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G’day; I have noticed a few notes regarding the question of safes. I
begin by saying that I don’t have a safe and don’t need one. But I
have seen a number of so called ‘safes’ which aren’t anything of the
sort. I was born in and lived in an English pub (till we got bombed
out of it;) but my father’s safe was really that; It took three of us
with levers and rollers to move it across the room. But when we did
get burgled one Christmas Eve when the place was literally jumping,
they couldn’t get into the safe.

Then I have seen jewellers with ‘safes’ that one could pick up and
walk out of the shop with. Why would a burglar waste time and risk
getting caught trying to open a thing like that on the premises, when
he could take it home to his shed? Most small jewellers don’t need a
great heavy thing like my father’s; I know several who have small
safes, enough to contain their most valuable stock, but the safe is
set into a concrete floor; you’d need a thermal lance to get through
that. My whole point is that before one’s hard earned money is spent
on buying a safe, get intelligent opinions on your whole set up from
more than one security expert - who, preferably, isn’t going to try
and sell you his/hers. And then go to someone who has such a security
system installed and ask what the snags are. After all in these days
of very sensitive intruder detectors and phone-through silent alarms -
you really don’t want to be a sort of prisoner in your own place,
afraid to use the toilet in case you fire the alarm! Cheers and don’t
let the bastards grind you down (nil nisi illegitimus carborundum…)

John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ

Hello all, Our esteemed John Burgess wrote about setting small safes
in concrete floors. If one is building, that is the ideal time to
embed the safe in the foundation, and it’s on my list of must-haves in
a new building. However in a finished building another option is to
form up a concrete step in a corner, making it large enough to
surround the safe with several inches of concrete. It is possible
that the weight of the concrete alone will render the safe virtually
immovable, but if not, be sure to drill some holes in the concrete
floor and adjoining walls to insert the reinforcing rebar and secure
the new concrete (being poured) to the structure. Suspend the safe as
the manufacturer recommends and pour the concrete around it. If
confidentiality is important, this is a small enough job that one can
do it alone. Follow the instructions on the bag of dry concrete
pre-mix (like “QuikCrete”) and do the mixing in a couple 5 gal.
buckets. Just like casting investment, accurate volumes of water and
thorough mixing are important for strong concrete. Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Extension Associate
221 Call Hall Kansas State Univerisity
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-1213 FAX (785) 532-5681

I saw the debate about safes. I have a friend who works in London in
the UK as a locksmith. He has several contracts with banks there to
be the person that opens their safes when the keys are lost
(apparently not an uncommon event). I asked him a while ago about
safes. He said that floor safes (set in concrete in the floor) are
about as good as you get. He said he had never seen one that was
opened successfully by thieves. He had been called in to open several
that had got badly mangled by thieves trying to open them. They have
all sorts of protection devices (soft alloys that distort round the
lock so drilling is a problem) that make them very hard to get into.
Of course it is more trouble to get it set in the floor, but worth it
for the protection I think.

Andrew Jeavons
Andrew Jeavons
+1 513 871 8278

"I have forgotten much of what I knew…
And remembered much of what I had forgotten…"

a note on mixing concrete . something as a contractors son i saw alot
of! the dryer the mix the stronger the batch . the psi strenth is
directly related to the amount of water in the mix . when doing a
batch add extra water only by the cupful and mix completely before
adding more . also wear a mask , portland cement isn’t something you
want to breath! a set of googles isn’t a bad idea either for that
matter gloves to keep your hands from major chapping would help too .
hope this helps someone.

Talk to you later Dave Otto

If everyone is going to keep talking about safes here then you need to
consider some more basic things first. What is the risk factor you
are going to deal with? Is the neighborhood you are in safe (pun
intended) or not? What type of alarm system do you have protecting
your location and your safe? How much value are you trying to
protect? It simply doesn’t make sense to spend $15,000 and a whole
lot of time trying to lay concrete if your inventory is only worth
$15-20,000. You need to consider all of the security issues you face
together. If you have a highly sophisticated alarm system it may not
be necessary to get as good a safe. If you DO have a high value
inventory your insurance company will probably give you minimum
security ratings for a safe to protect yourself. Generally speaking
any TRTL30X6 rated safe that cannot be picked up easily and is also
protected by an alarm system should take care of any inventory valued
up to about $1,000,000. Please also remember that the greatest threat
to jewelers today is NOT break-ins and safe attacks, but hold ups.
You can have a billion dollar safe, and unless you are standing inside
it with the door closed and locked, you can still be held up and lose

