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Forum topic by CharlieM1958 posted 07-11-2011 12:37 AM 1417 views 0 times favorited 51 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CharlieM1958

15817 posts in 2971 days


07-11-2011 12:37 AM

Several recent forum topics dealing with old tool restoration got me thinking. Who are the people who decide how a certain type of antique should or should not be restored?

Think about it. With old power tools, it is generally accepted that a good restoration is one which returns the tool to as “like new” condition as possible. The same holds true for old cars. Nobody ever mentions “patina” as a good thing in relation to a ‘55 Chevy or an old table saw.

Antique furniture, on the other hand, loses the majority of its value if it refinished. Why is refinishing and repairing an 18th century highboy to look like it did when it came out of the original maker’s shop a bad thing?

Old hand tools, planes in particular, seem to be a bit more of a mixed bag. Some want them to look like new, while others prefer to do only what is necessary to restore mechanical function.

I don’t have any answers. I’m just wondering if anyone has any thoughts that might make these apparent inconsistencies make more sense to me?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"


51 replies so far

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WayneC

12302 posts in 2850 days


#1 posted 07-11-2011 12:48 AM

I think that in the tool world a tool that is in original condition and has not been cleaned or modified is more rare. Similar to the way they grade coins. Cleaning a coin ruins it’s value.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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sedcokid

2686 posts in 2351 days


#2 posted 07-11-2011 02:30 AM

I like to keep my tools in ‘New’ or close to it condition. I keep them wiped off and looking good, if necessary I even put a coat of wax or touch up paint on.

Thanks for asking…

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

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fernandoindia

1077 posts in 1696 days


#3 posted 07-11-2011 02:48 AM

Hi Charlie.
Agree that the restore or not restore issue is somewhat controversial. My truly belief: the people who decide how a certain type of antique should or should not be restored are the owners. They only know what is the value for that object. Coin collectors as Wayne depicts, may find the value on oxidized metal. Some others love the bronze shining. Frankly I prefer gold to bronze because it doesn´t need buffing, :)

I am some kind of an utilitarian person, so I can imagine that your statement regarding the power tools apply to hand ones. As new like, means they should work properly

Old furniture can be seen as a 75 year old lady. You would like to see her keeping her charm and dignity, but no silicone at all. That is the way I see antique furniture.

-- Back home. Fernando

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David Grimes

2072 posts in 1393 days


#4 posted 07-11-2011 02:54 AM

Really good question, CharlieM1958.

Those type of thoughts have already crossed my mind on several levels.

Regarding the Stanley #2 I have: It only has japanning missing at the inside top of the frog. There is no rust anywhere at all. The only wear is a minimal amount on one edge of the lever cap and one side of the lever (the plating is gone in a small area on top). The tote and knob can use a re-finish but are really nice as they are. I believe I will just clean this one up, leave the lever cap as is, leave the frog paint alone, refinish the tote and knob, then lap the sole. It will be better than it is, but still retain the few signs of age and minimal usage.

The rusty #4 I am working on… they are so cheap and plentiful that I have no qualms about painting it and finishing the metal at all. If I get a wild hair, this would be the one to paint flames down the side of it. j/k

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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CharlieM1958

15817 posts in 2971 days


#5 posted 07-11-2011 03:21 AM

David, I tend to agree with you. If I had a #2 in decent shape, I don’t think I’d do much to it because I’d want to “preserve” it. However, I can’t really say there is a good reason for that, other than the fact that I’ve been “programmed” this way.

Fernando, I hate to say it, but… If I had a 75-year-old woman for a girlfriend, and the option to restore her to her 25-year-old self, I think both she and I would vote for the restoration. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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WayneC

12302 posts in 2850 days


#6 posted 07-11-2011 03:23 AM

Charlie, how about the 75 year old woman who was still in the same shape she was at 25?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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David Grimes

2072 posts in 1393 days


#7 posted 07-11-2011 03:30 AM

@waynec, she would either be frozen or a robot. ;=)

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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WayneC

12302 posts in 2850 days


#8 posted 07-11-2011 03:40 AM

Or very rare.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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CharlieM1958

15817 posts in 2971 days


#9 posted 07-11-2011 05:09 AM

Wayne, then there would be no need to do any work at all. Just like finding a #2 still in the box, never opened. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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WayneC

12302 posts in 2850 days


#10 posted 07-11-2011 05:12 AM

So a perfect example for the collector. They are looking for the #2 in the box. Most of us are looking for good usable tools. I just follow the rules of the collector for high value planes that I might come across. Otherwise, I restore them to clean usable shape. I avoid repainting from a personal perspective.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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CharlieM1958

15817 posts in 2971 days


#11 posted 07-11-2011 05:14 AM

Except that if I had a 75-year-old woman in 25-year-old condition, she’d be a “user” for sure. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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WayneC

12302 posts in 2850 days


#12 posted 07-11-2011 05:15 AM

lol – This analogy probably already has us in hot water as it is…. Think I will leave that sleeping dog lie. : ^ )

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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CharlieM1958

15817 posts in 2971 days


#13 posted 07-11-2011 05:20 AM

Yeah, I’m sure glad Fernando brought it up and not me.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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eaglewrangler

59 posts in 1290 days


#14 posted 07-11-2011 05:47 AM

As for tools, I have found that price wise, an old chisel or slick is cheaper that a comparable new one, and the new one will, if you sweat on it, rust and pit, while a good older one, pre civil war, has impure metals and surface iron, these change the rusting and often hold a better edge.. so I use most, though I simply have way to many hand planes to ever use.
Like the old Chevy that gets tricked out, most restoration goes overboard. Even at CW (colonial Williamsburg) they got a bit dramatic in early restorations..more like it used to that it ever was…most antiques of good wood and quality can be shined up nicely, where as the farm country look requires the old to hide the ugly pine and nailed up craftsmanship.
Not sure on the woman, but perhaps 50 years of good memories and failing eye sight would keep her looking 25. That is my plan anyway..to early to tell if it works yet.

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jamesicus

132 posts in 1445 days


#15 posted 07-11-2011 06:55 AM

Well, I am eighty two—I prefer ladies a little older than seventy five! :)

James

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