Collecting Antique Wrenches: Getting Started

Set goals, do your homework, and have fun are keys when collecting antique wrenches


| January 2011



Don Lux says to start collecting antique wrenches, the beginner should set goals for which wrenches he or she wants. "I pick up only the stuff that has identification marks on it, because if you can't identify it, it's just taking up room." He hastens to add that he doesn't turn down antique wrenches that don't have identification marks on them, but they aren't a high priority.

Get Proper Information. Don says he used to think he had a couple of good books on wrenches until last Father's Day, when his wife and son gave him "The History of Old-Time Farm Implement Companies and the Wrenches They Used," by Pembrook Thom Rathbone. "That's a good book," he says. "It also has a price guide that tells what the wrenches have been bringing at auction. And it shows what the common people are paying for them." That could be an average of $7 or $8 per wrench, though many go for over a hundred dollars each.

Find Others Interested in Wrenches; attend antique shows to find people displaying wrenches; start (or join) a wrench club.

Learn to Clean Them. "Ninety-five percent of everything you buy has been laying around, and the paint has fallen off. Some have been in the ground, some laying in the corner of a machine shed for 40 years, and they're all rusty."

Lots of people think WD-40 would make a good cleaner, but Don says that isn't so. "I use an artificial spray, put the wrench aside for 15 minutes, and it just eats the rust away. You get a handful of rust in your hands."

Don uses P.B. Rust Buster penetrating catalyst to remove rust; his clear coat is Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating.