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Thread: Great Grandfather's Gerstner Refinish

  1. #1

    Great Grandfather's Gerstner Refinish

    Good Morning Everyone,

    Wanted to introduce myself post some pics of the project I am working on and get any pointers/insight I can.

    My name is Matt and I received my Great Grandfather's Gerstner box along with my Grandfather's 30+ year old Craftsman metal box just over 3 years ago. Being that I don't know anything about my Great Grandfather I took most pride in refinishing my Grandfather's Craftsman. Started with cleaning stripping and spraying 30 cans of clear on it. Then wet sand up to 2,500K and buffed and waxed. I cleared right over the patina to seal it in how my Grandfather left it, rust dents and all, and I must say it has a better clear job than my car.

    Couple years and 2 moves later I found myself last weekend in the garage staring at the old dirty, smelly, wood tool box that I know nothing about and decided to start doing some research because I know it has some age to it. It looks to be complete but has been weathered and seen its better days. Box is from Michigan as far as I can verify until I hear back from my Grandmother, so it has seen lots of temp changes. It then made its way to Florida for almost 2 decades in a garage baking in the heat and humidity.

    So now I started tear down and removing all the parts I could at first. Having worked in a high-end furniture/cabinet shop for almost a decade I am no stranger to woodworking and finishing. Box has normal wear/tear on the edges and is missing a few chunks hear and there. The largest chunk missing is on the corner of the flip up bottom where the pin goes in and the inside edge of the box where the pin slides in the tack, must have taken a dropped heavy item to do that when it was opened.

    What info I have gathered from the box: Only major defect is the aftermarket latch that someone screwed to the lid/box.

    1. Box is quarter sawn oak and the veneer on the rear is lifting and will need to be glued back down and possibly wetted and heated to flatten the bubble.

    2. Box looked(and smelled) to have the original green felt but was missing the mirror in the till. The lid also has a strange wire that seems to be bent to possibly hold paperwork?

    3. All locks and latches have the Gerstner name on them and appear to have been nickel originally. Missing the bottom drawer label but the shadowing around it appears to have been an oval.

    4. There is no Gerstner label/logo/stamp anywhere on the inside or on any of the drawers.

    5. Pulls are rounded with round backplates, missing one.

    6. Hinges are the Fluer de Lis design which I was able to find was produced between 1926-1942 I believe.

    I currently have everything off of the box besides the handle/hinges/lid clasp(lock already removed). Felt has been removed from all drawers and inside the till just need to do the lid once hinges are removed. I want to remove the lift up bottom but am not sure how yet, there are 2 screws on either side of the box that I am sure if removed make pulling the bottom off possible. I have printed some of the other members tips and tricks and they are already helping big time, thanks to all who have put their info for others to benefit.

    Sorry for all the rambling but did not want to miss anything. Below are the pics I have taken and I am open to any info I can get or any thing someone noticed that I have missed, more pics available if requested and I will be posting more as the build goes on.

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    I have been emailing with Terry while I waited for this thread to be approved and was able to get a lot of info from him and some pointers on steps to take for getting this beauty back into shape. Terry was able to inform me that this box originally came with a lid chain, which I was unaware of, and after some felt removal I could see the holes where it was mounted to the box/lid. He was also able to give me a rough time frame this may have been produced(1924-1939) but any other info I can get from members is greatly appreciated. All the info and items list I have received for refinishing has been a godsend as I had no idea where to start with a box that is almost 100 years old.

    Looking forward to posting the refinishing updates as I go and adding to the community with whatever I can.

  7. #7
    “Who are you to judge the life I live?
    I know I'm not perfect
    -and I don't live to be-
    but before you start pointing fingers...
    make sure you hands are clean!”

    - Robert Nesta Marley -

  8. #8
    “Who are you to judge the life I live?
    I know I'm not perfect
    -and I don't live to be-
    but before you start pointing fingers...
    make sure you hands are clean!”

