Old English screwdrivers #2: restore and more.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 10-12-2011 09:55 PM 13400 reads 5 times favorited 42 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Old English screwdrivers
Restore and more…

This is part two of the blog.

So last time we finished with a new handle, this is another one I made and that we will get back to.

Next part is to make the sides flat if wanted, I want to stick to the original layout so I will…

I do this freehand on the table saw.
(Perhaps not the safety manual way to do it, but I feel safe).

Ohh yes, I have not been completely offline lately, I made this pile while the late was spinning…
(More blogs might follow as the tools get life).

To hit the center I made a cup for the back end, and then use a drill on the lathe.
(This can be done many ways).

The two parts.

Ohh and I also choose to destroy this plastic devil.

And look what came up on E-bayby for 8 British Pounds, they used to belong to a watchmaker and they have the most wonderful clicks… (I know I need help).

Look at the scale of these!

So back to the story.
A bunch of sanded and cleaned but really dry handles.

As you can see the old wear has grown into the wood, and since the contrast here against the bright wood makes it look sick I choose to play with dye.

Fist a warm with a little red tone.

Then a darker dusty.

This is where we can get creative, but also where we can go over the top so stay gentle.

Then I dip them all in ?
Yes you guessed it right linseed oil.
And put them in a bag over night because they could not all be in the pot.

Next day polish on a cloth wheel.

Then a shine.

And this is where the screwdriver from yesterday that looked sick is now.
Not bad I think…
The one over still need the polish.

I finish the handles of with a coat of wonderful wax.

And look at this before you pass on to the next picture!

This is why I broke the plastic handle…
I had made a nice warm little wooden mushroom for it.

And with a little epoxy and a bang this is what became of it.

Here an old nail lifter that got a new handle at the same time.
(Do not ask me how that came here in my screwdriver blog).

One of the watchmakers was really tired in the wood and I could see that it used to be red, so a little China red and a few layers of lacquer and it was full of life again.
The red lady.

Here is what happened to that second handle.
I had an old extender for bits, this one was glued in a handle that would match my old English.

And the one we followed get a new handle.

I think that is worth the few bucks I paid.
And I shaped the heads different so I now have a head for every screw I will find.

And the screwdriver family gathered.
Also some once from my old post .

I mount a handful of the most used in a holder over my head on the workbench, in this way they are just where I need them.

And this is where the blog ends.
In the background some recycle wood and on the piece of paper the project I work on these days, but all this is for another blog another day…


Here are the little wonderful screwdriver I use for my planes.

And here what it’s used for.

It is my hope this blog can inspire others to restore some old beautiful screwdrivers.

Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

42 comments so far

View meikou's profile


115 posts in 4116 days

#1 posted 10-12-2011 10:34 PM

Lovely stuff mate. I’m pretty sure what the project on the paper is but I won’t say anything so as not to spoil it.

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4130 days

#2 posted 10-12-2011 10:37 PM

these are so nice! and the pictures (wide angle) is beautiful setting too.

what a wonderful set to work with. so much better than plastic.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4579 days

#3 posted 10-12-2011 11:04 PM

Very nice. They came out great.

I have a group of them waiting for proper storage. Most are in pretty good shape.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Sodabowski's profile


2388 posts in 3315 days

#4 posted 10-12-2011 11:16 PM

I can foresee an old tools museum one day in Denmark: the MaFe Museum! ;)

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23206 posts in 3587 days

#5 posted 10-13-2011 12:48 AM

WOW….Very nice restorations, my friend…........................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View woodzy's profile


418 posts in 3160 days

#6 posted 10-13-2011 01:36 AM

Your in a class all your own :)
The tools and the picture are fantastic much appreciated.
Thank you for sharing your work.

-- Anthony

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3416 days

#7 posted 10-13-2011 01:42 AM

Nicely done Mads!

