10 Great Tool Restoration Projects


As we have commented here before, there seems to be something of a restoration fad going on within the maker community. And why not? Vintage tools are not only frequently better made than modern tools, they are cheaper, they come with untold build stories encoded within their scratches, dents, and patina, and they are fun to revive. Here are ten of our favorite restoration projects that we’ve featured on Make: over the years.

Gorgeous 1940s Lathe Restoration

Watch as Practical Machinist forum member macona restores a Monarch 10EE lathe. Hack-a-Day has the story, nicely summarized, indexed, and linked.

Draw Knife Restoration

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In this episode of DiResta, Jimmy restores an old draw knife he found in a rusty pile of antiques at a flea market.

Antique Oscilloscope Restoration

A Make: Flickr Pool member restores an antique oscilloscope.

Chisel Restoration

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Here, you see Jimmy restore an old chisel that has been with him for more than 20 years. He uses brass to make the handle, which gives it added weight and makes it more precious.

Restoring a Brown & Sharpe No. 4 Combination Square Protractor

In this post on his personal website, Make: contributor John Park shares a photo essay of him cleaning up and revving a vintage Brown & Sharpe No. 4 combination square protractor head and blade that he got for $20

Restoring an Old Mechanic’s Toolbox

As part of a series we did with Dremel in 2010, John Edgar Park restored this metal mechanic’s toolbox. The fact that it was made by Park Manufacturing Co. was just too good for him to pass up.

Reviving 4 Flea Market Finds

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Watch as Jimmy makes over four tools that he got at the flea market for one dollar each.

Tips for Restoring Vintage Cast Iron Pans

If you happen to find any rusty, old cast iron pans that you’d like to bring back to life, then take a look at these useful tips for restoring vintage cast iron pans.

How to Restore a Vintage Saw

A Make: Project by Josh Burroughs that covers the necessary steps to restore a vintage handsaw to working order for the modern workshop.

Restoring an Eames-Style Plycraft Chair

A maker finds a Plycraft brand knockoff of an iconic Eames chair by the side of the road and decides to restore it.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

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