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Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:42 am
by Riyame
Looking good. That plating company did one hell of a job.

Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:54 am
by 00247
Worked on some gold leaf today with the masks for the top, sides, and some of the lettering. Often, I would just mask out the stripes with tape for the gold leaf. On this National there are two very thin (1/32") pinstripes inside of the gold leaf stripes. These would be tough to do by hand so I had a mask cut so I could do them all at once. Also, the gold stripes are not outlined on the sides and top of this National safe so clean straight edges are the order of the day. Measurements from the original were used to position the mask and it was taped in place. Then several pieces of masking tape are put across the center. The top half is folded down and the backing is peeled back and trimmed off. The top is put back in place and squeegeed out.

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Then the tape is removed and the backing is removed from the bottom half and it is squeegeed out.

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Now the white carrier mask is removed leaving the mask in place. There are a number of mask materials available, in this case an economy vinyl is used as it is very thin and the adhesive doesn't set up quickly. Being thin helps prevent a ridge of adhesive for the gold leaf developing at the edge and the weaker adhesive on the vinyl promotes easy removal if not left in place for too long. Here it is ready for the gold leaf.

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Once the size (varnish based adhesive) is brushed on and allowed to dry to the proper tack, the gold is applied and brushed into place. Once brushed in and all the waste loose gold is cleaned up the pinstripes are painted with 1shot black sign paint with a pinstripe brush. At this point it won't win any beauty awards. You can see the gold has also been put on the mask for the lettering on the base of the safe.

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After some dwell time the mask is carefully removed to leave the stripes and lettering with nice sharp edge lines. Certainly updated from the original.

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Under certain lighting the 23 karat gold really pops!

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I am still waiting for the artwork for the front of the safe and the door hinge. Tomorrow I meet with a new graphic artist about doing the artwork for the plated door cover. I am tired of the slow response from the first shop. :kickyoass: I am afraid the completion of this project is still a long way off. :rant:

Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:08 pm
by Oldfast
Holy goodness. LOVIN' the latest!

Hard works payin' off.
What eye-candy :drool:

Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:42 pm
by 00247
I hope no fellow members were holding their breath for an update on the progress of the National safe. If they did, they are dead by now which might explain why the forum has been a little slow. This has been a drawn out project with waiting for third party suppliers to get their part done. The main holdup was the small sign shop that digitizes the artwork from my tracings. Once my stuff got moved to the abyss of the “someday” counter I knew I was in trouble.

I was getting pissed off in January so I pulled the artwork for the front door cover (the most difficult piece) and searched for someone else to do it. I ran an ad on Craigslist and found an underemployed graphic artist who was eager to make some extra cash. I had the finished artwork back in less than a week. I then dropped off the digital file at another sign shop that had the type of mask I needed to use to be cut. Two weeks later I finally had the finished mask.

Now I was confident the pattern on the original piece could be destroyed so off the cover went to be plated. At the plating shop they told me the spring car parts rush had started early and they were booking three plus months out, oh boy, here we go again. I was pleased to get a package in 6 weeks with parts but when I opened it I found that the cover was in copper instead of nickel. The cover was pitted and it took a lot of buffing to get the metal smooth. Knowing that this was an important piece on the safe and I was very anal about it, Steve wanted approval of the copper base before nickel plating it. It was good and I had it back in four days.

I guess I neglected to take a picture of it in the fresh nickel so we will move on to returning it to the original design. First the heavy vinyl mask is put on. It is cut with extra material to wrap around the edges. The back is sealed off with more vinyl to prevent an unwanted leak. Now comes the hard part. With the artwork and plating costs this is now a $430 part and it now has to go into the blast cabinet to etch the pattern into the nickel. No margin for error now. The unprotected surface is blasted with fresh 120 grit aluminum oxide at a low 60 lbs of air pressure with the gun about 10” away. The blast has to be at 90° to prevent lifting the mask and yet you have to get the surface etched well at the edges of the mask. Here it is after blasting, the mask is white.

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Once verifying the blast is even, the residual dust and grit is gently dusted off with a soft brush. Any scratch or defect may show up in the final finish. I robbed one of the wife’s Tupperware storage containers (no I didn't ask) that was the perfect size for dipping the cover in a mixture of selenious acid, nitric acid, and copper sulfate. A tubeless tire plug/patch made the perfect handle for lifting it out of the acid.

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Once flooded with the acid it only takes about 45 seconds to darken the nickel. Once removed from the acid the part is rinsed with deionized water, excess water blotted off, and dried with a heat gun to prevent any water spots in the finish.

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The original was done by hand so all the variations have been duplicated in the finished design.

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The inner door was copper plated and had a similar finish though it was well worn off.

