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Lets redo another safe!

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00247

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Familiar Face

Posts: 114

Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:04 am

Location: Wisconsin

Post Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:50 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

Thanks for the feedback, Oldfast. It is nice to hear from other members and I encourage them to jump in with questions or comments, good, bad, or a simple kiss my ass... either way its nice to know someone is reading this drivel.

I gained some ground this week with the bodywork. This National safe is a lumpy old bastard and it was a challenge to get it straight. Some high spots reared their ugly head so I was forced to take the grinder to the hard manganese steel. I mentioned each safe has a personality of it's own so as I fought with the body work I had a tune going through my head from Oldfast's Michigan brother, Kid Rock. "You never met a motherfucker like me". He could have been singing about this safe.

It took multiple layers of filler, sanding, filler, sanding, grinding, more filler and sanding, a shit load of hours. One picture of a fresh layer and one of some sanding roughed out.

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The base had a few challenges also, mostly on the raised lip where the safe body fits to the base. I am getting a little tired of doing body work, the filler portion anyway, but with persistence it all comes together... eventually. Finally it goes into the paint room for primer.

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When I grabbed the can of urethane primer I was disappointed to feel how light it was. It was a little shy of what I really needed. The top got two medium coats but the base only got one, not really a problem at this stage. I"ll be headed for the auto parts store tomorrow for another gallon plus activator at $150. Once primed I follow up with some polyester spot filler for pinholes or deep sand scratches in the filler or an occasional missed flaw. It looks much worse than it actually is. Most of it gets sanded off.

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I like to let the primer sit a couple days before sanding even though it technically cures chemically in a few hours. Flat areas get blocked out with long sanders and the rounded corners are done with flexible sanding pads. All done by hand to get the surface just right. This is where body work becomes fun. When smooth level surfaces develop it is very rewarding. This first block out will eat up an excess of 8 hours. The forklift really comes in handy to raise the project up to a comfortable working height. The National is starting to shape up nicely.

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After picking up primer, paint, and a few other supplies, the next coat of primer should be on tomorrow. As it looks now, once that coat is blocked out it should be ready for paint later in the week. Lets hope it all goes well.



You ain't ever met and you ain't never gonna meet

You never met a, never met a, never never never never met a mother...
It is time... stand up for a constitutional America. Without it, we have shed blood in vain.
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femurat

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Location: Italy

Post Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:14 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

00247 wrote:It is nice to hear from other members and I encourage them to jump in with questions or comments, good, bad, or a simple kiss my ass... either way its nice to know someone is reading this drivel.


I'll take your suggestion literally: kiss... just joking :mrgreen: I follow your restorations with admiration and surprise. I thought that a simple coat of filler and a quick sand were enough to get a good looking surface. It was interesting to be proved wrong. I'm wondering if I'll ever be able to face such a long and tiring project with your perseverance and determination.
Thanks for sharing your process and your tricks. Keep up the good work!

Cheers :)
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jharveee

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Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:14 pm

Location: San Marcos, Ca.

Post Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:34 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

Please continue posting. I do enjoy following along. Thanks
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djed

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Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2016 1:25 am

Location: California

Post Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:40 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

What brand urethane primer are you using? I picked up some UPOL and it will be my first experience with it on the Reliable.

David
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00247

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Familiar Face

Posts: 114

Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:04 am

Location: Wisconsin

Post Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:29 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

djed wrote:What brand urethane primer are you using?


I paint my safes with automotive paints and mostly use Nason brand paint products. They are the old Dupont paint line which had the corporate name changed to Axalta. I usually use the 421-19 urethane in gray. I have painted with Dupont since the 1970's so I know the product and can source it close to home at a discount. I actually really like PPG paints but the nearest dealer is 60 miles away so not worth the hassle. I have been tempted to try Upol but after a couple negative experiences with some other brands I stay with what I know even if it costs more.

One thing I have learned over the years is staying with one brand can avoid compatibility issues especially with substrates. A different brand topcoat is usually ok on a properly prepared base but even then mixing different brands of paint, thinners, or activators can lead to problems. I prefer to stay with the same brand through all paint products on a project. Always read the tech sheets for specific requirements.

For old safes one can get by with cutting some corners depending on what final results are expected. On quality automotive work it can get risky, cars are exposed to such a variety of conditions surface or substrate failure can happen much easier.
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

Posts: 114

Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:04 am

Location: Wisconsin

Post Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:18 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

The priming process is now done and the safe is ready for paint. After the first sanding, the safe and hinge parts were primed again. Then they were wet sanded with some 400 grit but mostly with 600 grit 3M wet/dry paper. Finish sanding with 600 guarantees no evidence of sanding showing through the color coat. After this step, the top was looking good with only a couple tiny sand through spots but the bottom didn't fare as well. That single initial coat made the difference. Too many sand through spots and a few imperfections required some spot filler touch ups and another coat of primer. As long as the bottom needed a coat I gave the top one more coat also. Then a final wet sand with 600 grit and it is as near perfect as I can accomplish.

