Last week I was helping my father get an old patent model of an Ann Arbor model 40 hay press ready so it can be shipped for display to it's hometown (and my Dad's) of Shelbyville, Illinois. (I hope to have some pictures and video available soon) While we were going through the parts for the baler I found a handful of tools that were my Grandfather's and Great-Grandfathers. Amongst them was an old 'oak leaf' marking gage, my Dad thinks it was his Grandfather's. Either way, it probably hasn't been used in at least 30 years, probably more than that.
I didn't want to do anything to ruin the character of the tool, but I wanted to make it useable. I cleaned it very lightly with soap which by itself was an amazing transformation. To give the wood a little love, I then treated it with an oil/wax mixture. I gave it a tiny bit of a buffing with more wax after.
I didn't want to polish the screw, so I cleaned it to get the dry rust off, then gave it a quick shot of clearcoat to keep it from getting any worse. I didn't mess with the knife, because it is plenty sharp as is.
I think it still has a lot of the old look, but is perfectly fine to use even after all this time. I love all of the dimples in the beam from all the projects done over the years.
In all, a relaxing way to spend the later part of this morning.