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Restoring Miscellaneous Tools and Shop Appliances


 
  Restoring Split Nuts Screwdriver by Wiktor Kuc  

I purchased this screwdriver on eBay sometime ago.  It was part of the lot that included about 20 different item, all rusted and appearing useless.  I spotted this screwdriver and a few other items that I could use and purchased the lot.

Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the screwdriver before restoring it to a usable state.  I remember that it was very dirty, the blade was very rusty and I could see some pitting at the tip.  Also, the ferule was missing and the handle was cracked at the point where blade tang was inserted into the handle.

After cleaning the blade I discovered a maker name.  The stamp reads - John Miller, Cast Steel.

The only information I could fine about this toolmaker is a record in EAIA's Directory of American Toolmakers:

John Miller, located in Donegal, PA
Tool Types:  Blacksmith Tools, Carpenter Tools, Edge Tools & Farm Tools
Miller was a blacksmith who made tools
No dates of operation

There is no assurance that this specific record is directly related to the toolmaker of this screwdriver.  However, this is the only record that is the closest match.  Further research and more tool examples of this maker will be needed to identify the maker and dates of his operation.

My intention for this screwdriver was to make it a "user" and use it in my restoration work on handsaws.  For this reason some major repair was needed.  Here are some major tasks that I performed:

  1. I separated the blade from the handle by putting the blade into a vise and slowly moving handle from one side to another until I could feel that handle will come off easy.

  2. Since handle was very dry and had two major cracks, I decided to soak the handle in Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) for a week or so.

  3. In the meantime I cleaned the blade with sandpaper and grinded the tip to a usable condition.

  4. I had to file a notch for split nuts on the tip to the clean and usable condition.

  5. After a week in the BLO bath, the handle had another week of sun bath.  The sun in New Mexico is very strong even during the winter and BLO dries very nicely.  I usually wiped off the excess of BLO twice a day and after a few days I could see that “sweating” stopped.  The handle was ready for further work.

September, 2005

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