Things don’t always go as planned… so here was a failed attempt at cleaning up a Stanley #62 brass bound 4-fold rule.
I purchased the tool for $10 and it was in decent shape, just missing the pins that help keep it aligned when closed. That’s easy enough to fix, but the face was a little dirty so I thought I’d try cleaning it up. I knew it would be a gamble given that I would be working with thin brass, wood, and printed letters, but it was only $10 so I took a shot (and missed completely).
I didn’t want to use an abrasive method for cleaning as I knew I would wear through the lines and numbers quickly so I started with a chemical treatment. I had some oxygen bleach on hand from cleaning my cedar siding and was hoping it wouldn’t effect the print much… it did.
I figured I’d had it at this point, but the printed areas were pressed to a reasonable depth in the wood so I took it a step further. I tried painting the face with black paint then quickly wiped off the excess, leaving the bulk of the remaining paint in the indented areas, right where I want it.
This made the 4-fold rule look as bad as when I bought it, maybe worse. Finally, with nothing left to lose I gave abrasive cleaning a shot. This left the tool a mess; some areas looking like new, some just okay, and some downright terrible. My $10 and 45 minutes were wasted, but at least I learned a few things.
Rather than simply throwing it out, I decided to cut it apart and get a better look at the binding and joints. I will share the details of how these rules were constructed in a following post.
Guess I have to find another rule for the shop…