Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

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novemberrain
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Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by novemberrain » Mon May 18, 2020 8:29 pm

I have a small attic crawl space. I am thinking of putting up a Vault Safe in there and kind of weld it there so that it will take a significant amount of time (few hours) for a burglar to remove the vault and carry it out. I am hoping I can foil at least a casual burglar who wants to be in-and-out in less than 10 minutes.

let me explain what I meant by welded. So I plan to
1. buy a regular metal vault and haul it up to the attic
2. weld long metal bars (much longer than the dimensions of the vault) to the sides of vault.

So it is not really welded to the house. But what I plan to achieve with this is that because of the protruding long metal bars, it will be impossible to carry the vault back down from the attic; which has a small entrance hole. The only way to remove the safe would be to bring an acetylene torch or something and melt and remove the metal bars.

It is just a small safe. Enough to keep my most important documents and some gold. I don't think the entire safe will weigh more than 50 or 100 lbs (excluding metal bars)

I plan to install it myself. Won't tell anyone.

What do you guys think ?

Where do you guys keep a vault safe in your home ? Is it welded to the house ?
Last edited by novemberrain on Mon May 18, 2020 11:00 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon May 18, 2020 8:37 pm

Welded? Do you have a steel house or steel I beam construction?

My house has a poured concrete foundation, basement walls, basement floor. If I were to want to secure a safe in my house, I'd bolt it into the concrete. Not at floor level, in case of water intrusion. Part way up a wall. And keep it hidden.
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novemberrain
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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by novemberrain » Mon May 18, 2020 8:53 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 8:37 pm
Welded? Do you have a steel house or steel I beam construction?
Not really. Actually let me explain what I meant by welded. So I plan to
1. buy a regular metal vault and haul it up to the attic
2. weld long metal bars (much longer than the dimensions of the vaule) to the sides of vault.

So it is not really welded to the house. But what I plan to achieve with this is that because of the protruding long metal bars, it will be impossible to carry the vault back down from the attic; which has a small entrance hole. The only way to remove the safe would be to bring an acetylene torch or something and melt and remove the metal bars.
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 8:37 pm
My house has a poured concrete foundation, basement walls, basement floor. If I were to want to secure a safe in my house, I'd bolt it into the concrete. Not at floor level, in case of water intrusion. Part way up a wall. And keep it hidden.
Nice.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by sport » Mon May 18, 2020 9:03 pm

Are the beams in the floor of the attic strong enough to hold the weight you plan to put up there? Since the building was not designed for this, it could be a problem.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Mon May 18, 2020 9:08 pm

Why go to all this trouble? Are you keeping large amounts of cash in your house?

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by NDAMERICA » Mon May 18, 2020 9:10 pm

Could someone with a decent hack saw cut off the metal beams where they extend beyond the safe?

I agree that excess weight in your attic would be the greater concern.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by StevieG72 » Mon May 18, 2020 9:11 pm

I don’t think any casual burglars will be going in your attic.
The only folks making that trip are people that you told you put a safe in your attic!
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novemberrain
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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by novemberrain » Mon May 18, 2020 9:14 pm

sport wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:03 pm
Are the beams in the floor of the attic strong enough to hold the weight you plan to put up there? Since the building was not designed for this, it could be a problem.
It is just a small safe. Enough to keep my most important documents and some gold. I don't think the entire safe will weigh more than 50 or 100 lbs

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by Lastrun » Mon May 18, 2020 9:16 pm

novemberrain wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 8:53 pm
The only way to remove the safe would be to bring an acetylene torch or something and melt and remove the metal bars.
Why could they just not hit up your tool bench and with a couple of your saws take out the ceiling drywall and wood beams in 10 minutes?

how long are these metal bars?

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by novemberrain » Mon May 18, 2020 9:17 pm

sport wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:03 pm
Are the beams in the floor of the attic strong enough to hold the weight you plan to put up there? Since the building was not designed for this, it could be a problem.
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:08 pm
Why go to all this trouble? Are you keeping large amounts of cash in your house?

