Sunday, July 15, 2012

Machinist's Chest Restoration

I've moved to a new web site:

Academy of Lagado at

Blogger is nice, but I have found it too limiting for what I would like to do, so I have moved to Google Sites instead. All of the information found on this blog has been copied to the above web site, together with new information.

Machinist's Chest Restoration

An old machinist chest is repaired and restored.

This is an old machinist chest that belonged to my late father in law. It's not a particularly valuable item (not like a Gerstner or such), but it does have sentimental value.

[Click on the pictures to see larger views.]

When I got it, the fake leather covering was peeling off, the brass fittings were tarnished black, and the box was held together with a random collection of nails and threaded rods. The mirror frame inside the lid was broken, the mirror was badly tarnished, and the key to the lock was missing.

I removed all the brass fittings, stripped off the fake leather covering, washed the wood with TSP to remove old hide glue (and some mold), and dismantled the box and re-glued it.

The brass fittings were cleaned with metal polish and steel wool, and re-installed with new brass screws (the old screws were brass plated, and had rusted. Some of the original screws were missing or had been replaced with random mis-matched screws).

The front panel was re-framed with red oak, and the entire box was stained with cherry urethane (four coats). Although I gave the box a light sanding, I left many of the original dents, nicks, and gouges as testimony to it's history.
The mirror frame was repaired, new mirror glass was installed, and the box and drawers were lined with felt.

The original drawer knobs were pretty cheap, and were missing some parts, so I replaced them all with new hand made (lathe turned) solid brass knobs.

I also made a new key for the front panel lock.

Above, you can see before and after pictures of the restored box. Note that in the before pictures, some of the brass fitting and all of the old drawer knobs had already been removed.

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Machinist's Chest Restoration by kaje is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.