Hey all!! Thanks so much for all the advice. This thing is making me feel like a dipshit, wondering if I should just move on for now. No. I'm determined. Cleaning up the oil after blowing the seals out doesn't seem like much fun, so I'll leave that as a last resort. I think I'm going to run to home depot and buy a few small dowels and see if I can round the end down enough to jam it in the top of the damper rod. Gave up at about 1am this morning. Gong to look at a job and then I'll attack it.
Andy gadget, I have been using the air wrench, a lot to no avail. Thanks all!!!
And when you guys are talking about taking a "stone" to the nicks, are you reffering to a wet stone? Can I use the one for my knives??