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Restoring Tools...Methods and tools used

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Forum topic by Dan posted 07-27-2011 07:39 PM 8372 views 6 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dan

3630 posts in 2343 days


07-27-2011 07:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tool restoration

There are a lot of us on here that enjoy restoring old tools and giving them new life. Whether its hand tool or power tool there have been a lot of great blogs, forum topics and projects posted about tool restoration.

There are a lot of how to questions posted on here in regards to restoring tools. How to remove rust? How to polish metal? How to fix broken parts? ext ext…

I thought it would be fun to start a thread with everyone discussing their techniques on restoring tools and also the tools, jigs and products that you use.

I will start off by making a short list of some of the tools & products I use the most for restoring tools.

1. Spray bottles x3 – I always have 3 spray bottles one bottle of water, one with mineral spirits and one with simple green cleaner. These will handle almost all of the cleaning jobs.

2. WD40 – Use this all the time to loosen rusted parts and also to lube all of the different screws and bolts after they have been cleaned.

3. Shop rags – Cleaning and restoring tools is extremely messy so its important to have plenty of shop rags on hand. I cut up old bath towels and use them for most of the work. However its nice to have a few softer cloths on hand for when your working with polish. I also keep a roll of paper towel next to me.

4. Wire and Tooth Brushes- I am always using steel and brass wired brushes. They are especially useful for cleaning screw and bolt threads. A wire wheel in a drill or dremmel tool is also very handy but I have much more control doing with hand held brushes.

5. Sandpaper – Most used grits for me would be 180, 220, 400, 800. Its important for me to have a good quality paper that does not rip when folded. I am always cutting and folding the paper so I can reach tight areas and I have used some brands that will rip to easily when folded.

6. Metal detail picks – These are VERY handy to have. I got a pack of 6 detail picks from Harbor Freight for a few dollars and its well worth it. They beat any other hand or power tool when it comes to picking dirt out of hard to reach places. I also use them to clean out the heads on screws and even the threads.

7. Razor Blades – In or out of a knife razors are used often to scrap and clean. I find them most useful to scrap wooden tool handles. I will often have a plane or saw handle with paint drops on it and a razor blade will scrap the paint off a lot easier then it would be to sand the paint off.

8. Vise Grips – Good for loosening rusted bolts.

9. Q-Tips – Fantastic for cleaning and polishing hard to reach areas. Also great for cleaning out bolt/screw holes. Spray some wd40 in the threaded hold and clean it out with a Q-tip.

10. 3m Abrasive pads – Green, Red, Grey and White. These are by far my most used item when it comes to cleaning and restoration. They are great for removing dirt and rust and they last a lot longer then sand paper. They work much like steel wool but are much better to use. I use them on wood and metal and the white pads will leave an ultra shiny surface.

I have a lot more items that I use but I will stop my list there… Please share products you guys use and your methods..

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"


17 replies so far

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2156 days


#1 posted 07-27-2011 07:47 PM

This is a great start to a great thread. I’ll add a few of my own preferences.
1) I scour the WalMart clearance aisle. Every once in a while, they’ll have gun cleaning supplies for $0.10 to $0.99 or so. I buy the brushes, picks, solvent, pads, you name it.
2) I like to keep some gel stripper nearby. This stuff is very nasty but will destroy almost anything in sight.
3) I like to start with electrolysis, but that’s another thread
4) I like to have acetone on hand for a final wipe-down. The aerosolized “parts cleaner” is really nice but expensive
5) I scary sharp metal. You can polish brass and metal with increasing paper grits
6) I like beeswax+turpentine for a final wood wipedown
7) I like a coarse brash brush that’s shaped like a watercolor brush; cylindrical with the fibers parallel to the drill shaft; I use it in a corded drill; gets into corners
8) I like the Dremel with brass wheels
9) I like polishing pads charged with bar polishing compound

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Dan

3630 posts in 2343 days


#2 posted 07-27-2011 07:58 PM

Al, I will have to check out our Walmart for gun cleaning stuff. I have also never used acetone so I will have to try that out.

