Home>Articles>How To Make Old Dewalt Hand Tools Look New

How To Make Old Dewalt Hand Tools Look New How To Make Old Dewalt Hand Tools Look New


How To Make Old Dewalt Hand Tools Look New

Written by: Sophie Thompson

Learn how to restore your old Dewalt hand tools to their former glory with our helpful articles. Discover tips, tricks, and step-by-step instructions to make them look brand new.

(Many of the links in this article redirect to a specific reviewed product. Your purchase of these products through affiliate links helps to generate commission for Storables.com, at no extra cost. Learn more)

Table of Contents


Hand tools are invaluable assets for any DIY enthusiast or professional tradesperson. Over time, however, these tools can start to show signs of wear and tear, making them look old and worn out. If you have a collection of old Dewalt hand tools that have seen better days, don’t despair! With a little effort and some simple restoration techniques, you can make your old Dewalt hand tools look new again.

In this article, we will guide you through a step-by-step process to bring your old Dewalt hand tools back to life. From cleaning and removing rust to restoring handles and polishing metal surfaces, we will cover all the necessary techniques to transform your tools into gleaming specimens.

Before we dive into the restoration process, it’s important to note that safety should always be a top priority. Make sure to wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses, when working with tools and chemicals. Additionally, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on any products you use for cleaning, rust removal, or polishing.

Now that we have the groundwork laid, let’s get started on revitalizing your old Dewalt hand tools!

Step 1: Cleaning the Tools

The first step in restoring your old Dewalt hand tools is to give them a thorough cleaning. Over time, dirt, grease, and grime can accumulate on the surfaces, making them look dull and worn out. Here’s how you can effectively clean your tools:

  1. Start by removing any loose debris or dirt from the tool using a brush or a compressed air duster. This will help prevent scratching the surfaces during the cleaning process.
  2. Fill a bucket or sink with warm soapy water. You can use a mild dish soap or a specialized tool cleaner.
  3. Dip a sponge or soft cloth into the soapy water and gently scrub the tool. Pay close attention to areas with stubborn dirt or grease buildup.
  4. Rinse the tool thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.
  5. For tougher stains or stubborn grime, you can use a degreaser or a specialized cleaning solution. Apply the cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions and use a soft brush to scrub away the dirt.
  6. Once the tool is clean, pat it dry with a clean towel or use a hairdryer on a low setting to ensure all moisture is removed.

After cleaning your tools, you will notice a significant improvement in their appearance. However, if there are still signs of rust or the handles need attention, continue to the next steps to fully restore your old Dewalt hand tools.

Step 2: Removing Rust

Rust is a common problem that can plague old hand tools, causing them to look worn and affecting their functionality. Thankfully, there are several effective methods to remove rust and restore the metal surfaces of your old Dewalt hand tools. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Inspect the tool and identify areas where rust is present. Focus on those areas when removing the rust.
  2. If the rust is light or superficial, you can start by using a wire brush or steel wool to scrub away the rust. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands.
  3. If the rust is more stubborn, you can try using a rust remover or rust dissolver. Apply the product to the affected areas and let it sit for the recommended amount of time. Then, use a brush or steel wool to scrub away the loosened rust.
  4. For heavily rusted tools, you may need to use a power tool like a grinder or a rotary tool with a wire brush attachment. This will help remove the rust more efficiently. However, be cautious not to damage the tool’s surface or remove too much material.
  5. Once the rust is removed, thoroughly clean the tool again to remove any residue from the rust removal process.
  6. Dry the tool completely before moving on to the next step.

By removing the rust, you will not only improve the appearance of your old Dewalt hand tools but also prevent further rusting that can damage the tools over time. Now that the rust is gone, it’s time to focus on restoring the handles of your tools.

Step 3: Restoring Handles

The handles of your old Dewalt hand tools play a vital role in providing grip and comfort during use. If the handles are worn, damaged, or faded, restoring them can significantly enhance both the functionality and appearance of your tools. Follow these steps to restore the handles:

  1. Start by assessing the condition of the handles. If they are cracked or damaged beyond repair, consider replacing them with new ones.
  2. If the handles are still salvageable, begin by cleaning them thoroughly with warm soapy water and a sponge. Make sure to remove any dirt or grime that has accumulated over time.
  3. Next, sand the handles gently with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth any rough areas or imperfections. This step will help prepare the surface for refinishing.
  4. Choose a suitable handle finish based on your preference and the type of material used for the handles. Common options include applying linseed oil, varnish, or a specialized handle restorer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the chosen product.
  5. Apply the handle finish evenly to the entire surface of the handles, using a brush or a cloth. Ensure that you cover all exposed areas, including the ends of the handles.
  6. Allow the finish to dry completely according to the product instructions. This may take a few hours or overnight.
  7. Inspect the handles and give them a light sanding with fine-grit sandpaper if necessary. This will help smooth out any roughness or unevenness in the finish.
  8. Finally, apply a second coat of the handle finish for added protection and improved appearance. Allow it to dry completely before using the tools.

