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  • FDNY VF Post

    Click image for larger version

Name:	3 door tangs.jpg
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ID:	1984130It is a mystery what the 3 machine screws once held behind the rear door of my VF post. The inner box' back would be a couple of inches in and resting on the bracket hodler still in place, but I'm unaware of anything that would have been in the back here.

    Even the rear door has cast-in clearances for them to be sure the machine screw heads or "tangs" don't interfere with the closing of the door


    The door would seem it once had a slightly modified version of the windup bell actuator, the O'Brien doors have the locks on the edge instead of the top and the windup activator is held in with 3 screws, but on the VF door the lock is where the top screw would be on an O'Brien door, it leads me to think the case was shaped differently for these and used 2 screws instead.

    Last edited by wolff; 06-13-2015, 07:21 PM.

  • #2
    This VF post has two doors and each originally had two brass hinges, but the front door doesn't have them, the back door does but one is a little bent but can be fixed. These were sand cast and machined hinges which no one makes today.
    I looked into a bunch of hinge supply sites, including one that offers custom made hinges, none of the stock hinges even come close and the custom guy said it would take 6-8 weeks production and cost several hundred dollars each to make them.
    These are extremely thick 13/64" and 1-1/2" square, I've been toying with the idea of just making replacements myself from brass bar stock, not the easiest to do but since I have used a Bridgeport mill at work I can use that with end mills and whatever else is needed to do this.
    The barrel is an issue I can buy a corner rounding over end mill to do it.

    I ordered a bar of brass 1/2" x 1" x 15" , and plan take down the area where the three holes are- to 13/64" and then round over the intact strip left with three passes to become the barrel, then cut that bar into 1-1/2 pieces and use the endmill to cut the center cutout on half the pieces and the two cutouts on the rest then I'll have the pieces needed. Then I'll need to drill the hinge pin hole down the centers of the barrels, and the countersunk screw holes and I have the hinges which would be the same as the 2 missing originals, and 1 damaged one, except for being milled from bar stock instead of sand cast.

    I need two hinges for sure, but best to make all four since one is bent anyway, that way they will match too.
    They will be painted over red like the rest of the case.

    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by wolff; 06-13-2015, 07:33 PM.


    • #3
      After aquiring one of these cast-iron posts I began the restoration process.
      Since the post came slathered with flat black paint that someone had applied to it years ago, and the paint under it was failing, and the door was not the original door and had a different paint tone to it, it was not a candidate to leave in "as found" condition.
      So the decision was made to strip all of the paint off, but not using a sandblasting rig since this service is not readily available where I live in Iowa, and the one place I know of who does sandblasting is 35 miles away and they basically do storage tanks, farm equipment, trucks, and I just know they would not have something soft like walnut shells to do the job with. Sandblasting with course abrasive as they would use "etches" the metal in a damaging, irreparable way.

      I decided to strip the paint with a variety of tools, the heat gun to soften, and scraper got most of it off in 4 hours, stripper and wire brush and wire wheel got the rest off, and after a washdown/rub with lacquer thinner and rags I primed it with red oxide primer.

      I do not use things like bondo and filler on an antique like this, there are a few minor flaws in the casting but it is what it is and I'm not trying to give it a automobile showroom finish.

      The rear and face door need to be stripped yet, the rear door has one bent hinge that needs to be replaced, it was bent enough that it has a crack in the metal.

      I was told by a hinge manufacturer who also makes custom hinges that for them to make hinges like this they would cost hundreds of dollars each and take 6 to 8 weeks production time, obviously out of the question!

      So I decided to replace the two hinges with exact duplicates made from solid brass bar stock 1/2" x 1" which I purchased for this purpose.

      The hinges are 1-1/2" square with 6 countersunk machine screw holes, the leaves are very thick at 13/64" and hinges like these were originally sand cast, no one makes hinges this way today- they are stamped sheet metal or extruded.

      I will be taking the brass bar stock and milling it with the Bridgeport mill at work to make the two hinges needed. They will be new but exact OEM style replicas, not a modern jury-rigged/modified replacement.

      I'll need to purchase a corner rounding over end mill to do this as we don't have one of those at work, it will be used to shape the rounded hinge pin barrel itself.