It is just a small safe. Enough to keep my most important documents and some gold. I don't think the entire safe will weigh more than 50 or 100 lbs
NDAMERICA wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:10 pm
Could someone with a decent hack saw cut off the metal beams where they extend beyond the safe?
Unlikely. It would take hours.

StevieG72 wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:11 pm
The only folks making that trip are people that you told you put a safe in your attic!
I plan to install it myself. Won't tell anyone.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by whomever » Mon May 18, 2020 9:18 pm

1)The normal practice is to use heavy screws or lag bolts to bolt it to the studs/jousts/rafters (with the bolt heads inside the locked box). If you can span a few joists/studs/rafters then a thief has to cut those to remove the safe, all of which takes time.

2)If you do weld in an attic, be veeeeeerrrrryyyyy careful about starting a fire. It's not something I'd do. You could bolt the long bars to the safe instead.

3)I'm not sure what kinds of bars you are thinking of using, but a hacksaw will go through say 3/4 pipe or 1.5x1.5x1/8 angle iron about as easily as a handsaw will cut a 2x4.

4)If there is enough length of bar sticking out, and enough room, you'll be able to just bend it back and forth until it breaks (unless, again, you're using something pretty massive)

5)My philosophy is that you can't keep out a determined thief with enough time on their hands. The alarm is to make sure they don't have hours to work on searching or safecracking. Given that, you don't need a gonzo safe.

6)Attics are usually subject to extreme temperature swings ... not always optimal for whatever you are trying to protect. Gold bricks won't care :-)

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by whomever » Mon May 18, 2020 9:19 pm

"Unlikely. It would take hours."

What are you planning to use for beams?

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by Teague » Mon May 18, 2020 9:20 pm

Why not run the idea by your friendly neighborhood locksmith who deals in safes?

In any event, a burglar seeing this thing is going to think Sputnik landed in your attic.
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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by MP123 » Mon May 18, 2020 9:22 pm

Lastrun wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:16 pm
novemberrain wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 8:53 pm
The only way to remove the safe would be to bring an acetylene torch or something and melt and remove the metal bars.
Why could they just not hit up your tool bench and with a couple of your saws take out the ceiling drywall and wood beams in 10 minutes?

how long are these metal bars?
Or just stomp through the ceiling and drop the whole contraption between the joists.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by dukeblue219 » Mon May 18, 2020 9:23 pm

Don't weld in your attic. You'll burn the house down.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon May 18, 2020 9:27 pm

NDAMERICA wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:10 pm
Could someone with a decent hack saw cut off the metal beams where they extend beyond the safe?

I agree that excess weight in your attic would be the greater concern.
Cordless recip saw with cobalt blades.

How would anyone know to look in the attic in the first place??

Alternative locations??
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Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon May 18, 2020 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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novemberrain
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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by novemberrain » Mon May 18, 2020 9:29 pm

whomever wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:18 pm
1)The normal practice is to use heavy screws or lag bolts to bolt it to the studs/jousts/rafters (with the bolt heads inside the locked box). If you can span a few joists/studs/rafters then a thief has to cut those to remove the safe, all of which takes time.

2)If you do weld in an attic, be veeeeeerrrrryyyyy careful about starting a fire. It's not something I'd do. You could bolt the long bars to the safe instead.

3)I'm not sure what kinds of bars you are thinking of using, but a hacksaw will go through say 3/4 pipe or 1.5x1.5x1/8 angle iron about as easily as a handsaw will cut a 2x4.

4)If there is enough length of bar sticking out, and enough room, you'll be able to just bend it back and forth until it breaks (unless, again, you're using something pretty massive)

5)My philosophy is that you can't keep out a determined thief with enough time on their hands. The alarm is to make sure they don't have hours to work on searching or safecracking. Given that, you don't need a gonzo safe.

6)Attics are usually subject to extreme temperature swings ... not always optimal for whatever you are trying to protect. Gold bricks won't care :-)
Thanks. All good points. I am rethinking whether to just put the safe with bars in one of the closets instead of the attic.

I am not thinking about a determined thief who has lots of time. I am thinking about a casual run of the mill burglar who wants to be in and out in 10 minutes or less.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon May 18, 2020 9:32 pm

Shallow wall safe full height in the wall behind the frig?

