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LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

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MBI

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Post Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:36 pm

Re: LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

Oh my, that is beautiful work.

I have the utmost respect for the kind of skill and patience needed for a job like that.
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Argyll

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Post Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:46 pm

Re: LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

I have the same Mosler safe in my basement, #1382, without the pedestal or wheels. The front has been partially opened, but the door has never unscrewed. The house was built by a man who was born in 1911, sold then repurchased by the same man. When he died 16 years ago we bought the house from his estate. So we have enough history to be curious about whether anything is in this safe! We have been busy raising a family so safebreaking hasnt been a high priority but I want to see inside this thing before I die!

Seeing in this thread how it is constructed has been very helpful and has prevented us from thinking that we should tip it over or muck about with trying to drill it. Seems like the best bet is to get the door opened but the crank will not budge the gear mechanism. Any suggestions?
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femurat

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Post Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:29 am

Re: LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

00247, I'm impressed by the results you're getting. The skills and dedication you're putting into these restorations are incomparable!

Argyll, I have a suggestion: don't touch the dial! If you accidentally close it you're screwed!
About opening what remains of the door, keep in mind that's quite heavy. And may just be blocked by rust.

Good luck :)
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00247

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Familiar Face

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Post Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:44 am

Re: LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

Argyll wrote:I have the same Mosler safe in my basement, #1382, without the pedestal or wheels. The front has been partially opened, but the door has never unscrewed. The house was built by a man who was born in 1911, sold then repurchased by the same man. When he died 16 years ago we bought the house from his estate. So we have enough history to be curious about whether anything is in this safe! We have been busy raising a family so safebreaking hasnt been a high priority but I want to see inside this thing before I die!

Seeing in this thread how it is constructed has been very helpful and has prevented us from thinking that we should tip it over or muck about with trying to drill it. Seems like the best bet is to get the door opened but the crank will not budge the gear mechanism. Any suggestions?


The door is probably stuck. Spray the door opening with PB Blaster and let it soak. You can hold a piece of wood over the ring gear and strike it with a heavy hammer to try and shock the door loose. Carefully, don't wreck anything. Clean the rotating surface on the door and in the cover, lube, and slide the cover back on. Adjust the pivot bolts (tighten) to raise the door to take the pressure of the door weight off the jamb opening. Don't forget to loosen the lock bolts on the front of the door cover for the pivot bolts. The pivot bolts can be stubborn also. They have large slots in them so you will need a large slotted socket bit or a drag link socket. Don't ruin the slots.

If you see the door shift slightly, spray the hell out of it with more PB Blaster. Remount the retaining ring as you do not want the assembly coming apart when working with this heavy door. Even though you are close to the floor, fingers can be eliminated quickly. If the door moves but binds you may have to play around with the adjusting height. Even with polished threads, if the door is not adjusted correctly, it will bind. Patients, is the order of the day.

Make sure you are turning the crank the correct direction. Turning the crank clockwise spins the door counter clockwise to open. Don't get to rough. The crank is made of cast and can be broken as well as teeth on the ring gear. Do not hammer on it.

All this is assuming the time lock is not stuck. If it is, you're screwed.

Please send me a private message. I would like to talk to you in more detail.
It is time... stand up for a constitutional America. Without it, we have shed blood in vain.
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00247

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Familiar Face

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Location: Wisconsin

Post Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:44 am

Re: LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

Now that the Mosler is painted it is time for the art work, I'll cover the gold leaf this time. The goal on this safe is to recreate the original art work within reason since all of the original could be determined. Some safes used a gold paint but this Mosler did have gold leaf for the lettering and stripes. The lettering was created with a stencil and the stripes probably masked. Both were outlined by hand in black with the lettering also having a wide shadow in blue. No two Mosler safes seem to be the same although there is a common design theme on most that I have seen. I have not seen another Mosler with this layout.

The gold looks fair after 100 years but the blue has partially oxidized off and has turned dark.

