Refurbished an Old Tool Today
This was a bit of fun today. Although most of the day was spent on still cleaning out my shop I did find time to refurbish an old tool. Eight or nine years ago while doing some yard work I found and dug up and old heavy pipe wrench. This is a larger one and no telling how long this tool had been buried in the yard beside a brick wall. This thing was all crusty and rusty and locked up. When found all that time ago I tried to work it loose, but the jaws and thumb wheel were to rusted up so it was tossed in the shop in a corner. There it has sat all this time occasionally getting moved out of the way umpteen times.
But after several days of cleaning out my shop and getting rid of stuff there it was again. "Lets see. What shall I do with this? Toss it in the scrap metal pile or hang on to it?" This I asked myself again as I had of other items these past weekends. "Oh I'll just put it over here for now and decide later." I told myself which is why I save things so long. I fear if I toss something out after years I'll need it. And guess what? Usually after I toss something I need it. Murphy's law.
But after hours spent toiling away at mundane sorting, scraping, cleaning, reorganising and so forth I was tired. Sitting on my stool the big heavy rusty crusty wrench lay on the work bench looking at me. It was worried I could tell. To scrap or not to scrap? That is the question. There was a can of WD-40 sitting on the bench so I gave it a hap hazard shot of spray to the wrench. Puffing on my cigarette as the fluid soaked in then some ran off. The radio was crackling so I turned around and gave it a good smack on the side. Viola! Music again. More puffing on the cigarette looking around the shop and what I had accomplished for the day. Took a swig of coffee then puffed away some more listening to the radio blaring out old rock and roll tunes from the fifties and sixties. Wait, theres Cher. Gotta listen to her. More puffing and swigging coffee while peering out the window into the past of years ago as the music takes me back. Now the Dominoes singing Sixty minute man is playing. More gazing out the window remembering my long legged blond girl friend of way back. Ahh good memories good mammaries to.
Okay time to get busy on the wrench. More oldies playing as I get to it. Clamp the wrench in the vice and hit it with more WD, take an awl and pick at rust and crud. After hitting it good with WD again I take my little torch and heat it up at the wheel then use a ballpeened hammer to smack it a little to break the jaws loose. After some time and coaxing things get to moving. Soak, torch and hammer, soak, torch and hammer. Alright the wheel turns now. Not great but it's moving. I keep at it and finally get things loosened up and get it all apart. Take the wire wheel to it and chunks of rust and dirt and crap come flying off. An hour or two later it's looking good even with the pits left in it. Take a file to the teeth to get then back in fair shape, well as fair as they'll get. Clamp parts in vice and coat with some cherry red paint. Stand back and look at the progress and decide I like how it looks all aged, pitted and painted just enough to give it better looks but still no where perfect. This will fit well with the old tools I inherited from one of my uncles who was a mechanic/inventor. In fact the ballpeen hammer was one of his that I used on this project today. Something else I inherited from him was a nice old set of pipe threading dies,ratchet and items. I got that big ratcheting thread die wrench out the other day and it was stuck from ancient old oil that had gummed up the works. It had to be worked on to get freed up also. I remember stopping as the first clicks sounded their musical notes. It was then I realised that this tool had not been used since my Uncles suicide attempt in his auto garage when I was only a toddler. He lived to be an old man but he worked to hard and often for days without sleep. My aunt told of him being in his garage straight non stop for days. He also had a dirt track operation on his property in the forties and early fifties which remnants of the banked turns can still be seen today even though a neighborhood grew up all around them. (I'd forgotten about that til now)
So this pipe thread tool had not been operated for mostly forty eight years at least, perhaps more. The gummy oil had that old ancient smell to it that unless you ever have been around such old things you may not know what I mean. But there is a certain smell from old oil from those days. Must be something that was in it back then they don't have in it today or something. I looked in the dies and could see metal shavings and in the tool holder box as well. Strange to know that those metal shavings to were older than I am and it all was there from my uncles hands all that time ago. It was weird but I felt almost like he was there with me for a brief moment in time.