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Thread: Old New owner!

  1. #1

    Old New owner!

    Hey guys - I had a nice gift passed along to me. It's a not that old, if the family history is to be believed probably from the mid 90's - chest and base.

    It's had a hard few years, though, in front of a garage window giving it a lot of sunlight and the occasional watering. I'm still debating what / how direction to take restoring it.

    One question as I start - the foil gerstner label - is there a safe way to remove it? If not, is there a good way to protect it as I try and clean around it?


    thanks!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    We need pictures, lots of pictures!

    First, let me welcome you to the wonderful world of Machinist's tool boxes.

    I am not a "clean it up" kind of guy, but I know from restoring about 240 of these gems, that a label will not survive a rigorous refinishing' If they are in good shape I usually can get them off by carefully sliding a razor blade or a replacement blade from a box cutter under the label. If it is removed intact, it may be glued back in place once the refinishing is done. Otherwise, replacement labels are available through Gerstnerusa. https://gerstnerusa.com/replacement-...l-drawer-label

    Terry

  3. #3

    Thanks

    Hey Terry - thanks for the welcome. I have to say, your posts and work have really inspired me!

    I didn't take a lot of pictures before I started working on the chest, so my bad there. The covers are probably in the worse shape - it looks like they took the brunt of the damage, but at some point in time were exposed partially extended to wet and light The good news is that it's mostly cosmetic - the underlying wood is in decent shape. In the picture I attach, you can see the result of a couple of evenings with stripper and gentle paper on two of the worse drawers. I do have the other two drawers - just had them out of the chest.

    I've also attached a picture of the foil - like the owners label, it's attached with tiny brads as well as some sort of glue. I'm not confident I'll be able to remove it intact, but it's in good enough shape I'll put some effort into removing it.


    I've pretty much decided I'm going to do the best I can to restore to "like new" rather than try and preserve the patina, I'm going to try and manage my OCD - I plan on using the chest, so it's going to live a life again.

    I'll try and be more diligent in taking pictures as I progress!



    Quote Originally Posted by user459 View Post
    We need pictures, lots of pictures!

    First, let me welcome you to the wonderful world of Machinist's tool boxes.

    I am not a "clean it up" kind of guy, but I know from restoring about 240 of these gems, that a label will not survive a rigorous refinishing' If they are in good shape I usually can get them off by carefully sliding a razor blade or a replacement blade from a box cutter under the label. If it is removed intact, it may be glued back in place once the refinishing is done. Otherwise, replacement labels are available through Gerstnerusa. https://gerstnerusa.com/replacement-...l-drawer-label

    Terry
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    Posted up some pictures - looks like they are waiting to be approved?

  5. #5
    Weird - this seems to work fine.. Here she is - I do have the two missing drawers, they were on my bench when I took the picture. The two clean ones were the worst of the drawers before I started, this is after stripping and sanding.

    My understanding is that the top and back of the case are the only two surfaces that are veneer - is this correct?

    The other is the label I'd like to save - it's got two small brads in it, and I'm not really sure where to start on removing them, so open to suggestions.

    I'll take some better pictures to document progress. The covers are the most compromised with light and water damage, but it appears that the underlying wood is sound.

    My plan is to remove all the hardware that's screwed on and use evaporust on it and polish following that. If I get really good results I'll probably press out the split pins and do that hardware as well.

    The case is going back into service holding my tools as soon as it's finished, so I'm not shooting for showroom quality, but more of a preservation quality that will ensure it outlasts me.

    thanks,
    john
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Nice set of boxes!

    Your set is way newer than the ones I usually deal with, but I'll give your questions a shot.

    Yes the top of the box is oak veneer plywood as is the back. The front panel, though I don't see one in the pictures, has a flat panel insert made of oak veneer plywood.

    Regarding the rivets, you must dig out and straighten the legs of the rivets before attempting to "press" them out. Otherwise, the wood veneer will be damaged when they are pulled through.

    to remove: see article on this web page: scroll down and open document entitled Removing Split rivets from hinges:

    https://gerstnertoolchest.shutterfly...orationdetails


    to install:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sk7S5ss5TJQ

  7. #7
    Thanks Terry, advice is much appreciated! It's a real shame, the box has suffered some abuse in it's short life. I hope to treat it better for the rest of mine!

    The front panel was badly water damaged, but has cleaned up nicely. I'll post up some after pictures later.

    Noted on the rivets - I watched both of the videos, and will be having an go at the hinges later today.

    One other - on the top of the box, I have about an 8 inch scratch on the veneer. It's deep enough to catch a fingernail easily, and just deep enough that I worry about trying to sand it out. Have you ever tried any filler on veneer scratches? I have, but only on smooth polished finishes, nothing like this. I'm not opposed to leaving it alone, it's purely cosmetic, but since I'm stripping and staining anyway, thought I'd ask...

    thanks -
    john

    ps - I can see where this could get addicting. I've set a trap on my local craigslist for looking for more.... :P

  8. #8
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    Stop!

