How to Restore Antique Wooden Tools


According to the website WK Fine, there is some controversy over whether an antique tool should be restored. Some collectors feel that restoring an antique tool destroys its integrity. Others feel that a battered antique tool should have some restoration performed on it to put the tool into working condition again. Restoring an antique wooden tool is a simple matter of cleaning the parts.

Step 1

Disassemble the old tool and lay the parts out side-by-side. This allows you to completely and thoroughly clean each part. If any of the parts are broken, you can repair them before restoring the finish.

Step 2

Repair the broken pieces by mixing putty from the resin glue and sawdust. This putty will not only bond the pieces back together, but will fill in any chips and cracks that may have formed around the break. Spread this putty evenly over the break, and re-join the two pieces of your tool parts.

Step 3

Hold the old tool part together while the putty dries with a rubber band and wood clamp. Wait 24 hours for the putty to dry. Then remove excess putty and smooth out the seam where the break occurred with wood files and sandpaper.

Step 4

Scrub each tool thoroughly with the mechanic's hand cleaner. Make sure that the cleaner is not the type that contains pumice, such as Lava soap. If your aim is to preserve the age patina of the tool, clean the tool lightly, scrubbing only with your hands. However, if you wish to restore the tool to like-new condition, you may scrub it using 0000 steel wool. Rub with the grain and rinse with cold water.

Step 5

Mix one part boiled linseed oil with two parts mineral spirits. Place this mixture in a microwave-safe dish and heat until warm. Apply the BLO mixture to your wooden parts with a cleaning cloth. Allow the mixture to absorb for 10 minutes to condition the wood. Wipe off the excess oil after 10 minutes. Repeat this process several times over the course of two days.

Step 6

Wax the tool parts with Howard's Feed and Wax. This is a premixed beeswax and carnauba wax mixture that will protect the finish of your tools. Rub the wax into the tool and wait 30 minutes before rubbing off the excess wax. As with Step 4, repeat this step several times over the course of two days.

Step 7

Reassemble the parts of your wood tool.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic resin glue
  • Sawdust
  • Rubber bands
  • Wood clamp
  • Wood files
  • Sandpaper
  • Mechanic's hand cleaner with citric acid
  • 0000 steel wool
  • Boiled linseed oil (BLO)
  • Mineral spirits
  • Microwavable dish
  • Howard's Feed and Wax


  • Restoring Old Tools
  • How I Clean Wooden Tools
  • Saw Handle Repair

Who Can Help

  • Midwest Tool Collector's Association
  • Restoring Wood Antique Lathe
Keywords: antique restoration, collecting antique tools, wooden tools

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Restore Antique Wooden Tools