Peterson Pipe Cleaning and Restoring

A good friend of mine and co-worker got chatting with me the other day about smoking pipes. He’s considerable older than I am so he actually had a decent, old, and beautiful pipe from Peterson. He said he’d had it like 15-20 years.  He though he’d bring it in the next day and show me. I had just finished up a cherry pipe. He was clearly excited to see someone interested in pipes.

So he brings in this well loved Peterson. He doesn’t smoke it anymore and hasn’t in many years. He’s got children now and you have to think about setting that example. Anyway here’s the lovely pipe he brought in:

Its just like Peterson to have used such a beautiful tight grain briar. Seriously it was a beautiful estate pipe. But It needed some love. I find it hard to turn down something like this, especially with its condition being so good for a 20+ year old pipe.

So I went and did my thing.

I started with the bowl, I reamed it and knocked the char out getting the chamber back to original size. I then did an alcohol soaked salt bath. I used some Woodford reserve to give it a little bourbon flavor. This step really just cleans out the inside of the stem and airway/tenon, killing all the germs that might be there. Then I went over to my Beal Buffing system and worked the bowl back from raw wood to the high polished shine. I put a coat of Carnuba wax to seal and protect. I used a loose cotton wheel on my bench motor to polish the tarnish off of the silver tenon band. I then finished the vulcanite stem on the buffer as well, bring back the black high-polish finish from the dull and yellowing oxidation.

Its amazing how much you can revive a piece of history like this with 20 minutes of hand polishing and 2 hours of soaking in bourbon.

Eagle no 66 oilers

I was out last weekend at the antique mall. Yeah, I’m that lame — A single late 20s guy who goes to antique malls. The worst part is that I actually probably know more about some of the junk there than the people who work it. Who knows. I just like antique malls because its a really cool cross section of history. You get to see how people in the old days dealt with problems. I like going to see if I can learn how the old mechanical things worked. I find that super interesting.

Anyway. I’m also always on the look out for cool old tools, and good deals on things that I could use in my shop.

While looking I found 2 different Eagle brand No. 66 oiler pump cans. These are cool to me primarily because they were old brass. Old crusty brass with a mechanical element. Theres that steampunk again…

So I bought them up. They were both under $20 and seemed to be complete and working.

Well I stupidly didn’t take any before pictures. So I found some from ebay that are in very similar condition.


The ones I got have rigid spouts not the movable kind like that.

So I went to town working only with my 2 speed bench grinder. Which is really just a 1 horse motor with some arbors that my grandfather bought back in the day. He was a dentist and it was the motor for his rotary dental tools in the 60s and 70s. Anyway, I attacked it with a semi-hard cotton wheel with white diamond cutting compound on it.

This is the halfway mark. I took the pump piston out, completely disassembled and cleaned inside and out.

The first can was a breeze, it had been emptied and washed out with a degreaser prior to antique mall. The second can, no so much. The second can’s unused oil, no idea what kind, had turned into a black thick gel that absolutely stunk. It took several degreaser baths to break it down and get it cleaned.

I’m super thrilled with the end results. They both are now filled with some cheaper thread cutting oil, the dark sulfuric oil. So far, not leaking at all.

I will say that they are a really simple design, if you stop and pay attention… I did not when opening the piston chamber of the first can. I nearly lost the ball bearings and springs. then it took an additional 45 minutes to figure out how to put it back together post cleaning. I usually try not to charge in like that, but sometimes I get excited.

Kennedy Box Rescue

Lately I’ve kinda dived into the world of tool making, milling, and tool rescue. Ever since I got a real collet chuck for my Taig lathe things sort of clicked for me.

So I got my collet chucks and its amazing to run my lathe now. Things are actually running true and rigid. So I hop onto Craigslist. I do this from time to time and look at larger lathes, mills, and tooling. Just to see whats out there.

I find; “I’m selling my dad’s old toolbox made by Kennedy.” Ok, I’ll bite. I read further; “I don’t know what any of these drill bits are for, looking for $2.00 per pound.”

The picture shows a 12″ Mitatoyo combination square with circle center. well. How much does he want? I went ahead and sent him an email. Like clockwork, I got a phone call within 15 minutes. I’d never done a craigslist deal before, but it seemed legit. I drove over to the house to check it out. It turns out his father was a union machinist for like 30 years after he came home from the war.

He had just moved his parents into an assisted living facility and was getting their house ready to sell. He just wanted the box gone. But, he also seemed like he wanted to see it go to someone who’d use it too. So I quickly opened the box up and scanned the drawers. It was the apprentice’s size box so not huge, however, jammed full. So, that was an easy $300 sale for him.

I got it home and then the fun really began.

The box itself, while a Kennedy, its in rough, rough shape. It sat on the floor of a leaky garage for 20 years. The bottom is mostly just rust. It would be interesting to try and save it, but I’m just not the welder for the job.

Well I decided to take one drawer at a time. Here’s what I found:

This is the top section. Mitatoyo square, Brown & Sharpe square, Mitatoyo 0-1 mic, B&S depth mic with extensions, Industrial Pipe and Steel caliper. Those were the bigger ticket tools. Theres a Fowler dial indicator but its pretty crusty.

