While cleaning out the basement, I found a toolbox that I haven't opened in probably 30 years, and it contained some items that I know were originally my father's, so these things could be 75-100 years old.

Tool #1

This guy is about 2.5" long, we wondered if it was like a nail set but the head shows no hammer marks:

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Tool #2

This one is about 4" long, the best part is how the crossbar is held on with what I suspect is a decades-old band-aid:

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Tool #3

But then this is our favorite, it's also about 4" long. The "top" bit looks like it would be a lid, but the inside isn't threaded at all:

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Any ideas what these items are?

  • 3
    They aren't necessarily tools, but proprietary components of a machine.
    – isherwood
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 15:02
  • Can you add an image of the other end of the 1st item? The last one looks like a pipe reamer for deburring a cut plumbing pipe. @isherwood has a valid point. It's possible, though, that they are tools themselves, and you might get some traction at Woodworking if you don't get good answers here.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 15:03
  • 1
    Looks like we were all typing at the same time so you can be fairly assured that’s what the bottom two are (valve seat cutters).
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 15:17
  • 3
    That first one could be a copper pipe flaring tool to join pipe lengths, may not be to code now in some places... Measure the diameter from smallest to the larger parallel part and notice the end flare.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 16:24
  • 1
    ferguson.com/product/… Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 17:03

5 Answers 5


The second two are to reach down into a valve/faucet and refinish or smooth a bronze seat. A hard rubber washer will seal against the bronze seat. If the seat becomes corroded or worn the rubber can not seal. They are turned by hand to clean the bronze seat. Often a new washer by itself can repair a valve . But sometimes the bronze seat needs to be smoothed. Newer faucet designs use a cartridge instead of the rubber washer / bronze seat design.


The top picture is a swaging tool that is used to expand the end of soft copper tubing so you can solder the next piece to it with out the use of a CXC coupling. I at one time, had a whole set of these swaging tools.


Not sure on the top one but I have some similar tools but newer that are comparable to the lower ones. If they are the same they are called “seat” reamers. These are used to fix damaged seats in faucets the bottom one is exactly like one of mine the cone section keeps the tool square and a turn or two a damaged seat is cut flat and will seal again. I don’t have anything for size reference but that looks like what they are the centering disk on the threaded one is for a specific size. I would guess at some point your father did some plumbing repair work.

If we could get a side view and the other end view of the first piece and something to provide scale we may get a better idea on that.


The top tool is likely a flare tool. Or possibly the pin from a flaring tool. Used with soft copper plumping or gas pipe to flare out the end of the pipe to capture one end of a screw together fitting.


A picture of the first one showing the side that is down might help.

The second and third look like they might be "valve seat cutters" for refacing the metal sealing surface inside a plumbing valve that the sealing washer presses against. The second one would be for one particular size, while the third has that tapered cone to help center it in various size holes. For both, the handle would then be turned so that teeth on the face would cut the surface.

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