Restoring a plow...

I'm trying to come up with a ballpark date for an old plow, to decide whether it was more likely my great or great great grandfather's.
Not much to go on here. No markings on any of the parts. Square nuts/bolts and one truss rod is covered with a galvanized tube. I'm guessing the galvanized tube is more of a clue than anything, but I don't know how old that makes it. My "old in 1951" Morgan vise has galvanized parts too.
As for wood, the original stuff is ready to retire, but still intact. It's quite soft. Actually looks like pine to me. Someone might have replaced the wood at some when along the way, but it's definitely been sitting out in the rain for the last 30 years, which would seem to contraindicate pine. Cedar? Hemlock? What soft wood would withstand 30 years in the rain, and untold decades in the basement, not to mention decades of hard use? Whether it was my great grandfather or my great grandfather's father, he was dirt poor, and lived in the mountains of Virginia.
Finally, the "I have my great grandfather's axe. My grandfather replaced the handle, and my father replaced the head" argument comes to mind here. I'm restoring this as a gift for my grandmother, and am in a heated debate with my mother over what to do.
Mom says bolt/screw/wire (or even *duct tape* bleah!) on some kind of braces to shore up the rotten wood, leave it half rotten and rusty and covered with dried up cow shit, and the fact that this wood has been touched by old and long-since-buried hands will have more sentimental value. OTOH, I say to do the tool and the man who once used it honor, it should be restored to working order, which absolutely means new wood, and maybe electrolysis and painting. (The metal has a stable coating of rust, so if I can get the bolts apart, I can do this without having to de-rust it. Could use swaying either way on that score.)
She says the receiver of the tool will never use it (and she won't... she's 80-something, and has gotten pretty fragile these past few years), so I should do the minimum necessary to keep it from falling apart, keep the old, sentimental wood, and then wire a flower pot to it and call it a planter. I say restore it completely, make a nice display box and put the old, rotten handles in the box.
Making a planter out of a 70-100 year old plow seems obscene to me. Am I wrong here people? Then again, Mom knows her mother's mind better than I do, so I'm inclined to do what she wants with it, even though the concept is highly offensive to me as a lover of tools.
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Truss tube sounds like a replacement. Think early part of century. Maybe even earlier but it was hard to get tools in that part of US in 1800's.
On Sat, 08 Nov 2003 10:45:22 -0500, Silvan

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On Sat, 08 Nov 2003 10:45:22 -0500, Silvan

Galvanizing was invented in the 1850's, so that's no sign, Mikey.

Some restoration would be good for a museum piece, full restoration would be good for a user item, but a rustic sentimental piece has its own needs, all dependent upon the recipient's feelings. How does Granny feel about tools in general? Is she a 'shiny user' kinda gal or a 'rusty, rustic, hang-it-onna-wall' kinda gal?

You just want a new project, don't you? Thought so.

Tell Mom how you feel and let her decide if she still wants to do it that way. Then decide how you'll respond to her choice. I'd get triple money to put poly on something I made for someone but I just flat refuse to stain it. How strong are your convictions?
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brought forth from the murky depths:

To update my post: It was actually invented in 1742 and hot-dip galv was patented in 1837, in general use by 1850.
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Hmmm... Didn't know that!

She's no tool user. She collects chickens.

Not so much that I want a new project (I have three in progress already) but that I'm trying to come up with something good for my grandmother. My grandfather is getting a walnut checker box that I spent umpty hours making. There are no chickens left in the world that my grandmother doesn't own, so we're trying to come up with something touching instead.

I did, and we had a big fight over it. She thinks I'm an asshole, and I can't believe she suggested that I do such a wretched thing.

Pretty strong, but I'm probably going to do it Mom's way. If someone if *forcing* me to do this evil thing, then, well, it's sort of like how rape isn't considered adultery.
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[...]

So she's responsible for all the chicken farms everywhere? ;-) Or is is just a pair of chickns of every kind? Does her chicken farm (wich from your comments one must assume she has) have need of plowing? If so: restore the plow to working conditions and use it (if the size of the farm does not call for a huge powered fleet of plows).

It can be hard with old people, but be careful not do do/say to much which you regret when they are gone.
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Juergen Hannappel wrote:

Um, no, no, plastic, wood, metal, stone, concrete, maybe even an ice chicken in there somewhere. She hasn't had any live chickens in a very long time.

Don't let Mom hear you call her an old people or she'll kick your ass. ;)
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Are you doing this for you, your Grandmother, or your Grandfather? Your Grandfather is gone so don't do it for him. You don't matter in this situation. Therefore, the answer is you're doing it mainly for your Grandmother and secondly for your Mother. Make them happy, do what your Mom suggests.
If you're feeling the itch to use your woodworking skills in this situation, make a nice picture frame and mat a picture of your Grandfather/Grandmother to include with the old plow. You're happy, your Mom is happy, your Grandmother is happy, everyone wins.
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Larry C in Auburn, WA

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I agree with Larry, Now dammit do as your mother says or you will go to bed and you ain't gonna get no apple pie either, Goshdarn young uns just won't listen without a smack alongside them dadburn ears.

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Larry C in Auburn, WA wrote:

No! My grandfather is very much alive! The plow belonged to my grandmother's father, who passed away too long ago for me to remember much about him. It might have been *his* father's plow. Maybe.
Anyway, I'm not trying to come off like I'm jumping your case here. I just don't like saying people are dead who aren't. Paw-paw is very much alive, and my grandparents are still together after almost 70 years of matrimony. I'm in no hurry for that to change, and I don't want to jinx it.

Yeah, probably, even though I can't conceive of a more horrible thing to do to a tool. This is like putting a lion into a little square cage and making it wear a tu-tu.
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Silvan wrote:

do
No it's not. A plow is an inanimate object; big difference between that and how animals should be treated. You still need to figure out why you're doing this. It sounds to me like you're doing it for yourself and pretending like everyone wants what you want. The best gift is what THEY want, not what YOU want.
Sorry about assuming your Grandfather had passed away. You're lucky, all four of mine were gone before I was five; three of the four before I was born. Never had a Grandfather.
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Couldn't say about the plow but as far as the ax goes, it would seem approprate to put it back in a condition your great grandfather would have it.

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