Electrolysis is not for another thread. You can discuss it here. It is great for removing rust so why not. I have not tried it yet but its on my to do list. I need to get a charger though.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2156 days


#3 posted 07-27-2011 08:06 PM

The Walmart gun cleaning aisle doesn’t carry high end stuff but they always have nice brass brushes meant to get into tiny nooks and crannies (obviously). When they rotate the stock, they’ll place out bins of the stuff for next to nothing. Acetone’s a great final cleaner and it evaporates rapidly, leaving the metal wonderfully cold. They sell “parts cleaner” which is aersolized acetone. It’s great for blasting the crud out of threads, etc. but at $5 a bottle or so, it can get pricey.

I think evaporust is probably the best rust cleaner out there but I like electrolysis as a first step. I shock a piece for a day or so to loosen the crud, then brush it clean with a powered brass wheel. At that point, I usually give it a shot of acetone and set it aside. I do this because once I bring out the lubricants, I make a mess of everything. The powered brushes shoot black crap everywhere and I’m left with a mess. With electrolysis, I can get the tool relatively clean using only water-based chemicals. This is good for a mess master like myself.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Don W

17962 posts in 2030 days


#4 posted 07-27-2011 08:23 PM

I try to find used electric motors cheap. I’ve got different wire and polishing wheels set up. I find the belt sander is pretty handy as well. I just got my first jug of evapo rust. It works great.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2156 days


#5 posted 07-27-2011 08:36 PM

I forgot about the belt sander. I clamp mine upside down and brutalize all kinds of things with it, including my knuckles.

Hey DW, I’m in the market for a motor to run my pillowblock grinding wheel (currently on my treadle). I searched “Baldor” on Ebay, then “DC motor”. There were so many that I got overwhelmed. What type of motor would you recommend for this application? Let’s not hijack Dan’s thread with my nonsense; but I’ll forget to ask if I don’t ask now.

Back to restoring tools. I really like the Dremel wheels for getting sideways into straight slot screw and for cleaning up screw threads. I’ve got a pair of vicegrips that I dipped in that Plasticote stuff. I’ll hold the screw with the grips and Dremel away.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Don W

17962 posts in 2030 days


#6 posted 07-27-2011 08:46 PM

I find its usually cheaper to buy a piece of crap machine and scavendure the motor than buying a motor. Find a broken tablesaw with a 1\1\w hp motor for $25 or buy a $75 motor. See how that goes? For your application id look for a lower speed. 1450 Rpm. Probably 1\3 hp just because of size. If you can find more hp in a small motor, all the better.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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Dan

3630 posts in 2343 days


#7 posted 07-27-2011 09:08 PM

EvapoRust is great but if you were going to be doing something really large or a lot of things at once then the electrolysis is probably the way to go. Reason is EvapoRust is rather expensive so if you needed to submerge a lot of material it could get pricey.

Dremmel tool does good job with the wire brushes as well as the abrasive wheels they sell. Only problem with the abrasive wheels is they wear quickly and are expensive. I also will sometimes use the buffing wheels on the dremmel tool. I have recently been using a while wheel drill attachment in my drill press and have had good results with that.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2156 days


#8 posted 07-27-2011 10:03 PM

Yeah, the Dremel wheels are ridiculous. I used to burn through dozens of them until I wised up. I’ve got an old trusty DeWalt corded that I put a keyless chuck into a keyed chuck. I just swap out wire wheels on that bad boy and go to town. It’s almost totally black from the abuse.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Dan

3630 posts in 2343 days


#9 posted 07-27-2011 10:27 PM

I do very little of my restoration work with power tools. They make quick work of things but I prefer to do a lot of the sanding and polishing by hand. I feel I have a lot more control and I can see my progress much easier. Lately I have been using the dremmel to start off on the smaller parts then finish them with wet/dry fine grit paper.

One area a power tool comes in real handy is if you have a badly rusted hand saw. I have hit a number hand saws with my ROS with 120 grit paper. It makes a cloud of rust dust but its a lot quicker then doing by hand.

Where do you guys do your cleaning restoring work? If you guys are like me then you know how much space it takes up and how messy it gets. I have a corner of my shop where I do most of my work but I outgrew it so I now use my old workbench as well as. Here is a picture of my restoration area..