By taking the time to restore the handles of your old Dewalt hand tools, you will not only improve their aesthetics but also ensure a comfortable and safe grip during use. With the handles restored, it’s time to move on to polishing the metal surfaces of your tools.

Step 4: Polishing Metal Surfaces

Polishing the metal surfaces of your old Dewalt hand tools will give them a brilliant shine and a renewed luster. Follow these steps to bring back the sparkle to your tools:

  1. Start by cleaning the metal surfaces to remove any remaining dirt or debris. You can use a mild detergent or a specialized metal cleaner for this purpose.
  2. Next, use a fine-grit sandpaper or a metal polishing compound to gently remove any surface scratches or imperfections. Rub the sandpaper or compound in a circular motion until the metal surface appears smoother.
  3. After sanding, wipe away any residue or particles with a clean cloth or microfiber towel.
  4. Choose a suitable metal polish or a metal polishing paste. Apply a small amount of the polish to a soft cloth or a buffing wheel.
  5. Rub the metal surface in a circular motion with the cloth or buffing wheel, applying steady pressure. Continue polishing until the desired shine is achieved.
  6. For intricate or hard-to-reach areas, use a soft-bristled brush or a cotton swab to apply the metal polish and remove tarnish.
  7. Once you are satisfied with the shine, wipe off any excess polish with a clean cloth or microfiber towel.
  8. Inspect the metal surfaces for any missed spots or areas that need further polishing. Repeat the process if necessary.

After polishing, your old Dewalt hand tools will regain their former glory, with shiny and reflective metal surfaces. However, don’t forget to protect the tools from future corrosion and maintain their newly restored appearance.

Step 5: Lubricating and Protecting

After restoring and polishing the metal surfaces of your old Dewalt hand tools, it’s essential to provide them with proper lubrication and protection. This step will help prevent corrosion, extend the lifespan of your tools, and keep them in optimal working condition. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Start by selecting a suitable lubricant for your tools. You can choose from options such as general-purpose oil, silicone spray, or a specialized tool lubricant.
  2. Apply a small amount of lubricant to moving parts, such as hinges, joints, or adjustable mechanisms. This will ensure smooth operation and prevent them from seizing up.
  3. Using a clean cloth, apply a thin layer of lubricant to the metal surfaces to protect them from moisture and corrosion.
  4. Pay specific attention to areas that are prone to rust or are exposed to harsh environments.
  5. Allow the lubricant to penetrate the surfaces for a few minutes before wiping off any excess.
  6. For added protection, you can consider using a rust inhibitor or a rust-preventive coating on the metal surfaces.
  7. Store your newly restored Dewalt hand tools in a dry, climate-controlled area to prevent further damage or rusting.
  8. Regularly inspect and lubricate your tools to maintain their performance and appearance over time.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your restored Dewalt hand tools remain in top-notch condition and serve you well for years to come. Regular maintenance and care will help preserve their newly rejuvenated appearance and functionality.


Old Dewalt hand tools don’t have to be resigned to the back of your toolbox. With a little time, effort, and know-how, you can bring them back to life and make them look new again. Restoring and revitalizing your old tools not only improves their appearance but also enhances their functionality and extends their lifespan.

By following the step-by-step process outlined in this article, you can effectively clean, remove rust, restore handles, polish metal surfaces, and lubricate your old Dewalt hand tools. With each step, you will witness a transformation, as your tools regain their shine and become a point of pride in your workshop.

Remember to prioritize safety throughout the restoration process by wearing appropriate protective gear and following manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning products and tools. Take your time and be thorough in the restoration process to achieve the best results.

Once your old Dewalt hand tools are restored, be sure to maintain them properly. Regular cleaning, lubrication, and protective measures will help preserve their newly rejuvenated state and ensure their continued performance.

So don’t let those old, worn-out tools gather dust anymore. Take the time to restore them, and you’ll not only have functional tools but also a sense of accomplishment and pride in your handy work. With your newly restored Dewalt hand tools, you’ll be ready to take on any project with confidence and style.

Related Post