Boy you got a lot of screw drivers…

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View kiefer's profile (online now)


5672 posts in 3149 days

#8 posted 10-13-2011 02:04 AM

Thanks for doing this very time consuming blog for us !
You are a man of talent ,patience and vision to restore these beautiful tools and give the new life.

The sketch in the pic looks interesting and i am waiting for that project because I think I know what it is.

Thanks Kiefer

-- Kiefer

View MadJester's profile


2065 posts in 2912 days

#9 posted 10-13-2011 02:29 AM

Wonderful stuff…I never considered refurbishing old screwdrivers!! Thank you so much for sharing!

-- Sue~ Mad Jester Woodworks, "Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom" Thomas Carlyle

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 3121 days

#10 posted 10-13-2011 03:41 AM

As usual, great job and interesting post.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3136 days

#11 posted 10-13-2011 04:16 AM

Your restorations are phenomenal. I love the layered finish. It brings such a great warmth to all these old tools.

I really think you brands adds a great bit of history to the tools as well.

I just want to pick one up and put it to work.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2983 days

#12 posted 10-13-2011 04:55 AM

Great job Mads – very nicely done.

One question though. Do you have a special bracket or something to hold your hand drill when using it as you did for brushing and buffing?

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Brit's profile


7789 posts in 3324 days

#13 posted 10-13-2011 06:55 AM

So that’s why I can’t find any screwdrivers on eBay. Nice job Mads. Thanks for leaving me this one though:

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View littlecope's profile


3072 posts in 3984 days

#14 posted 10-13-2011 10:12 AM

A fine Army of old veterans my Friend… With your loving touch, they look ready for another 100 years!!
Well Done, and I am looking forward to your latest project…

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View mafe's profile


12096 posts in 3571 days

#15 posted 10-13-2011 10:40 AM

Andy, yes I’m the guy who drained UK for screwdrivers, in 200 years they will look in Denmark to fill up the English museums, lol. Nice one.

Tootles, yes just a standard drill holder nothing fanzy, and then my cut open can that I attach the vac to so I will not get to dusty when I sand.

RG, I was not happy with my brand on the screwdriver, but perhaps when it gets some patina it will be fine again. It is really a balance and when it’s hot tempting to burn away, but I think I’m getting there. Andy was here the other day and he as I noticed how my brand was even making some tools more beautiful, due to it’s layout it suits the Japanese tools so well, so I think also it is a matter of fit.

David, smiles here. Another project that need attention… I also make new tools these days Japanese, but this will come at another time.

Susan, I have a soft spot for old tools, the feel of the hands they have passed, the use when used well, the smell, the patina – but I guess you can relate… (How is the boxes going).

Kiefer, acually I have become used to taking pictures now as I work, it gives me a second to think and time to refect so it is as easy as without. The writing, photos and making of the blog is app one to two hours now so I really enjoy it. Since I don’t work (retired) I have the time and love to share what I learn, and to hear all the wonderful comments and that others do get inspired, this is my luxury part of the deal.
The sketch yes is a idea for carving some screwdriver handles, but it will not be for now, just thought they would bring a smile here.

Ian, I really screwed that one up yes…

Woodzy, I think they call it Special-Class Placement laugh, thats me!

Jim, and yes I used the lathe a lot, you see I learn, slow but sure.

Thomas, The MaFe museum is a funny idea, but the truth is I would prefere they get to work after my time here, so perhaps for a working museum somewhere…

Wayne, yes I also figure on a good storage, I think it will be in a tool cabinet one day…

Purplev, ohhh yes so much better than plastic, or at least so much more wonderful.

Meiku, yes you guessed it, I’m riding a Japanese wave these days, almost fully setup with a Japanese workspace that can be set up where ever wanted.

Thank you all for your wonderful coimments, they warm my heart and lightens my mind.
It is a little miracle that a bunch of old screwdrivers can bring smiles and nice excange of words global, I truely must say ‘life is a miracle’.

Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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