Sometimes, I get on YouTube with a specific video or topic in mind. Other times, I leave things up to fate by clicking on tons of random videos and seeing all that YouTube has to offer me. The method isn’t always fruitful, but I recently struck gold when I stumbled upon a channel called my mechanics.
The channel is based out of Switzerland and consists of sans-narration videos showing its nameless host restoring old antique tools and machinery, and occasionally building new items from scratch. The host has been a professional mechanic since they were 18, but that’s about all we know about them as all we can see on screen is a pair of hands. In the description of each video, the host writes a few paragraphs about where they found the item, how much it cost, how much the restoration supplies cost, and all of the preparation they had to do before starting to film. They also include timestamps for each step, which is nice.
The videos all follow a pretty similar formula: The host shows us the item that will be restored in the video from a few angles. Then they tinker with it to determine how much work needs to be done and to identify any small parts that’ll need to be replaced. And from there, the restoration kicks off.
Depending on the particular video, we’ll see a combination of tools used, like lathes, files, sandblasters, and even chemical treatments to restore the item to its former glory. The videos are nicely edited, as well, so while we don’t see the full unedited version of each restoration, we still get to see a few moments from every step within the process. There are also plenty of nice close-up shots for smaller parts, which makes the videos even more immersive. Additionally, the host puts a small note on the screen for each thing that needs to be replaced or adjusted.
New videos are uploaded on a fairly regular basis, so you can expect about one per month though sometimes it’s more. So far, we’ve seen a pretty wide variety of awesome restorations. Some of my favorites include the Antique Swiss Blowtorch, the 1891 German “Weltrekord” Ratchet Screwdriver, the Rusty Old Coffee Grinder, the Forgotten Rusty Oil Lamp, the Ox-Tongue Iron, and the Barn Find Oil Lamp.
I don’t know the first thing about working in a shop or about any of these tools, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the heck out of these videos. Watching these tools and gadgets of yesteryear be restored to their former glory in a matter of 15-20 minutes is just a lovely experience. It’s also just downright neat to see the juxtaposition of vintage tools next to the modern ones being used to rejuvenate them. Plus, once everything’s done, we get to see these wonderful antique tools work just like new, and they are always just as effective (if not more so) than their modern-day counterparts. The channel is also an ASMR treasure trove if you’re into that kind of thing.
I’m not sure if this channel would have clicked with me so much had I found it in early 2019, before COVID hit. Part of me thinks I was just so bored from staying home all day every day that literally anything would have caught my attention and entertained me. But the real reason these videos are so cathartic to watch is because they show us that, even though something hasn’t been able to fulfill its potential for decades and has just sat there gathering layers of dirt and rust, it’s only a few passes through the sandblaster away from being a wonderful and useful gem once again.