Jimmy DiResta’s flea market finds, before and after.
There seems to be something of a trend these days of makers scooping up vintage tools, showing them off online, and then doing restoration videos for them. There is something special about an old tool that gets handed down to you or that you find at a flea market or garage sale, or in the trash, and that you bring back to life.
Old tools are often better made, super-cheap to acquire, and have that patina of age and memory that give them a special quality no new tool can match. And all that is often required to revive them is a little elbow grease, a white vinegar soak, some brushing, sanding, and oiling, maybe a new handle, and the tool is ready to take pride of place in your toolbox and workflow.
There’s also something oddly compelling in watching people restoring old tools. Here are a few videos that I’ve recently seen on YouTube.
Once you’ve restored all of those old tools to their former glory, you need a worthy place to store them. A beat-to-splinters old machinist’s box was bought on eBay by Flickr user Txinkman for $10 and turned into this toolbox showpiece.
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.
To see all of the vintage tool restoration videos you could possibly want, just do a YouTube search on “tool restoration” or similar.