So your first line of defense is to be properly insured. Your second
line of defense is to have an alarm system, preferably UL rated, with
panic buttons and back up reporting systems to the alarm company (and
that you keep properly serviced, maintained and updated). Your third
line of defense is to have a safe that is appropriate for the
inventory you carry (and that won’t fall through the floor as it
sometimes looks like ours is about to do). Then you also need to stay
updated about criminals working your area (try joining the Jewelers
Security Alliance), and remember to be aware of any suspicious
activity around you. Security is not simply buying a safe and
throwing your stuff in it. It involves setting up a series of
will make it so difficult for the criminal who is casing you that he
will simply go to the other jeweler down the street who isn’t putting
up as many defenses. In an ideal world of course, that jeweler would
also be well prepared, and the criminal will simply give up and go rob
a bank (at which point the FBI become involved and actually pay
attention to the bad guys). Daniel R. Spirer, G.G. Spirer Somes
Jewelers 1794 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02140 617-491-6000

Good points all,

As an additional thought for consideration, you can usually pick up a
decent used TRTL 30x6 rated safe for $1,500.00 or so (maybe less).
IMO It’s a good “investment” to protect your clients merchandise (and
yours) during the day and at night (you are keeping your safe locked
during the day aren’t you?) Combine this with “buzz locks” (or
electromagnetic locks) and an “air-lock” and for a minimal amount of
money you will have discouraged 99% of the problem.


        a note on mixing concrete . something as a contractors son
i saw alot of! the dryer the mix the stronger the batch .  the psi
strenth is directly related to the amount of water in the mix . 

I don’t like to get really detailed on this subject(since this is a
jewelry forum) but for those who are interested in making their one
concrete for having a safe,I need to add this The
strength of concrete is more related to the mixture of sand,
gravel,cement and additions but not to water.The industrial company’s
in Europe who’re producing concrete have a lot of water in the
meaning of having it fairly liquid.The reason for this is because the
use of concrete pumps.If the concrete is to dry then it becomes very
unhandable and their pumps would ber ruin in no time!The truck with
the pump costs about 500,000 US$ … for the smallest one. The rate
between sand and concrete is one to three.Additional gravel between
15 mm and 20 mm gives it more strength.Using an iron web gives it
more body and little amounts of the cheapest household soap gives a
better consistency. If you could get a hold on a concrete vibrator
then do use it.The less airbubbles you have in your concrete the
better it is.Allow the concrete to dry for a week before you start
drilling into it.If you would like to have your safe on the first
floor,then use a plastic foile to cover the hole before you drop your
concrete. Follow the instruction mentioned by Dave concerning health
and precautions. I’ve been there,done that,got the T-shirt!

Regards Pedro

Hello Daniel.

Interresting point of view! I’m looking into having a safe for
different reasons.

1.I do not like to go each time to bank to collect my gemstones in
order to work with them.

2.Same reason for the precious metal I have and the fixed items.

3.If I go out,I never have jewelry in my car or with me and I feel
much saver when I know that people with a high potential of loaning
items from somebody else for a longer period of time do have a hell
of a job by trying to get something and properly never getting it.

4.I do not like to run into the latest brandnew stuff of high
technology safes, but I would preffer of having an old havy reliable
safe with turning codes.The reason for this is that the older
criminals are getting very rare and the new generation do not have
the knowledge of this old stuff.

5.The insurance needs all kind of precaution as you already mentoned
in your mail.With my old safe, they don’t care about it and I
neither. If thieves really want to have something,they will go for it
and no safe will be save enough.

6.Frequently you find old safes on fleamarkets.Costs, about 500 US$.I
can protect many items for 500,- bucks!!

7.I do not draw the attention to me,my family or my house by having
an alarm system.Whatever you have,the other part already has a
countersystem,specially on electronic devices.

8.Here in Europe,thieves even steal furniture,items who are not to
hot (in temperature of course) or to heavy they dissapear.

I do have a kind of protection system which is not on the market and
it is very safe but … I’m not going to tell anybody about
it.By doing this,I already made my first secure step.

However Daniel,I do understand you and in many way’s I agree with
you,but this is my opinion and maybe this sounds not to bad for other
fellow jewellers.It’s a game of give and take and you better don’t
lose on this one.

Regards Pedro

I just recently opened a new studio. I was amazed at how the
expenses snowballed! First I had to get jewelers insurance, then an
alarm system, and a safe. I freaked out when I found out the safe
was going to cost anywhere from $900 (used) to $2,000. I had a brain
storm and called a friend who has an aution house. Fortunately he
also has some kind of fetish for safes! He had quite a few. I was
able to buy the cutest safe for $150.- I know how can a safe be
cute. But it is, it looks like some Wells Fargo thing. It’s black
and about 25"x25". Now getting it in the studio. That was a trip.
My husband had to chain it to the front end of the plow on the
tractor. Then him and his friend slid it on peg board across the
room. We had to put it on blocks to keep it from going through the
floor. All that to say that you can find a safe that’s reasonably
priced if you look around. My insurance company o.k.ed it because I
don’t have more than about $25,000 worth of inventory. Now if I had
around a million that would be a differant story. That’s a problem I
think I could deal with. :slight_smile: ~Poppy~