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Often called a Japanned finish, the copper is treated with selenious acid. With a simple design to duplicate, I was able to hand cut the mask in vinyl. In tests the highly polished copper darkened well but when this part was dipped it took on an uneven finish. After the panic mode resided I gave the finish a light blast and then it took on an even finish.

The fresh copper finish.

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These shiny finishes are difficult to photograph, here you can see the depth and colors better with reflections. Especially in the nickel.

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Mask applied, not symmetrical just like the original.

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Finished.

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I did not have the door back cover plated yet as it fits very tight around the lock and time lock, plating build up on the edges may cause it to not fit. This cover was in pretty good shape so I thought I might be able to salvage it. I polished the bright swirls and then masked them off.

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I noticed that when I pulled the tape off from polishing some copper had lifted. When I gave the copper a very gentle blast at 20 psi it removed large areas of the copper from the steel. The copper was just flash plated and had poor adhesion.

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Oh well, win some – lose some. Once the door is fully assembled the cover will be fitted, relieved to allow for plating, plated, and then refinished. I doubt I would have been satisfied with the reworked original anyway.

Next up: the final artwork is finally done and and we have a go at the rest of the gold leaf and the pinstriping.

Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:12 am
by Riyame
Dang, this one is really starting to come together. Looking nice!

Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:16 am
by 00247
As March rolled around I was getting really pissed off and started hounding the gal at the sign shop to get the artwork done. I sent her numerous texts every week just to be a pain in the ass. Finally she said that she had the front of the safe done but was having problems getting the hinge to match my tracing. I went into the shop to assist and found she had used only the center design of the scan of the tracing and was trying to build the top and bottom manually on the computer. She assumed the hinge was circular like the door opening when it is oblong and it was throwing the whole thing off. I rescanned the tracing of the top of the hinge on her scanner and had her attach it to the corrected center and with a few adjustments it was good to go. This was all done in Adobe Illustrator. Then she copied the top to the bottom and with a few more adjustments and measurement confirmations it was done. Just over an hour. I waited 5 months for this?

I was happy to get the last of the artwork home and cranked up the heat and got started. Here is the hinge mask applied.

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Here the front mask is positioned ready to be applied. The stripes wrap around the curves in the corners which took some finesse to get it to work out.

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Once the front of the safe was gold leafed, I could position the name of the bank centered between the front and top stripes. I had this mask for several months but could not use it until the front was done.

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It is always fun to apply the gold leaf. Initially when applied it looks like one will have a disaster in the making.

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Once you start brushing the gold into the size it begins to smooth out. Here is a video of brushing the gold where you can see how it transitions and how thin the gold is. Please excuse my amateur video skills.



Now the gold is done. While it looks nice it is still not finished.

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Now it is time for the lettering to be outlined in black and the stripes in red. A few other stripes and finishing touches and the artwork is done.

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Next time we will start final assembly. Stay tuned, here is a teaser.

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Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:36 am
by mdc5150
Just the teaser is breath taking! I can't wait to see the whole thing. Thank you for sharing this.

Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:43 am
by madsamurai
Really fantastic work, sir... also, excellent soundtrack choice.

Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:13 pm
by Oldfast
Again, I'm so glad you take the time to post some of your projects.
This stuff is beyond me... which I guess is why I enjoy seeing it.

The video - is it still up? I don't see it?

Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:54 am
by 00247
Oldfast wrote:The video - is it still up? I don't see it?


Been wondering where you've been, Oldfast. I figured with this cold weather you crawled back in the hole with the groundhog and are just poking your head out looking for spring. Slow to come this year.

Not sure on the video. It shows on my main PC and on my Iphone, but shows as a link on my shop computer which is pretty old. IDK.

Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:15 am
by 00247
Now for the long awaited assembly. It is always fun to put together newly painted and plated parts but it is also tedious as you don’t want to scratch anything. Working slow, thinking before doing anything, and using lots of masking tape to protect fragile surfaces is the order of the day.
First the hinge was put back on the body. I was nervous about this step but the bolts fit in the hinge pockets very tightly so they had to go back to the same position that they were in originally. The hinge is not adjustable.

First the hinge parts are prepared and the lower bearing assembled.

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The hinge is fit.

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All bolts and shiny parts get taped to protect the new nickel plating. Plated washers were added to prevent the bolt heads from scoring the paint.

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Next came mounting the hinge to the door that has been in the body for many months. The door is supported on two carriages (four wheels on each one) that the door pivot bolts pass through. The carriage wheels track in grooves in the door. The door cover bolts to the carriages to lock it all together as one unit. It took a number of installs to get things right. The door pivot bolts not only adjust vertically by turning the large polished finials, they are also adjusted in/out and left/right by four adjuster bolts on the top and bottom of the door end of the hinge. It’s a very complicated adjusting procedure. I struggled to get the door to fit well but after many tries all of a sudden I hit the magic combination and the door fit the opening perfectly. Once all bolt adjustments are noted, it comes apart one more time to grease and oil all surfaces.

