ANY GRANDPA WOULD BE PROUD
To salvage or not to salvage is the question.
SHOP OWNER: Peter Huisman
LOCATION: Landsdale WA, Australia
For the sake of a feel good story, I'd like to say that this once healthy tool belonged to my great granddad, but that isn't so. Nevertheless, I hope you will like the ending.
This badly neglected marking gauge, a poor shadow of its former self, followed me home one day amongst a few bits and pieces of bottom feeder loot picked up while out hunting for old tools.
Now was decision time. My first reaction was to bin it. I looked it over several times more, deciding at last to discard it. After all, was the amount of work it required ever going to be worth the effort? But it stayed on my bench - taunting me. The more I looked at it, the more I wondered about its journey. This object has got to be made good, I thought.
I began by dismantling the gauge.
Having resolved to "make it good", my next dilemma was when I asked myself, "do I make new bits, which meant a lot of work and loss of original items, or retain and repair all the bits and hope for the best. You know the story of Grandpa’s axe? You know, handle replaced, head replaced, but still Grandpa’s axe? Well I figured that wouldn't do. So retain and repair it was going to be.
The head was badly cracked, and thinking I could lever it open a little further to facilitate injection of glue, it split in two. But every cloud has a silver lining, and I could now get glue into and around all the broken and parted wood fibers.
Next came plenty of yellow glue and firm clamping.
Every part of this tool was faulty. Even the brass wear strips were bent.
The gauge appeared to have been dropped onto its non-business end, taking a big chunk out of the stem. Now I don't have stock of rosewood casually lying around the shop, but I did have a wooden "smoking implement" I picked up at a garage sale for a possible wood harvest. The color of it resembled that of the gauge's stem. The break was tidied up and a piece of the pipe shaped to fit. I mixed up some epoxy resin with a little brown oxide and re-assembled the pieces. Any paper or elastic band stuck to the resin would be sanded away during finishing. The "splint" was doing its job.
Sanding back was done on a flat plate and in one direction only.
Damage sustained to the rebated slide groove was too difficult to repair. A little judicious paring of the broken wood left it looking "boat-tailed". After oiling and waxing this old girl is once again ready for use.
. . . Peter Huisman