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Tool restoring tips?

Discussion in 'Other Chatter' started by daveO, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. daveO

    daveO Native

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    I was working at an empty property this week that's being cleared out for renovation. There were a couple of rusty tools by the bins that the owner said I could take. I only really wanted the trowel but took the other thing because it looked useful. I thought it was a pin for securing something but didn't give it much of a look.

    [​IMG]

    The pin thing turned out to be a snap-on punch and has cleaned up well so I'm pleased with that. :biggrin:

    [​IMG]

    I tried wire brushing the trowel then a quick overnight in vinegar and it's coming up nicely but has some deep pitting from the rust. The metal is quite thick though and it's got a really solid handle fitting so if I can turn it into a user I'll be very happy.

    Out of the acid and cleaned up with the wire wheel.

    [​IMG]

    Then a bit of work on the sander to remove the light pitting. I'm taking it slowly so I don't heat the metal too much.

    [​IMG]

    The inside of the blade looks pretty bad though, nothing that would stop it being usable I guess but I'm not sure how far to take the restoration. Does anyone have any tips for dealing with this that will make a better finished result?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Mesquite

    Mesquite Anyone for sailing?

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    Oersnally I wouldn't do anything more to the trowel.To get rid of the pitting would eat too much into the metal.

    It's an old trowel showing its age but still totally usable as it is and will look grand with a new handle varnished and fitted :)
     
    santaman2000 and crosslandkelly like this.
  3. Tengu

    Tengu Full Member

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    I think you are doing just fine; its not like they are works of art.
     
  4. crosslandkelly

    crosslandkelly A somewhat settled

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    I agree.
     
  5. daveO

    daveO Native

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    Fair enough. I don't want to affect the strength but I'm hoping to make it easy to clean at least. I've managed to remove the old handle intact but it feels as light as balsa wood from the amount of rot in there. It should give me a guide to sanding the taper of the new wood to fit the handle collar though.
     
  6. Broch

    Broch Full Member

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    There's no way you're going to get down to a level that doesn't show pitting so I'd stop where you are as the others have said. I must admit I don't try to remove very much at all with the old tools I restore. In a perverse sort of way I quite like it; it shows age, use (or misuse) and experience :)
     
  7. Dave Budd

    Dave Budd Gold Trader
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    like the others have said, less is more when it comes to restoring badly pitted tools. However, trowels work best if they are smooth (at least they are easier to use and to clean). I think the amount you've taken off on the outside is spot on, certainly no more. On the inside you could make it a bit smoother by using a flapwheel in a drill; it won't take off as much metal as the sander did, but it will make it a little smoother for you. After that it's just a case of oiling it to keep it in good nick for the future :)
     
  8. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    I have done crazy stuff like this for fun too.
    I think you should carve a nice handle, then just use it as it is!
    Maybe paint it first, but most of the paint will be worn away fairly rapidly.

    Technically speaking, yes you can fill in the voids using a laser welder.
     
  9. Nice65

    Nice65 Full Member

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    Leave it as is, the pitting looks great, it reflects the life of the tool, both its neglect and use. Looking at the bottom picture, there are still remnants of a depth gauge that’ll disappear if you remove more metal. However, the gauge looks to be in centimetre increments, so possibly less old and used, and more a neglected tool?
     
    #9 Nice65, Jun 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  10. daveO

    daveO Native

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    Yes it's cm on one side and you can just see the 4" mark on the other. So post 1965 I guess.
     
  11. Nice65

    Nice65 Full Member

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    Well, I’m 54, and at times show similar ageing, pitting, and signs of neglect. :D

    One of the things I like about an old trowel like that is it was built from materials made to last or be replaced. I’ve bent modern, thin alloy stock, plastic handled chuckaway trowels and hand forks on their first use.
     
  12. santaman2000

    santaman2000 M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    I’d leave it as you have it finished to this point. However if you really want it smooth but don’t want to risk taking off too much metal there is an option; fill the pits with deacon then sand it all smooth (much the way you’d mud over the screws on dry wall, or the way we filled bearing surfaces on the KC-135 when the roller bearings on the ailerons wore them down)
     
  13. daveO

    daveO Native

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    I finished the handle off today and decided to fit it. I cleaned up the metal a bit more but I think you guys are right about not going too far and removing some pitting isn't going to improve matters much if there's always going to be a lot on there anyway. Anyway here's a quick before and after montage.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Looks great!

    Did you paint inside where the handle goes? That is a rust prone area the protecting oil will not reach readily.
     
  15. daveO

    daveO Native

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    Yes I gave it a soak in some POR15 rust killer and then a coat of the paint. I imagine the paint might have been scuffed off a bit when I tapped the handle into place though but it's better than nothing. I soaked the wood in linseed oil before fitting it too.
     
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  16. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    If I had done a such good job as you have, I think I would put it on a wall.
     
  17. Tengu

    Tengu Full Member

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    The original owner would be proud of you, I am sure.
     
  18. Broch

    Broch Full Member

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    Lovely job, looks great and almost too good to use. Retire it to 'light duties' only.

    But ….. fit a slotted screw not a cross head please :)

    P.S. that handle looks great - what is it and how did you make it look antique?
     
  19. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    +1!
    Is it made from an old rake handle?
     
  20. daveO

    daveO Native

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    I'm not sure what the wood is but yes it was left over from an old rake or hoe I think. One of the old tools I salvaged from my Gran's garden when she got too old to get out there. The head was beyond use but the handle has been kicking around the garage waiting something to fit it. I couldn't find a pan head slot screw small enough. The pozi doesn't quite fit the aesthetic though you're right and would be a bugger to remove in another 50 years time. I'll have to hunt through the big bucket of screws again.
     

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