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Show off your CW keys

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KE0FWZ, Nov 7, 2015.

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  1. N1HM

    N1HM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Wow you have a truly rare key that is a Bunnell legless key and one of the first keys Bunnell ever manufactured. Bunnell received the patent the 15th of February 1881 for that key lever design. These early keys had the patent date in the center of the lever, later keys had Bunnell over the letter S and then only Bunnel and then Bunnell completely dropped the lettering in the center of the key lever around 1918. Yours is one of the earliest of these keys from Bunnell based on three things the patent date stamped in the center of the lever, the way the binding posts are attached to the key body by screws and the fact that the key body is solid. Hold on to that key they are impossible to find and are a true rarity. Clean it up but don't polish it to look like gold, if you just clean it up it will develop a new very pleasant patina over a few month. On the levers I use sand paper to remove the pitting and rust starting with a course grit and finishing with a fine grit. With your key you will have to be very careful because you do not want to remove the already warring off stamped patent date. If you decide to use sand paper do not start off with a too aggressive grit paper and be careful. I truly envy you. If you would accept it I would like to send you a hand crafted, hand stained Oak wood base to mount that key on. It would give a wonderful key a fitting base for display and use. Let me know. You have a Bunnell 1888, Bunnell double speed (sideswiper) key and now this key where do you find these treasurers?
    John N1HM
  2. KQ4MM

    KQ4MM XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    Well the Double Speed key I just fell into and was at the right place at the right time, Steve W5BIB, an amazing person and CW OP, had it for a while and decided to part with it. I just happened to be in the proverbial right place and we stuck up a deal. I think Steve wanted me to have it since my plans were to actually use it which I do, its my primary key, love cootie style keying. As for the other beauties, well Nashville is a big town and has a very old RR history (which I think adds to the chances you will run across something telegraph related). My wife and I hit the estate and yard sale circuit many weekends and I occasionally run across them there, oh and we are overloaded with Antique stores here in Middle TN, find lots of treasure in them as well. The Bunnell was part of a package deal... There was a KOB ( Broken board) that was very crusty and a worthless broken coming apart sounder that was toast, and this key. As a bonus it turned out the key on the board was a Bunnell as well although missing the thumbnut for the spring screw and shorting bar ( see pic below ). I cleaned this one up and will probably sell it if I can find a replacement thumb nut. Anyway, thanks for the very kind offer on the base, if I didnt already have a really nice piece of very dark walnut ready I would have gladly taken you up on the kind offer.

    The Bunnell 150OHMS plaque was a bonus from the broken board
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
  3. KQ4MM

    KQ4MM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    P.S. John ... or anyone else who may know

    Whats the thread size on the mounting posts for the legged Bunnell Keys, I need to source a few nuts to mount the one pictured above

    Thanks Brian - KQ4MM
  4. N1HM

    N1HM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think I have some original wing nut in my parts bin let me look and I will get back to you.
  5. N1HM

    N1HM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have two brass wing nut for a Bunnell leg key if you need them. Let me know.
    John N1HM
  6. KQ4MM

    KQ4MM XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    Yes, thank you so much... I believe the thread count is 32 on these, but bigger than #10x32 nut so very difficult to find. Been searching all morning

    Brian - KQ4MM
  7. N1HM

    N1HM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I will send them out in the mail to your QRZ address on Monday. I think it is 1/4NF.
    John N1HM
  8. KQ4MM

    KQ4MM XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    Thank you Sir .... Been studying it all morning and its for sure 32 thread count ( compared to a known 32 thread screw of a smaller size) , but bigger than #10 .. Was doing some reading and apparently around the turn of the century 12x32 was fairly common. On a forum about restoring old sounders I found a post that said get a 12x32 tap and some brass 10x32 nuts and run them down the tap to rethread them .. Might give that a try for grins and if it works I will send you a batch for your parts bin.
  9. WA3LKN

    WA3LKN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nice early JHB straight key! Their first model. If the steel is pitted not much to do about it. If it's just discolored a Dremel felt wheel and polishing paste work wonders.

    I think it looks great as is. Congrats!
  10. W9BFZ

    W9BFZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first key. Purchased from cwmorse. It is 3d printed with a nice aluminum base. Now I just have to learn how to use it.

    N2EY likes this.

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