Antique tools | Unpacking hand, power and Craftsman vintage tool haul

Monday, December 11, 2017

Antique tools | Unpacking hand, power and Craftsman vintage tool haul


Harley unpacks a haul of antique hand, power and Craftsman brand tools. Vintage tools tend to be well made and still serviceable. In this episode, Harley shows a collection of vintage tools his Grandfather owned that he picked up from a recent trip to his Dad’s. Also included is a library of machining textbooks from a self-study machinist course and various other workshop related books and magazines.

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For a written transcript, go to Antique tools | Unpacking hand, power and Craftsman vintage tool haul

Norden Bombsight image used under GNU Free Documentation License 1.2

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing" by Kevin MacLeod at
Incidental music: “Sweeter Vermouth" by Kevin MacLeod at


Interested in antique tools? Today at the House of Hacks, that's check-out what I have loaded in the Jeep.


Hi Makers, Builders and Do-it-yourselfers.

Harley here.

Over Thanksgiving holiday, my wife and I took a road trip to California to visit my Dad and step-Mom. And while we were there, I spent a couple days with my Dad cleaning out and organizing his workshop. In the process, he gave me a Jeep full of antique tools that he got from my Granddad, his Dad's, workshop when my Granddad passed away, it's been close to 10 years ago now.

When he passed away, I got a lot of his tools and I currently have them down in my workshop and use them on a regular basis. Over the years he and my Grandmother, for Christmas and birthday, would routinely give me tools for my own use. And it's rare that I work on a project that I don't use at least some of the tools that they've given me.

Many times, most of the tools I use were given to me by them.

And so, it's a cool legacy that they've passed down in this regard.

My paternal Grandfather was probably the one grandparent that I was closest to in terms of interests that we shared.

He was a self-taught machinist and had an extensive workshop behind his house.

He had a metal lathe that I now have. And did quite a bit of machining on his own, just for general projects around the house and cars and things like that. So it's quite an honor for me to be able to get some more of his tools and outfit my workshop a little bit more.

Some of these things that I got are actually things that I want to refurbish and put on the shelf sort of as museum pieces almost. I won't be planning on using them.

I also got a library of books all on machining that I'm looking forward to reading and learning more about machining.

I wouldn't call myself a machinist by any stretch of the imagination but I do have his metal lathe and would like to learn how to use it more effectively in projects and make more projects out of metal.

Let's start unpacking.


OK! So this is the haul.

I've got a table saw and a lathe and these were purchased by my Granddad in probably the mid-50s or so. They came as a set of three. There's also, that I've had for awhile, a jigsaw. And they're all kind of the same style. They're all Craftsman. They're kind of like an entry level, beginner's Craftsman set for that time period.

My plan for these is to kind of fix them up, clean the rust off them. I haven't decided if I want to paint them or not, kind of get them back to more period colors. Most of the paint has kind of chipped off over the years. So I'm kind of up in the air over what I want to do with finish on these. But I do want to at least clean them up and mount them with probably a some sort of, maybe an inexpensive drill or something, just to make them turn as kind of a demonstration unit for those three units.

The jigsaw that I have down in the basement is probably the one that's in the roughest shape. It needs to be completely disassembled. It has more rust on it and it has some wood parts on it that need to be remanufactured.

So that's kind of a side project that I have for the winter months.

I also got this arbor press. It's a small bench mount unit. It was cracked. I'm not sure how it got cracked or where it got cracked but my Granddad did a repair on it and mounted it to a really heavy base. The base probably weighs as much as the arbor press itself does. But that'll be nice if I need to do any pressing for anything.

I picked up an anvil. It's probably... I'm not sure exactly the weight on it. It's somewhere in the 80 to 120 pound range, I'm guessing, just based on how heavy it is to lift. I think it's heavier. My Dad thinks it's lighter. He thinks it's about the weight of an 80 pound bag of concrete. I think it's a little bit more than my 100 pound weight set down in the basement. But it's somewhere in that range. One person can move it by themselves.

I got an old Kodak slide projector. I've got a bunch of slides that I actually want to transfer to digital and make a home movie out of it. My grandparents had slides for their 50th wedding anniversary and there's also notes in there that they read as they did the slide presentation. So I want to redo that kind of in video format just for some family history. I think that'd be kind of cool.

I got a later model sander/grinder unit that takes the 1 inch wide sanding strips. It's also a Craftsman but much newer than some of these other things but it's still old enough that it's all pretty heavy duty steel. So I'm guessing that's probably 70s vintage would be my guess.

I've got some corner clamps that are new that my Dad didn't want anymore. He'd picked those up a couple years ago for a project he was working on. So those aren't antiques, anything special.

I got a couple task lamps: a black one and a white one. We'll put those up, probably one in my wife's sewing room and one in the workshop, just for general task illumination. Again, those aren't super old. I'm guessing probably 70s vintage would be my guess.

I got a wood vise that I'm not sure exactly what the vintage is on it. It is probably, I'm guessing, 50s vintage.

I got an old manual blowtorch that ought to be kind of fun for the museum shelf. It'll kind of go along with these. I'll clean it up a little bit but I don't really anticipate using that. Propane torches are so much easier to use than these.

I got a vacuum pump. I have no idea what the condition is on that or really anything about it. I don't know when my Granddad picked it up or what he used it for. But figured that'd be a handy thing to have around the shop.

A couple T-squares. Nothing of particular note there. Those are relatively new. My Dad bought those in the 80s I think.

I got an old microscope that my Granddad had.

And a bunch of books.

And really the big unit is this jigsaw and the mounting base that my Granddad made for it. Those are pretty heavy. I'm guessing the mounting base is probably upwards of 80 to 100 pounds and the saw itself is probably, again I'm guessing, probably over 100 pounds based on what it takes to lift it. It's all cast-iron. Again a Craftsman, vintage, probably the mid to late 50s.

I got some sheet aluminum that my Dad had lying around the place that he didn't have any need for anymore. So I brought that home, just to have stock on hand for various projects.

And then I got a box over there of small hand tools and books. I'll go over those in the workshop down below after I get out of the wind and where it's a bit more quieter.

I've got a bunch of books in here: Gas and welding, How to use power tools, just some old things, a pattern making book. That ought to be pretty interesting to peruse through.

This is some project templates that Granddad had lying around.

One thing that I got, I think some of it is in here, was a... the guts of a clock. This is a pattern for the case.

A couple articles on miscellaneous things in and around the workshop, making some tools and sharpening. Just some articles my Dad had pulled out.

An old magazine, Science and Mechanics in the workshop.

A book on the basics of welding. I'd like to get into welding here in the relatively near future so thought that'd be a good text to just kind of read up on.

Directions for a water level. The water level's in here somewhere.

Probably the most interesting in here's a multi-set library on machine shop practices. So there's, I think, eight volumes in here going from Machine Shop Work and Pattern Making and Foundry Work and Tool Making and Metallurgy and Blueprint Reading and Mechanical Drawing. I'll put this up so it's readable here. There's the whole set of eight books like that so you can read those titles. That ought to be interesting to go through and see what's in there. Grandpa was a self taught machinist and this will be interesting to go through. I think there's some markings in there, things that he made, notes that he took, things like that.

Some string. Dad probably threw that in there at the last minute.

Some workshop projects and idea books. Sheet metal shop practice book. More shop machining workbook. This one was precision measurement and gauging techniques. Again, that ought to be interesting to go through and look at.

I'm not sure what this is...

Machine Shop Operations. Oh, just... this is in the same series as that eight series book, same manufacturer. More information on how to do machine work. That was some lathe tool grinding stuff. Cutting threads. And more machine work for the lathe. This will be really good to be going through and getting that information. I'm really looking forward to that.

Making Whirligigs. Another book.

This is a face plate for that old lathe that I brought home with me to just kind of complete that kit.

Band clamp that Dad had lying around.

