5 Essential Tools for Victorian Restorations Give your home the facelift it needs, using a handful of must-have tools.
In many ways, the owner of a historic home will eventually Jack become a of all trades. From the restoration of an old piece of furniture to the complete renovation of your century-old home, you’ll develop skills along the way. Knowing which specialty tools are available will make your life easier. If you want the project done right the first time—without several trips to the hardware store or wasting endless hours—take a look at these five must-have tools for the professional restorer.
1. A cordless oscillating Dremel tool
Once you have this tool, you’ll wonder how you lived without it. Small and handheld, this powerful little tool has dozens of uses and, with a rechargeable battery, it can fit almost anywhere. A good Dremel will cost less than $100 and usually comes with many different interchangeable bits. A multitude of specialty bits for grinding, polishing or cutting difficult surfaces are also available. You can use a Dremel for a wide variety of projects, from cutting nails, tile and wood to grinding or sharpening objects. It can also polish anything with fine details, sand extremely tight spaces and cut drywall to make the perfect kit. This tool will save countless hours of frustration and take the guesswork out of how to make that perfect cut.
2. A mini pry bar
A restorer will inevitably have a pry bar in their tool chest, but a professional restorer must have a pocket or mini pry bar. You can use this little tool to open paint cans, but it has so many other uses. For example, with a pocket pry bar, you can remove fine trim in an old building without splitting or marring it, and the process will be much easier than trying to use a regular-sized pry bar.
GIVE YOUR HOME THE FACELIFT IT NEEDS, USING A HANDFUL OF MUST-HAVE TOOLS.
Simply put, anything that you might try to pry apart with a utility knife will be a lot safer and achieve better results with a pocket pry bar.
3. Block plane
Do you have a door that sticks or won’t close all the way? What if you want to fancy up or match a piece of trim that has a chamfer? With a good block plane, those projects will be quick and easy. When installing salvage doors or windows, you’ll discover that almost nothing is square, straight or plumb in an old building. By using a block plane, you can shave off a little or a lot to make that old piece feel perfectly at home.
4. Radiator spud wrench
Many of us have old cast-iron radiators in our homes or, at the very least, pipes that were screwed together before the dawn of time. Breaking these seals and unscrewing old nuts is difficult, even with the heaviest wrenches. A radiator spud wrench is just the tool to make the job easier. If you’re renovating an old radiator, this tool will fit inside the connection nut or spud and give you a much better grip than a simple pipe wrench. This gives you the ability to change the connection size to fit a new or existing shut-off valve. Spud wrenches also work great for old plumbing pipes. You’ll be able to loosen the nut and not damage the surrounding pipes. Spud wrenches are extremely versatile and will fit many different nut sizes. This unusual tool might just become one of your new best friends.
5. Dental tools
Stripping paint off old woodwork can be one of the most satisfying—but also tedious—projects you’ll tackle. It’s easy to get off large swaths of old paint, but to remove paint from fine details without damaging the woodwork is another challenge. The key to ensuring that those fine details remain intact and clean is to use the same tools you see when visiting your dentist. These tiny tools are sharp, can get into the smallest crevices and are extremely durable and strong. You’ll only need to use these once to appreciate their value. After you’ve removed all the paint possible using a paint stripper, heat gun and paint scrapers, use dental picks to clean out the smaller parts your other tools couldn’t reach. This extra step will ensure that your completed project looks as good as new. You can get dental tools new or used on ebay or other resale sites.