The first drawer on the left hand side was all lathe tooling.

This is pulled out and organized. Its for the most part 3/8ths brazed carbide insert tooling.

The next was the top right drawer.

This was the marking and measuring drawer. Edge finders, thickness gauges, thread gauges, thread transfer points, shims, scribes, pin vises, and some really great small rules.

Next we have some end mills.

There was a bunch of some nice solid carbide drill bits, and some larger diameter end mills in here.

Turns out there was good deal of ball end mills and flat faced mills. Mostly 3/8ths shank, 4 flute spiral.

Next was the boring drawer.

Home made thread gauge plate, a few deburring tools, fly cutter, boring bars. Lots of very specific process stuff that I’ve still got to learn about.

Its fun to go through and organize each drawer as I go.

The first of the full width drawers had a few 0-1 and 1-2 inch mics. a few were broken. There was some more misc lathe tooling and some carbide inserts. Its clear that this was sort of a catch all.

And then finally the bottom drawer.

There were a few more end mills and some nice solid carbide drill bits. But this was mostly inside and outside calipers, 3-4 and 4-5 inch mics. lots of pliers and screw drivers. A few different gauge blocks. Some misc dial and test indicators.

All in all it was an amazing score. I’m so happy I was able to get this. I’ve already started using the end mills on my lathe. I used them to make a quick change tool post so far.

Hopefully in time all of the tools will be transplanted into a new box and have some life breathed back into them.


So this was an early 2012 maker build for me. Really my first forray into building anything. Its still an on-going project as I have several razors in the que for restoration.

So lets start at the beginning


The razors that I look for are ones that come from antique stores in decent condition. I don’t care at all about the handles. The blades have a good deal of life left in them. You can see how rotten the one above was when I opened the scales.


Here you can see I’ve completely refinished the blade by hand. I sand them down stepping from grit to grit all the way to about 1200. It usually takes a few hours per side. Then I paper template out the scales to get a good fit.


Next up, fitting the wood. Here you can see I used Ambrosia Maple. Its quite a pretty wood.


Once the scales are fit and shaped I apply about 6 coats of wood turner’s finish. Its a good, hard, topcoat that polishes super well and repels water. You want to keep water out of a razor. The blades are very prone to rusting in a bathroom.


All the pieces get laid out. You can see the original scales, the new ones. The new pins and wedge.


Here’s the finished blade. From this point all it needs is to have a nice 20,000 grit hone, stropping, and its good to go!

And lastly; here’s a collection of just a few of the razors that I’ve restored and rescued. Also, yes, I do use them!


Head Knife Destruction/Restoration

For the last year or so I’ve been getting really into leather work as a hobby. Its a fun and pretty rewarding little venture. The hardest part of it all is to get properly tooled up for it. Properly cutting leather doesn’t require any real special tools, but there are knives that are made for it and work better than others. The main problem with those knives is that they are either very rare or very expensive. Most of the time they are both. When you consider that there’s really about 2 people and one company that still produce the knives wide-scale for people it makes it harder to come by. Well, I hit the jackpot, again while in an antique store, and found a head knife, or round knife, or leather knife, its really what ever you want to call it.

The handle was super loose though so time to do some rebuilding!

My first head knife with the original handle removed.
My first head knife with the original handle removed.

In all of my infinite wisdom at this point I thought going at the blade in this for with sand paper and grinders was a good idea. The blade its self, didn’t really care. The tang though… That was a different story. You can see clearly in this photo the tang is a bit bent. So I bent it back straight. The only problem is that this older than dirt tool had a nice hardened blade and not properly tempered tang. It snapped right the hell off.  Shit.

So lets get out that welder that I’ve only used twice in my life and never been trained on…

The final head knife with new handle
The final head knife with new handle

Ok, its not terrible and I bet you I could have sanded it flush and you not known it had broken. Or even put a new tang on it. But, it actually held really well, and the Curly Maple handle that I turned for it is amazing. Its about an inch and a half shorter than the original handle. It lets me get more leverage on the tips.

Additionally I got the edge razor sharp – Actual razor sharp, honed to 20,000 grit. All I need to do is maintain the edge with a strop and its one of the best cutting knives that I own.

Lighter Restoration

So next up is another early project from this year, a lighter that I found in an antique store in the middle of the mid west.

I unfortunately didn’t take photos of it when I found it. It was rather dirty and non-functioning.

The lighter in question is an IMCO Triplex Junior 6600

An old add for the IMCO Junior Lighter
An old add for the IMCO Junior Lighter


And after a good deal of cleaning here’s what I was able to come up with:

My IMCO Junior's detail
My IMCO Junior’s detail
My IMCO's original stamping
My IMCO’s original stamping

And finally with a new cotton reservoir and flints it works like a charm.

My lit IMCO Junior
My lit IMCO Junior


The great thing about this lighter is that it seals the lighter fluid in so much better than your standard run of the mill zippo. Its also gorgeous to look at, way easier to light, and better wind proofed than a zippo.

Overall, this was a dead simple restoration up to working order and I’m quite happy with my 1950s era lighter. Its not the trench lighter that I’ve always wanted, but that’s an upcoming build/restoration.