This is just an aluminum project box. Again just miscellaneous stuff. Put that in the projects stuff. Somehow I got all these screws. Miscellaneous sheet metal, or not sheet metal, machine screws that Dad had around. Again, I thought that had gotten left there at Dad's but apparently it got migrated to my box.

Some sanding belts for that grinder.

I was actually looking for one of these and I got two of them. These are solvent containers so they're completely contained for solvents, so you don't have fumes in the shop. But they have measured, metering valves here so you go like that and get just a measured amount to put on a rag or something. I got two of those. This is one that Granddad had... something had happened to the bottom. I think they're made out of brass and so usually they're impervious to chemicals. Something apparently happened to the bottom because the bottom had been cut out and Grandpa had soldered in a new base. The other one is in its original condition. These are probably vintage 50s or so. There's another one buried in there.

OK. This is an interesting piece. This is the optics out of a Norden bombsight. Grandpa, after the war, found a Norden bombsight at a surplus store and had taken it apart just to see how it worked. This is all that remains of that one that he took apart. The machining on this is pretty amazing. It has a mirror, some optics that go through. It looks like there's a prism inside here that things bounce around through. I've never really investigated it. I don't know really exactly how they work. Dad mentioned that when they got close to their target, the control of the plane was actually transferred to the bombardier and he'd guide the plane in through the Norden bombsight and the bombsight apparently was somehow connected to the avionics on the plane. Those planes all had mechanical, they didn't even have hydrolics, they were all cable driven going to all the control surfaces on the plane. So apparently this was some sort of, kind of big mechanical computer that the bombsight was connected to the cables controlling the plane and it just, the bombardier just kind of guided it in. That was kind of one of the secret weapons of World War II for the Allies. So that was kind of interesting. I got that for the ol' museum shelf. An interesting piece. I'll clean it up a little bit. It's a little dusty and stuff so I'll take some Q-tips to it and clean it up and it'll be kind of an interesting to look at. Probably inspire me to go look at the Wikipedia page for the Norden bombsight just to see how they really operated.

As I proceed to dump things all over the place.

This is just a fluid level for hook up to a garden hose. So you can hook up a garden hose between these to measure things... to get things level between two distant points. Like if you're trying to get a fence level across a large distance outside in the garden area or something. Put water in it, connect a garden hose in between. Water seeks its own level on both sides and so the top of the water will be at the same level regardless of how far apart these are. Kind of cool little instrument. Very simple.

And I just dumped a whole bunch of screws and nuts and things all over the box. The important things in here are these screws that hold the jigsaw to the base that Grandpa made. Some drill bits with counter-sinks.

More books. These are all electronics books. Oscilloscope. Solid state electronics. Motor control circuits. Experimental circuits. Just things to play around with. Increase general knowledge.

A couple inspirational signs Dad had and apparently somehow they managed to make it in here. This one talks about requirements being important. Two out of three isn't good enough.

And this one says: On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless missions, who at the dawn of victory sat down to rest... and while resting... died.

A couple books that I actually have on my reading list and so now I don't have to go out and buy them. Good to Great and Built to Last, both my James Collins. Those are things that I've been wanting to read. Put that on the end table in the bedroom. Read before going to bed.

A shaper. Sureform I think is what they call them. It's basically just a wood rasp on a plane type handle system. These are really handy sometimes when you're doing rough forming of wood.

Here's a small hand plane that needs a little bit of refurbish work. It's a little rusty. Just kind of clean that up and put it on the shelf with the other planes to work with.

A spoke shave. Dad's had this forever. It just needs a little bit of clean-up and have a new edge put on it. It'll hurt you if you're not careful but it's not very sharp for woodworking at the moment. So that needs to be cleaned up.

I think I put... I think you saw in the earlier part of the video the slide projector. These are a bunch of slides that I need to go through and sort and take a look at.

A brace for drilling holes by hand.

Another hand drill. Sometimes these are handy if you need more control than you get with an electric drill. Slow speed. Things where you need to see what's going on.

