Panel Gauge Cleanup

This panel gauge has been laying around the shop and I figured it was about time to clean it up. I purchased it online a few months back and have hopes of using it as a pattern for making a more some day. There are no makers marks, just owners marks stamped all over it, so I don’t really have a clue on how old it is. It looks as if the dark wood is mahogany and the lighter wood is boxwood – I really like the contrasting colors. It has a capacity of about 22″ and a nicely captured wedge. It has a few dings and dents in the bar but nothing that prevents it from functioning well.

Dirty disassembled panel gauge
Here is the before picture of the panel gauge. Note the slight grimy shine with the smudged finger prints.

I used some Murphy’s Oil Soap and a rag to do the bulk of the scrubbing work. Not surprisingly, this left things feeling sticky. I removed most of the soapy residue with Simple Green, rubbed it by hand and wiped it off with a rag. Then I spritzed it with some water and wiped it down, repeated a few times to be sure. That removed the sticky feeling so I let it dry off.

Clean disassembled panel gauge
Post cleaning, waiting to dry.

The next day, after it was completely dry, I put on a coat of Minwax Antique Oil. I allowed it to soak in, then rubbed it down. Then I applied a couple of coats of paste wax, letting it dry and buffing in between each coat.

I really like the result – it has a nice sheen and is pleasing to the touch again. Outside of sharpening the cutter, this should be good for another 25-100 years with minimal up keep. If anyone is interested in a replica, please let me know and I’ll consider making some.

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