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Antique Bar Clamps - Restore or Leave Alone?

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Forum topic by Newbiewoodworker43 posted 07-23-2014 11:39 AM 3321 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Newbiewoodworker43

150 posts in 1903 days


07-23-2014 11:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: antique bar clamps clamps hargrave stearns ct co restore restoration rust rust removal

Last weekend I went to my first estate sale where the previous homeowner was a woodworker. I ended up scoring a number of very cool items. My main purchase was the woodworking bench which came bundled with a bunch of bar and pipe clamps.

The Bar Clamps turned out to be a couple of antique EC Stearns Bar Clamps and a couple of antique Cincinnati Clamp Company Bar Clamps (Hargrave).

I was thinking of using these clamps and was wondering if I should restore them by removing the rust or just leave them as is. I was concerned that if I remove the rust that it would significantly reduce the value of the clamps.

Any thoughts?

-- ---Howard, Amesbury MA


7 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8239 posts in 2889 days


#1 posted 07-23-2014 11:42 AM

If you bought them to be users, then get them in shape to use.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13713 posts in 2079 days


#2 posted 07-23-2014 11:43 AM

Hargrave is nothing to worry about, rehab and use as you see fit, as they were produced into the 1950s. The Stearns may have collector value to a small few, but if they’re useful to you, I say use those too.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1830 days


#3 posted 07-23-2014 11:58 AM

They don’t sound like antiques, they just sound old. Clean’em up and use’em.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17958 posts in 2028 days


#4 posted 07-25-2014 12:57 PM

clean them up and use them. Even if they are antiques, you won’t hurt them. I know we hear it all the time (don’t remove the rust you’ll hurt the value) but really? What collector wants his collection all rusty and dirty?

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

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Newbiewoodworker43

150 posts in 1903 days


#5 posted 07-25-2014 01:19 PM

Thanks. Any recommendations for removing the rust? Wire wheel/brush? Citric Acid bath? Electrolysis? EvapoRust?

Also, any recommendations for treating them after I have the rust removed? Wax? Lacquer? WD-40?

-- ---Howard, Amesbury MA

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13713 posts in 2079 days


#6 posted 07-25-2014 01:24 PM

A green scrub pad and wd40, with some wire brushing, may be all you need. Pretty unwieldy to dip a clamp.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Don W's profile

Don W

17958 posts in 2028 days


#7 posted 07-25-2014 01:25 PM

I bought a bunch of long bar clamps that were standing outside an antique shop. They had been there a while.

I got a 5 gallon bucket and stuck the clamp ends in citric acid for a while. Then just wire wheeled the rest. After drying I usually give my metal parts a coat of wd-40, then fluid film.

Any of the processes you mentioned would work however.

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

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