I need some advice on the best way to refinish old toolkit tools for display. I would like to find a finish that looks old and original as opposed to just a "shiny repaint."
Also, I am color-blind, so I have a little trouble seeing things as other people do. I have seen a lot of bad restore jobs on tools, such as the wire-brushed look or gloss black paint over rust pits.
The following example is the look I am trying to achieve. To me this look like an old original tool. Is this just natural patina or an old finish? How can I get my tools to look like this?
Looks like old black paint from here.
But is it a flat, mat, gloss paint or what? Krylon, Rustoleum, or ???
It looks like it was run on the wire wheel and coated with boiled linseed oil.
Could be jappaning...
The finish of old parts is a collage of different colors. One coat of something won't look old. I like to dab a little gloss black, a little flat black and even some black with a little white or blue mixed in. I use a brush and prefer a paint that dries slow as the colors can bleed into each other. A random pattern works best. After it has dried over night I Scotch Brite it with water. Dirty water and rusty water add a little flavor to it. When dried the finish is fairly durable. What dirt and rust that rub off will only give it more character. Any Gloss or evenness will not look old.
I made this heater cover and heat tube out of new steel and finished it as I described. A few places scuffed through and I left water on them enough to rust.
Try a little. You can always change it.
Concerning Ford tools: I've never seen them in any thing but a bare metal finish. A little wire brushing for a bit of a clean up but not much else. I once asked here on the Forum about what if any finish they had when new but didn't get a satisfactory answer beyond what I stated above. You could try some type of dip like vinegar for a mild cleaning. I've seen the correct screwdriver in un-painted & natural finish handle. Not sure what's right though.
I like the way they look just derusted and oiled.
The first two are Model T, the third is TT, and the fourth, I think, is Ford V-8.
Here are the pliers seen from the other side. The last monkey wrench and the last pliers demonstrate that there are a lot of identical tools that don't have the Ford label.
I have a friend who owns a lot of old tools. He cleans them up and sprays them with satin clear lacquer. They have the oiled look, but it lasts longer.
I don't believe they were painted.
Beeswax makes a good finish for old tools. Try soaking an old tool in Coke for a week or so, to get most of the rust off. Then, warm it up and wipe it with a bar of beeswax. You can get beeswax at just about any hardware or woodworking store. It's often used to lubricate wood screws to ease installation in. Custom wood projects.
If you use them on a T they stay oiled.
Some of the ones I have appear to have had a raven finish or blackened (tool black oxide). It wouldn't take long for them to rust if neglected. I think many/most of the 5Z- tools were nickel plated.
Waiting for New Year while sipping some eggnog.
A lot of old tools that I have seen that weren't rusty had a coating that looked very much like the coating that is left when a tool is oil tempered. Could that be how they were made? Just a thought. Dave
I like to use "Perma-Blue" gun bluing and Eastwood metal blackening solutions. You can seal these with wax, oil or lacquer.
The process often described here, for de-rusting metal by electrolysis, seems to leave an interesting almost black finish. Don't know how rust-resistant it is - can anyone help with that?
Most old tools I have seen were originally black, likely a phoshate coating. Rust converters in a spray can are usually an acid and leave a black finish. You could then coat the tools with a clear coat from a spray can to keep rust away. If they are really rusty, you could clean them up with a wire wheel on a grinder or electric drill. Wear safety goggles as wire wheels are notorious for throwing out bits of wire as you use them.
It is amazing what a couple of coats of P B Blaster penetrating oil will do for them.
I have a collection of T model and A tools and I wire wheel them and use krylon satin clear coat and it gives a nice look like the ones shown above.
I've used AMS Oil MP metal protector. I spray it on and rub it in by hand. When it dries it leaves a nice finish, not shiny or dull.
I have used a product called PRO-LAN from New Zealand it is a lanolin from sheep wool, when applied to metal parts it takes about 2-3 days to dry and is very effective. I have used it on oxidizing carburetors and it prevents any further action. You can Google it and read all about it, it is good stuff. No affiliation.
I agree with Steve Jelf. My preference is to remove rust (I use a wire wheel) and a coating of oil.
I was told to use CHAIN WAX for motorcycles.
Can be sprayed on and easy to remove?? I ordered a can and will try it out!
Dave Barker: What information can you share about those long pliers at the bottom of your photo. I have those from my father, and he called them 'battery pliers'. Great looking tool set. Thank you -
A lot of 100 year old items used this type of paint. It looks very authentic when used. Why? Because it's exactly the same stuff they used a century ago
PONTYPOOL BLACK JAPANNING ASPHALTUM PAINT.