Restoring / cleaning up tools

Restoring / cleaning up tools

Taking old, rusty or broken tools and getting them back into usable condition can be rewarding. It gives a sense of ownership, a feel for a tool that picking one off the shelf just doesn’t give, at least not right away.

Even something simple like repairing a chisel with a split handle can be rewarding.

Chisel with split handle

The chisel above was good condition apart from the split beech handle.

Fixing it up wasn’t a big job. Planing the split portion flat and gluing on a scrap piece of beech took about 5 minutes. Once dry it took another 15 minutes with a spokeshave and some sandpaper to get it back into usable condition.

The end result feels great and it adds to the patina of the tool.

I find fixing up old tools makes a nice in between project or something to do on a rainy day. It doesn’t normally take too much time and can often be split into smaller increments if needed. The reward is a great tool you know well and is setup exactly how you want.

Fixing up tools can also be a great learning exercise. Plus, the tools are cheaper and you avoid poorly restored tools.

There’s something about vintage tools, maybe it’s the sense of history, the quality, the connection to the past, or the sense of ownership having cleaned them up. Whatever it is, I like them.


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