Here's another one of those solvent containers. The interesting thing about this and I didn't realize this until I was taking a closer look at these... These actually have different throws on them, so you can get different amounts of measured liquid. This one has a smaller volume amount on the release than the first one did.

And here you can see the size difference between the two. The one that Grandpa had repaired is probably about an inch shorter than the standard one. Again, I was looking for these online a number of months ago and I wasn't able to find any. So I don't know if they don't make them or if I just didn't know what to search for.

Some hair trimmers. Old manual ones. Again just for the museum.

Here's a hole cutter for the brace.

This is an interesting tool. One of those that if you need it, you need this specific tool but you'll probably rarely need it. I'll just put it on the shelf for future possibilities. It's actually a sheet metal crimping tool designed to crimp the edges of sheet metal for when working with duct work. So I don't really do much duct work. I've done one small project around the house but, you know, Dad didn't have a need for it and was going to throw it away if I didn't take it. Figured I'd save it from the dust bin.

Oh, and here's the innards for that clock I was telling you about that Grandpa had. The bag looks like it's been unopened from the manufacturer. You can see in there all the bits and gears and spring and there's the pendulum for it.

A couple pieces of plexiglass. Just to have on hand for the scrap pile.

This is for sharpening chisels and plane blades. You run it across your stone and it keeps it at a consistent angle.

I think these are some impact drivers. So, you hit this on the end with a hammer and it will impart a rotational force to help break things loose if they're tightened up. These are high strength bits to go with it because you can break bits if it's not designed for this kind of use.

Another rasp type device for forming wood with a spare blade.

A handle for safety razor blades. All the blades I have, or handles, are where you scrape like this. This allows you to scrape sideways. I figured that'd be kind of handy to have hanging on the wall.

A putty knife. Actually this is an ink knife. Grandpa was a printer so he'd use this for putting ink on the press.

A nut cracker. This will split hex nuts if they're... put the hex nut in there and tighten this down until it comes off the bolt.

Another book. This is on the Lord's Prayer by Phillip Keller. I enjoy him as an author. I haven't read that book of his so I thought I'd grab it.

A cutter for a milling machine. It can be used in the lathe also. Dad doesn't have any tools that he can use that in so I got that.

OK. You may not be able to see this real well. We'll see if that'll focus on that. But that's a... It's shaped the way and set type was shaped so it would go inline with those things. But it has etched on the front of it the Lord's Prayer. It's just kind of a curiosity from the printing industry.

Tape measure with double sided tape on one side to stick it to the workbench top.

A wrench for something. I have no idea what that's for or how that made it in there.

A whetstone. Very fine grade. It needs to be cleaned off. But that's for like putting a final polish on honing a blade.

Miscellaneous 9-volt connectors. Put that in the electronics bin.

A bunch of bolts for different things. I'm not sure what.

Some bolts for cars. Specialty bolts for... I've got a Skylark. I've got a '65 Buick Skylark that that's for. Some more miscellaneous car parts.

More slides.

Oh. These are the notes for my Grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary slide presentation that they did. And so it has it organized by title and who was... what it is and what they were saying and who was saying it. I really want to go through and kind of redo that as a video just for family history purposes.

Units in the Machining of Metal. It's a book primarily of machining metal and how to do measurements. All machining. Ought to be pretty interesting to go through and learn about.

A deburring device.

And the rest are all just miscellaneous small parts that fell out of the bins.

This is an on/off switch plate that my Dad had made, oh gosh, a long, long time ago. He never actually finished the project that he was using it on but I thought that'd be kind of fun to use for something. Polish up the brass and it should look nice for some project.

And that's it for this box.

Well now I need to find a place for all this stuff in the workshop.

As you saw, I have a wide variety of interests, from machining to electronics and things in between.

If workshop and house projects of this nature are things that you're interested in, I encourage you to subscribe and I'll see you again in the next video.

Until then go make something.

Perfection's not required.

Fun is!