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Old 11-03-2009, 12:53 PM   #1
Ryan
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Default Tool Box Restoration



One of our members sent me an email the other day and included a link to a Flickr account that featured some amazingly restored old tool boxes. I've been staring at them for ...
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Old 11-03-2009, 03:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

Wow...a toolbox with a built in Enigma Machine!
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

That is too cool.
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

There are some nice boxes on there.
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Old 11-04-2009, 12:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

I'm probably in the minority here, but....

I think nearly all of the boxes looked better before he worked on them. Apart from structural issues that make the boxes unusable, the other things that he mocks and laughs about are the very things that make an old tool box neat and give it life....things like screws used for repairs, chipped edges, scratches, etc, etc. These are things that you look at and know that a living person used the box and touched it, and so on.

You take all that away and make it perfect, and it becomes sterile.

I have an old science lab table in my garage that serves as a workbench. The bubble gum stuck underneath, the pencil gouges from restless students and the graffiti from 1940, are the things that people always comment about. If I were to strip it down, refinish it and put an new epoxy top on it, it would look new again, but man....what a tragedy that would be.
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

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Originally Posted by rustyfords View Post
I have an old science lab table in my garage that serves as a workbench. If I were to strip it down, refinish it and put an new epoxy top on it, it would look new again, but man....what a tragedy that would be.
My wife's father (he passed before I could get to know him as a father-in-law) was, among many other things, a high school biology teacher. When they replaced the old tables, he snagged one from the trash pile and put it in the garage. When my wife realized I had cleaned out the garage over to there, and was able to reach it again, she asked, worried, if I was planning to get rid of it. Absolutely not! I couldn't buy a better workbench for less than $500, and I couldn't build a good looking one to replace it with my current skills, let alone the sentimental value.
It's interesting - my wife always thought it was covered with an epoxy, or even the resin in dissection trays (!). It appears to just be black paint. And yes, the sides/legs have decades of students' marks on them. Just adds to it, IMHO. The most I'd do is sand down the top, but there's no real "character" on that part; nobody really carved into the top in his classes.
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Old 11-04-2009, 04:15 PM   #7
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Thumbs up Re: Tool Box Restoration "Patina"

Seems that every time one of my boxes lands on the web there's always comments on how I've committed the ultimate sin -- the cries of "I've got a rope!" from somewhere in the mob echo in the background -- of altering the "patina" (I'm beginning not to like that word anymore) of some box. To which my response is usually something along the lines of, "Take a look at it's condition, there was no love here, this thing was only one short kick away from a dumpster."

I've previously likened my hobby to the world of "barn find' cars. Some you can restore to usability just by breathing on it a bit, some you can restore to a Concours level with some work, and some you've just, because by God they're begging for it, have to turn into a hot rod.

I'd like to think that I work at all three of those levels. Although I have to admit I prefer hot rodding.
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Old 11-04-2009, 04:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by rustyfords View Post
I'm probably in the minority here, but....

I think nearly all of the boxes looked better before he worked on them.
Ehh, not me. Unless it has sentimental value to me or someone close to me, abused is just abused, and I take delight in seeing them returned to their former beauty. Or hot rodded, if appropriate
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Old 11-04-2009, 05:14 PM   #9
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

I love the finished product, personally. That's a lot of time and skill to make them look so good.
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Old 11-04-2009, 07:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration "Patina"

Quote:
Originally Posted by txinkman View Post
I've previously likened my hobby to the world of "barn find' cars. Some you can restore to usability just by breathing on it a bit, some you can restore to a Concours level with some work, and some you've just, because by God they're begging for it, have to turn into a hot rod.

I think they're beautiful! Good job. A question: there are a couple of the boxes with covered with a black 'camera case' style fabric or vinyl - where did you find that stuff? I have a couple projects around here that could use some of that.
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:12 AM   #11
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

In both cases my boxes came already covered in the letherette still in fairly decent shape and I just reglued, redyed and spiffed them up with black shoe polish. Gerstner still sells black leatherette. Not cheap at $50.00 for a 48" x 2 and a half yard roll, plus $15 for shipping. http://www.gerstnerusa.com/hardware.htm gets you right to their replacement hardware page.

Good luck!
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:58 AM   #12
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

I hate new stuff.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

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I hate new stuff.
And somehow this is relevent? Where's the cutoff? Indoor plumbing? Electric lighting? Or that Internet thing you seem to be hooked up to.

Last edited by txinkman; 11-09-2009 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:37 PM   #14
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration "Patina"

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Originally Posted by txinkman View Post
Seems that every time one of my boxes lands on the web there's always comments on how I've committed the ultimate sin -- the cries of "I've got a rope!" from somewhere in the mob echo in the background
A little dramatic, wouldn't you say?

Why would anyone be surprised that public opinion regarding the results of their work is divided? Is any human endeavor unanimously praised?
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

You can get leatherette here...

http://www.cameraleather.com/

I have never purchased bulk material, just pre-cut pcs. for old cameras. The service was good and the products were cut perfectly.

Nice salvage jobs on those old boxes!
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:02 PM   #16
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

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Originally Posted by 7echo View Post
You can get leatherette here...

http://www.cameraleather.com/
Neat site! I'm bookmarking that one for future reference.
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Old 11-19-2009, 06:21 PM   #17
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

Really nice work, really liked them all,gear box had me stumped for a bit.
Kept thinking they "did" something..

Liked your watches too, i've been collecting some as well , nothing real expensive, I found I just liked the deco style from 20s, 30s. They are very small compared to todays watches as you noted.
I think they must have made longer bands back then, even with my small wrists I'm always in the last few holes.You find that?

Anyway thanks for all those pics, I look forward to more of your work.
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Old 04-29-2010, 02:42 PM   #18
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Default Re: Tool Box Restoration

Wow!

I like it.

When it comes to imagination the guy has no boundaries.

I can imagin a Harley Davidson box with orange and black felt, scull and crossbones, lightening bolts and some really cool harley emblems.

Or how about a Nascar box with black and white checkers and lots of chrome trimmings.

He`s turned it into a art form...MC
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