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Author Topic: VIBROPLEX I.D. PLATE CLEANING  (Read 1862 times)
N4GKC
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Posts: 15




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« on: November 07, 2010, 01:46:36 PM »

I bought a vibroplex straight key at a hamfest yesterday. I would like to clean the I.D. plate but I don't know what kind of metal I am cleaning. It looks like brass. Any ideas on how to clean it ? The serial # is in the low  111,000's. Thanks 
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W0WCA
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Posts: 33




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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2010, 06:29:48 PM »

Well, The metal is brass but the issue is the clear varnish or lacquer that it’s coated with.
Here’s what I did: first I soaked the plate in acetone – fingernail polish remover – to dissolve the varnish.  The plate came out very nice; if not, I suppose one could use Brasso to polish it further.  I then repainted the red bug.  After the red paint dried I sprayed the plate with clear lacquer.  Boom, just like new!
Bill, W0WCA
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N4GKC
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 05:07:31 AM »

Thank you for your advice  Bill. How did you remove the plate ? It appears to be riveted. Did you knocked out the rivets up through the bottom of the plate? If so were you able to reuse the same rivets ?
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W0WCA
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2010, 01:44:18 PM »

Yes, you just drive the rivets - actually, drive screws - out from the bottom.  I shined 'en up a bit with some steel wool and reused 'em.
Good Luck,
Bill, W0WCA
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K0RS
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2010, 09:39:08 AM »

Yikes.  My advice would be to take a tip from antique and coin collectors concerning "restoration." In a word: DON'T.  If you think the key has any collector's value, amateur cleaning with the likes of Brasso or steel wool will surely ruin it.  Please resist the temptation to "shine it up." A gentle cleaning will suffice.  A serial number in the 111k range indicates a manufacture date of 1938 or 39.  While not terribly rare, it is worth perserving in original condition.

As a key collector, I would never purchase a key that has been cleaned in such an amateur fashion.  Mild soap and water and a soft toothbrush will remove grunge, but the patina from age on the brass adds value rather than detracts from it.

Proceed with caution and preserve the key in original condition for future collectors.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2010, 01:02:59 PM by Larry Clark » Logged
N9AOP
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Posts: 134




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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2010, 03:44:00 PM »

You could always contact Vibroplex in Knoxville, Tn.  They will refurbish the key for about $30.00 plus shipping.
When they get done, it will look like new (and work like new).
Art
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