Tooling Around, Refurbishing Old Tools

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The next time you have a spare weekend to mess around learning a new trade, try out old tool refurbishment. Simple, cheap and leaving you with a new addition to the garage, it is a pastime that many hobbyists find relaxing and fulfilling. With some basic materials found around the house and maybe a few items from the hardware store, you can soon find yourself with a nice set of classic tools for less than it would take you to buy a new set.

Tools for work

Pick a Tool

Step one is to simply pick a tool that you want, ideally one that you don’t have yet. From hammers to cnc insert tooling, nothing is too easy or too complex to restore. The only stipulation you need to make is that the more specialized the tool is, the more time you’ll need to breathe life back into it. Screwdrivers require a nice brush off while saws require a brush off and sharpening. Neither are hard but that additional step can tack on an extra hour or two.

As to where to find these gems, take a look online. If you’d rather get the tool immediately, a local Goodwill or flea market will do just the trick and won’t cost you anything in shipping. For less time, find one that looks pretty new. If you’re up for a challenge, pick out the dingiest one you can find provided it isn’t falling apart.

Clean the Tool

Once you bring it home, it’s time to disassemble and clean the tool. The disassembly is required since the handle and the tool itself will be made of different materials, and different materials require different cleaning techniques. For wooden or plastic handles, clean out everything you can to make it look like new. If there are tiny cracks, fill those with glue. Finally, cover the wood in a nice lacquer to protect it from future elemental damage and let dry.

Metal is a bit different. First you’ll want to scrub away any rust with an old toothbrush and paste made from water and baking soda. Once clean enough to your standards, you’ll need to apply a sealant to protect it from moisture. Unfortunately, there’s really no getting out of sealing off the metal. If you clean metal, it’s stripped of any previous protection, leaving it open to rust damage.

Store the Tool

Finally, hang the new tool up in your garage or use it on a recent project. When you do put it up, see if you can’t find a wooden tool case. Wood absorbs moisture from the air, further protecting the tool. This makes these wooden cases essential for any garage located in a humid environment, like Florida. For even more protection, wrap the tool in a dry cloth. Like the wood, the cloth will absorb the water molecules from the air so they don’t settle on the metal and rust it prematurely.

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