One of our main features in this website is that we thoroughly refurbish vintage tools to a high standard to ensure they are fit for purpose. We don’t just do the obvious stuff of just cleaning them but allocate enough time with an experienced eye to eradicate defects that could be detrimental to the tools performance. The main reason for this is so that it offers a great deal of confidence to buyers who want to receive tools fit for purpose and work as they should, or in some cases better.
As you can appreciate most of the stock we buy in comes in a variety of conditions and believe me when I say, rust often hides a great deal of damage which we reject during the refurbishment process. Hairline cracks to castings and foreign parts used are our biggest headache when doing this properly. Patina may be nice but at the end of the day if a tool is going to be used it has to be sound with parts that ensure smooth accurate adjustments. Most used hand planes have never been lapped flat in their lives and are rarely truly flat, those who have tried this process with a precision flat bed will know its hard work and gets harder the bigger the plane is. Add to the fact many have been incorrectly made up of different makers parts it takes quite a stock of replacements like we have here to get things right. We also undertake a whole range of work during refurbishment limiting the work a user would have to do and only then do we try to make them cosmetically more appealing.
Saws always come in blunt and rarely have a straight tooth line which can cause jamming whilst being used for cutting wood, this is why all our saws are jointed straight or breasted before sharpening and reset ready for use. Mostly the handles are removed to check for corrosion inside the handle and they are cleaned to reduce the build up of grime on the saw plate to reduce resistance.
Each of the above jobs are examples and can take up to a couple of hours depending on each individual tool to complete, its worth the effort as these tools work so much better than when these thorough processes aren’t done. We are also well equipped and do these jobs every day so are well versed in doing this and it would often take a lot more time for most people who aren’t. I’m not exaggerating here, put it this way I could sharpen a saw in less than 30 minutes or clean and sharpen a plane in about the same time but we don’t just do the basics here because we know they could be much better.
The planes we sell may be sold to a beginner, carpenter & joiner, cabinet maker or luthier and each one refurbished has to meet the needs of the best. Beginners also need to know what these old tools are really like to use when fully tuned and sharpened as it encourages them to learn full skill range of maintaining their kit rather than taking the route of using disposable junk tools.
If you take this into account and then look at our prices compared with other unrestored tools, there isn’t a great deal of difference in price, sure you may save a few pounds but you now know they are inferior in all but name because of the time invested into them.
This year has been a lot of hard work but we have many happy customers who’s work will be a cut above those who don’t use us, they know we are providing a much needed service in an industry that often puts the emphasis of the user to restore their own tools. However it is clear with so many woodworkers investing in modern tools from expensive brands that there isn’t a desire to undertake the full refurbishment needed to get these vintage tools back to the standards needed even though they possess the steel that can quite easily challenge them for a fraction of the price. Others just don’t realise how good these old tools can be when restored correctly to exact standards refined over time in our workshop.
It’s difficult to convert some woodworkers out there to enjoy what they do and let someone like us help them to undertake those not so pleasant jobs of refurbishing old tools so they only have to maintain them. Over the past couple of years I’ve refrained from saying anything like what’s in this article but we are different we aren’t just sellers of old tools but have become confident in stating we do a very good job with plenty of compliments from our customers to back this up.
Tooltique is evolving and intends to continue to develop with new methods and broaden our product lines over the next year and hope to bring many good tools to users that will be a joy to use, rather than those disappointments so often bought on that big auction site by some profiteer out for a fast buck. (That’s another article coming soon)