Home security measures first layer.
Cameras, motion lights, fence, pistol safes if home invasion, guard cats.🙀

Security has failed by the time intruders enter a home.
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Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon May 18, 2020 9:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by novemberrain » Mon May 18, 2020 9:33 pm

whomever wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:19 pm
"Unlikely. It would take hours."

What are you planning to use for beams?
I don't know yet. I didn't think too much about that aspect. I just learnt from these answers that it is relatively easy to hack saw a metal bar.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by Watty » Mon May 18, 2020 9:37 pm

It sounds like there would be a non-zero chance of burning your house down. :oops:

The first thing to do would be to read the manual for the safe to see how it says to secure it.

The second thing to do would be to follow the instructions in the manual. :D

I have one of the cheepo ones and even it has pre-threaded holes in the bottom of it to secure it with bolts.

Your basic Walmart safe is just made out of thick sheet metal with a fire resistant lining that might not be too good for welding. The way that some safes are made fire resistant is that the lining releases water when it is heated, which could be a problem when welding.
Last edited by Watty on Mon May 18, 2020 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tsohg
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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by tsohg » Mon May 18, 2020 9:38 pm

Hard to believe this is more secure, in practice, than a shoe box well-hidden under the insulation.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Mon May 18, 2020 9:40 pm

Important documents are not usually taken by burglars. I'd just put them in a fireproof box, not a safe. Why do you need gold at your house? I'd sell the gold and buy stocks or bonds with the money.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Mon May 18, 2020 9:41 pm

I know that whatever you choose, you need to sell your house with the safe in it to a Boglehead someday, but not give them the combo. We will need something to discuss by then.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by whodidntante » Mon May 18, 2020 9:42 pm

Sounds fun. But a safe deposit box is more secure.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by whodidntante » Mon May 18, 2020 9:43 pm

motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:41 pm
I know that whatever you choose, you need to sell your house with the safe in it to a Boglehead someday, but not give them the combo. We will need something to discuss by then.
I wonder how many times we will have discussed mortgage payoff by then?

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by JimmyfromSunPrairie » Mon May 18, 2020 9:47 pm

For your metal bars, go to your local auto salvage yard and get a couple of used torsion bars from the front suspension of a vehicle. Should be able to get for next to nothing and these are nearly impossible to cut with a saw.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by sport » Mon May 18, 2020 9:52 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:43 pm
motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:41 pm
I know that whatever you choose, you need to sell your house with the safe in it to a Boglehead someday, but not give them the combo. We will need something to discuss by then.
I wonder how many times we will have discussed mortgage payoff by then?
Perhaps the safe would be a good place to keep a $5000 watch.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by rich126 » Mon May 18, 2020 9:54 pm

Seems pointless to me. It is easy to make copies (hard copy and scanned) of documents and store them in multiple places. Even in this "crisis" having a lot of cash on hand wasn't important. If things get to the point where you need gold coins and bars, there are bigger problems in the world and you'll need a small army to protect you.

And if someone breaks in and sees it, they are going to assume it has a ton of valuables and may force you to open it, if you are home, or they will get a few friends and come back when you are at home.

People often overthink things in life and this is one of them.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by F150HD » Mon May 18, 2020 10:00 pm

LOL.......why such extreme measures? do you have the KFC secret recipe at your home?

now if only this thread would get revived so we can see what was in the safe

Found hidden safe, should we crack?

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by stuper1 » Mon May 18, 2020 10:03 pm

I went through this whole thought process myself at one point in regard to my important documents and gold. The three things that worry me are burglars, fire, and me dying and my wife/kids not knowing where to find stuff. Mainly due to the risk of fire, I decided that a safe deposit box at the bank was worth $50 a year. It's a hassle having to go over there every time I need an important document, like say when I had to get my driver's license upgraded to REAL ID, but I just remind myself that it's a lot less hassle than losing all of that important stuff in a house fire. At this point, the $50 a year is like an expense ratio of less than 0.01% when compared to our investment portfolio size, so it's really nothing. And I definitely sleep better at night knowing that everything is safe.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by Traveller » Mon May 18, 2020 10:40 pm

If a safe is to be secured, it should be anchored into concrete. The bolts / anchors are then under or behind the safe with no way to get a cutting blade or torch on them. The baddies must instead pry the entire safe out or cut it open both of which are loud and usually slow. Welding on long arms or similar seems overly complicated for equal (or likely worse) security.

