Moving a safe - Ideas?


July 27, 2006, 03:39 PM
I need to temporarily move my gun safe to recarpet/remodel the room it's in. I have called around (Seattle area) and the cheapest I can find is $400, to move it 15' and then back again. That seems completely unreasonable. It's a Graffunder, so it's fairly heavy, about 1600 lbs I think. Anybody out there ever tackle such a job themselves? There's no stairs or obstacles other than the door it will go through. I'm looking for ideas on how to do this. Thanks in advance for any help.


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July 27, 2006, 03:43 PM
Hardware stores have castors and sliders for this purpose. You put one under each corner and move the object where you want it. The trick is to find industrial strength ones that can take the weight of a safe.

July 27, 2006, 03:45 PM
I have a 700 pound safe that was once in a closet. I was able to slide it in out on the carpet using those little plastic sliders they sell for moving furniture around on carpeting.

If you don't have carpeting where the safe is, get a runner.

July 27, 2006, 03:53 PM
My safe weighs 1400 lbs empty and the easiest way I found to move it was to use metal pipes and roll the safe over them. I used the black gas line that you can get at a home center. Cut it in 3 ft lengths and roll the vault on top, slide the safe forward and move some of the pipe in front of the safe as you're pushing. You will only need 4 or 5 pieces that way.

July 27, 2006, 04:06 PM
I just went out and bought an appliance handtruck (rated to 1200 lbs) from Northern Tool & Equipment.

July 27, 2006, 04:48 PM

That's the way I was thinking of doing it. Do you know what size of black pipe you used? Also, I'm going to have to make a turn, was that easy enough?

July 27, 2006, 04:51 PM
Buy some beer & steaks and use it as an incentive for your friends to come over and help.

Seriously, maybe one of those pallet jack cart things

July 27, 2006, 04:52 PM
Golf balls! About a bucket worth...on its side.

I can't say it will work for sure for your 1400lb safe but they work up 800lbs.


July 27, 2006, 05:00 PM
I've moved my 900 lb safe twice with the help of 3-4 strong friends. Here's my experiences.

Here are your options, in order of ease for just a short move inside the house.

Empty the safe.

Get a piece of strong steel solid pipe and cut it into lenghts the same as your safe. Have friends help you tilt the safe back to put it on the pipe and roll it like the Egyptians moved rock blocks. Lay down old carpet for runners to protect the floor.

If it's on carpet, get friends to help you push it across the carpet. May damage the carpet. You can have friends pulling with heavy duty straps and some friends pushing. Push/pull toward the bottom so it doesn't tumble over. Put the corners on little casters if it's possible to reduce the friction as much as possible.

You can put it on a strong tarp or blanket and push it that way to reduce friction on tile, hardwood, other smooth services.

Move it with a steel heavy duty handtruck and friends where you are able to. Use several heavy duty ratchet style straps wrapped around the safe and handtruck to keep it positioned when you move it.

July 27, 2006, 05:04 PM
First thing is to unload the safe.
Second, rent a heavy duty hand truck to move the thing.
Third, buy some wood shims at a lumber store.
Use the shims to raise the front of the safe, put the hand truck shoe under, strap it on and move it.
Rolling on pipes may not work with a carpet or rug.

July 27, 2006, 05:09 PM
I used to move safes for a living...

Very simple if you know how...

you will need:

2 or 3 'rollers' - 1/2" solid round bar-stock - Home Depot/Lowes...

1 3' long pry bar/crowbar

2 to 4 small 1/2" and 1' think blocks of wood - as in a foot-long 1x4 and 2x4


Pry up the chest (from under the hinge) just enough to get a roller inserted about 1"

now Pry from Under the chest (from the gap made by the roller) and insert a roller 3' back from face (or side) of chest - PERPENDICULAR to the path to be traveled. Remove temporary roller.

Now PUSH chest in direction of travel - may need a pry bar on the back side to get it rolling.

Once the chest gets to BREAK point (teeters from weight back to weight front) push it back JUST enough to get another roller under the front - parallel to the first - then rock the chest forward again till it picks up BOTH rollers...

as the chest moves, it will come off of the first roller - replace it from back to front and Repeat...

IF YOU ARE ROLLING THIS ON CARPET you will need decking down...

The Smallest roller for the job is best - but not too small...

Pipe rollers will work but are a bit more difficult to work with...

One man can move a 10.000 lb. chest this way Single Handedly...

PM or email me if you have any questions... enjoy!

