Old tools- Do you refinish or use as is?

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Blog entry by twokidsnosleep posted 11-26-2010 04:58 AM 1558 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Like some opinions and input form LJers
I bought a couple of bevel gauges on e-bay for cheap.

They both are fine and work perfectly, but show their age and are a bit grimy.
So my question is should I take them apart and refinish the wood, polish up the brass or just leave them?
Do you use old beauties as is or keep them shiny?
I am a little torn as what to do as I see both the history of old things and the beauty of all polished up

Like to know what you think,

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

9 comments so far

View Joe Watson's profile

Joe Watson

316 posts in 3543 days

#1 posted 11-26-2010 05:06 AM

they look relatively clean to me. I say a little cleaning and leave it like it is.

-- Got Wood?

View swirt's profile


2733 posts in 2968 days

#2 posted 11-26-2010 05:15 AM

Their age is probably well earned, let them keep as much as you can except for what hinders their performance or makes them uncomfortable to use (example: burrs or dings in the metal).

-- Galootish log blog,

View wichle's profile


96 posts in 2943 days

#3 posted 11-26-2010 05:58 AM

Look through my tool boxes and my shop and you will find many “old” tools. I like alot of the older tools, better than their modern counterparts. Many were passed down to me from my dad, many have been found in antique shops, yard sales and wherever along the way. Most still have their patina as found. Drives me nuts when i find a wood plane or other wooden tool that someone has varnished anew. I may be a nutcase but I want to feel the tool just like the craftsman who usd it before me. Crazy thing, when i am in my shop, using older tools and find myself “stuck” looking to do something, or about to do something stupid, I hear my dad in my head. . . .the guy who started me down the woodworking road. Bottom line, if it works like it should, keep it clean, take any rust off and use it in the spirit of it’s past owner(s).

Happy Thanksgiving one and all

-- Bill, Michigan "People don't come preassebled, but are glued together by life"

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3014 days

#4 posted 11-26-2010 06:17 AM

I say if it’s not broke, leave it alone. I would just do what needs doing to keep it working smoothly. I agree with Wichle!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 2970 days

#5 posted 11-26-2010 07:00 AM

See, there was something in the back of my thick skull that said leave them be.
The patina of age and use, I like that.

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3111 days

#6 posted 11-26-2010 08:28 AM

clean them with lith little mineral oil and refresh the wood with BLO and few drops of
WD40 just enoff to clean the blades with a dry rag

about the brass well its up to you, thow there has been histiric present all over the world
to ceep brass shiny just not in woodworkers toolboxes…lol


View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 2757 days

#7 posted 11-26-2010 03:06 PM

They appear to be in pretty good shape. For me it depends on the tool and how I’m going use it. I have a passion for returning tools to like new condition, if that’s possible. With these I’d just clean them up a little and look forward to using them as soon as I could. Nice find.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View helluvawreck's profile


31056 posts in 2863 days

#8 posted 11-26-2010 03:10 PM

When I get a used tool that is usable I just clean it up a bit, sharpen it, and use it.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2936 days

#9 posted 11-27-2010 09:34 PM

They don’t look dirty to me!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

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