I really love restoring old furniture, tools, and other interesting looking things as a hobby. For wooden furniture, there's the wonderful Woodworking site. But for other stuff, is it on topic here (especially questions regarding technique or very specific problems)?

For example, I've got a question about finishing some mild steel, in the context of tool restoration. Is it something I could ask about here?

I'm always a little confused about this because the site names are a bit ambiguous. Restoration, for example, is something I'd call "DIY" in conversation, but the DIY site is actually about Home Improvement rather than the sort of "DIY culture" that's emerged in the past few years (you know what I'm talking about; like, the build-your-own-CNC-machine style vibe). Said "DIY culture" topics are the ones that leave me wondering where they belong (fwiw though I want Arts & Crafts to be a home for that).

Otoh "Arts & Crafts" as a site name, to me, says "art supply store" or "hobby store" rather than "home shop" or, say, "hobby metal working", even though I would casually call all of that both an art and a craft.

When I was growing up (sparse Pennsylvania suburbs in the 80s), local craft fairs were things like, hand-painted wooden figure, hand-made wicker furniture, candles, soaps, clothing, that kind of thing. But these days, local craft fairs are like, kinetic sculptures, homemade drones, 3D printed puzzles, heck, 3D printed 3D printers, lol.

My childhood experience, though, is where the association and subsequent uncertainty comes from when I think about asking a question here.

Point being I always have an internal struggle about what I can and can't ask on this site when it starts getting in to, basically, power tool territory.


  • "Not referring to art restoration" because crafts.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/65/… came up as I was typing this. Plus, it's (sometimes) a different topic (although tech art restoration; e.g. LED sculptures and things, I guess sort of overlaps with the context of this question... I dunno, it's all so fuzzy. 🤷‍♂️)
    – Jason C
    May 7, 2021 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


We have a tag, with the following description:

For questions concerning methods to restore damaged or time-worn works and materials.

If you leaf through the questions using that tag, you'll see the range of objects involved is quite broad, and it extends from statues, shirts, and paintings through books, baseball bats, and pick-guards all the way to makeup. So asking for advice on restoring objects involving artisanal techniques - especially tools and handmade items - is completely fine here.

As a side note, I do think we need to limit the range of somehow at some point. I think, for example, that the question asking how to restore makeup is a little offbeat here, and might better fit sustainability SE. But that's a matter for another thread.

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