The door carriages, the dial cup and ring are also installed in this picture.

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Trial door fitting.

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Once the door fits the hole the next challenge is adjusting the door lug ring and inner lug ring that control the position of the door rotating as well as the wedging of the door in the taper of the opening. Ideally, the door wedges tight just as the rotation hits the stop where the locking bolts can be thrown out into the slots in the inner ring. This will make the door seam impenetrable to nitroglycerine attacks. I set the door tolerances loose so as to reduce strain on the door drive system. No reason to protect against nitro in this over regulated day and age. When I disassembled the lug ring it was shimmed about .035 with cut up 1906 time cards from the National factory. I shimmed with .046 (uncompressed) gasket material which gave the perfect clearance. The door closes and rotates so nicely I don’t think KY jelly could assist. This whole door fitting process took the better part of two days.

Gaskets on the lug ring.

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The inner lug ring, inner compartment spacer, and shelf must be fitted as a unit. There is no joy in working with these heavy parts inside a safe!

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Once the internal fitting is done the shelf is completed, the original carpets are installed and the compartment door.

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Next time we will assemble the lock, time lock, and the rest of the door.

Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:28 am
by 00247
After the door was fitted, final assembly of the lock, time lock, and associated door linkage was next on the list. The lock is a Yale 65 ½ fiction fence model. It differs from most fiction fence locks in that it has a full back cover vs. a wheel pack hole and the friction fence is not a sealed assembly. Instead it is separate pieces and has a brass washer under the pivot bolt head to retain the springs. This lock has a lot of wear in it from a lot of use and the fact that the lock directly moves all the door internal linkage and inner door locking bolts. The internal flat springs were missing inside the friction fence so an external wound spring was added to replace them which added extra drag and wear on the wheel pack drive wheel.

Inside the 65 ½ Yale lock.

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I wondered how I could repair the friction fence and what I could use for springs. While measuring clearance on the door lug ring the feeler gauge in my hand provided the answer. The high carbon feeler gauge shims are similar to spring steel. After measuring inner and outer diameters and the grooves in the fence I calculated .006 would be the correct thickness. I cut two strips and assembled the fence only to find it rotated a bit stiff. Dropping to .004 gave about the right feel but one of the strips could slip out of the groove on one end where the hole of the fence was worn. I switched to a .006 strip on that side after ever so slightly filing the groove. Now the fence had good rotational friction and the springs stayed in place.

Grooves inside the fence.

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Fitting new strips.

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Wear inside the lock also allowed the lock bolt to side out to far if the dial was turned forcefully to extend the bolt to lock the safe. If that happened, the friction fence would jam against the outer edge of the drive wheel gate preventing it to pull into the wheel pack gates. This would cause a lockout. To prevent the bolt from extending to far it was jigged into the mill and a hole was drilled into the end of the lock bolt. After threading the hole a socket cap screw was machined to the proper clearance to contact the outer ring of the door.

Drilling the lock bolt.

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New lock bolt stopper in place.

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Here is a video of dialing action inside the lock so you can see how a friction fence works. Also shown is the simple pivoting lock operated by the time lock to prevent the retracting of the lock bolt. And finally, all the inner door linkage that must be moved by the dial to activate the internal door bolts. My sloppy dialing is accompanied by ZZ Top.



The door is now complete other than the rear door cover. It has been fitted and sent out for new copper plating. The twelve ¾ inch bolts that hold the lug ring to the door still need to be replated but I have to repair some damage to five of them. Other than that, the National Manganese Steel Money Chest is finished. Drum roll please.

In all her glory…

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Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:31 am
by Riyame
Wooooooow, that is one hell of an amazing job. :drool:

I doubt that safe looked that good even when it came new from the factory :D

Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:07 pm
by mdc5150
That is spectacular.

Re: Lets redo another safe!

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:17 pm
by DashingDave
Unbelievable. The safe is beautiful, I love the pinstripe and gold leaf work that you did. In addition to that, you posted the last segment just in time for my birthday and you have inspired me. There is an old safe laying out in a yard around here that is rusting away, I might see if the individual will part with it. Of course the problem comes back to sneaking something heavy into an over crowded garage and hide it from the girlfriend (it's her house).
Thanks for the inspiration and motivation. Congrats on the finished product it may have taken longer than expected but the results tell the story. And I agree with mdc5150 I doubt it looked that good from the factory.