In the process of wet sanding.

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Despite having bright florescent lighting in the shop I check all surfaces with a bright LED light across the surface. Any pin hole, sand scratch, or other flaw will be exposed. Time consuming, but necessary if your shooting for perfection. The whole priming and blocking process wiped out 30 hours of my life. The door hinge took a lot of detailed sanding. The hinge pieces are looking sooo much better now!

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Remember way back when?

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Here is a picture of the completed sanding and the safe wiped down with prep solvent. Wet and shiny it it looks great but I had to take the picture quick as the solvent dries fast. I use this solvent trick through the stages of block sanding as the reflections in the wet surface can show defects in the surface such as waves in uneven filler. The odd purple spot is a reflection from the LED headband light I was wearing.

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The color coat is next but first I have to give the paint room a good cleaning and filter change. So far everything has gone really well but I know Murphy's law all to well. I am taking every step I can think of to prevent an issue.
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

Posts: 114

Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:04 am

Location: Wisconsin

Post Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:58 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

Things clicked along well today and there was enough time to get the safe painted. Other than the few obligatory dust specks all seems to have went well. A close inspection will come in the morning when the paint is dry. I still have the hinge, hinge mounts, shelf and inner compartment frame to paint. No rush as the artwork probably won't be ready for a couple weeks. Same with the nickle plated parts.

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It is time... stand up for a constitutional America. Without it, we have shed blood in vain.
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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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Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:16 pm

Location: Michigan

Post Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:12 pm

Re: Lets redo another safe!

Geez. Truly somethin' to watch this come together.
Really like the before/after pictures of the hinge!

Your body been holding up ok through it all?
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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00247

User avatar

Familiar Face

Posts: 114

Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:04 am

Location: Wisconsin

Post Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:25 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

Oldfast wrote:Your body been holding up ok through it all?


Well Oldfast, the body protests everyday, kinda like the political left. A recent MRI of the neck caused my doctor to give up and tell me to go see a surgeon. I have been down that road a number of times so I'm not eager to comply. For now, I pace myself, attempt to exercise, and... grin and bear it. My advise to younger members is to respect ergonomics and safety over their working career.

Nobody is here to read about health issues so back to the National safe. The rest of the parts are painted.

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Now the project comes to a screeching halt until the plated parts and artwork are ready. In one day I had three calls. First the plating shop called to say that they were having problems with some parts. The tall door pivot finiales have some severe pits in the castings that would need to be repaired. Due to the nature of the part they are not willing to do it. I will explore options on what to do. I have a couple of ideas but if they don't work out they may need to be painted instead of plating.

Then the artwork girl informed me that she was not optimistic as to when she would get at my project.

Finally, the machinist I have used in the past called about an issue on some parts for another safe. Some things are faster to farm out than to learn but It looks like I am going to have to step up my game and become better on my lathe/mill combo and make all parts in house.

All of that was a little disappointing but I will use the dead time to fine tune the lock, mount a different quick change tool post on the lathe that will allow a larger variety of tooling, and mop up some of the never ending little projects that seem to always accumulate on the work bench. And maybe spend a little more time at the local watering hole drinking beer.
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

Posts: 114

Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:04 am

Location: Wisconsin

Post Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:04 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

In another thread, femurat was debating plating some screws. Hopefully this post will make up his mind. :smile:

I picked up the parts for the National safe from the plater this week. As usual, the cost was higher than anticipated and we are not done yet. There are not many things more enjoyable than unwrapping newly plated parts. Makes me feel like a little kid at Christmas. Ohhh, so nice!

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One of the items still needing plating is the center door cover. I had to discuss options with the plater on this complicated piece. I have come up with a plan to duplicate it, hopefully it works. I will have a test piece plated to experiment on.

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The inner door cover also will be a challenge. It is copper plated with a black oxide finish applied which is then polished off to create swirls around the lock and time lock. A test piece will also be made.

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I am still waiting for the artwork to be finished so in the mean time I will work on this issues.
It is time... stand up for a constitutional America. Without it, we have shed blood in vain.
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femurat

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Location: Italy

Post Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:46 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

00247 wrote:In another thread, femurat was debating plating some screws. Hopefully this post will make up his mind. :smile:


After seeing all this shiny parts I want to completely disassemble my safe locks and plate every single part of them!

