Hi everyone, just wanted to share some quick results from a recent product experiment…Turtle Wax Rubbing Compound.
Nearly everyone I know cleans vintage tools with some combination of BLO, soap, and spirits…or a secret solution containing one of the above.
However, recently, LJ buddy CFrye uncovered this article on The Best Things:
The author is mostly dealing with collectable tools, but admits any fine tool should be cared for properly. I agree. He preaches the use of dry cleaning agents, no oils, no steel wool, no water. He also mentions that a tool so badly rusted that it won’t respond to his methods, is usually passed along to another tool junkie. And, if you’re restoring a non-collector to user status, do whatever you want! LOL.
I have several vintage levels, braces, and planes in a pile ready for restoration, and really wanted to keep the old patina on them, so was waiting for info like this…
So, off to town I go for a $4 can of the red Turtle Wax Cleaner…actually, I was at the auto parts store for our Jeep…no way I’d drive 40 minutes to town for a $4 item.
My test subject was a Sargent 3416 Transitional plane, complete and in fairly good shape, just filthy. After disassembly, I noticed the smell of burned wood at the base of the tote, probably the same event the caused the heavy discoloration on the left side, too?
Since it’s below freezing in the shop, and SWMBO is at work, I had no trouble securing permission to set up a restoration area inside the house between the propane heater and the coffee pot.
My intentions were to use only the Turtle wax and scotchbrite pads for the entire process to see what happened…
I applied the cleaner directly to the green pads and started rubbing it in with the direction of the grain. Scrub 15 seconds, then wipe clean with a cotton rag…nice results immediately! The turtle wax leaves a slight film on the surface after cleaning which buffs to a nice satin finish.
I scratched off the film with dry scotchbrite, then applied more cleaner to the very grimy parts. A final coat of wax is intended once cleaning is done. I had to skip this step since my wax was across the frozen tundra in my shop, probably 1000 feet from the toasty, warmth of our home.
I also used the turtle wax on the painted surfaces with only minor improvements. Of course, someone has painted over the original japanning and rust, so these parts will require additional cleaning when I can un-thaw the shop. I sprayed a lil citrus degreaser on the nasty parts and scrubbed with plastic brush, and wiped clean with cotton rag.
Since this 3416 has a high probability of being a Type 1, I don’t want to re-paint it, or make it look new! It has both the horseshoe shaped lateral adjuster and Type 1 logo on the iron, so I hesitantly call it a Type 1. Still, after a few months of looking, I don’t see a pre-lateral Sargent transitional, and Heckel’s images of the Type 1 look just like this plane…
I had no luck at all cleaning around the iron’s logo with scotchbrite pads. Half of the logo is missing anyway, so I’ll probably leave it as is. Except for sharpening!
The completed plane looks much better IMO, but could use more cleaning on the metal parts…especially those that are un-painted.
Since this transitional is a user/collector for me…I’ve managed to obtain 75% of the trannies Sargent made…I really want it to look old, but cared for. I certainly will find a better method to clean the iron, but will avoid WD-40 and steel wool till the end on these pre-1901 parts!
Comments and suggestions are always welcomed…
-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...