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Forum topic by Donna Menke posted 11-13-2012 04:21 PM 1838 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Donna Menke

617 posts in 4265 days

11-13-2012 04:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: old tools japanese tools repairing

I need some advice on a bunch of old tools. I want to know if they have much value and how I should clean them up.

So, saw an ad in the local newspaper for an estate sale not far from home. Hubby and I decided there were lots of things we maybe could use, so we went. Found this box of old tools in mighty poor condition in an outdoor shed. No price on it, but I kinda had an idea there were some things in there that I could use. For sure the Japanese chisel was worth $30, so when they set that as the price I paid it.

The box is kinda worthless since it is missing pieces, but I was intrigued by the hole in the side. I tried one of my Japanese saws though and it was a good fit, so I think that was the purpose. The blade probably slipped into a cloth sleeve inside the lid.

I thought this hand plane looked to be in pretty good condition. The metal is not rusted and the wood is sound. It seems to be the usual Japanese white oak wood. It is gunked up and it is hard to believe that a woodworker left it in this condition. I want to clean it but I’m not sure of the best way. The writing seems to be hand engraved and I don’t want to damage it. Any suggestions?

These hammers are very rusty, and I could just sand them clean. There seem to be no makings on them. Most of them have that nice oak for handles.

These tools seem to be hand drills and reamers (?) of some sort. I’m afraid that by the time I get the rust off of them the metal will be mostly gone. These do have writing on them if someone is fluent in reading Japanese.

I really like the looks of this marker. I have a newer and fancier one, but this one is sweet. It has 2 blades with it and seems to be fully functional. Should I clean the wood with Murphy’s Oil Soap?
Any information about these tools and advice on how to return them to use will be greatly appreciated.
Think this was a good deal?

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

8 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10396 posts in 3647 days

#1 posted 11-13-2012 04:29 PM

I use a Japan mortise gauge just like that as my day-to-day

That stuff is all Japanese. Those hammers are used for
hitting chisels and setting plane irons in wood-bodied

The plane could be a really good one but chances are
it is nothing fancy. Even the plain ones work very
well when you get them figured out. I think you’ll
be impressed with the quality of the Japanese steel
when you get the tools working.

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


117091 posts in 3576 days

#2 posted 11-13-2012 04:31 PM

Hi Donna
It looks like a good buy ,like you said the chisel is worth more than that. I’m not really a Japanese tool expert so I don’t know the values of these tools ,but I know Evapo-rust works great,using it means you wont have sand on your new tools.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

617 posts in 4265 days

#3 posted 11-13-2012 04:51 PM

Thanks, guys. I’ve never heard of Evapo-rust. Where would I find it?

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4399 days

#4 posted 11-13-2012 04:57 PM

Donna if you have a Harbor Freight near you they carry it. I’ve also seen it at a farm supply store. Around here it’s Tractor Supply

Donna when I used the Evapo Rust I made a tube with plastic pipe. cemented on a cap on one end, put the tools in and placed another cap on the other end with no cement so it could be taken off at the right time.

That seemed to cut down on the amount of the materials I had to use. You can make the tube the length you need and don’t have to find a glass dish to hold your liquid.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


117091 posts in 3576 days

#5 posted 11-13-2012 04:59 PM

I think it can be found in a lot of places like automotive part suppliers.a number of places on line and even Harbor freight. I know there have been a number of post about on Ljs and I have used it with great success. You can even reuse it.It comes in quarts and gallons.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

617 posts in 4265 days

#6 posted 11-13-2012 04:59 PM

Thanks, Karson, we do have a Tractor Supply nearby and I know my hubby will be delighted to have another time and labor saving product on hand.

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

View Planeman40's profile


1176 posts in 2760 days

#7 posted 11-13-2012 09:11 PM

Hello Dona,

ALL of those tools are Japanese woodworking tools and well worth the $30 you paid. Bought new, probably around $150. Clean them up and you have something there!


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View djwong's profile


176 posts in 3219 days

#8 posted 11-13-2012 09:36 PM

Be careful when removing the rust on your japanese tools. The irons have a blackened finish on them that you do not really want to remove. I would use an abrasive woven pad like scotchbrite and some WD40 to lightly rub out the rust on the surfaces, before using more aggressive measures. On the mortice gauge body, I would just sand the surface and re-oil.

On the plane body, you can sand the exterior back to flat and square on all surfaces, but do not touch the interior where the blade contacts the body. You don’t want to enlarge the blade contact surfaces because this will allow the blade to extend too far down. If the contact surfaces are so bad that you must clean them, try lightly scraping them with a chisel held vertically. Do not scrape the underside of the ledge that contacts the blade. After cleaning, you will have to fit the blade and condition the sole of the plane body. A good book like “Japanese Woodworking Tools” by Toshio Odate, or “Shoji and Kumiko Design”, by Desmond King, would be good references for this process.

-- David W. Cupertino, CA

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