Old Tools Passed On

I was fortunate to spend several weeks around the holidays soaking up some sun in Florida and spending time with my family.  Time with my wife and son on the beach was gift No 1 and brings a smile to my face just thinking about it…especially as I look out the window now at the snow covered landscape outside my home.

Gift No. 2 was a whole pile of old tools that needed some TLC sitting on a workbench in the house where we stayed.  Oddly enough, most of the tools belonged to my Grandfather, who has been gone nearly a decade now.  When he passed away my father ended up with most of the tools from his winter home in Florida.  My dad stored them away and recently, due to space concerns passed them on to me.  Sure they are Florida tools, which means that many were covered in rust, or heavy grease.  So I started going through them and found a number of tools I liked.  I started setting some of them aside to mail to myself.  I didn’t want to try putting chisels and other sharp instruments in my carry-on bags.  The other tools will stay where they are for now.

So the care package to myself arrived yesterday.  What fun.

Old tools ready for rehab

Here is the whole stash of tools after getting them all unwrapped.

Most of them are vintage tools that either caught my interest because of their names or style.  Others were selected just because I had more room in the box.

sharpened old files

A small sample of files that have been vinegar sharpened

I was shocked at the number of files my grandfather had. Mill files, flat files, saw files, rasps…  This represents maybe 10% of them.  A few were un-salvageable due to rust or just overuse.  They were set aside for use as tool steel in the future.  All of the files above were in nearly new condition or had lots of life left in them.  I cleaned them up with a brass brush and some WD-40, then followed up with the brass brush and detergent and then soaked them for roughly 24hours in a tall narrow vase filled with white vinegar.  It never ceases to amaze me how the acid bath can bring them back to life.  Most of these files are old Nicholson files.  The second from the left is an Atkins.  Only the round file/rasp is from over seas, it is a shape I lacked, so I included it.

old measuring tools

Mainly old measuring tools

These old tools appealed to me for a variety of reasons:

  1. Broadhead carving gouge.
  2. Innards to a Jacobs Chuck that may fit one of my Millers Falls Hand drills.
  3. 1″ Dasco beveled edge chisel – Dasco is not a brand I am all that familiar with but this chisel dates back to at least the 1940’s and has an historical connection that I’ll detail in a separate post.
  4. 1/2″ Witherby Firmer chisel – a well respected name. Some fool mushroomed over the socket a bit by hitting it with a hammer…. grrr   I can fix it.
  5. An awl that I believe is a Stanley with a number on the handle that may read 1203, or 1208.  Anyway, it is a nice length and comfortable to use.
  6. Stanley Rule & Level Co bevel gauge with the thumb lever lock.  I’ve been after one of these for a while.
  7. Starrett dividers – old and a bit pitted from rust
  8. Starrett drill and wire gauge
  9. Craftsman 6″ steel ruler
Old screwdrivers

A few odds and end screwdrivers

  1. Old Screwdriver, the little brother to #2
  2. This old screwdriver beside being solid has the best wooden handle I have ever felt.  I kept it for possible duplication.
  3. Regular driver bit for a Yankee Drill
  4. A scrappy little nail/staple puller in need of a handle
  5. This unmarked screwdriver has a triangular handle that I find really comfortable and thought I might want to use as a model.
  6. This tiny old hammer is for my son.  It is a well made cute little hammer with no name on it.
Disston coping saw blades

Disston coping saw blades!!!

The last bit in the shipment is a Crowne cutting gauge.  It is new and was a gift from my Brother-in-law.  Despite being new, I like it very much.  Underneath the cutting gauge in the photo is a package of Disston Coping Saw blades.  Sure it is from the latter and lesser admired HK Porter era, but still a cool/sad reminder of a giant saw company now gone.

This concludes my tool gloat which is made special not only because the tools were old, but also because they came down through the hands of my Grandfather and my Father.