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Thread: My Grandfathers - I'm in need of some advice

  1. #1

    My Grandfathers - I'm in need of some advice

    Gerstner fans,

    I have inherited my grandfathers chest. And i would like help identifying it and then advice on how to bring it back to glory.

    (Is it a 42?)

    I have added some pictures but I was confused about a few of these features.

    It is wrapped and I'm not sure if its original. Its pulling in places. - Should i glue it back on or re-wrap?
    The felt is completely gone and someone added some ugly shelf paper. - Rip and replace?
    All drawer bottoms are metal and metal sides on the center deep drawer. - Possibly why there is no felt.
    Not sure if the lid chain on the left is original. - Remove?
    The mirror looks like it was re-positioned incorrectly. - Across or at a 45?
    Now - The leather handle has blown apart and appears to have been attempted to mount through the top of the lid. (holes next to the mirror). - I'm not sure how a handle on top could hold a chest full of metal tools but I would love some advice as its the only major wear and tear.

    Thanks for any help!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by motnu View Post
    Gerstner fans,

    I have inherited my grandfathers chest. And i would like help identifying it and then advice on how to bring it back to glory.

    (Is it a 42?) Yes, I'm pretty sure it is.

    I have added some pictures but I was confused about a few of these features.

    It is wrapped and I'm not sure if its original. Its pulling in places. - Should i glue it back on or re-wrap?

    Leatherette is original. Re-glue it where necessary. I usually used contact cement. Re-wrapping is a nightmare!
    The felt is completely gone and someone added some ugly shelf paper. - Rip and replace?

    Rip it out, clean up the metal drawer bottoms, and replace with original green felt from Gerstner. Fabric store felt DOES NOT work.

    All drawer bottoms are metal and metal sides on the center deep drawer. - Possibly why there is no felt.

    No felt in handbook drawer.

    Not sure if the lid chain on the left is original. - Remove? Chain is original. Save it!

    The mirror looks like it was re-positioned incorrectly. - Across or at a 45? 45 degrees, a diamond.

    Now - The leather handle has blown apart and appears to have been attempted to mount through the top of the lid. (holes next to the mirror). - I'm not sure how a handle on top could hold a chest full of metal tools but I would love some advice as its the only major wear and tear.
    The leather handle can be re-covered. It was held on by split rivets through the handle ferrules. Remember, this was not a chest carried every day like a briefcase, but was only moved from shop to shop as the machinist moved to a new job.

    All these questions, and more, are covered on my web site, www.gerstnertoolchest.shutterfly.com. Plus, there are links to other sites and detailed write-ups that may help. Please don't hesitate to ask questions.


    Thanks for any help!
    ​Welcome to Gerstner World!

  3. #3
    The more I look at the pictures, the more I am convinced that this chest was recovered in leatherette or another material at some time in its past. The seams on the front rail are not in the normal place, and there is no debossing on the front of the front panel. It all seems too smooth to me. We really need a lot more pictures of all sides and surfaces of the box.

  4. #4
    Other observations:

    It looks like the hardware has been painted with gold paint.

    The lock was re-installed at some point with screws instead of split rivets.

    Looks like contact paper was placed in the indent on the back of the front panel.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2014
    Location
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    I agree with Terry. Also, the mirror is not the correct one and the 2 front latches look too close together. It appears that somebody has already done a bunch of work on it.....Ted

  6. #6
    motnu,

    I hope we didn't scare you off with our frank assessment of your heirloom chest. It has a lot of potential for a quality restoration.

  7. #7
    Nope, didn't get scared off - I had to fly to Europe ... I 20171006_122241[1].jpgtook a shot of it on an angle and was doing some more reading, thanks for all the feedback..
    None of the locks look painted, i think it was the flash.
    The latches do look closer together than other so i dropped a tape on the top if someone could let me know the right distance from an edge or middle. That might tell me if they were moved and then this was re-covered as there are no visible signs of the latches being moved from the inside.
    Current plan.
    Fix the two spots on the leatherette.
    Buy split rivets for the front lock and handle
    Recover the handle.
    buy and add the felt.
    Reinstall the mirror.

    Any other sage advice ?

  8. #8
    The more I read (thanks for the links) I think i have a bit of a wonky situation.
    I added the handle picture as it appear brown.
    It also looks like from the lock that it was covered with a paint or was plated somehow.
    So is it possible my hardware was just metal? Not gold or nickel? (like user459's post http://gerstnertoolchest.shutterfly.com/761)
    So now to get this back to original I would need to find and cover in brown ... Fix the handle and replace all the hardware?
    I think it might be too much for those aesthetics. The re-wrap looks like a 1:100 I'll get that right.
    Good news is the drawers and lid work just fine. 20171006_151523[1].jpg 20171006_141404[1].jpg

  9. #9
    Have Terry recover the handle in leather. There isn't a person in the world that does it better.

  10. #10
    According to an O42 I used for reference, the top outside screw on each catch base is 3 1/4" from the outside of the side panel. The leatherette should stop at the joint between the side panel and the front rail.

    It still looks like your hardware has been coated with something. It was originally nickel plated steel. Much of the nickel could be worn off by now. The screws are evidence that it has been removed before and re-installed improperly. I have plenty of the split rivets to help you out with that. The hardware is not beyond redemption. It can be cleaned up and buffed and polished. Replacing the hardware can cost upwards of $300.00!

    I cover the handles in new leather, stained brown to match the originals. https://gerstnertoolchest.shutterfly.com/handles

    Original front panels from Gerstner were debossed with lines and patterns that are absent in yours, further evidence that it was re-covered at some point in its past.

    IMG_1655.jpgIMG_1656.jpgIMG_1657.jpg

  11. #11
    Thanks Terry for all you help on this.
    First, I'm thankful that i can use my Grandfathers chest.

    If I pull the leatherette off.... any chance it will look good (after sanding) or was the case made for function? I haven't seen a naked 42.

  12. #12
    Don't do it! The wood beneath the leatherette is a low grade hardwood, selected for its machinability and durability, not for its looks. It is usually poplar or a comparable wood that will NEVER look as good as the drawer fronts. Now will it come close to matching them. Keep the leatherette on the leatherette boxes. Most can be reasonably restored and refreshed, without replacement. Replacing leatherette is a big job; not for the squeamish or uninitiated. If you are insistent upon replacing it, my only suggestion is to send it back to Gerstner and let Paul do it.

    Otherwise, look on my site for a document on refreshing leatherette: https://gerstnertoolchest.shutterfly.com/

    A naked 42 is not the same as an O42 (O as in Oak). There are pictures of an O42 on the heading of the site. Note the beautiful grain, enhanced by quarter sawing the oak. There would be NONE of that lurking beneath your leatherette.

    IMG_1623.jpgIMG_1624.jpgIMG_1625.jpgIMG_1626.jpgIMG_1627.jpg

    Pardon my strong opinion, but I have seen too many boxes ruined (in my opinion) by attempts to finish the wood beneath the leatherette.

  13. #13
    Thanks Terry,

    I don't consider your "strong opinion" an opinion. I call it experience.

  14. #14
    I tried it once. Came out as a piece of crap. I ended up painting the box black and giving it away.

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