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Although I have done a lot of painting and vinyl graphic work, I have never done gold leaf. So I hit the forums and youtube videos to learn. I decided to jump in with both feet and go with real gold vs imitation. The leaf comes in two styles, loose and patent. Loose is just that, a very thin sheet of hammered gold lying loose between tissue paper. Approximately .1- .2 microns thick (less than 0.000004") A thousand sheets in a stack would be similar to the thickness of a sheet of printer paper. You might guess that it is very difficult to work with. (to say the least) In fact if you take a piece and rub it between your fingers it turns to powder, and not much of it.

I went with patent gold which means it is pressed so that it sticks to a sheet of thin tissue paper which makes it easier to handle. I also went with double gold which is about 20% thicker (and they call it double?) which also helps when working with it. It is still very fragile and the slightest air movement or clumsy fingers causes problems quickly. For practice I took an old car hood from one of the wife's deer accidents and practiced leafing technique, maybe more of a controlled disaster to be truthful. Once I started to get the hang of it I did a practice sign with the same graphics as on the safe. I even tried some turning of the gold on the border for practice.

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For the lettering I went to a local sign shop with my tracings of the original. It was the first time dealing with this small shop and the gal was more than willing to correct my renderings so a paint mask could be cut on the vinyl plotter. The lettering did not match any known fonts so she corrected it manually on the computer. The resulting mask is applied to the safe like a vinyl sticker, then a size (varnish based glue) is brushed on, the leaf laid on, and then the mask is pulled. Some pictures will be from the other Mosler I am working on.

The mask applied.

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Brushing on the size.

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I used 1-shot quick size. Depending on temperature it is ready to leaf in about an hour and has an open window of about two hours until it is too dry. One has to plan how much you can realistically do and have all your materials ready to go. Brushing on the size was also tricky. While it flows out wonderfully, you have to work gently with it so as not to create bubbles that will leave imperfections in the gold. Slower sizes are supposed to be better but can take 12 hours or more to be ready to leaf. I don't have enough patients for that!

Then it is time to lay the leaf. I have the gold precut to the sizes I need. It comes in sheets 3 3/8 inch square. Here I have pieces cut for the door and body stripes. Cutting the gold is a challenge in of itself.

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The pieces are gently laid into place with a slight overlap. High quality tweezers work well for this. When the gold initially sticks it looks like crap. Rough, uneven, sometimes a crack or you miss a spot, but don't panic. Cracks and missed spots can have a small piece pressed over them. Then it really looks like sheit.

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Then you take a very soft brush and gently brush the gold into the size and it smoothes right out. I stole one of the wife's makeup brushes which works well for this. Any touch ups still show but with more brushing the excess gold comes off and the results look great.

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Here is a door with gold on the mask partially brushed out. Little flecks of excess gold end up everywhere.

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Back to this Mosler; here are a some pictures of the results.

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Gold leafing is tedious work but very rewarding when finished. Next up, the pinstriper shows up to outline and shadow the gold.
It is time... stand up for a constitutional America. Without it, we have shed blood in vain.
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MBI

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Post Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:27 pm

Re: LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

I continue to be impressed.
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Oldfast

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OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer
OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer

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Post Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:35 pm

Re: LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

Geez man. Wow. It's really starting to look amazing. You are committed.
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
http://www.youtube.com/Oldfast911
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00247

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Familiar Face

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Location: Wisconsin

Post Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:08 am

Re: LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

It is time to finish up the final details on this project. All of the gold letters and stripes had to be outlined in black and several other black lines added. Then, the blue shadow had to be added to the lettering. This safe did not have much for artwork other than a couple designs on the end of the black lines. Doing this is beyond my shaky skills, yet, I did not want perfection. The original lines from Mosler were done by hand and were far from perfect. The pinstriper was instructed to try and duplicate the original look.

The door is much easier done flat on a table.

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The body of the safe starts to come alive with the black outlines and the blue shadow added.

