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.
For me it was such a treat to go through my father-in-laws old tools. He passed away in 2001 just 3 months shy of 100. The furniture he made with minimal electric tools was amazing to me. His main electric tools was a Craftsman portable table saw and old electric drill. But what he was able to do with those and his hand tools was nothing short of amazing to me. His primary gift was his patience and eye for detail. If something didn't work the 1st time as he expected he simply sat back and reflected on it until he came up with another idea. We still have all of his projects (furniture) and they all show such wonderful detail and craftsmanship. What I could have learned from this man.......but I was too busy or too late.
Great old tool Doug. I found an old Stanley one on ebay that is minus the brass bars. It's nowhere near as refined as my Veritas round wheel gauge but I still get pleasure taking it out of it's drawer and using it from time to time. There's just something about old tools that's hard to explain.
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