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274128 Kirk Eppler 2021‑07‑20 Leavitt Mach Co Marking Gauge
Hey all

As the Garage Sale and Flea Market climate has slightly increased, I
thought I'd share a recent find.  This came out of a hoarder's estate sale,
and like most of the tools he had, was a lump of rust.  I left lots of
stuff behind because it just wasn't worth the effort to restore another #4
or #5. My first visit was very brief, I grabbed a few things, but needed
more time to look.


Here is my overall find from my second visit.  The subject marking gauge
was hiding under the yellow drill bit pouch in the bottom of the frame, it
was so embarrassed by the way it looked I guess. I was a bit indecisive as
to whether it was a quality find, or cheaply made import. I grabbed it, it
was under $1 in aggregate pricing, so no big gamble. Unfortunately, my
"before" picture only shows a tiny bit of one of the arms.


This was locked up tight, the screw would not loosen, the arms would not
slide, it even felt prickly when holding it. There was some really gross
rust (as seen in the photo above), that pitted the arm substantially. I
threw it into the Evaporust intact, not wanting to mar the tool by brute
forcing anything. When it came out, I wiped it down, and saw the mfg info,
Leavitt Mach Co, patented Jun 12 1888. The company was in business from
1872 - 1899, so I realized I wanted to be extra careful now.

Once it was wiped off, I could take the lock screw out, but the arms would
not slide. Did a no-no, and used my vise as a press, breaking the tension
holding the shorter arm in place. Lots of brown goo oozed out as the arm
slid. The longer arm slid much easier, but stuck when it got to the gross
rust. A quick press on the vise got over the rough spot. Now that I had the
pieces apart, I threw the head and the longer arm back into the Evaporust
while I continued on the screw, the lock and the shorter arm. The screw
head came out of the shorter arm, so it got the black knocked off, then a
light trip across the 3M radial bristle brush I mentioned a few months
back. Finished up with some Simichrome so it felt really smooth in the hand.

Pulled the other pieces out a few hours later, I repeated the process,
using a little bit of the Sandflex block on the grosser areas of rust prior
to the 3M wheel. The Simichrome gives a nice even finish after the 3M
wheel. Had trouble removing the one screw, damaged the head just a bit
using a Grace Gunsmith screwdriver, so there is some soaking in its future.

The patent listed is 384,413


but it also uses 530,468


So here it is, 120+ years old, and ready to go back to work, once I
resharpen the little wheels. It won't pass for a virginal collector's
edition tool, but it is ready to work again.


I also got a bunch of Universal Clamp Corp (Pat Pend) aluminum clamps,
which I am slowly cleaning up.  These are designed for clamping at edges of
a carcass, instead of using large pipe or parallel clamps.  See their use
here at TFWW


Still need to throw the other tools in the Evaporust, that Record 151 needs
lots of help.

Also got about 100 sq ft of various veneers, rumored to be 30+ years old
Kirk Eppler in Half Moon Bay, CA, finally getting a little shop time after
1-1/4 years where it was pretty minimal.

Recent Bios FAQ