July 27, 2006, 05:17 PM
Just about any Graffunder is going to be too heavy for a dolly.

As stated above a few times, rolling the safe on pipe is the most logical method. Be careful, as it doesn't take but a spit second for you to be missing some fingers or toes.

$400 might seem like a lot for a short move, but I bet it's less than what a trip to the ER might cost if you make a mistake.

Fred Fuller
July 27, 2006, 05:23 PM
I've seen it done by a pro- TC-TX nailed it. He used approximately 1" solid stock rollers 3' long, and had three of them under the safe as long as it was moving in a straight line. He set them under the safe on an angle to turn it.

Get some thin plywood (3/8") to go over the existing carpet (you'll need it again when you reinstall the safe on the new carpet) and cut it down to fit your rollers (3' wide plus or minus a bit depending on your door width). You will need a couple of sections of plywood, just 'step' them one ahead of the other as you move the safe along on the rollers, overlappint the edges a bit so the safe rolls off the section it's on easily to the next one.

It works...


July 27, 2006, 05:35 PM
He set them under the safe on an angle to turn it.Thanks Lee - I almost forgot that part...

YES - if you have a WIDE arc in which to turn. set the rollers at an angle toward the turn. 15-20 degrees at most per roller and gradually increase as you get to the true path.

IF you find yourself with the need to turn or 'spin' the chest in a small space, once you get the chest on top of two rollers, you can spin it by hand...


The Chest will move Easiest and Safest with NO MORE THAN TWO ROLLERS UNDER THE CHEST AT A TIME - you can get one 'high-ended' otherwise... Three IF YOU MUST for a short period...

The DOOR Side is almost always the HEAVIEST Side - don't jack up the back too high or you can dump it on its face...

THE BLOCKS I mentioned earlier are for using as a 'foot' for the pry bar to protect the floor and to get the pry bar to the proper height.

THE BLOCKS are ALSO as a safety to use UNDER the chest if for any reason you need to Block up the chest OR if you need to protect fingers when placing or pulling out a roller.


July 27, 2006, 05:44 PM
OK - I will get it all in here sooner or later...;)

On the decking...

I recommend - if you are using it to protect Carpet - I recommend minimum 1/2" plywood... anything less will crack and your rollers will get STUCK... because of the soft carpet under a concentrated weight on the roller...

also - do not overlap the plywood - simply butt the square ends together...

take 1 4x8 sheet and cut (the 48" direction) it into 3 equal pieces approx 32"x48"

these three pieces is all you will need... set all three in place (32" ends touching) and move along... Flip-flop the pieces till you get to you destination...

You can use 3/8" if you are protecting a hard Surface floor...

anything else I forgot??? :confused: :confused:


July 27, 2006, 05:46 PM
Make sure - BEFORE YOU START - that it is a SOLID BOTTOM chest and NOT a hollow bottom chest...

Things are a Bit Different if you are dealing with a hollow Bottom...

Let us know...

:) :) :) :)

EDIT NOTE: There are many ways to get the job done... I have provided for you the Safest, Easiest and Least expensive way to get the job done and a way where you can do it solo... PLUS you will have the experience AND the rollers for any future moves that may come up.

Let me know if I can assist you.

July 27, 2006, 05:56 PM
Go to your local rental store and ask for a piano moving rig. Moved mine by myself and it weighs 1100lbs.

shooting time
July 27, 2006, 06:03 PM
I moved mine using 1/2" water pipe about 8 pieces 3ft long by my self and the safe weighs 850 lbs empty so if you had help it would be a piece of cake with the round pipes.

July 27, 2006, 06:23 PM
Thanks everyone. TCTX That's pretty much exactly how I had thought how to do it. Lee, thanks for the "angled pipe" trick to turn. I will have to turn it 90 deg. to get it out the door. I got a humungous heavy duty pry bar from my neighbor that easily got one side of the safe up. My plan is to get some plywood underneath it (it's on carpet) then get a piece of pipe in the center so I can rock it back to get a piece of pipe under the back of it and then one in the front. Then roll it slowly on succesive pieces of plywood.

And you're right, on a that safe, the door weighs 500 lbs itself. Not a toy.

I have also PM'd you

July 27, 2006, 06:31 PM
sounds like, if the door is removable, that would be worth the effort.

Just a thought...

July 27, 2006, 06:32 PM
If you are remolding and recarpeting it seems to me the easiest, safest and most cost effective way would be not to move it and make it become part of the wall it is against. But Iím kinda lazy. :D

July 27, 2006, 06:39 PM
PM replied to...

