We have been acquiring lots of new tools (read: toys) for the space over the past few weeks. Many of them we have found through secondhand sources. That means they may come in our door looking a little worse for wear, but it also means we have more money to spend on some new, specialized equipment for members (like the OMAX Waterjet). So, Corey and I have been sharpening our restoration skills and seeing that a little TLC can go a long way!

Check out some of the transformations:

The Acorn Table

This is our large welding table. I could probably write a whole blog post about how awesome it is, but I will save that for another time and just show you some makeover pictures! We wire brushed the top of it and masked it off to paint the sides. We only wire brushed the letters on the sides of the table.

Here is the top half-way through cleaning it off:


Before shot of the sides of the table (the top is masked off at this point):


And after – what a difference paint makes!:



The Air Receiver

This was already primed when we acquired it:


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I guess we will have to call it Big Bird now!

Moving along in our makeovers – lets get into some more detailed restoration. We found a machine shop in Baltimore having a big auction, with some awesome machines up for grabs. We ended up leaving with two big material storage racks as well as some little work stations and our two most exciting finds – a Jet metal shear and a Tennsmith metal finger brake.

The Jet Metal Shear

Here is a look at the shear before we moved it to our space:


Dinged up, bent in, and generally not to easy on the eyes. It works like a charm though! We wiped it down and cleaned off the years of gunk that had built up on the surface.

Here is an intermediate shot, it is a little blurry but it shows how rusty the work surface was before we cleaned it up. At this stage, we had removed the face sheet metal and finger guard.


Next up, we wire brushed the rust off of the work surface to make the steel nice and shiny again and found that, yep, indeed, this tool goes to 11 (4+4+3, we can’t make this stuff up!):


Then it was time to remove accessories and mask off our newly clean surface so we could paint the rest of it:


We got the paint color matched at our local paint store. Jason and I like to call it “Baby Puke White” while Corey likes to call it “Not that Bad” and I guess it was originally called “Jet White.” Now for the fun part!

Here it is after the full-body paint makeover.


Now that’s a good looking machine! Let’s go through the rest of the accessories and their makeovers as well.

It was pretty easy to sway Jason and Corey into keeping the sweet colorful retro design on the front of the shear, we just touched it up a bit. We also did some quick hammer work to straighten out the dings and bends in the sheet.



The paint was pretty scratched up. We masked off each of the colors and re-painted them:


After allowing for proper drying time between paint colors and coats, we masked off the whole design and gave the rest of the metal a new coat of baby puke – I mean Jet White.


And a shot of the other accessories getting made over (I forgot to take a picture of the yellow finger guard, but you will see it in the final picture):


Such a lovely shade.

Now for the final reveal!


Awesome! Right? Restored to its full 1985 glory. That’s right, this baby is 31 years old…its been cutting metal for longer than I have been alive!

The Tennsmith Finger Brake

Okay so I don’t have a full shot for a “BEFORE” picture, but I do have a close up comparison between the clean side and the dirty side, so you will have to use your imagination from there.


As you can see, it was pretty grimy. We also decided to clean each of the ‘fingers,’ here is how they looked before:


Look what I found on Google – this isn’t OUR brake but this is pretty much what it looked like before we cleaned it up:


We wire brushed all of the fingers and gave them a nice coat of glossy clear:


Having fingers on a shear is great becuase you can adjust the size of the bend that you need. If you only want 2 inches of a piece of sheet bent, you can do it! You have a lot of adjustability with fingers, which means more projects to think up 😉

Now check out the “AFTER” shot of it!


Not too shabby! We also cleaned the weight (upper left hand corner of picture above) and painted it glossy clear. It was white before, I think clear really makes it look sleeker! I’m a big fan of (seemingly) bare steel.

I think I have just made the longest blog post ever so I will leave it at that.

How do you think we did on the makeovers? Have any questions about the process? Let us know in the comments below!