Friday, November 16, 2012

Blog Posting and Restoring Old Tools

         Ugh. It's been a shamefully long time since my last blog post, but it my defense, the huge gap between post was most definitely not the result of emptiness in my everyday life. But I'm hoping to post more often from now on, first because I hope to be doing more in my shop and second, because I have a new outlook on blogging. First off, I realized my blog is not mandatory. It's simply exists from my own desire to have one. No one tells me what to write. I use it to express my observations and accomplishments in something that interests me; and because this is the internet, I really don't have to worry if it interests everyone. Because of  the universal reaches of the internet and something called Google Translate, I'm not at a lack of an audience. So, if I just write what interests me, there's bound to be someone else who's interested. In addition, I don't know how many times I've found myself reading someone's blog post simply because I was bored; which is why we're all on the internet in the first place, right? Haha. Well, enough with my rambling and on with the post...whether your interested or not!

         Lately I've found myself becoming more and more interested in restoring and using old hand tools. The idea of taking something 50, 70, or even 100 years old, and bringing it back to close to it's original condition (can't reverse 100 years of character) and then using it to create something new is something I find so fascinating.  This post I'll focus on a small hand drill I purchased this summer at a lawn sale for 8 bucks.
         The drill is a Miller Falls No. 3. The drill was made in 1910, so it's about 102 years old! But don't let it's age fool you works WAY better than my 5 year old Stanley hand drill. Here's a couple pictures.

Here's the drill as it was before the clean up. Dirty, rusty, and looking it's age.

There was tons of dirt and grime in the gears.

McCoy's Springless Chuck
     The drills chuck actually is a unique one. Most other chucks have a circular opening where the jaws come out. In hand drills like this it can result in the jaws shifting to the sides and not getting a firm grip on the bit. This one, however, is machined with individual slots for each jaw to eliminate this problem. Definitely a good design feature.
     On to the clean up/restore. I'm no professional antiques restorer, so please don't be too critical on my methods or even the results. All I am seeking to achieve through my attempts at restoration is to bring the tool to a useable state and at the same time look a whole lot better. I'm not making museum pieces. With that said, here's the some pics of the finished tools.

Before: Note tarnished caps on handles and overall dullness from rust.
After: Note cleaned and shiny accents and removal of rust.
Wow! You can actually read the words stamped on the crank. 
                                                              Millers Falls Co.
                                                                      No. 3
                                                     Millers Falls Massachusetts

              The detachable handle has storage for bits! Also the crank handle in the background, was COMPLETELY seized up and I had to free that up. Note again the shiny brass toned accents which at first I didn't even realize where there!

The back of the drill. I cleaned out between each tooth of the gears and lubed them. I also disassembled the chuck and cleaned that out.

       I'm not for sure how long this took to do, but really don't care cause it was fun! Anyways, now I have a great looking, 102 year old hand drill that works like a champ! Not bad for 8 bucks!
 This isn't the only old tool I "restored" recently though. Here's a couple of pics of some others I worked on in the past few months. 

Here's a really nice pair of dividers I got a lawn sale (my favorite store).

Millers Falls Brace No. 322 ? The lower handle on this was also seized up.

Miller's Falls Two-Speed Breast Drill No. 119A

I hope you enjoyed seeing these pictures! I know it was a blast for me to restore these! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more post ahead. I'm not lying this time!! :)         


  1. Wow!!! This was a very interesting post; thanks for sharing it! I think it's really neat how you restored these old tools! Awesome job:)

  2. I didn't get to this until now and it's awesome! Can't wait to see what else you have in store. :)

  3. These are really neat! It reminds me of when I was young and would browse through my grandfather's garage. He had a tool like the Millers Falls Brace #322 I remember him using. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane :)