My much loved vintage 1943 - 1948 Style O42 came to me as a well-worked albeit carefully used chest which had probably been through two or more generations of tool makers/machinists who must have taken the customary professional pride in what they did.


My philosophy in ‘restoring’ beautiful pieces of industrial art such as this chest is to ‘conserve’ rather than restore, so as to retain the patina and ‘story’ and at the same time, give it the cleanliness, shine and attractiveness that it deserves. You can restore anything but you can never un-restore it.


Concerning the original hardware - All of it had the usual accumulation of grime. There was relatively minor surface corrosion but none of it serious enough to merit the prospect of using a (worryingly) aggressive chemical corrosion remover.


Below are the cleaning and polishing procedures which I’ve followed and I’m very happy that the result is successful and that the methods are non-destructive.


1. All off the grime was removed with the use of Liberon furniture cleaner.

2. The surface corrosion was removed with a copper wire wheel in a Dremel tool. Gentle but with just enough mojo to do the job well.

3. Each piece was then polished with AUTOSOL Metal polish using, variously, buffing wheels on the Dremel tool, a stiff detailing brush and cloth as necessary to uniformly polish all surfaces. That result was then further refined with silver polish.

4. Finally, each polished piece was coated with microcrystalline conservation wax. I used Renaissance Wax. This wax formula is said to have been developed by the British Museum for the conservation and preservation of metals and many other materials. I swear by it and use it all the time. It is a very effective barrier coating which will prevent tarnishing.