For many, a safe deposit box at a bank is an easy and safer choice

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by Cubicle » Mon May 18, 2020 10:49 pm

I think OP has a good line of thought. And it's not the most frivolous idea. I also subscribe to the theory a determined baddie will get their way. But the objective is to make your house/car/safe/valuables less attractive than the next one.

I do think though that hiding a safe in the attic is a darn great idea!

Maybe I'm risky / an idiot, but I'd weld in the attic with a standby assistant holding a fire extinguisher. Do it over some heat resistant surface, don't rush, don't do it at night, etc...
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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by 7eight9 » Mon May 18, 2020 11:30 pm

novemberrain wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:14 pm
sport wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:03 pm
Are the beams in the floor of the attic strong enough to hold the weight you plan to put up there? Since the building was not designed for this, it could be a problem.
It is just a small safe. Enough to keep my most important documents and some gold. I don't think the entire safe will weigh more than 50 or 100 lbs
With all due respect, a 50-100 pound safe is not much more than a locking metal box and likely a waste of your money. If that was what I was contemplating I would probably just hide my gold in a potted plant and put the papers in a fireproof box and call it a day.
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by oldfort » Mon May 18, 2020 11:36 pm

Unless the safe is rated at least tl-30x6, all this crazy welding talk is a waste of time.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by softwaregeek » Tue May 19, 2020 2:31 am

Typically, I think of putting a safe in the floor as a better idea.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by JoinToday » Tue May 19, 2020 3:48 am

what about a decoy safe that is easier to find, but makes the thief think he is getting the valuables. Maybe put some money (few hundred $), old expired credit cards, papers, etc in it. Keep the other safe hidden.

Having said that, an angle grinder might be able to cut any metal you weld.
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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by bob60014 » Tue May 19, 2020 5:26 am

Imho, Burglars never go into an attic unless they have prior knowledge that something of value is there. Unless you're stashing stash, the Hope diamond or $$$$....why do this?
Also, If its important papers, stock certificates, etc., I would be concerned about the long term heat/cool/humidity extremes by storing in the attic. In some areas this is a killer.
Bottom line, the plan sounds like overkill.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by linuxizer » Tue May 19, 2020 7:47 am

Bike thieves these days use 18v angle grinders. Never mind the hack saw.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue May 19, 2020 8:38 am

Most affordable small safes have sheet metal exteriors, not plate steel. Welding the thicker bar or angle stock material will be a challenge with burn through and poor results. If the inner layer is cement as on very heavy vault type safes then no damage but if Gypsum with paper or other synthetic then there will be blacK and toxic fumes as the inner layer burns while welding.

Welding in an attic might cause a fire and a failed welding project.
You will have to remove the damaged safe and burned materials and buy another one.
The attic insulation will absorb the smell of smoke and welding.
This will cause loss of money and frustration.
You may also hurt your back as you try to remove the burned safe from the attic.
So rethink this to avoid frustration and hurting your back.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by bovineplane » Tue May 19, 2020 8:45 am

We have a small quality safe. I'd have to measure but maybe 1 cu ft inside. It weighs significantly more than 50-100 pounds. I would never want to put it in an crawl space overhead as I have no idea how I would do it without 4-5 people or some sort of pulley system. We hid it in the house best we could. Bolted in place to concrete. It takes two people and a furniture dolly to get it in place (wife and I) which is still a struggle.

