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I am into restoring antique woodworking tools, mostly for personal use in my shop.

Some questions about this topic are clearly within the scope of woodworking.se. For example,

  • how to use a planemaker's float to open up the mouth on a moulding plane

  • how to repair nicked up wooden screws on a wooden plough plane

But other questions are not as clear. For example,

  • questions about rust electrolysis

  • how to make authentic japanning

I can see a few places where the line could be drawn. When does the community consider such questions off-topic?

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Great question! Fixing or restoring woodworking tools is mostly on topic here, but if the fix requires tools or expertise not normally found in a woodworking shop, (say welding or your electrolysis example) then it probably doesn't belong here. I myself tend to be more inclusive than exclusive on questions when they actually are asked though.

how to make authentic japanning

here, it's more likely to be fine, since it is a technique for finishing a piece of woodwork, and finishing is definitely on topic.

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