Boltwork Construction

Boltwork Construction

D Series BoltworkOf all the components in a safe, the boltwork is probably one of the most frequently misunderstood.  Very often people associate oversized bolts with security, reasoning that if the bolts are large, the safe must be secure. However this is often not the case.  Of the four main types of assault a door can receive, only two of them deal with the bolt work.  Drill attacks and pry attacks are aimed mainly at the boltwork of the door, while blunt force attacks (think sledge hammer) and cutting/grinding attacks will be directly mainly at the door plate. 

Instead of using bolts, we utilize formed steel reinforced with stainless steel and molded in such a way as to provide the maximum amount of security.  But to understand why this works, we'll consider the pros and cons of regular boltwork and our system for drill and pry attacks.

Drill Attacks

Drill attacks are usually going to be directed at the lock, especially by a professional or locksmith.  We protect the lock with a plate of hardened steel that cannot be penetrated by conventional tools.

Drill attacks are also directed at the bolts themselves by trying to drill the bolts off.  They start by drilling through the front left center (the most common place for a bolt) to drill off the center bolt.  They then use pilot holes up or down to find the next bolt to drill and discover the spacing.  From there they drill each bolt off until the safe can be opened.  Obviously, the larger and more numerous the bolts, the more difficult this approach will be.  However, by providing a continuous surface that locks into place our system has no one place or bolt to attack.  In order to drill off the locking bolt, the attacker would have to grind off an entire section of the door plate, which makes this kind of attack at most a simple waste of time for the attacker.

Pry Attacks

Using a crowbar or something similar, the attacker attempts to pry the door off the safe.  When it comes to pry attacks the size of the bolts hardly matter.  What does matter is the amount of engagement between the boltwork and the safe's door frame  as well as how those bolts are secured to the door.  Even relatively small bolts are very unlikely to shear, but the welds that secures the bolts to the door may well break off.  Our first line of defense against this kind of attack is a recessed door.  By recessing the door, the brunt of the torque is redirected into the safe and door frame rather than working against the weld holding the boltwork.  Of course, we also make sure that the welds are more than sufficient to hold against just about any pry attack.  But one concern people have is that a hollow bolt won't hold against pressure like a solid bolt would.  What's ironic about this is that it doesn't matter.  When a door is being pried open, the bolt is only transferring the pressure to the welds.  It's the welds that will break long before the bolt does.  On many boltwork systems, the pressure from the pry attack is transferred to the small welds that hold the bolt brackets to the door.  Because our design uses bent steel, that pressure is applied through the formed boltwork into welds running most of the width of the door on both the top and the bottom.  This translates into a great deal more pry resistance than many other boltwork systems.