We constantly strive to perfect our methods when restoring old hand tools but here I hope to explain a few things relating to this. There are two areas I take into account before undertaking any restoration to any tool and that is ‘Collectable’ or ‘Usable’.
- Rare tools should receive as little restoration work as possible and receive nothing more than a light waxing to nourish the wood etc. I do not like oily tools and they are not nice to handle and we use a special wax which is recommended by museums, art galleries and conservators throughout the world. This wax gently lifts the grime of antiquity and murky deposits of other polishes leaving surfaces easy on the eye and nice to touch. Its transparency allows unlimited applications and the polish never stains or discolours. So as you can see we have done some research in this area to retain genuine patination where possible.
- When to restore or not to restore, well it often depends on how the item came to us as it’s often the case polishing or other restoration work has been done previously. We will always try and retain as much originality as possible however if it has been done poorly in the past we will correct and refurbish it to a standard where it can gradually regain much of it’s age through further handling of the piece. To be fair this could be accelorated with leaving the restored item in unfavourable conditions. Another reason for cleaning a tool would be when we cannot be certain under its patination or rust it has had work which will reduce its value this is especially important on old planes if they have been welded by either the original owner or less scrupulous people.
- When tools still offer value to a user. Over the past i have sold more Spiers panel planes to users than collectors and these are just so good to use. Given their value in the collectors market they really do offer great value to a user. With this being the case my thoughts have changed somewhat to certain tools and therefore would restore a Spiers plane for use.
- I would rather sell a restored tool rather than a damaged tool however I will always say if it has had anything repaired or replaced. Rusty collectable tools do not present very well and therefore i’d be in the camp these should be cleaned with care to bring out the best in it’s appearance.
- Firstly we feel every tool we sell has to be fit for purpose and will not sell anything deemed otherwise. However our perception of this is greatly differs to many others especially to many selling items on eBay.
- Why do half a job? I have always used tools and my kit was always full of the best money can buy, with it came a willingness to maintain these tools so they worked at their optimum performance. AIf you are a tradesman you will understand when I say there are many levels and only I worked at the top end of my profession because of my conscientious approach. When you have this it never leaves you and I simply have to do the best possible job on everything I do and now that includes restoring tools.
- Our workshop is a good size and is full of equipment that makes life easier with the tasks in hand, there is an important aspect beyond the tools and that is spare parts needed to replace like for like when needed.