ACTUALLY - it is NOT a good idea to remove the door for several reasons:

1) the door is HEAVY - it can be VERY unwieldy AND DANGEROUS when it is off of its hinges... VERY Dangerous like a BIG FAT KNIFE if it falls to its edge... cutting off toes and feet and anything else that gets in its way...

2) removing the door makes the rest of the safe VERY UNSTABLE as you now have a Large Metal Box that is OVER-WEIGHTED to one side - the back side - because the door is missing to counterbalance the back of the safe...

3) Rehanging doors - Vault Doors or Safe Doors - is a Major PAIN if you are not skilled at it... it is REAL easy to bend a hinge pin and THEN you have more major issues...

Bottom line - if you are moving the chest in the way described, you do not buy anything by removing the door. Moving the chest is easy once you get the rhythm down... hardly break a sweat! Removing and replacing the door does nothing but add more work AND POTENTIAL DANGER to the project...

YMMV... Enjoy!

July 27, 2006, 06:49 PM
just to add. dont hurt yourself

definatly enlist the aid of some friends. will cost you a thirty rack of beer and some burgers.

If you are remolding and recarpeting it seems to me the easiest, safest and most cost effective way would be not to move it and make it become part of the wall it is against. But Iím kinda lazy.

my kind of logic!

July 27, 2006, 09:13 PM

What model Graffunder? That weight would be about right for a B16, which is 40" X 27" X 60". Do not attempt to remove the door, it's really not necessary, & as has been accuratly pointed out, dangerous.

The 1/2" plywood is correct for pile carpet, also the solid bar rollers. Turning can also be done on a plastic, visquine, sheet if you can manuver the unit on it without too much bunching up. One guy on each corner & all just push, hopefully, in the same direction at the same time.

Or, use the plywood & rent a pallet jack & cut an 8' 4X4 to whatever lengths you need to block & manuver the jack. Usually two the depth of the safe & two 8" shorties that allow a corner to be blocked without interfering with a jack shift from end to side or vice-versa. Use enough plywood so the jack does not come off it & sink into deep carpet. That will almost certainly cause more excitement than you want to have. If necessary, bridge any gaps in the ply with a couple of 2'X2' 1/8" steel plates.

I'm very familiar with Graffunder's & moved a B11 this morning. But then, I do it professionaly.

PM me if you wish to.


July 28, 2006, 12:39 AM
Don't forget to use your head before you start:

Measure the safe and any doorways it has to go through before you start the move.

Make sure you have everything that you need before you start. Put it some place close, but not where you will be tripping over it.

If you have others helping you, make sure everybody is vocal. When you're pushing, lifting, or lowering, make sure everybody knows so that they can act accordingly.

Finally, in the event something goes wrong, get out of the way. Safes and walls can be replaced, people can't.

Ideas like the golf balls would work, but can be very dangerous. The last thing you want to happen is to trip and fall in front of a safe that's in motion.

July 28, 2006, 08:45 AM
Helped a buddy of my install/move a Fort Knox Yeager couple years ago, biggest one they made 7241, just under 2000#. Was taken off the truck with a hand cart then moved into the house with 2 inch PVC pipe. Pipe was at least 2 inch 3ft sections, had 6 or 8, we had on problems moving where he wanted. My opinion save your money and get the PVC and NOT the steel.

July 28, 2006, 09:10 AM
Helped a buddy of my install/move a Fort Knox Yeager couple years ago, biggest one they made 7241, just under 2000#. Was taken off the truck with a hand cart then moved into the house with 2 inch PVC pipe. Pipe was at least 2 inch 3ft sections, had 6 or 8, we had on problems moving where he wanted. My opinion save your money and get the PVC and NOT the steel.

PVC is the far better option that steel. It's not only cheaper, but easier to maneuver into place. It'll take a lot of weight, especially when used in combination. I'd say you can "wiggle" the safe around on top of the PVC easier than steel too (less friction from plastic to metal than metal on metal).

I've moved one safe and PVC was the way we did it.

July 28, 2006, 09:32 AM
I used to move safes for a living as well...We routinely moved up to 4000# ones with 2 guys, and up to 6000# with 3 guys. All a matter of physics, and using your head.

Rollers/plywood, as stated is the way to go.. However, you'll definitely want metal rollers, PVC will crush under that kinda weight, and be difficult to roll, or completely break.