    - Robert Nesta Marley -

  9. #9
    So received a delivery from Terry yesterday for all the parts I need to complete my box, thanks Terry!!! only thing I am missing is a key for the lock now. Lock is stamped Gerstner no other names and the number on the side is 49Y5 if anyone knows where to find one. I checked here and IslandTrunk and no dice. Any one ever seen a key/lock numbered as such?
    “Who are you to judge the life I live?
    I know I'm not perfect
    -and I don't live to be-
    but before you start pointing fingers...
    make sure you hands are clean!”

    - Robert Nesta Marley -

  10. #10

    49Y5 keys

    I emailed Scott on May 21st and asked him about 49Y5 and 49Y6 keys. I never got a response, so I had my locksmith make keys. I'll see if I can find the 49Y5 lock and have keys made for you.

    Terry

    Found it! I had two keys made for this lock. I can send you one for you to try and then you can duplicate it and send it back to me.

    Let me know what you want to do.

    Transformed_IMG_3534.JPGTransformed_IMG_3535.JPG
    Last edited by user459; 07-12-2018 at 05:20 PM. Reason: Found it

  11. #11
    Is there anything Gerstner that you don't have Terry?? Got your email too and will be shooting you a reply on lunch in a few.

    Thanks again!


    Quote Originally Posted by user459 View Post
    I emailed Scott on May 21st and asked him about 49Y5 and 49Y6 keys. I never got a response, so I had my locksmith make keys. I'll see if I can find the 49Y5 lock and have keys made for you.

    Terry

    Found it! I had two keys made for this lock. I can send you one for you to try and then you can duplicate it and send it back to me.

    Let me know what you want to do.

    Transformed_IMG_3534.JPGTransformed_IMG_3535.JPG
    “Who are you to judge the life I live?
    I know I'm not perfect
    -and I don't live to be-
    but before you start pointing fingers...
    make sure you hands are clean!”

    - Robert Nesta Marley -

  12. #12
    Terry is awesome!!! He is a gentleman that freely shares his knowledge, skill, and so much more with everyone. His hardware sets are beautiful!!! I am now able to complete my second chest with his help and the parts he very kindly sent me. Going to do my best to try to pay it forward when possible.

  13. #13
    Couldn't agree more, paying it forward is all you can do when someone goes out of their way to help. I am pretty new but I have knowledge in lots of other fields and plan to contribute as much as I can however I can to the forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by 25b View Post
    Terry is awesome!!! He is a gentleman that freely shares his knowledge, skill, and so much more with everyone. His hardware sets are beautiful!!! I am now able to complete my second chest with his help and the parts he very kindly sent me. Going to do my best to try to pay it forward when possible.
    “Who are you to judge the life I live?
    I know I'm not perfect
    -and I don't live to be-
    but before you start pointing fingers...
    make sure you hands are clean!”

    - Robert Nesta Marley -

  14. #14
    So I spoke to my aunt today and she gave me a little more info about My Great Grandfather. Apparently she recently found his immigration papers on a trip to my Grandmother's and said that his profession listed was Inventor and that he was always working on a perpetual motion machine that he had some kind of patents for.

    I am now searching the interwebs for whatever info I can find on him as it would be amazing to find some old patents or paperwork showing things he made/designed. His name was Emil Henschel and lived in and around Detroit, Michigan. I will also plan a trip to Gma's and look through her papers.
    “Who are you to judge the life I live?
    I know I'm not perfect
    -and I don't live to be-
    but before you start pointing fingers...
    make sure you hands are clean!”

    - Robert Nesta Marley -

  15. #15
    Wow, I almost wonder if I didn't read that name in Hemmings Classic Car magazine some months ago... could be my imagination?

    Quote Originally Posted by GGGFLA17 View Post
    So I spoke to my aunt today and she gave me a little more info about My Great Grandfather. Apparently she recently found his immigration papers on a trip to my Grandmother's and said that his profession listed was Inventor and that he was always working on a perpetual motion machine that he had some kind of patents for.

    I am now searching the interwebs for whatever info I can find on him as it would be amazing to find some old patents or paperwork showing things he made/designed. His name was Emil Henschel and lived in and around Detroit, Michigan. I will also plan a trip to Gma's and look through her papers.

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