Tools - Restoration
|An old 1976 Troy-Bilt tiller with 6 hp
Tecumseh engine, all original.
||A new Honda GX160, 6.5 hp engine.
A simple bolt-on replacement.
||And above, the tiller body repainted
and completely restored.
Troy-Bilt rototillers were incredibly overbuilt and
strong. Rebuilding an old Troy-Bilt Horse rototiller
is not difficult. If the tines are worn out
replacements are available on eBay or Amazon. A
Honda GX160 engine is a bolt-on replacement. The
body of the tiller can be sanded, primed and repainted
with IH Tractor Red spray paint, available in many
hardware stores. The transmissions are bronze
gears and modern GL-4 tranny lube will erode bronze,
but NAPA has GL-1 Mineral Gear Oil for less than
$13.00 per gallon. The tranny holds about 3/4 of
a gallon. I did a complete restoration on my old
Troy Horse for less than $400.00, including the new
engine! New lugged tires will complete the
rebuild and cost less than $50.00.
Wood handles on almost every tool can be sanded down and
refinished. The idea is to get a very smooth,
non-slip finish that will not cause blisters with
prolonged use. The original varnish finish should be
scraped off before sanding. Once smooth enough, I
use Old English Scratch Cover to stain the wood.
After the stain dries, a thin coating of Tru-Oil is
applied. In about 4 hours the Tru-Oil is dry and can
be easily removed with 0000 steel wool. Rubbing with
0000 steel fur hardens the surface of the wood and the Tru-Oil
fills the pores of the wood. It only takes a
couple of minutes to apply a coat of Tru-Oil with a cotton
ball applicator, and very little time to scrub it off with
0000 steel wool. Good thing, too, as it
requires at least a dozen coats to get the smooth finishes
shown above. This is, of course, the method used to
refinish rifle stocks.
A good framing hatchet can be
extremely useful, particularly around a wilderness camp as
they usually have much better steel then a cheap camp
hatchet and nice broad cutting edge.
The left photo above shows my refinished framing hatchet.
But to keep the hatchet sharp and in perfect condition, a
good sheath is required. I used an East German
grenade pouch and some rivets to make the sheath shown
above. The grenade pouch was less than $3.00 from Sportsmansguide.com.
adze in sheath made from a truck inner tube. A
plastic bottle was cut and pop riveted in to cover the
sharp blade edge (right, above). Jeans buttons keep it
A small adze is extremely
useful for shelter building. The sideways edge keeps
your hands away from the surface compared to an axe.
They work extremely well for smoothing log surfaces in
confined areas such as the inside of an expedient shelter
(dugout) and for logs which make up the roof of the shelter.
If a shelter is to be rain- and wind-proof, it must be
sealed. The easiest way to accomplish that is to use
an adze to chop off high spots, smooth down branch roots,
and make notches so the logs are interlocked. The
roof is then covered with a few inches of dirt and the
soil smoothed out. A very fine film of plastic sheet
can be carefully laid out over the soil and then be
covered with a few more inches of soil and sod. That thin
film of plastic sheet is the wind and rain protection for
the shelter, and being sandwiched between layers of sod
has automatic UV protection so it will last for years.
Sharp projections having been eliminated by the adze, the
soil protects the delicate plastic film while holding it
in place. The logs on the sides of a shelter should
be chinked with moss (or whatever is available), for which
the back of the adze has been designed. Shelters
such as a dugout should have a plastic film placed on the
outside of the logs before backfilling with dirt. If
smoothed with the adze there should be few sharp
projections to cut the plastic film, but there will still
be some holes. Nevertheless it is far better
moisture protection than nothing at all. Google "Ziemlanka"
for more images of traditional dugouts.
REFINISHING TOOL HANDLES
Refinishing tool handles is
made considerably easier if handle clamp is made from a
couple of short lengths of 2 x 4's.
The 2 x 4's can be clamped
together and drilled down the center with a 1'' bit.
Or each half can have the groove cut with a router.
The large groove is then lined with a piece of bicycle
inner tube that is glued into place. The blocks can
then hold a handle in a wood vise, as shown above right.
The handles can be scraped to remove the old varnish,
sanded and prepared for staining and a finish coat without
having to try to hold the handle manually or clamping it
in a metal vise that will scar and damage the surface.
MORE EXAMPLES OF HOME-MADE
SHEATHES TO KEEP TOOLS SHARP
Above left, inserts cut from a
gallon milk jug. These are then sandwiched between
two layers of canvas and each half sewn. The halves
are combined (center photo) by sewing, the trimmed to
final shape and the edges thoroughly sewn with a Zig-Zag
stitch. The end result (right photo above) is a nice belt
sheath for a spokeshave!
at right shows a sheath I made for a medium sized camp
shovel using rubber from a truck inner tube. The
sheath was simply cut to fit using surgical shears,
then the sides pop riveted with washer backing to hold
the rubber securely. "Logger buttons" (suspender
buttons) were used to hold the cover flap closed.
"REPURPOSING'' THINGS TO MAKE SHEATHES
A very inexpensive East German Day Pack gave its life to
make the holster shown above for a Daisy Avanti Powerline
747 pellet pistol.
A CART TO HAUL ALL YOUR
TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
The photo above left is a
Fold-It garden cart in nice, shiny original aluminum.
Before repainting I pop riveted the axle stub brackets to
reinforce them to provide a safety margin for hauling
heavy loads. The photo above right shows the cart
repainted in home-brew camo. The tires were 20 x 1.75 and
very feeble. The new tires are 20 x 1.95 BMX tires
with run-flat solid tubes. These are not the
strongest cart around but they are lightweight and easy to
use. They will carry an amazing amount of tools and
supplies far easier than carrying them on your back!
LEG VISES FOR WORKING
Most all leg vises were made
prior to WW I. Mine, shown at right, dates to the
1890's. All were hand forged. After a century of use they
are often pretty beat up. I took mine apart and
dressed all surfaces, then primed and painted all but the
jaw faces as the jaws have to hold hot hot metal from the
forge. It should now last for at least another
century. Leg vises are a luxury and not every needs to own
one, but for heavy work with metal that requires pounding
and shaping they are really nice to use.
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Tools - Restoration