Old hand tool refurbishment - do it or leave as is?

I have inherited a few generations of hand tools, some rusty, some like new.
I am attempting to find what the general feeling is about restoring these. The rusty ones have a light coating of red rust; the braces and bits are heavily rusted, but not pitted (and the hand saws and planes are beautiful and sharp!).
The questionable ones date from the late 1800s to the 1950s and include: Assorted diemaker's tools (stuff the size of dentist's instruments) Braces and bits Awls / punches ? Hammers of many (most?) types and sizes Assorted hatchets Assorted wrenches Nail pullers (had to look it up, had never seen one. Bridgeport Hardware Mfg Co. Model 56) And a few that I haven't figured out yet.
The dozens of screwdrivers and chisels were wiped off and put on the pegboard for immediate use. For the rest, my options appear to be- -ignore them -give them a wipedown with oil -steel wool -phosphoric acid to convert the rust to iron phoshate (Ospho) -whatever else the group suggests
The hammer handles are unfinished but most appear smooth from use.
I won't be selling them, and most I will probably never use. I just don't want them to deteriorate any more.
What should I do?
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wild snipped-for-privacy@swamprabbit.com.invalid wrote:

Since you're not intending to sell them, and it's only going to be for your own amusement, it doesn't really matter - but personally I'd use wire wool to remove the worst and a wipe over with oil - this will slow down the deterioration, and will not significantly affect value. I might consider electrolysis - this works very well on working tools, and doesn't overly spoil the patina of age.
I wouldn't use the phosphoric acid - it ruins the patina completely, and makes hard lumps which need to be ground off.
Anything ultra-rare or expensive, I would find an antique restorer and ask for a quote before even considering DIY.
--
BigEgg
Hack to size. Hammer to fit. Weld to join. Grind to shape. Paint to cover.
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There is a web site in Australia that discusses preservation of metal items. The usual strategy is some FINE steel wool and oil DO avoid the phosphoric acid, as the other poster points out, it can really damage the surface. Paste wax makes a good preservative after you have them cleaned up, but don't overclean. I'd put them in a container with a mix of oil and kerosene, and let them soak for a week or so, then carefully go after them with a small bronze or steel "toothbrush."
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Whenever I restore old hand tools I never try to make them look like they are brand new again. I clean them up and make them work like new, but I leave the patina and stains that the tool has acquired over the years. They earned their appearance from years of loyal service and it just doesn't seem right to strip them of that. I use steel wool and scotch brite pads to make the surfaces smooth, then oil and wax them. The only areas that get more work are the cutting edges or parts that have to be replaced to make them work like new again. If I have to make a handle I'll try to duplicate the original as close as possible, even to matching the wood type. Then I'll use a dark stain to color the new part as close to the original part as possible.
--
Charley

"professorpaul" < snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net> wrote in message
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some like new.

restoring these. The rusty ones have a

rusted, but not pitted (and the hand saws

and include:

instruments)
Bridgeport Hardware Mfg Co. Model 56)

on the pegboard for immediate use. For

use.
just don't want them to deteriorate

Get some Evapo-Rust (no acid, biodegradable, see: http://www.evaporust.com ) to clean up the rust. This stuff really works. Then oil them lightly.
Len
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http://www.altavista.com/web/results?itag=ody&q=electrolytic+rust+removal&kgs=1&kls=0
Works great.
--

FF


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