New to Old & back to Newish


There is something about good quality tools and sometimes the old ones are the best, not always, but some of the older hand tools are especially nice. The curved tin snips at the top of this post were bought second-hand some months ago, cleaned up, re-sprayed and they are a great addition to my tools.

And so this brings me to this article about 2 finds at a local car boot fair, some searching through the old rusty tools in even rustier toolboxes that people bring to the fairs and the delight of making something old new again.

old-pliers-001These pliers were bought for £1.50 and based on the state they were in that actually appears to be quite a lot of money by car boot standards.

The nice thing about these pliers is that they have a box-joint that just shouts quality and that someone cared about making these properly.

old-pliers-002I cleaned the pliers up, using a brass wire brush in a pillar drill to get the worst off the surface.

The surface of the plier jaws needed some work with a diamond pad to clean up the burrs and to get back to a high quality surface.

I blew the joint through with WD40 to make sure that any debris had been removed. I then thoroughly degreased the pliers before masking the areas not to be sprayed.

I sprayed the handles with a gloss black car paint, left them to dry and then a small amount of oil in the joint and they were back to new.

Onto the next item that I picked up at the same car boot fair, this time the cost was just 50p. You do have to rummage through the tools as there are a lot of the newer tools that have not survived the test of time and may even look fresher, but the quality was never there in the first place and 10 years at the bottom of an unloved toolbox has not improved them.

old-tinsnips-001A pair of 8″ Gilbow tin snips, covered in a light layer of rust and with only a hint of any paint remaining.

The first job with these was to remove the nut and so get the joint apart for a thorough clean – at this point the bolt just sheared and so I was left with a broken pair of tin snips.

I had some 3/8″ diameter phosphor bronze and so proceeded to make a replacement bolt and nut from this with a fine 5mmx0.5mm pitch metric thread.old-tinsnips-002

I cleaned the blade and handles with a light brass wire brush. The edges of the blades were brought back to a sharper edge using a  diamond pad.

I then again degreased the metal, masked up the areas I didn’t want sprayed and applied two coats of a blue car paint, close to the normal Gilbow colour if not exactly right.

The resultant tin snips with the phosphor bronze joint are a delight to use and work with.

There is a real satisfaction to getting these old tools back to working again and looking clean and new. The fact that I now have a really nice pair of pliers and a set of tin snips that cost me a total of £2 at a car boot fair in Stratford upon Avon is fantastic.

old-pliers-003There are some old tools though that are beyond repair. I found these at the bottom of the drawer whilst tidying up. There are lots of examples similar to these at the boot fairs, avoid them and don’t waste your precious time.

Also, it is worth going through your toolbox and clearing out some of you old rubbish that is just taking up space and not adding any value to what you do. That way you make space for new old tools…..

Where and when is the next car boot fair….

About Nigel 309 Articles
Have been making models since I was around 7 years old and using a lathe from the age of 11, a self taught engineer with a passion for making model engines.

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