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Thread: Gifted old wood machinist tool chest

  1. #1

    Gifted old wood machinist tool chest

    Hi, new to the forum, very active over at Sawmill Creek. My friend and neighbor gifted me her grandfather's wood tool chest and everything in it. Could predate 1900. Very old and very used. Smells like an old tractor. Feels almost greasy, front drawer cover is missing. Can't find any Gerstner markings, but it sure looks like the real thing, down to the diamond mirror and split security rivets. Others, having seen the pics agree. Before I thought about a true restoration I started scraping the lid to see what the wood looked like. QSWO (quarter sawn white oak). Ok I am committed to a surface refinish now. Protected edges are worn round. So I took all the hardware off the lid, finished scraping and sanding it. Then went over it with naphtha to remove some of the gunky residue. Just that popped the grain nicely. Ok, I am hooked.

    Then I found this Gerstner site and all the restoration parts, and this forum. Not about to spend hundreds on it replacing all of the hardware, but felt and a new handle might be in order. Well, then stain and oil finish. Maybe a tag or two...is there an end to it? Just like my Jeep, Just Empty Every Pocket.

    IMG_2541.jpgIMG_2542.jpgIMG_2545.jpg

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Welcome to the obsession, Ole. Let us know how we can help.

  3. #3
    First, is this really a Gerstner? Seven drawers, no stamps on the parts, wood frame around the mirror, round lock. Dimensions are 12 3/4 tall x 8 1/2" deep x 16 1/2" wide. What else to look for? Friend's grandfather who had this chest (followed by her father in the same trade) born about 1884, worked for Cadillac as a tool and die maker. 1910-1925 maybe?

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Ole,

    It is not like any Gerstner I have ever seen. What leads you to say it is? Gerstner did not use those corner braces, nor did they use that style of catch hardware. The beading on Gerstner drawer fronts is on the bottom of the drawers, not the top edge. Gerstner used a captive front panel system, not removeable, which yours seems to have had. Also, Gerstner used single lock joinery on their drawers, where yours has distinctive double-lock joinery attaching the drawer fronts to the drawer sides.

    If you study the resources on hand, namely,

    https://sites.google.com/site/thegui...chest-features

    you may come to the conclusion, as I have, that your chest is a Pilliod Model 50.

    50 chart.jpgdouble-lock.jpg

    Not every refrigerator is a Frigidaire; not every tissue is a Kleenex: not every 4 wheel drive vehicle is a Jeep; not every Machinist's tool chest is a Gerstner.

    Your chest is NOT a Gerstner.

  5. #5
    A couple of folks over on Sawmill Creek forum suggested that it was a Gerstner based on the pictures. I am afraid you are correct that it is indeed not a Gerstner. Oh well. I will still complete my restoration and keep it to hold my measuring tools.

    A Pilliod Model 50 it does look to be. So be it...Thank you so much for your assistance.

    And based on the double lock drawer front joint, it appears to date 1920-1924.

    Should this thread be moved to the appropriate forum?

    double lock joint.jpg

  6. #6
    A wooden vintage tool chest being restored and you sharing is definitely appropriate here.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Den052 is right. We welcome any toolbox talk on this forum. There is even space reserved for comment on other brands of boxes, thanks to the folks at Gerstner. I have a wel-rounded collection of Gerstners, pilliods, Unions, and even a Hammacher-Schlemmer and others, Here we share our restoration stories and get valuable advice.

    You fit right in, Ole.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Great looking box. Can't wait to see what you make of it.
    JohnCote
    Hoosier Pocket Watch Collector
    Collector/Lover/User of Gerstner Cabs to Store Watches and Parts

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