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$1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life. *Update: Done!

us Offline Spoonrobot

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Thanks to these forums my interest in multi-tools has really peaked lately and I have been on the lookout for cheap/clearence/garage sale multi-tools to expand my collection/useable tool drawer.

After hunting around most of the local big-box stores for sales and finding none my helpful and oh so lovely assisstant Girlfriend of sorts recommended we check out the pawn shops; noting that her last roommate always found some neat tools at said shops.

So this past Monday, with her behind the wheel, we set out a shopping of pawns. Turned out as a pretty good day, I set foot in my first pawn shop and got to see all manner of tools, guitars, window units, guns and so forth. Of the four stores we went to I managed to score at 2 of them; not too shabby.

Store #1 Yielded some extremely cheap videogames and a oh-so disappointing faux-original Gerber Multi-plier (it was upside down so I got all excited before the clerk flipped it and exposed it as a fake.)

Store #2 Had a wide selection of belt buckles for sale and some actual junk. The belt buckles were weird; they were not of the Southern or rodeo variety but they were just regular buckles. Piles and Piles of buckles with no belts in sight. Do they seperate the buckles from the belts and sell the belts elsewhere? Did someone actually pawn 500 belt buckles or did the shop actually buy 500 belt buckles from someone? Who knows, anyway moving along.

Store #3 Was wall-to-wall electronics equipment. Computers piled on stereos piled on speakers piled on Nintendos ad forever. No guns, no knives, one cheap chinese multi-tool but a very large and friendly cat that the Girlfriend tried to buy.

Lunch: Two footlong Superdogs, a M&M chocolate shake and a big-gulp of water and we were back at it again.

Store #4 Jackpot! This store was actually really nice. More like an emporium than a shop. There were tons of tools and musical instruments and so forth. One question though; why spend 1500$ on a rifle, 350$ on collimator sight, 60$ on a tactical sling but only 20$ on a flashlight. If you are going to put one on there at least put a good one. Bushmaster is quite a hottie though. Back to the point, while parousing one of about a dozen tool boxes full of old, new, rusted, broken and odd tools I found this beaut.




A geniune Leatherman Tool. As far as I can tell one of the earlier ones because as I understand the first few years they only said Leatherman Tool and not Pocket (Personal?) Survival Tool on the side. (Please correct as needed; my knowledge of multi-tools pales in comparison to most on this board. Links to information is appreciated and welcome.)

I missed it the first time through but had a good boost of excitement when I realized what I was seeing and what it was. I immediately showed the Girlfriend and bless her, she seemed excited that I was excited. After waiting for her to pick out some DVDs and CDs we headed to the counter where there was more excitement. Since there was no indicator of price on found Leatherman I asked the clerk; he picked up the tool from the counter, gave it the ol' pawn shop eye and I could actually feel him contemplating throwing the rusted hunk of junk away before announcing "Gimme a buck and it's yers."

Smiling on the inside we paid and headed out to the car and the short jaunt home. Examining the Leatherman in the car I knew it would take some care too get it back up to snuff. The action of the pliers and the handles was akin to a cheap bali-song; loose and wiggly. There was also a large amount of rust and some actual pitting around the pliers pivot as well as what appears to be a growth on the pliers themselves (gross.) Amazingly all the interior implements are functional and unbroken. They are very rusted and tight though, but it looks as if the knife has the original grind lines still, indicating the previous owner(s) never sharpened it.







Now I have an old, rusty tool that begs for the glory days of old and my question is this: What would be the best way to clean up and tighten up this little beast? I do have access to a Dremel tool but am wondering is that would be too much. Should I just use a wirebrush and some PB Accelerant? Steel Wool? I figure I can take it apart pretty easily and get it back together I am just wondering the best way to get the rust off and how best to tighten the pliers action. Seems like my first step is to soak it in something for a few days and let it loosen up a little, yay nay? Should I not try to remove all the pivot screws due to the massive rust and the chance thay they could break? This is my main concern, a broken pivot would be a sad thing.

I had a PST once for a few weeks a long time ago and I have forgotten just how thin and small these guys were. Compared to a Gerber MP600, a New Wave and a Blast this guy is small and diminutive.



Anyway; thanks in advance and be sure to check your local pawn shops. I am still pretty hot on that original Gerber Multi-Plier!

