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Restoring a MASSIVE Underhill Gouge #1: Rust Removal/Cleanup

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Blog entry by Lemongrasspicker posted 02-02-2017 04:32 AM 1181 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Restoring a MASSIVE Underhill Gouge series Part 2: Handle Making/Completion »

If you prefer not to read, the youtube video is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT5ArQLTQS8

I came into possession of this chisel via the wonder that is Ebay, you just never know what cool thing you might find.

I had wanted something that would let me add some texture to large pieces like coffee table tops and/or wood carvings and such. I came across this one and immediately thought it was very interesting.

And indeed it was, Underhill the maker of it seemed to go out of business around the late 1880s, so even if this tool were made in the very last year of business it would still be around 120 years old at a minimum. A random bit of info I found on underhill was that the axe that Lizzie Borden used was apparently made by them.. weird.

I can’t say enough about the size of this thing. I have Pfeil gouges and they just feel like little tidbits compared to this. The iron is nearly 14” long and with the handle it’s near 26” overall. The cutting edge is 2” exactly and will serve my needs nicely. I will not be regrinding this one into an out cannal gouge as the in cannal will work perfect for distressing boards and such. Plus I think the issue is overthought in alot of ways but I digress.

A gouge this size and design was probably used for boat building and/or timber framing. It is shaped exactly like a framing slick thus it is not intended to be struck with a mallet but just pushed by hand. The handle needs to be replaced as it falls out of the socket far too easily (hardly takes any pressure and it really should be solid as a fortress).

Anyways my usual method with cleaning up old tools like these is to just use vinegar and sandpaper to remove the bulk of the nasty rust. I never try to take all the patina off of tools like these since it takes so long for them to acquire it. So with some 320 grit it went from unreadably rusty to pretty cool looking.

Some prefer the high level of patina, myself I don’t as all I see is rust eating away at a perfectly good tool, removing the bulk of it leaves a much more interesting look anyway. I don’t dig the high polish of some of the restored tools on ebay either so I like to keep a balance between polished and patina.

On old tools like this I always wonder who used it and on what did they use it? Since this likely came from a shipwright’s toolchest I wonder what ships did he work on? Did he repair some great battleships after a skirmish? Did he keep the fishermen in business by keeping their skiffs in good working order?

Who knows, but it’s wonderful to speculate, the name on the back is one of a Mr. S.M. True, perhaps he is our craftsman who owned it?

The final picture of the 3 is after the rust had been removed and it had been treated with vinegar.

For Part 2 I’ll be carving a new handle. No idea when it will happen but it will, I acquired a nice slab of Ash that’ll be perfect for the job.

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-- www.youtube.com/lemongrasspicker



7 comments so far

View Ted78's profile

Ted78

344 posts in 1873 days


#1 posted 02-02-2017 11:39 PM

I have a similar giant gouge. No idea what it was used for or what I would use it for but at $2 at a garage sale I couldn’t pass it up, but that’s a problem for another post.

-- Ted

View Lemongrasspicker's profile

Lemongrasspicker

108 posts in 370 days


#2 posted 02-02-2017 11:52 PM



I have a similar giant gouge. No idea what it was used for or what I would use it for but at $2 at a garage sale I couldn t pass it up, but that s a problem for another post.

- Ted78

I’d like to see a pic of yours at some point, sounds like there’s a neat story in that one

-- www.youtube.com/lemongrasspicker

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7732 posts in 1880 days


#3 posted 02-03-2017 02:16 PM

Might “S.M.True” be the name of a ship? Maybe it was part of their “on board tool kit” ?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Lemongrasspicker's profile

Lemongrasspicker

108 posts in 370 days


#4 posted 02-03-2017 03:22 PM



Might “S.M.True” be the name of a ship? Maybe it was part of their “on board tool kit” ?

- JoeinGa

That’s entirely possible, that would be really cool if it was the case without a doubt

-- www.youtube.com/lemongrasspicker

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7732 posts in 1880 days


#5 posted 02-04-2017 02:19 PM

I found this obituary
http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/lubbockonline/obituary.aspx?pid=157677787

And this story about him
http://www.everythinglubbock.com/news/klbk-news/farming-legend-sm-true-dies

But neither mentions any indication he was a woodworker.

Spent about 20 minutes doing Google searches and cant find any indication that S.M. True was any kind of ship or boat.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Lemongrasspicker's profile

Lemongrasspicker

108 posts in 370 days


#6 posted 02-06-2017 05:26 PM



I found this obituary
http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/lubbockonline/obituary.aspx?pid=157677787

And this story about him
http://www.everythinglubbock.com/news/klbk-news/farming-legend-sm-true-dies

But neither mentions any indication he was a woodworker.

Spent about 20 minutes doing Google searches and cant find any indication that S.M. True was any kind of ship or boat.

- JoeinGa

I’m not too sure that he’s our guy, seeing as only died within the last decade or so.

-- www.youtube.com/lemongrasspicker

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

3377 posts in 2959 days


#7 posted 02-17-2017 04:28 PM

The obit states it was S.M. True Jr. indicating his father had the same name. The father could have been
the owner. Interesting possibilities.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

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