Cheers :)
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00247

User avatar

Familiar Face

Posts: 114

Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:04 am

Location: Wisconsin

Post Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:04 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

Normally when I post to more than one forum I like to change up the posts a bit. Not so this time. So those of you who monitor multiple forums will have to bare with it. There seems to be enough of a different clientele on the two where I normally contribute that it is worthwhile.

When I picked up the parts from the plater, two pieces had issues and they were not willing to plate them unless I would accept pits in the finished nickel plating. The two large door pivot finials (which are also nuts for adjusting the door height) had flaws in the cast material that would require repair before plating. The problem with cast is that these flaws are usually impurities within the cast and if you try to repair without getting all of the impurities out they will keep contaminating the repair and result in a pit in the plating. Sometimes if one tries to drill/grind out the flaw it can become worse underneath. For this reason they would not attempt repairs on these items. Sometimes plating extra layers of copper and then polishing the piece out can overcome the pits but it becomes a very labor intense procedure with no guarantee of the results. This shop does extensive automotive trim restoration so their standard procedure is to solder the needed repairs.

The two finials acid stripped and polished out exposing the casting flaws.

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I brought the parts home unplated to search for a solution. After a number of inquiries with no definite answer, I contacted Paul's Chrome in Pennsylvania. They are regarded by some as one of the best in the country and after sending pictures of the parts they assured me they could handle the job. They were well aware of the issues that can come up trying to repair contaminated cast and use a different process to deal with them. Instead of repairing the flaw they copper plate the piece and then lead the resulting pit. After polishing out the repair it is copper plated again, polished, nickel plated and final polished.

The results speak for themselves, two perfect door pivot finials.

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I have to commend Paul's, they squeezed the parts into production and returned them in record time.

In the mean time two pieces of sheet metal have been copper and nickel plated for testing procedures for the door covers mentioned in an earlier post. I hope to start on that tomorrow.

I also made a spacer washer for the bottom door pivot finial. This safe only has a spacer under the top finial as it carries the weight of the door. I wanted to add one to the bottom finial so that when it is tightened to align the inner carriage into the tracks in the door cover it won't damage the paint on the door cradle or risk chipping the filler. The spacer was turned from a scrap piece of 2.5" shaft, made in the same shape as the top but thinner as the bottom pivot bolt is shorter then the top one.

Although I have a lot to learn, my machining skills are improving.

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They will be plated with the door cover once the cover's graphics are finalized. I am still waiting on graphics so that I can start the gold leaf process. The National safe project drags on...
It is time... stand up for a constitutional America. Without it, we have shed blood in vain.
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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

Posts: 4199

Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:16 pm

Location: Michigan

Post Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:46 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

Good stuff! I always like it when you bust out the lathe :D
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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00247

User avatar

Familiar Face

Posts: 114

Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:04 am

Location: Wisconsin

Post Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:15 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

The National safe project has been on the back burner for the most part. I finally got some of the simpler artwork along with the lettering so I will start some gold leaf in a few days. I also have been experimenting with the artwork on the plated pieces. With sample pieces plated in copper and nickel, a number of trial and error processes were tried.

The inner door cover and the inner compartment door are copper plated, darkened, and have polished swirls. Copper is relatively easy to work with but it still took a number of tries to get the results I was satisfied with. This is the result I plan to go with.

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The nickel plated front cover was more difficult. Nickel is naturally more resistant to chemicals (especially when polished) so finding the correct chemicals to use is critical. It was hard to find information online and no one seemed to know what would work. Finally, I hit pay dirt when I called Jax Chemical Company in Mount Vernon, New York. There, a knowledgeable representative spent a good amount of time with me discussing what chemicals may give the results I needed. He also shared possible procedures that he knew other customers used for restorations.

It took a number of tries but I came up with a process that gives repeatable results. I also had to try several types of mask to create a design. This is the result I plan to use. It is just a hand cut pattern that is similar to the original to prove the process. I was pleased how well the edge of the mask held up and how sharp the edges of the lines are. In fact, they show every flaw of my hand cutting with an Exacto knife. With a computer cut mask it should duplicate the original design as close as possible.

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The original. I will go into more details once the pieces are done successfully.

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It is time... stand up for a constitutional America. Without it, we have shed blood in vain.
<<

Oldfast

User avatar

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

Posts: 4199

Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:16 pm

Location: Michigan

Post Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:28 am

Re: Lets redo another safe!

Nice to see this project resurface! Contrast between black & copper's gonna look sweet, no doubt.
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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