View Full Version : Restore a Gerstner?
01-17-2010, 11:19 AM
I have aquired a Gerstner tool chest. But it needs some work. I don't know the model # but it is probably 60-80 years old.
The outside it covered with the nasty naugahide (sp), and I would like to either replace that or tear it off and oil the outside.
Has anyone here done this?
01-17-2010, 11:20 AM
That covering may be original. Is it a "Gerstner" or a 'similar type"?
01-17-2010, 11:41 AM
If it is the original Gerstner, or anybody else's, original leatherette covering, the wood under it is not of the quality the wood only boxes were. Also, it was glued on with horse glue that will take a water soak to remove it, possibly further damaging the box by weakening the glued joints.
If it is in reasonably good shape, it is best to leave it alone. It can be cleaned wit mild soap and the exposed wood refinished if desired.
01-17-2010, 11:43 AM
Gerstner will help you figure out how old it is and has replacement parts on their website.
Some old Gerstners are worth quite a bit for collectors, always kinda boggled me, I've acquired a couple over the years and I think they are highly overrated.
01-17-2010, 01:10 PM
Here is another source for info and parts,
01-17-2010, 01:39 PM
I have a somewhat tattered leatherette Gerstner dental
toolbox, and I was thinking about laminating it with Formica.
I am still deciding if it would look good or look funny.
01-26-2010, 09:18 PM
Ya ,It`s been done before check this out you may have to regester to see the pic`s http://www.chaski.org/homemachinist/viewtopic.php?t=82166&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
Most of the early gerstner`s were leatherette . Union had the patent somewhere around Dec. 1915 for the wooden rounded top edges. The real early Gerstners had a chain (lid stay), the hinges were a maple leaf or gothic looken shape, later on they used the art deco 90 degree stop hinge (no chain) the front panel was also hinged Gerstner (claims to have had this patent) it slid out on a track and wasen`t easly removed.
The Eagle lock and chest companiy came before both of these guys some where in the 1800`s Eagle was once known as the largest chest and immagrant trunk maker in the world their`s were all leatherette type even inside the top till .Union came along and put the felt in the top.so I was told...MC
01-27-2010, 11:54 PM
I have a Union box with the leatherette covering. The front was a disaster. Fortunately the rest of the box is in good shape, as 15 years later I am still trying to get it off the door without further damage. Once I got all of the rippped and loose pieces off, it became, at that time, too much work to continue. Life seems to keep me from finishing the job, but it is still on my to do list. I get a little more off every few years. I am thinking of a plain oil finish when i get it peeled.The wood appears to be either Maple or ash by the grain. If I had to do it again, I would just clean it and try to re-glue the loose bits.
01-28-2010, 08:41 PM
Yes , It can be a job
I`v recovered a few myself.
What I did was boiled about a 1/2" of water in a large aluminum tray ,the kind that one would cook a turkey in. I used a propane fish fryer, outside.Then I would put the case in one side at a time. It would take about five minutes to softed the hide glue . Then with a putty knife peel up the oil cloth . I used a coarse steel wool to remove any excess glue.The glue tends to seal the wood ,of coarse if the wood is soaked for to long of a time the veneers can begin to seperate. it`s kind of a timing thing . I can rember floating the front panel on top of th water.
I was able to remove the cloth with out tearing it up to use as a pattern when recovering , however it shrunk about ten percent I was still able to use it as a guide.
Recovering was pretty easy once I got started ,copious quantities of elmers glue and sqweege out the air. I`ll have to admit the seconed chest came out much better than the first and so on.
It`s like wrapping a present or making the bed everyone puts the sheets on just a bit different.
They really look sharp when they`re done with nickel trimmings on black .I put sterrett red felt in one and listed it on the bay. It sold the very first day.
Just a few photos from my flickr page. Enjoy!!!