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My dashboard knob quest

Keith L.

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As some of you may know I’m an artist by profession and for the past eight years I’ve studied mold making and casting to further my art projects. One of my projects this year was to recast a ’40-’41 steering wheel, and also to duplicate the plastic knobs from my car,

Attached are photos of my progress so far.

The first photo is the original button; the second is a reproduction (number 11). Photo number three are urethane coins made from an uncirrulated mercury head dime, on top of a fifty cent piece, to show the detail obtainable using a silicone mold. The next photo shows copies from the clamshell mold (blue). These buttons are color tests ONLY and the numbers correspond to a color formula in a notebook. At the time the photo was taken (about three weeks ago) I had not cast the escutcheons yet.

The next photo was taken today. It shows the door button and escutcheon ring, cigar lighter knob and a blank knob, I have also molded but not yet cast the rest of the escutcheon rings and some of the lettered dash knobs.

The hardest part of this process is getting the color right. Any small variation in adding color to the opaque white formula would give wildly different results. My first efforts (the pix with all the buttons) the colors are opaque, not like the original Zephyr knobs. After a lot of experiments using different urethane formulas I am now able to duplicate the correct color consistently with every pour.

I would now like to ask for your help. There are several knobs I am missing to complete the entire set. Here are the dash and window items I need to complete my dash and window set for my ’41. coupe.

• Windshield wiper control knob

• Ashtray knob (for the dash)

• Turn signal handle

• Shift knob

• Vent window crank knob

• Window crank knob

And I’m not sure if I cast the right pushbutton for my car. The one shown in the photos has a large hole in the back. There is also one with a stem and one with a smooth face. My original did not come with the car.

I know there is a reproduction company that I could buy these knobs and buttons, but then it would be defeating the purpose. As an artist I have the talent, time and pride in workmanship to make these reproductions. Sort of like the guy who rebuilds an engine vs. the guys who sends it out to a rebuilder.

Anyway, here goes.

1. I could buy any extra buttons you have.

2. I could trade you any button or knob (s) that I have made for a button or knob you have. Even if it’s broken, I can rebuild it and make a casting. I could cast a knob or button in dark red if you like. You LOAN me your part, I make an impression (mold) of it and SEND IT BACK to you. Your part does NOT get damaged in any way in the process of making a silicone mold of it. It will take about 10 days to return your part, or parts to you. I will pay all shipping cost back to you. If it is a window knob, you do not have to take the plastic knob off the metal crank. Just send the crank and knob. I can make a cast of the just the plastic part. If you also need a reproduction of one of the parts you send me ( example: you have one window crank knob or door escutcheon and you need two or three ) I will make duplicates for you. Tell me your needs.

I will NOT sell you a button or knob that I have made on this forum. It would not be fair to manufactures who make knob reproductions who advertise on the Zephyr Club website.

I will only TRADE or BUY them from you.

Let me know if you are interested. Thanks.

BTW, I’m still looking for a ’40-’41 steering wheel ring (no plastic,or very little)

Keith Lee






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