Don't remove the door. We would only remove a door if we had to "tip" the safe alot. You'll only have to tip it a couple degrees to get the rollers underneath.

Doorways are trickiest part...Rollers should be short enough to go through doorway OR just make sure you hit the door way so that the "next" roller is spaced properly.

July 28, 2006, 09:51 AM
I might as well add my 2 cents to this.
I have moved a couple of safes, one weighed 1100 lbs and the other weighed 15 tons!! It was also full of money. Actually, on that one, I was helping a professional safe guy. We raised it with pry bars and put it on solid 1" steel rollers. It moved so easily, it would scare you. If it were to start to tip over, his advice was to run like he!!. :D His logic was good; you can always fix the safe, IF you are still around.
I used this limited experience when I installed my own gun safe. At only 1100 lbs, it was a piece of cake.

July 28, 2006, 09:51 AM
PVC is the far better option that steel.
IMO - definately NOT a good idea...

PVC will always flatten - even slightly - and potentially crush depending on the circumstances. The slightest flattening makes movement MUCH more difficult.

The BIGGER the roller, the more dangerous it is and more work is involved...

Also, moving a chest on steel rollers (steel on steel) is a LOT easier to move than steel on plastic. TRUST ME...

Small Solid steel rollers it the Safest and Best method to employ.

July 28, 2006, 11:42 AM

It's a B14. I checked my paperwork from when I bought it and it states the weight at 1460 lbs., my memory is bad. Still, that thing is pretty solid. If anyone out there is considering buying a safe, I can highly recommend a Graffunder. I originally got a recommendation from a locksmith who had to open a friends safe that was damaged in a burglary. He claimed they were one of the most difficult safes to break into and as fireproof as any, not to mention the extreme weight. And it's cool looking.

July 28, 2006, 12:16 PM

If any of you would be interested in obtaining a Graffunder, please PM me for a quote. These are true U.L. rated safes, not an RSC tin box.


July 28, 2006, 12:47 PM
We bought the little plastic discs for moving furniture and we can shove our safe around pretty easily wherever we want it to go. They really do work well!

Personal experience: Don't use a hand cart!! If it tips back just a speck too far, the wheels will roll forward and the whole thing will come back on you!

Be safe and good luck.:D

July 28, 2006, 02:26 PM
NRALIFE brought up a topic that I was thinking of posting soon. The twist is I have to bring my 650lb safe up a flight of stairs. I brought it down on a apliance dolly with 4 guys, but I am afraid going up is going to be a little more difficult.

July 28, 2006, 02:45 PM
Yes, I saw a case where a kid using a hand truck let the load (900 lbs) go too far toward himself and lost the balance. He was hanging on to the handle with both hands when it smashed into the concrete. 19 yo, lost all the fingers on both hands. Pinched off by the bar making contact with the concrete. BE CAREFUL!!

July 28, 2006, 02:45 PM
Just made a huge score over at Boeing surplus. Got 5 30" long 3/4" thick steel bars for the rollers for $9. A sheet of plywood at Home Depot and I think I'm set. Should I cut the bars a little longer than the safe is wide?

Otherguy Overby
July 28, 2006, 04:50 PM
If at first you don't succeed, cut em longer... :)

July 28, 2006, 05:16 PM

As was suggested earlier, measure any doorways first. A doorway is not where you want to get that thing stuck. Buy two sheets of plywood. My suggestion is roll end-wise, that's 22.75", & if you cut the bar stock to 24", you should be in great shape.

Get one corner up & put a ply in from the end. Put a bar in on a diagonal & start the safe out both to the end and away from the wall. You'll only need to gain 6" or so & then you can go any direction you want.


July 28, 2006, 05:48 PM
I bribed the vending machine guy at work. For 50 bucks he came out to the house one friday with a vending machine dollie. I got quotes from the moving company anywhere from 4-$800. 50 was a deal. I only had to move it once though.

July 28, 2006, 07:01 PM

That's the plan. All dimensions have been measured. The safe is ~25" wide when you account for the handle, and spokes.

August 22, 2006, 02:27 PM
Thanks for all the good info. Especially TC-TX and CB900F. It worked perfectly. I was very surprised at how easily the safe moved on the plywood. I ended up using 4 - 1/2" solid steel round bars rolled on 1/2" plywood. The plywood did compress slightly from the weight. The trick of angling the bars to turn the safe was key, thanks TC-TX. It literally started to turn itself with almost no effort. It took me longer to empty the darn thing out and put all the stuff back in that it took to move it. A few suggestions for anyone attempting this:

1) Plan, Plan, Plan. Make sure you have EVERYTHING you will need very handy. It really helped to have a whole bunch of different sized wood blocks. 1/2" thick, 3/4", 1", etc of all different sizes.