 :D
« Last Edit: April 15, 2007, 06:53:36 PM by Spoonrobot »


us Offline inkster

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #1 on: April 05, 2007, 01:44:53 PM
Great score.  I would soak it in breakfree, for 24 hours before I did anything elst to it.  Than see where you stand from there.


us Offline parnass

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #2 on: April 05, 2007, 03:33:27 PM
The manufacture date code should be stamped inside each handle.
Retired engineer, author.

A man with one multitool always knows exactly which to use. A man with many multitools is never quite sure. - parnass


Offline joebw

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #3 on: April 05, 2007, 04:08:41 PM
May be too early to have date codes.

Joe


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #4 on: April 05, 2007, 06:00:24 PM
After soaking in Breakfree I would try scrubbing it with steel wool and maybe try polishing it up again with a polishing compound or toothpaste, then run it through the dishwasher and then let it dry, followed by a good oiling.

Def
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


us Offline Spoonrobot

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #5 on: April 05, 2007, 07:53:12 PM
Here's what I got so far:

-There is a date code inside the handles but I cannot read it, even after a little scraping so I will have to wait until it's all clean to find out.

-I am soaking the tool in Breakfree over night and will disassemble if possible before I scrub with steel wool tomorrow morning followed by some toothpaste and the polishing wheel if it needs it.

-As far as tightening the pliers action; are there any washers or gaskets inside that need to be replaced or it is hot metal on metal contact?

I will update with pics when I get it all cleane up.


us Offline inkster

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #6 on: April 05, 2007, 10:07:00 PM
I wouldn't be suprised of most of that rust just kinda slides off after you soak it.  I would think the longer the better.  But like Def said, I would clean it all back off afterwards.   Breakfree doesn't like to go once you have opened your handles for it.  :o ;)


us Offline J-sews

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #7 on: April 06, 2007, 06:01:23 AM
I use the little wire wheel bit in my Dremel. It is about one inch in diameter, and does a great job of removing crusty rust gunk. (Whatever you do, DON'T use the big wire wheel on your bench grinder.)

Here's what your Leatherman will look like disected:

Disintegrated PST.jpg
* Disintegrated PST.jpg (Filesize: 57.95 KB)
In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools


us Offline Splat

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #8 on: April 06, 2007, 08:40:12 PM
Here's what your Leatherman will look like disected:

Man, that just gave me visions of Frankensteining my multi! I don't know why but I love this pix. It's akin to taking apart a performance engine or vehicle and seeing the complex multitude of parts laid out. You think... how does this all work to produce such amazing feats of function.         Well..... it's not THAT complex, but you know what I mean.  :D
Splat


us Offline Spoonrobot

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #9 on: April 11, 2007, 06:13:44 AM
I've had a stupidly busy week this week so only a little update:



I took it apart pretty easily before spraying and cleaning, I am going to soak and scrub sometime the next few days and hopefully have it up and running by the weekend.

I also found out the date code: on one side it is 0499 and on the other it is 0599.

P.S. J-Sews, do you remeber which implements those washers go between. On that side of the handle all the implements just fell out and I didn't see where the washers went.



Offline supratentorial

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #10 on: April 11, 2007, 01:03:57 PM
I haven't taken mine apart but it looks like the washers are on both sides of the file and between the handle and the large driver on the other side.

Here's a photo for reference.  I numbered the implements in order from top to bottom on each side.
washers.jpg
* washers.jpg (Filesize: 95.42 KB)


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #11 on: April 11, 2007, 01:17:08 PM
This is like a reality TV show...

X-Treme Makeover, Leatherman Edition!

Def

* Ty.jpg (Filesize: 22.15 KB)
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


Offline supratentorial

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #12 on: April 11, 2007, 02:17:33 PM
Electrolytic rust removal is another option.

You would need sodium carbonate which is sometimes called washing soda (not to be confused with sodium bicarbonate or baking soda), a car battery charger, a plastic bucket, and a some sort of junk steel or iron to use as the anode.

Here are some instructions that I found using google:
http://www.chip.com/buick/techtips/rustremoval.html
http://www3.telus.net/public/aschoepp/electrolyticrust.html

electrodiagram.gif
* electrodiagram.gif (Filesize: 5.08 KB)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2007, 02:25:51 PM by supratentorial »


Offline joebw

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #13 on: April 11, 2007, 10:27:57 PM
Hi,

A little care is a good thing in electrolytic cleaning.  The process generates hydrogen gas which, mixed with air (oxygen) and an ignition source (open flame or lit cigarette), creates an exothermic reaction (aka an explosion) of very interesting proportion.