    If there is any way to avoid removing the hinges, don't remove them. They are a PITA to re-install. I usually clean them up in place with a Dremel, a dental pick, and Simichrome polish.

    https://gerstnertoolchest.shutterfly.com/union/4115

    As for filler; it just makes it more noticeable. Be very careful when sanding veneer; it is literally paper thin. It's easy to burn right through it. Better a patina scratch than blown out veneer. Don't ask me how I know....

  9. #9
    Too late with the hinges! :-) Understood with the veneer - hence my question. I'll take your advice and live with the scratch. One more while I have you - are you using Murphy's after stripping but before bleaching? I've never used it on bare wood before.

  10. #10
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    I don't use Murphy's at all. I go over the stripped piece with steel wool and After Wash, then lightly sand it to remove any barrier to the bleach. Then I apply oxalic acid (Wood Bleach). Once that has dried and has been wiped down with hot water and baking soda, I final sand it.

    Here's how it is presented on my web site:



    Stripping old finishes

    I wrote this in an email in response to a question from a Gerstner Forum member. I thought I would pass it on here to augment the procedure outlined in the section preceding this one:

    I am a bit unorthodox in my stripping routine. First, I put on vinyl gloves (I am allergic to latex). I coat the pieces heavily with Klean Strip Premium Stripper and let the first coat stand for about ten minutes, or until I can see the old finish start to bubble up. Then I vigorously scrape it off with a putty knife and wipe the weasel snot onto blue paper shop towels. I wipe the pieces down again with the shop towel to get off any residue left. Then I recoat it with the stripper. When that has set just a short five minutes or so, I go over it with “0” or “00” steel wool by hand and again wipe the residue off while it’s still wet with the paper towels. I wipe them down with a lighter steel wool again that has been dampened with After Wash and wipe it clean.

    The residue from the stripper and the After Wash leaves a water impermeable surface, so, after it is dry, I sand it all with an oscillating sander and fine grit sanding pads.

    I mix and apply SavoGran Wood Bleach (Oxalic acid) with a chip brush to lift any stains and schmutz that is left. When it dries to the point where it leaves crystals on the surface, I wipe it down with a microfiber cloth soaked in a hot water and baking soda . Of course, that raises the grain and it needs another sanding, either by machine or hand. I like to use sponge sanding blocks so I can get into the beading with the sharp corners.

    A final smoothing with fine steel wool and wipe down with a tack cloth and it’s ready for stain.

    This is just what works for me and I have developed as my own routine. Everyone has their own way of doing it. I hope you develop yours.

    Notice that there is no mention of Murphy's Oil Soap in that commentary.

  11. #11
    Thanks Terry - I'm not sure where I read about using Murphy's - i did a lot of reading here on the forum, and it's most likely I combined two different ones as I was making my notes.

    I managed to get everything prepped and bleached today. I'll wipe everything down in the AM to neutralize the bleach and hopefully have some quality time over the weekend with a final sanding.

    I'm pretty pleased with the results of the bleach - it really did a number on some of the stubborn stains.


    thanks
    john

  12. #12
    On the Murphy’s, for what it’s worth, I tried that on my 1950s model 52, but, frankly, was not impressed with the results. I think if you plan to refinish, strip and sand, there isn’t much point to Murphy’s.

    (I am in the lackadaisical midst of my refinish, but have also removed all hardware, to include the hinges. Seeing the maestro’s “Stop!” comment above, it is now with some trepidation that I look forward to reattaching them!)

  13. #13
    Thanks Onomea - I'm still not sure where I got the idea to use Murphy's - I'm sure I'll find some other use for it!

    I've got mine stripped, sanded, bleached, and neutralized. I'm going to start the evoporust on the hardware tonight, and hopefully by late tomorrow I'll have the polished and ready to evaluate before placing my order for felt & rivets from Gerstner and any other bits and pieces I decide I want replaced. I'm pretty happy with how things have progressed so far - and yeah, I'm not looking forward to putting the hinges back in after the warning!

    john

  14. #14
    Final sanding is done, dust blown off, but needs a pass with the tack cloth before staining. Hardware's evaporusting, and looks pretty good, except for the side handles. I'll give 'em a couple more hours before doing some hand work and hitting the polishing wheel.

    I've not started on the base. I've decided to wait and see how happy I am with the chest and if I need / want to make any adaptations to my methodology.

    Terry - I'll start doing the layout for my felt tonight - do you think a single roll with cover me for the chest and base?

    image0(1).jpg

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