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safes are a whole different world and far harder to make your mark in than most other areas .

safeventures used to offer the best training courses on safes and if you had a talent for it were the right people to point you in the right direction and to the right people to get a foot in the door , but to get in the big boys circle and into the big payday jobs takes alot of time and impressing the right people .

safe ventures may still offer training and i suspect still top draw and can still help guide you further in this , jason hillier who works with gj tools also offers training in safe opening and is also very good.

most general locksmiths play at safes and do most of the everyday stuff , most are self taught , buying the locks and learning to defeat them , learning to cut keys by hand and by machine . most end up buying drill templates and safe id manuals , safe ventures tools as they progress up the cash rating ladder of safes.

its certainly not a quick thing and 99% never make it to that elite group that get the cream jobs.

back in the day i learnt to pick a number of safe locks , got confident with many , i learnt to drill these properly and learnt about relockers and what to do to remove these if it went wrong , i sub contracted to contractors with national contracts , to find 90% of the jobs i was getting were not openings , but repair work so welding became an essential skill to learn , most contract jobs were often silly jobs , floor safes with a paper clip that had got in keyway or some other object , remove and all fine , safe lock with a broken lever spring where a dead blow hammer was a good friend , and very common a safe that wouldnt close as the door had been slammed with the bolts extracted bending the boltwork and preventing locking , and most common a door that unlocks but cant be pulled open , due to a coin on the floor wedging the door tight .

most safe work you end up with in the early years is this type of work and low grade openings , until you get noticed as being special which is the top 1% .

if lucky enough to get a call for a safe that you knew was beyond you , you paid one of these top guys to do the job if he knew you and trusted you , you carried his bag , made him tea and coffee and they let you watch and learn , you get to know them over time and socialise at shows which in them days was at the 2 yearly mla show , you always learnt something and if persistent and talented you got noticed , if not you didnt.

most dont make it into the top of this game , however many make a good living in the many areas of safes that exist , some are good pickers that get some impressive safes to open at a decent fee , some do well on the lower grade safes , many do very well in safe moving , safe sales and install , and others in the service work , most do a bit of all this , many give up when they realise the work and commitment involved , all interesting work and all areas can be profitable .

mla is a good place to start especially for the safe engineers you meet at the mla shows and regional meet ups , and for the help and guidance they give , it may not all be the sexy opening training , but its a field that is about networking and mla is the best vehicle for this , the top guys dont wear badges , you get introduced to them or they are doing training for mla or the like. .

outside mla , safe ventures , jason hillier will get you taught to pick safes , starting on the easy and later progressing to more complex training if you decide to go deeper into it and have the talent for this , specialised tools are available but their price is eye watering and the jobs you would need these on are the jobs that only get passed to you by the top safe engineers if in that network and known to them and trusted by them.

most happily trundel along on the lower end openings , repair work and service work. theres alot to learn and its the hardest area to get noticed in , mla is a great way to meet the people you need to meet and access to training in this field, certainly useful no matter what anyone says about mla , its the best place to meet the right people and opens many doors.

many join savta and attend their training and their meet ups in the states .

getting the very best paying work in this field will be 1% or less of those aspiring to it .

so it depends what you mean by interested in being a safe locksmith , we all wanted this at sometime and all aspired to be part of that 1% , beyond most as you realise when you meet and see these guys work . the one thing they all have in common is most have mastered the service and repair areas as no better way to have an understanding of the various safes , most can cut a key by hand as easily as with a machine , many prefer this method , all will have stripped and projected each lock inside out on the bench , the very best tend to have lathes and can make parts , tools etc too .

the majority end up doing service and repair work sub contracting to the likes of insafe and associated security or adding safe jobs to add to what they do now as a general locksmith. and some ive met do very well in safe moving , disposing of safes and installing them.

fascinating fields where you must be committed for many years to get on.

proper safe locksmithing is still one of the hardest areas to find good training and is still one of the most closed areas to break into , as such still one of the best paid because of this , if you thought locksmithing was hard to break into , safes is a whole different area and far harder , but you never meet a poor safe engineer .

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I have known alan morgan for many years and he is a friend and mentor  , we both did warrants in the same area , no matter how good i got on picking locks alan was always better . Alan is not just one of the best lock pickers ive ever met he is also one of the best safe engineers and is in the elite 1% , a huge talent and attends most mla meet ups , one of the best in the business , what most do with eye watering expensive tools he does with his own home made tools and wires.



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The "real" safe guys are few and far between. What is said above is absolutely true.

Ego wise, Safe cracking is up there, but I went down the auto route as most people I know don't have a proper safe, but they do have at least one car. Having said that auto is also a steep learning curve, requires a great deal of investment of time and money, needs a few "phone a friend" options available and there is always something you cannot do. Probably should have gone down the safe route myself! :-D

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i was very lucky back in my general locksmith days , i knew and had help with safes from martin newton of safe ventures , chris belcher , and alot of advice over the years from mike comerford who was always holding court at mla shows , the guy was a font of knowledge . and of course alan morgan who is an abnormal talent . through them i met alot of safe guys at shows .

safe ventures used to run a great safe course , manufacturer quite often lose keys to safes before sale , they used to ship these to safeventures to sort out , when there was enough of them they set up a course where you learnt to open them and make keys for them using safe ventures tools , was a great course .

i was lucky enough to have some one to one training with martin newton , he was a great trainer .

i fancied all the top end tools , but a wise man advised me against buying them , mainly because unless i was in that top click id never get jobs for them , i was confident with safes but was never in the same league as these guys.

i used to go to every safe i got a call for , most i sorted any beyond me i paid a man that can and watched and learnt , every safe i went to id measure and take photos to get data on which had glass and where , which had which tupe of relocker and where so i knew where the drill points were in the event i had to take them off , this is how you learn to id what safe and what lock is likely on it , drill points etc .

part of me wishes id continued this route , but im realistic , i was never going to be in that top 1% .

via lishi i got to attend and train guys in lishi from various government , police and military depts , they use to have an annual trade show of their own on the south coast , what amazed me was just how many top safe crackers exist withing these departments , there lock impressioning skills were amazing as was their picking skills , it was then i realised that the next crop of safe engineers would come from these areas once they retire from there current work.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I started off doing a few MLA courses  But like Rapid my mentor & friend is Jim Beesley His Dad Fred was still working at 98 his MLA membership number was something like  number 2    They hardly do any domestic stuff , Graham Rains also showed me quite a bit ,A lot of tools are made for one off jobs security check take ages & you have to travel a lot . Knowledge take time to acquire . I chose to go down this route as I find it more relaxing compared to  domestic call out stuff .like people do retire  so try top get a mentor & it's like a lot of skills some people have a better aptitude towards it than some so just be honest with yourself , It's not the sort of thing you can just throw money at . 

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