2) Have a REAL sturdy pry bar. I used one I borrowed from my neighbor, about 4 feet long, made out of an old Model A drive shaft.

3) Be patient and coordinate every move with your help (Mrs. NRA4LIFE here).

4) Do not EVER say out loud "What was I thinking, buying a safe this heavy?" Your brain will now automatically repeat that approximately every 30 seconds.

Again, thanks for all the tips.

August 22, 2006, 02:40 PM
Congrats NRA4Life - it is a great feeling getting to over power a Huge Block of weight with mere brain-power!

All the best!

August 22, 2006, 04:55 PM

Glad it went well for you. As you said, planning beats sore muscles & an aching back every time.

Good for you!


August 22, 2006, 08:35 PM
Pay the money it is way cheaper than getting hurt. Pro's are good for a lot of things.

January 22, 2010, 03:56 AM
the best way to move a safe is with machine rollers or machine skates. you can rent them at any tool rental place. they are designed to handle heavy loads up to 30 tons and you can roll it around wherever. You can lift your safe up with a Johnson jack or a car jack to get the rollers/skates underneath them. I know...I've done it. also can use a pallet jack/lift. is usefull too.

January 22, 2010, 09:26 PM
Hire somebody.

50 bucks and done.

January 22, 2010, 11:53 PM
Wow. Old thread.

Hire somebody.

50 bucks and done.

I don't know if I'd hire a $50 safe mover. Probably doesn't have insurance, equipment, or even shoes for that price.

In the St. Louis area, and we're lower than many other areas, we get $125 an hour shop to shop. This includes 2 men and basic equipment.

September 21, 2010, 05:03 PM
great thread

September 21, 2010, 05:40 PM
Think like the Egyptians... (no not slave labor). Use rollers, golf balls, softballs, baseballs, metal pipes, etc. Just protect your floor and be careful not to tip it and kill someone... and make sure your homeowners is up to date!

Guns and more
September 21, 2010, 09:02 PM
Call all the safe sellers and see if they will move it. $400 sounds outrageous since I paid $125 to have my safe delivered and positioned.

Here was the slickest tool. They brought a bag of wood strips, roughly 4' x 2" x 3/4".
On one side was rubber for the hardwood floors, on the top was teflon to go next to the safe bottom. They laid the strips out like railroad tracks, and zip! the safe slid like it was on ice. Coolest tool I've ever seen. Theyt had to take the door off the room, and the handle off the safe, and it cleared by 1/4". They were worth their money, but not $400.

September 21, 2010, 09:44 PM
$400 sounds outrageous since I paid $125 to have my safe delivered and positioned.

Why do you think one guy might charge $400, and the other $125?

When one of my trucks pulls up out front, you're looking at about $100,000 worth of equipment, two guys with several years of experience, complete background checks, and several million dollars worth of liability insurance. We also have specialized equipment, some of it custom built, to ensure a move that results in no damage to the safe or your property, or injury to yourself or my employees.

I wouldn't even start my truck for $125.

With that said, I have charged several thousand dollars to remove gun safes off of collapsed stairways where the $125 guys were attempting a delivery. Of course their insurance policies didn't cover my charges since there were no policies in the first place.

Moving safes is dangerous work. This isn't an area that you want to go cheap. Just because somebody sells them doesn't make them a pro either, which is why most gun safe retailers in our area use us for their delivery work.

Average cost for a gun safe delivery would range from $250 to $400 depending on stairs, yards, etc. I think our record for a gun safe move was $2,500.

We did this one a few weeks ago. Think the $125 guy has a toy like this parked out back? ;)

o Unforgiven o
September 21, 2010, 09:46 PM
It always amazes me people use the search feature, find an ancient thread and post in it. Then, someone makes a comment about how old it is and right below him are even more replies to a 4 year old problem that was solved. Sheesh, although Im sure the guy values your suggestions even if a little late...;)

September 21, 2010, 10:17 PM
lots of huffing and puffing with a network of cribbing is how i moved mine with a few friends... though i had to take it over a 7-8" thresh-hold on a sliding door so you might not need the cribbing. i'd do the rollers really, sounds pretty straight forward
EDIT: OOOPS.... Old post...

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