Safe question : where to anchor?


January 28, 2006, 05:02 PM
(I'm crossposting this from TFL in order to accumulate the maximum amount of data before I act. Thanks for obliging :) )

Been ogling my new Liberty all week and this weekend I want to bolt it down. But I have a little sanity check I'd like to make.

Basically, I live in a 1 story house with a crawlspace. Any bolting down would be through the wood floor into the crawlspace. The place I'd like to put the safe is in the same room as the entrance to the (easily visible) crawlspace. Aside from navigating some nearby low hanging ductwork, any thief would have easy access to the underflooring right by the bolts. Safe is only 450 pounds.

So - is this just a dumb idea on my part? On the one hand, even if I move the safe to the other side of the house, it's not that far to crawl if you really want to take the bolts out. Maybe 60-90 seconds. However, it just feels foolish to bolt it down such that access to the bolts is pretty simple.

What do the experts recommend? Peen/dent/weld the bolts so that you'd have to cut them out? Brick/mortar the area up as a shield to the bolts? Some other kind of sneaky technique? Or just bite the bullet and move it in the hopes that the extra 30 feet a determined thief would have to crawl is enough additional deterrent? Again, I'd really like to leave it in my selected location, as long as it doesn't nullify 80% of the security value.

Thanks again!

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January 28, 2006, 05:08 PM
Use your drill and run lag bolts into the floor joists, bolting through the deck is only 3/4" ply. Even if only a couple holes are into the joist and the others bolted through it will increase the problem.

If you want the poor man's solution to the thief bringing along his own wrench or using one of yours, using long bolts and bending them over with a hammer so the nut can't be screwed off would work.

Maybe box in the joist space with wood so the thief would have to get through that as well just to get to the nuts. If he even thought to look.

In the end, all you can do is make it harder, noisier and more time-consuming. There ain't no safe out there that can't be taken or broken.

January 28, 2006, 06:01 PM
Like Carebear said, you are only going to slow them down if they are determined. Your concern is they can crawl under the floor, and unbolt it? The simple solution is to point the bolts up, into the safe, and put two nuts on each bolt, inside the safe. The two nuts tightened together would have to be held while the bolt was unscrewed. Pay attention to the fact that the two nuts are locked together tighter than the bolt is to the first nut. Maybe even leave the bolt a tiny bit loose, so it spins easy, turning both nuts with it.

January 28, 2006, 06:12 PM
Didn't think of going up.

You could use a round head bolt, they'd have to cut it or the floor at that point. You'd want to mount a sleeve doohickey in the decking to hold it from spinning so it would stay put when the time came to unbolt the nuts inside the safe.

January 28, 2006, 06:18 PM
Add two or three layers of 3/4 inch plywood under the safe to help with the anchoring? Or just run them through the joists, as has been suggested.

In either case, it is a simple matter to conceal the bolts pretty well. Simply countersink the holes enough so that the bolts do not protrude above the surface of the wood, and then fill the holes with epoxy. Sand smooth after the epoxy has cured. If you want to be really fancy, cover the bolts in two stages and make the last quarter-inch or so Plastic Wood, so it'll blend better.

You can also use those large, round-headed bolts like they put piers and docks together with, so you don't have to countersink them so deeply.

January 28, 2006, 06:23 PM
Four round-head bolts with heads in the basement. Use a locknut and leave about a quarter-inch of slack between the floor and the top nut.
Apply J&B Weld to the threads and lock'em down. Grind the corners off the nuts. The gap is there so that you can get a cut-off wheel in if you need to move the safe. SAE grade 5 or better for the bolts makes a hacksaw a long, hard route to take for bolt head removal...and probably a couple packs of blades to finish the job.

Several bags of lead shot in the floor adds to the burden of carrying it away.
May require extra support under the safe...but it'll take a pro football team to get it out of the house even if they do have time to cut the bolts.

January 28, 2006, 06:25 PM
Mine is not attached to anything, but they have to find it first..........

That's gonna take a while.

January 28, 2006, 06:27 PM
Drill from the bottom through the joist and floor, use carriage bolts, inserted from underneath.
Leaves nothing outside the safe to get hold of.
Also consider putting a couple of lag bolts into studs, would prevent someone rocking the safe back and forth.

January 28, 2006, 06:36 PM
Load up (buy) a few thousand rounds of ammo and put in safe; add several hundred dollars of rolled coins (Usefull in a SHTF situation) infact use it to store anything valuable & heavy. Unless they have a lot of friends they aren't carrying it anywhere.

Working Man
January 28, 2006, 06:46 PM
Bolt through floor using a cold weld type on the nuts and grind/file nuts
round/cornerless. Bolt in cross pieces if possible so they can't get around or
behind it.... The object is to make as much as a pain in the @$$ as
possible and take as long as possible to break free or get to the back
(where weaker in many safes).

January 28, 2006, 06:56 PM
When bolting my safe down, I was unable to get the bolts into joists due to the location of the safe.

I did as suggested above, and ran the bolts up into the safe. Instead of a stop nut, I simply red loctited the nuts.

Under the floor, I cut a 8x8" chunk of 3/8 plate and used that for a backer plate for a grade 8 bolt on each corner. The rationale was that with a little rocking, you could get a regular washer/bolt to come right up through 3/4 ply--especially if the safe had any weight to it.