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With the painted details done, it was time for delicate assembly. I had pulled this door because it is a manageable weight instead of leaving it screwed into the safe. Upon assembly, I started second guessing my decision. Sure don't want to damage paint at this point. So I taped critical areas and used the fork lift to lift the door to position with it held in a make shift wooden jig. I used a pallet jack under the safe for fine adjustments and the door slipped right in the door cover that was already bolted into the hinge. Plenty of Super Lube synthetic grease lubricates the rotating assembly and gears and makes the rotating of the door almost effortless.

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The retaining ring that holds the door was installed and the screws tightened ever so carefully to not damage the paint.

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Now it was time to install the time lock and related linkage and hardware. You may remember these parts came from a donor safe. These parts are hand fit to each safe and I had to do some hand fitting to get them to work in this safe. Here is what the time lock set up looks like.

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This is the locking device moved by the time lock. The default position is in the open/down position but if the lever stuck in the up position it could cause a lock out. It is not positively pulled to the open position by the time lock, only by gravity. A poor design in my opinion.

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The final piece to put in place is the rear door cover. You will notice that the Yale time lock is missing a couple of the eyelet covers for the winding of the movement escapements. It is common for them to be missing. I have a couple spares but need some covers for all of my time locks. I am planning on making some replacements on the lathe but it will have to wait for now.

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Here is a before and after. Sorry, I was not going to take the Corvette off of its winter storage spot on the hoist to match the pictures.

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Here are a few more pictures.

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This Mosler turned out good enough to store my "BIG" money.

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I hope you all have enjoyed this Mosler rework as much as I did. It was a very time heavy project to do as well as document on the forum. Hopefully, it will give some direction to those who may want to attempt something similar. I encourage other members to post their projects no matter what degree you take them too. Stay tuned, another Mosler thread is coming soon. Not quite so long in details next time. :crazy:
It is time... stand up for a constitutional America. Without it, we have shed blood in vain.
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MartinHewitt

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Post Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:03 pm

Re: LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

00247 wrote:I hope you all have enjoyed this Mosler rework as much as I did.

I did. Thank you!
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mercurial

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Post Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:08 pm

Re: LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

I enjoyed this thread a great deal, thank you! It was fascinating & the end result is something you should be very proud of.

Looking forward to the thread on the next Mosler with bated breath.
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macavity

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Post Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:04 am

Re: LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

This was a bloody awesome series!

Please don't hesitate to do another if you get the chance! Doesn't have to be a safe either. If it is lock related and involves restoration/reworking I'll enjoy the read for sure!

Just out of curiosity, as my wallet surely isn't fat enough... What would a gem like this typically sell for in its current brilliant state?
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00247

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Familiar Face

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Location: Wisconsin

Post Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:07 pm

Re: LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

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macavity wrote:What would a gem like this typically sell for in its current brilliant state?


Now that is a good question. One that I don't have an answer for. Rough old safes run the gamut from cheap to expensive. All it takes is one fool to ask a high price on Ebay or Craigslist and everyone thinks their safe is priceless too. From $50 to $5000+ they are all over the range. Screw door safes, cannonballs, and other odd models do command higher amounts.

Restored is a little different. Not many turn up for sale to give a feel for the market. It takes the right buyer and there are few of them. They do exist however.

It costs a fair amount to to redo a safe depending on what level it is taken to. I paid $300 for this safe and have about $2500 total invested into it not counting my labor. If it was done in a retail shop a guide is 50% expense, 50% labor, so the cost would double. This is approximate, of coarse. This safe was cheap but it was missing the time lock and associated parts. Plating is also a big consideration depending on how much is needed.

As my mother used to tell me... A fool and his money are soon parted.

BUT, I have a very nice Mosler screw door safe. I find that very satisfying. AND, I did manage to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Also, very satisfying.
It is time... stand up for a constitutional America. Without it, we have shed blood in vain.
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macavity

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Familiar Face

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Location: Denmark

Post Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:57 pm

Re: LET'S REWORK A MOSLER, SHALL WE?

Thanks for the reply!

If I had the space and the wallet for it, I wouldn't blink twice if you said $10K :drool:
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