Joe


Offline Thargor

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #14 on: April 11, 2007, 10:36:13 PM
Hi,

A little care is a good thing in electrolytic cleaning.  The process generates hydrogen gas which, mixed with air (oxygen) and an ignition source (open flame or lit cigarette), creates an exothermic reaction (aka an explosion) of very interesting proportion.

Joe
I was thinking that he might want to do a little bit of research rather than just going by that diagram because rigging up any old battery charger found around the house sounds like a recipe for electrocution...

Ive used one of the brush attachments on my dremel to remove rust plenty of times, it seems the best way to do it in my experience, a bit of a buff afterwards with a very soft attachment and you'll never know there was any rust there, although Ive never tackled a job like the pictures in the first post.


Offline SoDak

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #15 on: April 12, 2007, 02:02:26 AM
I've used a dremel tool with a wire brush attachment and some corrosion x (not sure if the corrosion x is necesary) to remove rust from a gerber that was in the ground for about 3 years and the parts I did it on look like new.


Offline supratentorial

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #16 on: April 12, 2007, 03:26:55 AM
I was thinking that he might want to do a little bit of research rather than just going by that diagram because rigging up any old battery charger found around the house sounds like a recipe for electrocution...

I didn't suggest he just follow the diagram blindly. :police:   I was informing him of another option.  In fact I posted some google links and expected that he'd find some references of his own and do a little research first.  Electrolysis is sometimes used to clean rust from automotive parts and antiques.  It is a technique that I am considering for restoration of old tools. 

I don't recommend the technique be used in an unventilated area while smoking.   ::)    Break free, which was previously recommended, is probably also flammable.  If you look up the MSDS for Break free it says to "avoid sources of ignition such as....cigarettes".  ...and McDonalds coffee is hot!   :P




Offline Thargor

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #17 on: April 12, 2007, 04:10:38 AM
Yeah I know, sorry if it looked like I was accusing you of attempted murder or anything :D


Offline supratentorial

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #18 on: April 12, 2007, 04:31:25 AM
Yeah I know, sorry if it looked like I was accusing you of attempted murder or anything :D

No worries.

A lot of the info that I've found on using electrolysis for rust removal is written by collectors rather than people with scientific background.  One of the problems with getting info off the net is its sometimes difficult to verify that the writer knows what he's talking about.  When I have more free time, I'll crack open the old chemistry books from college and look it up.



us Offline J-sews

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #19 on: April 12, 2007, 05:18:16 AM
P.S. J-Sews, do you remeber which implements those washers go between?

I got the same thing here as Supratentorial showed in reply #10.

BTW, you'll be glad that you totally disassembled it. (Okay sure, it seems like a pain right now!) But you can be sure this way of getting every last bit of rust and gunk. And, when it's all back together and looking sweet, there's an extra measure of satisfaction that comes from having taken it all apart and put it all back together again!   :)
In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools


us Offline Spoonrobot

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #20 on: April 15, 2007, 06:58:59 AM
Electrolytic rust removal is another option.

I do remember my father doing this when I was a small child. Thanks for the suggestion but it was a little too much for me to track down and assemble for the amount of time I have now.

Anyway, after a week that was way too long with too little sleep and not enough money I finally settled down this morning and decided my plan of attack. Since the tool only cost me a dollar I decided to go the cheap route and use only what I had one hand. Starting as small as possible I set up a cleaning station with a green scrubbie pad, some fast orange hand cleaner left over from my alternator replacement, some bleach and some hot hot water. I added the bleach due to the fact that while showing my coworkers the tool and soliciting advice from them one of them remarked that it was indeed covered in rust but there may have been a large amount of dried blood in there also. He came to this conclusion after smelling the tool and scraping some flakes off. Being no forensic expert I figured the bleach would take care of any nonsense left on the tool.

