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How "restored" do you like your old hand tools?

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Forum topic by screwikea posted 07-06-2016 05:49 PM 619 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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screwikea

19 posts in 1403 days


07-06-2016 05:49 PM

As I’m going through a pile of rusty nonsense, I’m of two minds about my tools that I restore.

On the one hand, I just want to have a no 4 that’s all set up, sharp, and ready to go. So the handles may be a little beat up and the sides of the body may have the dark patina. It’s a tool. It can do it’s job perfectly.

On the other hand, I get some real pleasure out of picking up a chrome-y, shiny, polished plane with rich, refinished wood parts.

It’s sort of like if you had 2 completely identical vintage cars staring you in the face under the hood. Suspension, tires, engine all runnin’ and gunnin’ exactly alike. But I’d derive more pleasure in the ride out of the one with the pristine hubs, paint, and interior. They both do exactly the same thing, but it’s a more pleasurable experience.

Keep in mind I’m not talking about some really rare, ultra collectible, priceless piece of antiquity here. It’s a tool. Its mission in the world is to do a thing.

So… what do you want out of the restored tool?


19 replies so far

View Clarkie's profile

Clarkie

380 posts in 1304 days


#1 posted 07-06-2016 06:09 PM

I much rather have a tool, that is sharp and pristine, it just feels better when you use it. I think the result of clean, sharp and ready to go tools make for a better job all around. It also shows the care and quality you take in your work. Have fun, make some dust.

View DirtyMike's profile

DirtyMike

454 posts in 365 days


#2 posted 07-06-2016 06:28 PM

i am going through the same dileimma. that is what i needed to hear clarkie , thanks

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

1750 posts in 601 days


#3 posted 07-06-2016 06:29 PM

I like for my tools to look (and be) “healthy”. It doesn’t necessarily have to be “pretty” but it does have to be rust-free, sharp, tuned and solid.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4451 posts in 3423 days


#4 posted 07-06-2016 06:30 PM

My “restores” are just for me. I want ‘em as good as I can get ‘em. Clean, sharp (if needed), rust free, and lookin’ good to me and others.
Just my way of preservation.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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johnstoneb

2143 posts in 1636 days


#5 posted 07-06-2016 06:32 PM

I like a tool that is rustfree. The patina I don’t mind because I feel that it will shine up on the surfaces that are used. The handles I will clean up. How beat up the handles are and how much is missing determines whether I do any repairs or replacement..

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

6472 posts in 2061 days


#6 posted 07-06-2016 06:36 PM

I like a little bit of shine to mine. Certainly no rust, a little patina is fine. The broken/chipped wood seem to bug me more than it should.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4027 posts in 1814 days


#7 posted 07-06-2016 06:55 PM

I restore mine to be functional. No rust, but if a bit of japanning has been lost that’s okay. One thing I don’t tolerate is a beat up totes. If they are cracked or broken they get replaced. I feel it reflects on me as a woodworker.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3674 posts in 1728 days


#8 posted 07-06-2016 08:18 PM

I totally agree with just about everyone here. No rust, clean, sharp, looking good and preforming like they are intended to work.

View ki7hy's profile

ki7hy

493 posts in 202 days


#9 posted 07-06-2016 08:33 PM

This is a funny question I have found myself asking recently.

I have rehabbed some old Stanley planes. A couple of 4’s, 5’s, 6, 7 and an odd 10 1/2. Still have a Type 4 5 1/2 to do.

My wife bought me a Stanley number 8 off Ebay for father’s day that was already restored and painted to make the japanning look new…yes I know paint isn’t japanning but who cares, this number 8 looks sweet! Looks brand new and makes my other planes look 100 years old or more (all of them are). So I was convinced I wanted to beautify my planes to make them look like the number 8. Even bought the Ford engine paint to do it.

The wife talked me out of it. She told me I would erase the stories these planes came with. I use all of my planes, not a single plane hasn’t been used and will continue to be used (my 5 1/2 I just found last week in the wild is waiting to rehab and be used) so I told her “I’m just continuing the story so refreshing everything isn’t bad, it’s not like these things are worth tons of cash or anything”, she said “No, you’re erasing the past”. She said she almost didn’t buy the restored number 8 because it’s story had been erased but thought I would like something that didn’t cause me more work and it was the right era of plane I typically buy.

So the engine paint is in the spray paint till in the garage waiting for a project or a plane in bad enough shape to need it. All of my others are missing japanning of some sort and aren’t the prettiest but they work, are sharp and I enjoy using them. I do clean off rust and of course flatten the bottoms and sides. Some don’t do the sides but I use mine to check for flat surfaces because I am lazy like that.

Take it for what it’s worth but all of this has been the talk around my house the last few weeks.

View screwikea's profile

screwikea

19 posts in 1403 days


#10 posted 07-06-2016 08:54 PM

You know, I would feel that way about a couple of very specific tools that I have. But only because I know the history on that specific tool. If I have no idea what it was doing before I got a hold of it, or who from, I quickly lose that ideal.

If I knew Nakashima had been using a tool I’ve got, I’d probably put it in a case and tell stories about it. But I don’t have that. I’ve got a pile of tools in various condition that some schlub probably did a bunch of crappy handyman work with.

No, you’re erasing the past

View ki7hy's profile

ki7hy

493 posts in 202 days


#11 posted 07-06-2016 09:01 PM



You know, I would feel that way about a couple of very specific tools that I have. But only because I know the history on that specific tool. If I have no idea what it was doing before I got a hold of it, or who from, I quickly lose that ideal.

If I knew Nakashima had been using a tool I ve got, I d probably put it in a case and tell stories about it. But I don t have that. I ve got a pile of tools in various condition that some schlub probably did a bunch of crappy handyman work with.

No, you’re erasing the past

- screwikea

I can agree with that and still might restore my stuff completely someday. I feel exactly as you do, past or no past, it’s mine now and it’s my story. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter either way. None of us are retiring off of old Stanley planes, so the story is whatever we give it. New makeup or not.

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ki7hy

493 posts in 202 days


#12 posted 07-06-2016 09:02 PM

Oh….Nakashima has been the previous owner of all my planes, yours too! ;)

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

15665 posts in 2469 days


#13 posted 07-06-2016 10:50 PM

Depends on how im feeling but typically, functional is good enough for me but if ive got the time and the hankerin for it, shiny is fun too.

-- rock, chalk, jayhawk

View Axle505's profile

Axle505

137 posts in 298 days


#14 posted 07-07-2016 02:55 AM

If used, I prefer any marks on a tool to be from me, a history if you will of my work. So, if not an antique, I try to restore it.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1056 posts in 1452 days


#15 posted 07-07-2016 03:22 PM

For hand planes, all get derusted, tuned up, and bench planes all get custom totes and knobs – I prefer my handle designs. None get painted unless more than 1/2 the japanning is gone. For the most part the original patina remains. Sometimes the brass gets sanded and steel wooled if its ugly. I dont know the stories behind any of my planes, so that doesnt matter to me. I prefer for them to look like tools that are for work because they are used for work, not to look at on a shelf or tell stories about, since they cant talk and I dont know the story.

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

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