Vintage – refurbish, restore, repair…
Ok it might sound strange!
I would love to get some comments on this topic, since it’s a question that always comes back to me.
When is it a restore?
(Restoration can be as simple as light cleaning to remove disfiguring dirt or grime, such as on the surface of a painting, or it may include near complete rebuilding or replacement)
When is it a refurbish?
(To renew or to restore to a new condition and/or appearance)
When is it a repair?
(Fixing any sort of mechanical or electrical device should it become out of order or broken)
When is it a destruction?
(It may apply either as a measurable degree of damage up to and including a state beyond use or repair)
Antique, this is for me an object that has not been changed at all, but this is not the subject for this blog.
I think for any collector it will be obvious that the more original, the better.
(An antique (Latin: antiquus; old) is an old collectible item. It is collected or desirable because of its age (see definition), beauty, rarity, condition, utility, and/or other unique features. It is an object that represents a previous era in human society.)
Here some samples of my own restore (or whatever I might call it).
My definition of restore:
If the tool works, do not fix it!
But you can restore it;
Remove dirt, use water and soap, rust remover, wd40 or what needed. What I don’t want is that the tear and wear and patina disappear.
I have seen examples on the internet where they teach you how to take a hammer and make patina… NO! This is not patina, it’s destruction (for me).
I have seen examples where they spray with paint to make it look used… Destruction (for me).
So here is an example:
I bought these tree on E-bay.
The one on top: really bad wood, eaten by worms so it fell apart, and a really bad homemade design.
For me there was no doubt, this needed to be taken of, and a new made.
Dilemma! Do I need to make a new in the same design as the old, or is it ok to follow the design of the others?
The second: the picture does not tell the truth, since 1/4 of the handle was missing on the back.
For me no doubt again, new handle, but the same dilemma.
The third and fourth: both had old handles, dirty but with a wonderful patina, and a design of its time, even the old carpenter’s initials stamped into the handle.
For me the only right thing to do is to clean it up, and give it wax or oil, to keep as much as the patina, and the tear and wear as possible.
The irons: here comes a dilemma, should I clean them up, and use them as they are. Or should I polish them up to a perfect shine?
My choice will depend of the use, if it’s for occasional use, I’ll keep as much as possible, but if it’s for everyday use, I would do all to optimize them and then end up with a polish.
For the honing I will not make a compromise, I will make the most optimal hone for this tool.
Dirt: remove only to the extend needed, and always with the mildest possible means.
Tear and wear: clan but do not remove or add.
Broken: fix it as gentle as possible, change only if needed.
Paint stains or bad lacquer on iron or handle, remove, use sandpaper if needed.
So can I buy a new set of plastic handle chisels and make new wooden handles?
Yes of course, but then you have not made a restore, you have simply made then into your favorite chisels… But they are not ‘restored’ or original or vintage.
(Vintage is a generic term for pre-owned, second-hand or even like-new items from a previous era. The term has to do with age and does not take into account the condition of the item. The word vintage is copied from its use in wine terminology, where it only denotes age – not the condition or quality of the wine. Vintage is a more elegant-seeming euphemism for old or previously owned items. It can be a very subjective matter though, as much as “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.)
Wauu, so this is why vintage are used so much!!!
What can be done to these?
Can I make a new bevel and make it into a firmer chisel and still stay vintage?
Can I change the handles to match eachother, and still stay vintage?
What can be done to this?
Can I remove the paint and paint it in a new color?
Can I change the blade for a better?
Can I make wooden handle and knob?
Yes all these terms change a lot, and have floating borders.
But for me a good restore are when I bring it back to use with as little as possible afford, and changes as little as possible of the original material, tear and wear, and patina.
What do you think?
-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.