This is a newer version of our safe. We bought ours second hand for less than $200 if I recall.

https://www.deansafe.com/products/amseb ... -4QAvD_BwE

Any determined thief would have it out in a few minutes I imagine but I guess our house is more target for smash and grab types than oceans 11.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 19, 2020 9:36 am

novemberrain wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:33 pm
I just learnt from these answers that it is relatively easy to hack saw a metal bar.
A cordless reciprocating saw with a metal blade will make it even easier, seconds per welded on leg. They also make quick work of door hinges too which makes entering deadbolted doors easy at least if noise isn't a concern. Thermal scanners are pretty common place these days and can locate hidden safes in walls and floor pretty easily since the steel and concrete of the safe absorb heat at different rates than surrounding typical construction materials.

Me personally, I don't store anything in my home safe that can't be replaced fairly easy. It is mainly a fireproof box to contain documents that I need from time to time. For irreplaceable items, I pay $50 a year for a safe deposit box in a brick and mortar bank.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Tue May 19, 2020 10:06 am

Cubicle wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 10:49 pm
I think OP has a good line of thought. And it's not the most frivolous idea. I also subscribe to the theory a determined baddie will get their way. But the objective is to make your house/car/safe/valuables less attractive than the next one.

I do think though that hiding a safe in the attic is a darn great idea!

Maybe I'm risky / an idiot, but I'd weld in the attic with a standby assistant holding a fire extinguisher. Do it over some heat resistant surface, don't rush, don't do it at night, etc...
Maybe.

But then you would have to kill your assistant, like pirate Captains were said to do, after the booty was buried by a few of their crew.

This situation literally screams SAFE DEPOSIT BOX!

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 19, 2020 10:53 am

Another thing to consider is that safes are typically only fireproof for a certain amount of time. Due to the nature of houses, a safe in an attic is probably going to see longer periods of flame during a house fire than say a basement.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by novemberrain » Tue May 19, 2020 11:58 am

Thanks everyone.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by jebmke » Tue May 19, 2020 12:03 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 10:53 am
Another thing to consider is that safes are typically only fireproof for a certain amount of time. Due to the nature of houses, a safe in an attic is probably going to see longer periods of flame during a house fire than say a basement.
A friend of mine lost his house to a fire. Nothing in the "fireproof safe" was even recognizable - his wife's jewelry was a puddle of mixed metals with various stones embedded. It was quite attractive but no longer jewelry.
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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 19, 2020 12:19 pm

jebmke wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 12:03 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 10:53 am
Another thing to consider is that safes are typically only fireproof for a certain amount of time. Due to the nature of houses, a safe in an attic is probably going to see longer periods of flame during a house fire than say a basement.
A friend of mine lost his house to a fire. Nothing in the "fireproof safe" was even recognizable - his wife's jewelry was a puddle of mixed metals with various stones embedded. It was quite attractive but no longer jewelry.
I've always questions what exactly fireproof means which is why I said earlier, I don't store anything in a home safe that can't be replaced.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Tue May 19, 2020 1:04 pm

A cardboard (moving) box in the attic is probably a better idea. Or a plastic box with Christmas decorations on top of the "good stuff."

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OAG
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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by OAG » Tue May 19, 2020 1:22 pm

In the attic (the contents may not survive a fire). Heat will be higher and longer in the attic. Bolted in the basement will be harder to get to after a fire but probably not burn. Check the specifications of any "safe" you have in mind (ability to survive a fire (and water damage)).
OAG=Old Army Guy. Retired CW4 USA (US Army) in 1979 21 years of service @ 38.

dstring
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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by dstring » Tue May 19, 2020 1:53 pm

I use a small fire safe to store critical documents. It came with a separate mounting plate that screws securely to the floor with a thick, solid threaded rod sticking up from it that goes through a hole in the floor of the safe. Once the safe is placed over the rod, a large nut is used to secure it to the rod/mounting plate. The interior floor of the safe has a removable cover plate so none of this is visible when you open the safe. I think it's a pretty good system that would surely delay removal and theft of the entire safe.

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Re: Vault Safe in the attic; welded, anyone ?

Post by barnaclebob » Tue May 19, 2020 2:08 pm

The only way a thief is going in your attic is if they know the safe is there. Keep it under a box labeled xmas decorations and also keep some low hanging fruit of cheap jewlery in nice boxes in a dresser drawer.

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