At this point, I think the only way to get the safe unbolted is to
A. Open it, heat the bolt and, with a partner holding the nut inside back off the bolt below for each corner.
B. Cut the floor away around each of my 8x8 backer plates. I hope my insurance covers cleaning up the mess when 1500 lbs of safe comes through the floor on top of the cutter!
C. Knock out a wall, hook a tow chain to the safe and to an F350 4x4 in low range. Drive away.

Oh yeah, bring a big grinder and just grind the heads off the bolts. Probably the easiest and fastest (well, except for the truck solution maybe)

January 28, 2006, 07:20 PM
Instead of using bolts, why not get some heavy-duty screws, three or four inches long? Screw down through the floor into a thick block of wood below the floor, long enough to reach from under your safe to the nearest joist(s). The screws will be completely hidden in the block of wood. Then, screw through the joist into the block of wood, using the same heavy-duty screws, so that it's securely fastened to the joist. Hey presto - no bolts to undo!

January 28, 2006, 07:38 PM
Re: Sanity check.

Do consider how you are going to get the safe unbolted when you move. Carriage bolts going up sounds like the way to go.

Drilling a hole thru a single joist may weaken it to the point of failure (1/2 to 3/4 carriage bolt thru 2x (1 1/2) joist.) I would sister on a joist section just for the safe.

January 28, 2006, 11:06 PM

Get a piece of 1/4" plate that's wider than two floor joists. Put a hole in it & then weld a CAT grade 8 bolt to it that's long enough to extend from the bottom of the plate up through your floor into the safe. Double nut the bolt. If you are truly concerned, drill a coupla more holes in the plate & lag bolt it to the two joists. The plate only needs to be maybe 8" X 20", not too big.


Do a search for a thread started by VTX entitled "What gun safe for $800?" Read the whole thread, it's informative. Down at the bottom of the first page you'll find a photo posted by a1abdj.


Burt Blade
January 28, 2006, 11:27 PM
Camoflage the crawlspace area under the safe. Run some dummy electrical conduit and a couple of junction boxes where the bolts are visble.

January 29, 2006, 09:33 PM
Just bolt it down on the joist with lags , If they want it so bad they are going into the crawl space and take that kind of time , I would say they are going to get it one way or another. If they are going that far they might as well just cut the floor around the safe and get it anyway. I would not worry after bolting it down.

January 30, 2006, 12:02 AM
I might have missed something. Is it not possible to bolt it to a stud in the wall? My cheapo Sentry safe recommended bolting to the floor or wall as equally secure options. It did warn not to do both.
Also, is the entrance to your crawlspace lockable? If not, it probably should be.
Enjoy your safe. I was never too worried about theft before I got mine, but the security it provides now is a great feeling.

January 30, 2006, 10:44 AM
My cheapo Sentry safe recommended bolting to the floor or wall as equally secure options. It did warn not to do both.
Why not both?

Would this caveat apply to all safes?

January 30, 2006, 03:05 PM
Why not both?

Would this caveat apply to all safes?

The reason they don't want you to bolt them to both the floor and the wall is because the steel is so thin that you can torque the safe by doing so. If you torque the safe, then the door may not lock up correctly.

So in short: Yes, you can bolt a gun safe to both the floor and the wall, but be very careful doing so. Most real safes are substantial enough that bolting them won't make them flex.

1 old 0311
January 30, 2006, 03:22 PM
Another advantage of boxing the bolt in with wood is you may find bugs/animal that move in. Banging on a bees nest, or rustling up a snake would get his attention.:evil:


January 30, 2006, 03:54 PM
Wouldn't the theif have to know a. that you had guns and a gun safe and b. know how you had it secured to the floor/wall?

It sounds like you would have to have a substansial security breach before you would have to worry about that safe getting legs.


R.H. Lee
January 30, 2006, 03:59 PM
What if the theif just took an axe to the side of the safe? He wouldn't have to worry about bolts or even carrying the safe off at all. He could get inside, get the goodies and scoot.

January 30, 2006, 05:36 PM
If you're NEVER going to move it, construction adhesive applied to the bottom after you have the bolts ready to install would be an added (if not overkill) precaution.

January 30, 2006, 06:00 PM
What if the theif just took an axe to the side of the safe? He wouldn't have to worry about bolts or even carrying the safe off at all. He could get inside, get the goodies and scoot.

Which is exactly why all of the welding, glue, use 10 bolts, & chain a dog to it ideas are overkill. Just like these kids in those imported cars. There's only so much you can do to a Honda Civic, and when it's all said and done, it's still not fast.

You could poor a 30 ton block of concrete around a gun safe, and it's still not going to make it secure.

If your situation requires real security, there's not a Liberty, Browning, or Fort Knox safe that's going to help. You'll need the protection from a real safe at that point.

January 30, 2006, 09:05 PM

What a1abdj says is correct. If, they have enough time, if they can bring enough force, 'they' can get into anything. We got into the national vaults of Iraq.

What you are trying to do is make it easier for 'them' to go down the street & find a softer target. Just do keep in mind that an RSC with sheet metal sides is not a large obstical to forced entry.

900 F

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