The green scrubbie and fast orange actually took most of the surface rust off and after a thorough cleaning I put the wire wheel on my dremel and cleaned up the really stubborn parts. After everything was clean I checked the function and found the wire cutters were boogered up so much it was seizing the plier heads when closed so I ground down the sides of the cutters to flat and fixed that problem. The awl was pretty trashed too so I polished it and reground the edge, function back to 100%. After all this the only other glaring problem was the twisted small flathead screwdriver, again I ground the edge back to usefulness and began reassembling.

supratentorial- thanks for the excellent picture of the washer placement. Somehow I either lost one washer or there were only two to begin with but I ended up installing two of them correctly and leaving out the one that went between the handle and the large flathead. I haven't really noticed any problems with this arrangement.

After totally reassembling the I checked everything for function, tightened and oiled the pivots and sat outside with a contemplative cigarette while studying my cleaning skills. Overall I am very happy with how this came out, thanks for everyone who chimed in with a comment. I figure I took this tool pretty close to brand new function, the everything that it supposed to be tight is tight and everything that should be loose is loose. No more bali-song-like handles for me!

It really is a pretty good testament to the staying power of a good multi-tool. Essentially junked prior to this at maybe 30% functionality, I invested less than 2 hours in creating a fully functional tool. Awesome!  :grin:

The good stuff:








Take a look at that last picture. Notice the two holes in the pivot of the pliers and the general damage to the circumference? What's up with that?

The holes go fairly deep into the pivot, how in the world could two holes appear there? Is this a pattern of rust? This side of the tool did appear to be lying in some liquid because most of the outside corrosion was on this side. How odd.

This as a very satisfying project, I carried the tool today and have a real appreciation of it. I did some things I have been putting off doing because I didn't want to walk all the way back to the toolbox when I am reminded of the problem:
+Tightened the doorknob screws to both employee and customer bathrooms.
+Filed down the sharp edges of both our ticket holders (the edges were probably sharper than our knives and continually gave me and the Sous Chef annoying cuts).
+Adjusted and fixed the magnetic sensor on the door of our dishwasher.
+Offered to cut any piece of metal anyone wanted because *I* had a metal saw and no one else did.  :D
+Cut a small nail sticking out of the wall when no one was looking because no one actually wanted me to cut anything.
+Measured everything; my hair is 3.6 inches long, this mint leaf is .75 inches wide, your steak is 7.8cm thick, you spilled some sauce and made a puddle 17.3cm wide, eventually the head Chef told me to go measure how close I was to getting fired if I kept it up.



I have a new love for this thing, it's small and unobtrusive but really packed with tools, something that most multi-makers are getting away from today with their bigger/better tools. I plan to add it to my work EDC since I stopped carrying a multi-tool at one of my jobs because weight was an issue.

Now all I need is a junked up PST-II!


us Offline J-sews

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #21 on: April 15, 2007, 01:24:05 PM
......eventually the head Chef told me to go measure how close I was to getting fired if I kept it up.


 :D :D Good one!


Take a look at that last picture. Notice the two holes in the pivot of the pliers and the general damage to the circumference? What's up with that?

It's difficult to say from just the photo, but could it be that the plier pivot had become too loose? Then perhaps the previous owner gave it a couple of whacks with a center punch, which would displace the metal and tighten things up again?
In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools


us Offline CacherX4

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Nice job on that PST Spoonrobot.


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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I agree- you did a great job of restoring that guy.  It's really neat to "save" a knife or tool and make it your own.  I have a few SAKs that were in pretty rough shape and yet I managed to put some time and effort into them, and now they are some of my favorites!

Def
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


us Offline Fred

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now you can sell it to me for $2!
Yabba dabba doo!


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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 ::)

Def
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


us Offline J-sews

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Anyway; thanks in advance and be sure to check your local pawn shops. I am still pretty hot on that original Gerber Multi-Plier!


Didja ever have any luck finding that original Gerber??
In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools


us Offline Spoonrobot

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No, not yet. I asked around at some of the shops I went to and was told to try back closer to the beginning of each month since they said they get a lot of cruddy used tools during that time. I figure I'll poke around a little bit and then try eBay.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2019, 12:27:01 PM by Poncho65 »


us Offline tango44

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Re: $1 Pawn shop find or How to bring a Leatherman back to life.
Reply #28 on: June 16, 2007, 02:31:26 AM
This one look that was built on May 99 I got mine since 95!
« Last Edit: March 07, 2019, 12:27:46 PM by Poncho65 »
Enjoy!


us Offline J-sews

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Hard to believe they made virtually the same tool for over 20 years, and sold millions of 'em.
In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools


 

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