      I have a complete door with the original bell and wind-up mechanism which needs to be taken apart, cleaned up, lubricated and the paint stripped yet, a project maybe for next week.

      After I get the post home in a couple of weeks or so, I'll be applying the finish topcoats by brush using Sherwin Williams alkyd paint.

      It weighs exactly 809# the 4 doors on it are aluminum. I had a UPSstore go to the seller's house 21 miles from them to pick this up and ship it to me on 2 pallets via freight, they charged $100 to do that service and the actual UPS freight was $711, but it should have been considerably more because somehow the store entered the wrong weight- 506# and the shipment was not weighed and corrected at the terminal.


      • #4
        After getting the post home and set up on a rolling platform made for it, I applied the finish coats of red paint to it.

        I like this shade of red and the level of gloss is good, what I did was mixed Sherwin Williams satin Cherry Tomato SW 6864 with their gloss Real Red, SW 6868 about 50/50 and it cut that excess glossiness down and since the Cherry Tomato is a little darker with no hint of purple or magenta the color is better too.

        The satin was too flat and the gloss was objectionably shiny, there was also something about the Real Red I wasn't happy with, it had a very slight purple-ish or magenta hint to it, while I thought the Cherry Tomato used on another box was just a little dark even if the red was good and i wanted to go slightly lighter, so the Real Red looked like it would do it but after using it I didn't care for it. You look at the two chips side by side and they look virtually identical, the difference is so minute but once painted on it changes a bit from the color chips.

        The front door for it is supposed to be here tomorrow


        • #5
          Nice work!


          • #6
            Originally posted by Apple Bill View Post
            Nice work!
            Thanks Bill!

            Here's an updated photo:

            Going back to this post before restoration and what it looked like, the obvious "question" that would be asked is how come I repainted this post when I prefer an as-found museum type restoration, the answer is simple- not every artifact is a candidate to be left as-found, unfortunately this one was not because of several issues:

            1) The lower half and "bun" under the upper box had satin black paint slathered all over it years ago, no idea what that was all about, there was even air pockets trapped under the black paint.

            2) With the build-up of paint on the base plus all the black paint, the casting details were almost completely obliterated, even the low relief "Property of the city of New York 1929" on the bottom was unreadable.

            3) The original door was replaced by an ERS electronic door years ago, so no replacement mechanical door would ever match the rest of the paint and appearance and always look like it was a replacement from cobbled together parts.

            4) The upper half still had it's old red paint and I liked how it looked, but unfortunately with the rest of the post painted black it looked like it was cobbled from different parts even though it wasn't. The layers of red paint was completely failing, cracking and peeling off.

            5) Old "Foxy the firefighter" stickers on the sides had been painted over numerous times.

            6) The access doors' "FDNY" in high 1/4" tall raised letters had so much slopped-on paint build up the letters themselves were almost undecipherable, and one door had a 8 or 9 inch long scrape through the paint and into the metal a little that looked like sliding it on a surface that had a nail sticking out, or a fork lift fork had slipped and scraped it.

            Here's what the base with the black paint looked like:

            And the door with the scrape:

            It's pretty easy to see why this one really needed to be stripped down and repainted.

            I did not use sandblasting methods to remove the paint, a sandblasting service 30 miles from here only has the course abrasive and their normal items they sandblast are tanks, farm equipment etc., their process would definitely etch the surface of the metal. I found a heat gun to soften the paint and a scraper got 90% off easily in a few hours, the rest was removed with stripper and a roto-stripper tool that worked well and doesn't damage cast-iron.

            It took 8-3/4 hours to completely remove all the paint to bare metal and prime it, sandblasting wouldn't have saved much time anyway, especially considering four trips in my car to the sandblast place 30 miles away to take each half of the post there, return, then go back to pick them up when done and return, then the work of loading them in and out of the car each time.

            I did a short but loud video of the anti false alarm door bell after I restored that mechanism
            and it's door (which was a separate purchase and came from a different post) the video was made before I painted the door, so it only has primer on it in the video. It shows how well the bell mechanism works when it's carefully taken completely apart, cleaned and lubricated properly, this one was caked with old dirty oil.

            Last edited by wolff; 06-30-2015, 05:19 PM.


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