vintage tool

A Straightedge in the Rough (Moore & Wright No. 311B)

A Straightedge in the Rough (Moore & Wright No. 311B)

I moved in to a new place a little over a year ago. While the garage (which has since become my workshop) was cleaned out quite diligently by the previous owner, there were a few wooden rulers and a 2′ long steel heavy bar of steel still left hung up by the door. The steel bar was heavily rusted on the surface, so I never paid much attention to it, using it as a paperweight once or twice and hanging it right back up.

Moore & Wright Straightedge, vintage straightedge

Halfway through my clean up of the steel

A few weeks ago I was changing the blades on my jointer and needed a long and heavy straightedge, one that wouldn’t move too easily as I spun the cutterhead. The only thing that could meet that criteria was that old rusty piece of steel, so I tried putting it on the jointer bed and found it to be perfectly straight. This surpised me, so I decided to clean it up a bit.

Old Moore & Wright, Vintage straightedge

Moore & Wright No. 311B

After some careful sanding with some 220 grit sandpaper, followed by some 400 grit, I realised it was an old Moore & Wright no. 311B straightedge. Moore & Wright were tool manufacturers based in Sheffield, England, and were known for high quality tools back in the day. I say ‘were’ because like so many other manufacturers, in recent years they’ve shipped out their manufacturing abroad and have lost their reputation for quality.

Restored Vintage Moore & Wright Straightedge

The straightedge cleaned up very nicely

A little metal polish and some buffing later the straightedge looks fantastic and is a definite addition to my regularly used tools. I later found out the previous owner was a retired machinist, and the rusted old bar of steel he left me turned out to be a real diamond in the rough.

Posted by Prairie Artisan Woodshop in Just Tool Things, Restorations, 0 comments