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  • Old style key steel?

    I was recently given some old machinists gear, probably dating back to the 40s or 50s, and amongst it are these grease paper packed 6" long pieces of hot rolled 1/4" x 1/4" steel. Interestingly they are actually 5 to 7 thou over 1/4" and aren't very straight. The steel is not very hard, I milled a piece down for a 6mm x 6mm key.

    Is this how key steel was supplied back in the day, or is this more an agricultural grade of key steel? Any other thoughts?


  • #2
    Originally posted by bob ward
    I was recently given some old machinists gear, probably dating back to the 40s or 50s, and amongst it are these grease paper packed 6" long pieces of hot rolled 1/4" x 1/4" steel. Interestingly they are actually 5 to 7 thou over 1/4" and aren't very straight. The steel is not very hard, I milled a piece down for a 6mm x 6mm key.

    Is this how key steel was supplied back in the day, or is this more an agricultural grade of key steel? Any other thoughts?

    Door knob 'spindles'? (dunno their correct name)

    Tim

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    • #3
      They could be spindles for the pass thru or passage knob sets. For the old style Yale style knob sets. Closets or doors that wouldn't be locked from either side. We would hack saw them off if they were too long. And the steel was soft enough, that you could put marks in it with the slotted set screws in the knobs. The longer size was/is institutional grade.
      Glen
      Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
      I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
      All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

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      • #4
        Key stock is cold rolled and it isn't oversize. I buy it anytime I need good quality cold rolled stock in short lengths. It's good for tool holders and anyplace you need close tolerance with a guarantee that it won't be oversize. Tolerances usually run +.000 to -.002". The usual alloy is plain 1018 but it can be had in 1035.
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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        • #5
          The keystock used at the company I worked for (30 years) was oversize. It was color coded to differentiate it from common cold rolled 1018 which is usually nominal to -.002".

          http://www.almabolt.com/pages/catalo...ystockbars.htm

          Just a random example at the link above. In highly loaded shaft connections, a key that was not custom fit (read press fit) would "work" and loosen over time. Assembly departments were equipped with small surface grinders for the purpose of key fitting. Really highly loaded shaft connections usually had kennedy keys, or tapered gib-head keys.

          Regards

          Bob

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bjmh46
            The keystock used at the company I worked for (30 years) was oversize. It was color coded to differentiate it from common cold rolled 1018 which is usually nominal to -.002".


            Bob
            The key steel I get here is usually slightly oversize, especially the plated-looking stuff which comes from the US.

            Tim

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            • #7
              Have not seen much if any 'drop-in" key stock........ it's all at least "tight", if not oversize.

              You probably wouldn't want it to drop-in. Keyways are not precision items after the shaft has been in use for a while.....oversize lets you fit it right.

              In the "old days", when that came from, there were machine fitters who set up and repaired machines in any reasonable sized factory.... fitting keys was part of that.

              BTW, doorknob stems from that era and somewhat before most all have corner threads..... you screw the knob in to the correct amount of slop, then the set screw holds it. I have dealt with lots of them in old houses, like this one I have now from 1934.
              1601

              Keep eye on ball.
              Hashim Khan

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              • #8
                Doorknob stems without corner threads are very common for older doors in which the setscrew for the knob threaded into the stem, but I've never seen one that wasn't pre-drilled with several tapped holes for different thicknesses of doors.

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                • #9
                  I just measured my 1" keystock and it is .003" under and the 7/8" is .002 undersize. The rest is in the garage and I'm not dressed yet so I'm not going out there to measure it since it is frozen this am.
                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bruto
                    Doorknob stems without corner threads are very common for older doors in which the setscrew for the knob threaded into the stem, but I've never seen one that wasn't pre-drilled with several tapped holes for different thicknesses of doors.
                    Depending on the maker we had a number of knob spindles for institutional doors.
                    1) Like the photo just plain stock looking.
                    2) We had some that had the corner threads.
                    3) We had some that where threaded on the square stock, really weird looking. And mostly grabbed on the corners.
                    4) We also had some that had holes spaced about 1/4" apart and on 90' spacing to adjust the knob spacing not taped, but a plain round pin was tapped in. after you couldn't get the pins we used 1/8"gas welding rod.
                    5) We also had the split shafts that had a V groove in them and a section of V shaped stock that the knob set screw pressed into the V groove to spread the legs. There was a collar that kept the loose leg from falling out, it had a lip that fit in the collar.

                    They were Corbin, Best and Yale and a couple other obscure brands, that fit the mortised lock bodies Yale's that we used with Best cylinders and the small format interchangeable cores
                    Some were 1/4" square, 5/16" square and about 6 inches long,
                    the ones for domestic/house hold generally were 4 inches long.
                    Glen
                    Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                    I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                    All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Three blind men touched an elephant, one said it was long and narrow like a big snake. The second man said it was thin and flat like a melon leaf...

                      Keystock is available in a number of tolerances: Oversize, undersize and so on. Numerous materials are available as well. A few clicks on McMaster.com will show the varieties that keystock comes in.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Evan
                        I just measured my 1" keystock and it is .003" under and the 7/8" is .002 undersize. The rest is in the garage and I'm not dressed yet so I'm not going out there to measure it since it is frozen this am.

                        What, you keep key stock in the kitchen.
                        The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                        Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                        Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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                        • #13
                          Downstairs is the lathe and CNC shop, the grinding shop, the electronics shop and the computer shop, each in a separate room with the gas heater central. In the garage shop is the majority of the stock, heavy equipment and welding gear. I get about half the house and the wife gets the other half. We are both packrats so it has to be that way.
                          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                          • #14
                            Definitely shafts for door knobs. Probably for interior doors, non locking. I have seen and used them. I have a new knob set with a shaft somewhere. "Cut" glass knobs. Probably some collector would love it. Older houses in the big cities would have many of them.
                            Paul A.
                            SE Texas

                            Make it fit.
                            You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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                            • #15
                              Could be most anything....... doorknob spindles is good enough..... although I never saw any that didn't have BOTH corner threads and holes, or at least the holes..... and I have lived in some old houses.

                              Actuator rod for door-interlock electric disconnects can look like that.

                              Keystock can look like that.

                              Being that the stuff is apparently wrapped carefully, you'd think it was maybe for some better purpose than doorknobs....... I'd pretty much expect doorknob shafts to be stacked so many to a box.....

                              But they did things differently back then, which still annoys me when I sort-of expect it now...... And wrapping so that the steel wouldn't rust is typical.
                              1601

                              Keep eye on ball.
                              Hashim Khan

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