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I've a dear older friend whose sole heirloom from his father is a 100'steel craftsman tape measure. Somehow this was left outside a number of months ago (used at a church work day). You can guess that it was badly deteriorated for that.

I offered to see about restoring it. (one of those surreal moments when you hear yourself saying something you can't believe that you are!)

I don't even know how to get it open...

Has anyone ever approached this sort of project before??

Thanks!

Chuck (the kind-hearted but hair-brained) Barnett
 

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The one that woodnthings linked to indicates that there is a replacement blade available, so there must be some way to take it apart. I don't know how much tension is on a tape measure, but know that I cut myself on my drill press return swing even though I was trying to be careful...
 

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I don't think that tape measure has a spring, it appears to be a hand wind. I've never taken one apart, if I've had one in that bad a shape I've just replaced it (or made the person responsible for damage replace it).

You could get a replacement tape for it, but if the guts are rusted badly, you may never get the old out or the new in.

I don't know if I'd even try restoring it beyond that..

You could try driving the center pin out, but that would probably release the whole winding mechanism and I have no idea if you could actually get it apart from there or if you could ever get it back together.
 

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I doubt you can do anything about the fabric covering. Maybe you could remove it, then cut some denim to the right size and glue it on?

Rust can be removed with evaporust, or wet/dry paper lubricated with WD-40, or an electrolysis bath, or any number of other ways.

What condition is the actual tape in?
 

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Since it has sentimental value, I would at least attempt to restore it before calling it a loss. I bet if you took a nail punch and pushed (or hammered gently) on the pin in the center, on the crank side of the tape, it will push the pin out.
Looking at the outer edge, take a close look at the dents and see if one side might be threaded, or how they might be attached. Older tools were generally put together in a common-sense manner that is not always obvious to us now. I always approach with the mindset of "It has to come apart somehow, they put it together somehow." It might be an E-clip or circlip that's holding the pin in as well. I didn't see one, but it's possible. A lot of times, I'll just start flexing it all over to see what moves, and what's attached to what. That usually points me in the right direction.

Hope that helps,
Acer
 

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That's a hand crank tape measure, I have 2 or 3.

If there are replacement tapes, they must come with instructions for getting the case open (on line?).
I think that the poor case is hooped. You might be able to paste the worn threading down. You might be able to polish off most of the rust if you're a Rembrandt with a Dremel.

With the case open, I'd hose the tape down with a real penetrating lubricant such as Fluid Film, not WD40. Let it soak for 24 hrs before attempting to unspool the tape.

The spray can of Fluid Film was less than $20. A pair of new, front door locks for my GMC Suburban
would have been $310.00 just for the parts. 30 minutes later, the old, seized/rusted ones worked like new.

I'd use Fluid Film before trying to get the case open, too.
 
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