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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WayneC

12642 posts in 3560 days


#10 posted 07-27-2011 11:02 PM

I use a folding worktable to do my restoration work. I have a bunch of info on the stuff I use and the process is in my blog.

http://lumberjocks.com/WayneC/blog/592

The list is as follows:

Lap Plate – used to lap the sole and sides of a plane
- Plastic Laminate – speeds the process
- Heavy Plate Glass – flat surface
- Contact Cement
- Laminate Roller

Lee Valley also sells a glass plate and plastic that adhears to the plate
Other alternatives include using sandpaper on a granate plate or on a flat surface such as a table saw wing or jointer bed

Grit for sole and sides
- Emery paper
- Silicon carbide abrasive 60 Grit (powder)

I ordered some Grit from lee valley and also found some locally at a lapidary supply house.
Also you could use 60 or 80 grit sandpaper.

Rust Removal
Citric Acid
Evaporust

Abrasives for cleaning metal parts
- Coarse, medium and fine abrasive blocks
- 120 Grit Emery Paper

General cleaning
- Scotch bright
- Alcohol (Denatured)

Finishing
- White Shellac
- Orange Shellac

Other
- Squeeze bottle for alcohol
- Paraffin

Sharpening
- Honing guide
- Angle gauge
- Water Stones
- WorkSharp

I am using a Lee Valley Honing Guide and Angle gauge, and Norton 1000, 4000, and 8000 grit waterstones. I have a 220 grit or so diamond stone that is used to flatten the water stones.

For setting the primary bevel angle on the plane blade I have a grinding jig from wolverine that integrates with my lathe tool sharpening system installed on my Grinder.

For cleaning screws and such, I chuck them in the lathe and use fine abrasive and/or metal polish.

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

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Tedstor

1625 posts in 2096 days


#11 posted 07-28-2011 01:41 AM

Barkeepers friend (cleaner/polish)
Johnsons paste wax
Scoth Brite
Steel Wool
Assorted drums/wheels/bits to use in my drill press. I like using the DP due to the variable speeds.

Plus lots of other stuff that others have already mentioned.

I like restoring power tools more than hand tools, so airbrushes, bearing tools, decal making supplies, and other such things make my list.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17962 posts in 2030 days


#12 posted 07-28-2011 06:51 AM

Al, I just realized I answered your question from my phone and my fat fingers didn’t do so well. It was suppose to be, a 1\3 hp motor.

I tend to look at what I’m restoring and decide how to proceed. I don’t have a set process. Although unlike Dan, i tend to like the power. I like the woodworking with hand tools, but to restore those tools, I’ll use all the technology I can muster.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2156 days


#13 posted 07-28-2011 02:09 PM

Ted, I’d probably like restoring vintage powertools more if my shop weren’t less than 20×20! :)

DW, I got the 1/3hp message. I saw a couple of 1/3hp Baldors on Ebay for less than $50. I may just pay the premium for one in plastic. I’ve been looking for CL treadmills, etc.

Dan, if I couldn’t use powertools for restoring, I probably wouldn’t restore. I just don’t enjoy the handbrushing, etc. To tell you the honest truth, I don’t really ENJOY the restoration process, except for the results!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3372 posts in 2117 days


#14 posted 07-28-2011 02:52 PM

I just need a separate bench for restoration. The process makes a mess of my cabinetmakers bench.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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Dan

3630 posts in 2343 days


#15 posted 07-28-2011 04:31 PM

RG- When I built my newest woodworking bench I promised to never touch it with anything other then wood. Glues, finishes and metal dust will make a mess of a bench top real quick. Do you at least cover the bench top with something?

Don & Al , it may sound weird but I can sit for hours working on a tool with just some folded up pieces of sandpaper. I enjoy it just as much as I enjoy working with wood. I have always enjoyed cleaning though. I am a little like Monk at times and have OCD about cleaning.

Tedstor- I have never done a major restoration on a power tool but I have done major cleaning to most of my power tools. I got my table saw and drill press used and had to clean rust off of of them. I have an old Craftsman Radial Arm Saw I am working on now.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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