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Thread: Homemade Key

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    4
    Country: United States

    Default Homemade Key

    Hi all, I've only recently found this site, and as it appears to have some comprehensive discussions on antique locks - I have decided to join & try learning a few things here

    I've been randomly looking around at various old locks & key designs posted and/or described. It would seem that for each artifact, there is often a lot of background that is left unknown/unstated. So the opinion of active members here will be more relied on for what it's worth

    One of my projects was to make a key just for appearances, not for actual use on any locking device. It was made by melting zinc with a propane plumbing torch, and then dissolving aluminum until reaching somewhere's about 10% aluminum by weight. That was cast into a round ingot, which I then cut down with a variety of power tools. Final finishing was done by placing the key in a bath of hydrochloric acid in which I also placed some copper. The copper was dissolved into oxides which plated the key with a very durable coating, giving it the appearance of very old bronze. The acid etched the key for an 'antiqued' look, as if the key had spent time at the bottom of the ocean. I would like to put a photo of that key here, but so far I haven't been able to find the darn thing! I remember putting it somewhere out of the way, as I had it just laying out on a counter where it was always getting in the way, but looking good doing that

    So I guess I'll just draw a quick sketch and upload that, as it would take less time to describe what it is by using a sketch. What I am looking for are opinions on the likelihood of such a key ever having been made, perhaps in a better implementation? I've already changed my mind on how it should be shaped. My original idea was to make something that would look like something from the late 1800's. But I will have to admit, I haven't seen a lot of period correct keys to know what was considered 'typical' and what would have been unusual yet still possible

    There is an antique dealer who I showed this key to, to see what they would make of it. They asked me, if I made this key, why not make the lock too? So I've been thinking about how the lock would work, and what should it go to. I have an idea to make a steamer trunk as the medium to design a lock for, but other possibilities are not out of the question

    I probably would make a working version of this key with hollow shafts & blocking pins placed inside the keyhole, except that now I'm thinking a cylindrical I-beam shape would be nicer

    I also think it's time to look into how to obtain or make a lost wax metal casting operation. Something like what jewlery makers would use, with a centrifuge
    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    4
    Country: United States

    Default

    Nothing to say?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio USA
    Posts
    1,289
    Country: United States

    Default

    Well if you decide to get into the lost wax method be sure to post how it goes. I have been making various keys from scratch for several years now, and have considered the advantages of lost wax. I have also seen and collected a great many U.S. keylock patents from the 1800's, and don't remember any key design like yours.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    4
    Country: United States

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug MacQueen View Post
    Well if you decide to get into the lost wax method be sure to post how it goes. I have been making various keys from scratch for several years now, and have considered the advantages of lost wax. I have also seen and collected a great many U.S. keylock patents from the 1800's, and don't remember any key design like yours.
    Well I think I see at least one reason why my design would have been very rare at the least. The extra hole gives double the access for picking the works inside! That's why I'm modifying the design to something more like this sketch:
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    I've been wanting to do lost wax casting for a while, but haven't had enough motivation to do so without getting lost on a 1000 other projects. For example - I thought I was supposed to be building a 40-channel datalogger for my car this week, but then I got invited to redo the timing on a 1930's Paxman-Ricardo V-12 marine diesel tomorrow, plus look at doing some ultrasonic cleaning on a pair of 4-barrel carbs. That requires doing a bit of re-reading to get my mind on track. And for some reason I'm starting to build a tiny cabin out in the woods which means I need to finish building this gravity-feed pellet stove I designed

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    Country: United States

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    Can I hijack my own thread? Totally different lock & key idea here. Only thought of this yesterday, thought I was going to ignore the idea like most of my more partially conceived ideas. But what if a combination lock's dial was not just removable, but also a folding key? Such a key would travel well in a pocket, so must be sized for a nice feel when folded. The remaining keyhole would be to a lesser informed observer to be nothing more than a simple pin lock, with some embellishments in the artwork to disguise the coincidental placement of a indicating line right up on top. I see some combo locks have the option for a locking dial, so that was partly my inspiration - instead of adding a bunch of stuff to the dial in order to lock it, make the dial itself the key that unlocks the dial. And only the correct dial will work the lock, of course. And I've been thinking about magnetic locks again, only this time based on magnetic gears combined with flux switches

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