These are features that can be added to a premanufactured safe, with varying degrees of difficulty and expense. Recommendations: Of the broadly available, commercial safes I've looked at, I would recommend the Liberty and the Fort Knox safes, but only at the top end of their line. The Browning safes I've examined are the older style, and had numerous design flaws. These may have been corrected in newer models, but I've not examined them to find out. While safe shopping, you will quickly find out that shipping costs typically amount to 10-15% of the cost of the safe, so one way to get a better safe is to buy one from a local manufacturer. One manufacturer that I found that was close to the best in terms of price/features is Irwin's Security Safes in Albuquerque, NM. Since the safes are built to order they are willing to do a little bit of customizing without charge. Phone (800)-735-5625
Link Posted: 3/14/2002 4:44:17 PM EDT
There used to be a board member [b]Hefe[/b] if I remember correctly and he was building some safes as a hobby and maybe a small business. He probably got the parts somewhere. Are you still here Hefe?
Link Posted: 3/14/2002 5:13:01 PM EDT
It's looong...but it's all pretty much right on the money. I've been a safe tech/locksmith for 17 years. I've never heard of that X-ray crap though. Sounds too much like "James Bond" crap to me. Most of the burglary attempts I've seen either tried: a) force: (pry-barring the door) which works on fire-proof only safes, but not a prayer on a good burglary rated safe. b) punching the lock: dumb, as this fires the relocker. I can't count the number of fired relockers I've dealt with. c) cutting: usually with an acetylene torch, which usually burns up the contents as well. One dude was slick though. He was hitting a bunch of fast food joints on Sunday nights (knew there'd be money in the safe, because the banks were closed.) On his first attempt, which I was called out to try and repair, he burned up all the money...even melted some coins together! But on his next "job", he silicone sealed the door, drilled a 1/2" hole in the top, grabbed the hose from the "slop sink" in the kitchen, and filled the safe with water before torching. Cops and I figured it took him better than 2 hours. But he got all the money, wet...but unburned. d) cutting off the hinges. These are the dumbest of the dumb! They think the manufacturers are that stupid that they'd make a safe without either a "live" or a "dead" bolt on the hinge side. I thought about making my own safe. I know how they work, I've got a welder, I've got the locks, even some scrapped bolt works. It ain't worth the hassle. Buy one.
Link Posted: 3/14/2002 5:34:33 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ARs4EVER: I want to build my own safe but need the door locking parts. Any web sites that sell safe parts? Thanks Rick
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There is a company in SC called Griffin Enterprises in Chesterfield, SC (1-800-301-3562). I found out about this guy from a friend who had bought a safe from him. All I can say is this guy has to have one of the largest inventories of safes and safe parts in the US. I spent about 6 hours there just touring the facilities. One warehouse was about the size of 2 or 3 foot ball fields, I mean HUGE. It's full of used safes and parts. Everything from gun safes to 10'high bank vault doors (something out of a James Bond movie). The owner is a great guy and real easy to deal with. Another plus he has going is that he killed 1 or 2 S**t heads that tried to rob him a few years ago. Got to love it! I highly recommend this guy and it may be worth your time to drive over from TN. Good luck, Paul
Link Posted: 3/14/2002 6:11:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/14/2002 6:19:01 PM EDT by cmjohnson]
Have you ever heard of a "boiler safe"? It's a design that uses a water jacket between the inner and outer walls (and maybe even a third wall) and is designed so that the water in the jacket(s) boils when a torch is used to attack, but there is enough total heat radiating area that the steam generated condenses back to water as quickly as it's generated. Such a safe can NOT be penetrated by a torch up to the maximum rated thermal capacity of the boiler/condenser system. Part of its design is that the outer layer of the water jacket is constructed of an alloy that conducts heat VERY rapidly, keeping it cool and reducing the possibility of a burn-through with a torch to a minimum. It can be done, but not until the cracker's heart has sunk into his boots and he's out of gas. I've seen an old safe that was cut up for a demonstration that had half inch thick solid steel walls, with another half inch of copper for torch resistance. The welding class that went to work on it agreed that it was indeed quite the tough cookie. Other dastardly tricks: There are some alloys that are so tough and 'chewy' in consistency to a drill that they'll snap drill bits like toothpicks if they're in a hand drill. Some Beryllium Copper alloys are such a material. It's practically impossible to drill them with a hand drill. Been there, tried it, and it nearly killed me. If the drill bit didn't snap, it'd seize and take me for a spin instead. It also has HUGE thermal conductive capability. Here's a NASTY one: A 'wet liner' safe with a NASTY chemical in the liner. The poor unfortunate who cuts/drills/punches through it gets a horrible surprise, and depending on what nasty chemical is used, he may simply DIE right there on the spot. It could be a cellular design, allowing it to operate multiple times. Each new attack penetrates a separate sealed cell of chemicals. I have a sneaking suspicion that this method is used in some government owned safes that hold information and materials that are crucial to national security. The reactive armor safe: Try to cut it, drill it, or torch it, and the reactive armor turns you into smoking jelly. BOOM. Thank you, General Dynamics.[img]http://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/smilie/explode.gif[/img] CJ
Link Posted: 3/14/2002 6:38:30 PM EDT
Other dastardly tricks: There are some alloys that are so tough and 'chewy' in consistency to a drill that they'll snap drill bits like toothpicks if they're in a hand drill. Some Beryllium Copper alloys are such a material. It's practically impossible to drill them with a hand drill. Been there, tried it, and it nearly killed me. If the drill bit didn't snap, it'd seize and take me for a spin instead. It also has HUGE thermal conductive capability.
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Mosler safes use a hard plate called "relsom" (Mosler spelled backwards). It has carbide and diamond chips imbedded in it. Nastiest shit you ever saw!!!
Here's a NASTY one: A 'wet liner' safe with a NASTY chemical in the liner. The poor unfortunate who cuts/drills/punches through it gets a horrible surprise, and depending on what nasty chemical is used, he may simply DIE right there on the spot. It could be a cellular design, allowing it to operate multiple times. Each new attack penetrates a separate sealed cell of chemicals. I have a sneaking suspicion that this method is used in some government owned safes that hold information and materials that are crucial to national security.
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Tear gas used to be used as a factory option in this manner, but it's now highly illegal to install such a device on any safe. I've removed quite a few tear-gas booby traps from old safes. Back in the bootlegger days, they'd replace the tear gas with nitro. Try and steal money from a hood, and BOOM! I wouldn't be surprised, though, if the govt does use stuff like that.
Link Posted: 3/14/2002 8:01:19 PM EDT
Last winter I built a gun safe complete with gear drive locking mechanism, heat and lights. It took $500 cash and about 20 hours labor. Sized 24x32x60, fire proofed and holds 22 long guns. If anyone is interested, I'll email you the pictures and drawings I used. I had been kicking the idea around in my head for more then 15 years before I finally decided to try. I used a key lock as it is much easier than a dial. It's probably not as safe as a dial, but now I'm worried more about fire than theft. Fred fredshort@upnorthcable.com
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