Using good hand tools, new or old, be they handed down in the family, or discovered in a car boot sale, has great appeal. Many can appreciate them as works of craft, or even art, in their own right. The very best, and the more unusual, have become collectors items and can fetch extremely high prices at auction. However it is the thought of using something that has been used already to create and manufacture, carrying the patina that comes with years of tender use, which is so attractive.
I am sure that a great deal of satisfaction can be had also in revitalising an old tool that has been neglected but which, with a bit of work, can be put back to its former use.
There are many sites that show you how to restore tools and the results are fantastic. I was just looking at the UK Workshop site which is one of many showing what can be achieved. It has many examples of the effect that wax, glass-paper, linseed oil and other concoctions have in bringing old tools back to life. My father looked after his tools well but I am tempted to have a go at cleaning and buffing up a few of the less-used ones even just to put them on the workshop wall.
One of our most popular titles is Woodwork Tools and How to Use Them. It dates back to 1925 before the advent of powered hand tools. With great line illustrations it takes you through the application and use of a wide variety of hand tools. Saws, planes, spoke shaves, chisels and the brace and borer. There are chapters also on the selection and use of glass paper, the use of cramps and a wide variety of other miscellaneous woodworking instruments. So if you are lucky enough to posses some older hand tools this book will ensure you get the best use out of them.
Keep your eyes open at the next car boot sale, scour eBay, or fight over the heirlooms with your siblings to find some old tools and keep them working. The UK Workshop site, and there are many others across the globe, show you how to restore tools and our vintage book shows you how to put them to good use. And if you are looking for an end result from all this labour we also have our book entitled Home Carpentry, published in 1933, which has many ideas for projects around the home.
Here are a few other sites worth a look: