Posts Tagged ‘brass bound ruler’

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In:Vintage Tool Talk

Comments Off on Restoring a Folding Rule (what not to do)

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).

The Stanley #62 rule when I bought it.

This is what I was trying to clean up, just a bit too much grime for me to ignore.

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.

After treating with oxygen bleach, the wood looks great, but the print became faded in many areas.

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.

After the paint was rubbed off.

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… -WMT