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Kissfan113
06-08-2010, 03:07 AM
I am taking on the restoration of an old Gerstner O52 11 drawer machinists chest, I was wondering if anyone had experience in this. I am trying to figure out what stain color to use and finish type to use. I also have 4 missing drawers which isn't a problem as I'm a pretty decent woodworker, I simply don't know what material to use, quarter sawn or standard white oak or for that matter how thick the sheet metal bottoms should be, I'm also a biit puzzled by the yellow shaded wood used for the sides and back of the drawers. I hope someone has some ideas that might help me out. I appreciate any and all info, I tried contacting Gerstner for the information, all I got was that they would fully restore my chest for big bucks and drawers were 90.00 each... so in the interest of a good chest and money to buy some more tools I'm hoping someone can help me.

SGW
06-08-2010, 11:43 AM
I'd guess that the drawer sides and back are poplar.

If you have some of the drawers, can't you measure the sheetmetal bottom thickness? I'd guess it to be about 20 gauge, but that's just a guess.

Gerstner uses quarter-sawn "golden oak."

I'm partial to a shellac and wax finish, but polyurethane varnish might be more practical.

I didn't find Gerstner's repair department to be particularly cooperative, either. I've got an old wooden chest very similar to a Gerstner but made by somebody else, that the front panel was all chewed up on. I wrote to Gerstner asking if they would fix it for me, but got the reply that they were not capable of working on anything but their own chests. IMO if they were true craftsmen in wood they could fix anything.

gwilson
06-08-2010, 11:49 AM
Use white oak. If you see medullar rays on the other drawers(which are usually few and far between,despite their claim to use quartered oak) use quartered white oak. Stain to get the "golden" part.

Kissfan113
06-08-2010, 04:29 PM
Thanks for the replies, I'm still getting the hang of measuring metal, I have been working with wood for some time, and have taken an interest in gunsmithing as of late, this is my first chest for storing all my better gunsmithing tools and smaller things like brass punches, roll pin punches, screwdrivers and other things of that nature. I appreciate the help and will have to look the chest over to see if i can spot the striations typical of quarter sawn oak, I have only seen normal straight grain on the drawers, but havn't examined the chest very close, been setting for a while as a project to be completed in the future,

koda2
06-09-2010, 09:02 PM
I never seem to find the color of stain that I want.
Here's a suggestion that might work for you.
When you're done making the drawers, take some scrap pieces
Buy two or three shades of stain from Minwax in the small cans, ie "pine" "maple" walnut, or they make several shades of "oak", etc
Stir all cans up well.
Pick some combos that might look good and start mixing small volumes of different stains in separate small containers and record what you're doing.
Stain a scrap and label and let dry.
Pick the combination that works the best.
Formby's used to make a tung oil with polyurethane in it. Worked extremely well with oak which is open grained. Gave a very nice protective "hand rubbed" finish which was almost waterproof, especially when the final sanding was done with 400 wet/dry. Tung oil by itself is more easily damaged.
Rub on a finish coat, let dry very well and 5-0 steel wool lightly between coats.

Mark Hockett
06-09-2010, 09:51 PM
Try sending John at http://machinistchest.com/site/ an email, he should be able to help you with any information or parts you need to restore your chest.

gregl
06-09-2010, 11:52 PM
A couple of things to add: First, there are pigmented stains and dye stains. The latter give a deeper look. White oak looks great with a dye stain. Obviously, test on scrap wood first. Minwax is a fine product but I don't think it gives the depth of a pure dye stain. Trans-Tint is one that I've tried and been happy with. I mix it with 50 percent alcohol and 50 percent lacquer thinner to avoid raising the grain as it would if mixed with water. Second, using a varnish thinned to 60 percent thinner and 40 percent varnish wiped on with a rag will give a nice finish without brush marks. It will take several coats, lightly scuff sanded between each. I use plain muslin for wiping on varnish as it doesn't leave lint.

wierdscience
06-10-2010, 12:10 AM
Fixed and refinished several.Drawer sides and backs are Poplar/Maple/Beech(mixed hardwood).

Box face and lid are quarter sawn White Oak,Appalachian hill is best IMHO.

Finish originally was Shellac,old stuff can be cleaned,removed with denatured alcohol.If you decide to clean the old finish or remove it,save the residue.Use it to color the new work.


The color is partly the Shellac and partly oxidation,they might have fumed the Chests with Ammonia,but I kinda doubt it.I rub in a coat of fresh shellac,buff it out and apply another.Once the Shellac has dried you can top coat with Urethane or even better Valspar catalized laquer.

Of course YMMV,but this has been what's worked for me.

BWS
06-11-2010, 07:08 AM
A slight turn from OP..........google some info on original Stickly furniture,lots of 1/4 sawn Oak.Specifically their use of amonia "tents",its what gives Oak the,DANG that looks good effect.The tannin in wood reacts to amonia,rather quickly.BW

Kissfan113
06-13-2010, 11:15 PM
I'll have to give john a shout... this chest is looking more and more like substancial work every day, found some new cracks and breaks today that were hidden under years of grunge and grime, previous owner had placed formica in the drawers over the felt so the felt in the remaining drawers is in excellent shape, problem is there are a couple small drawers i can't seem to get the formica out... cleaned the funk off the exterior today, just trying to assess the problems now...

machinistchest
06-17-2010, 03:56 PM
I am taking on the restoration of an old Gerstner O52 11 drawer machinists chest, I was wondering if anyone had experience in this. I am trying to figure out what stain color to use and finish type to use. I also have 4 missing drawers which isn't a problem as I'm a pretty decent woodworker, I simply don't know what material to use, quarter sawn or standard white oak or for that matter how thick the sheet metal bottoms should be, I'm also a biit puzzled by the yellow shaded wood used for the sides and back of the drawers. I hope someone has some ideas that might help me out. I appreciate any and all info, I tried contacting Gerstner for the information, all I got was that they would fully restore my chest for big bucks and drawers were 90.00 each... so in the interest of a good chest and money to buy some more tools I'm hoping someone can help me.

Kissfan,

052 is that a 26" witdth (length)? However, if you watch ebay for the leatherette box you will eventually find the same width and debth drawer, box included.There were two different debths. I have purchased the leatherette box for as low as $60 bucks , inwhich you may get a complete set of matching drawers and really won`t matter what kind of wood. Harry made all his drawers the same. He increased the size of the leatherette case to allow some clearance for the oil cloth covering around the front panel (it was longer by about 1/8") you may have to do some final fitting (sanding) on the drawer or it may just slide on in.

The yellow tint on the drawer backs and sides I believe was waxed Amber Shellac. His drawers were close fitting to the tune of +or - 1/128 "(.008) darn near close for a saw cut, but something about that wax shellac.

A 26" Gerstner (oak) will sell for about 6-8 hunderd bucks on ebay, at a gun show it`s anyones guess.

Cheers, John

Kissfan113
06-17-2010, 06:57 PM
John, yes the O52 is the 26" wide 11 drawer model. I've determined the drawer sides are yellow poplar and the face is quarter sawn white oak. The chest isn't in too bad of shape, a few cracks and things in places should be easy enough to fix... I'm hoping I can find someone reasonably priced to replate the original hardware, as well as getting a key made for the lock. I'm also looking into the construction of the drawers, looks fairly straight forward yet somewhat intricate, but now that I know what materials I'll need I can practice and see what I come up with... I had also thought about a cheaper chest, but at the same time I know how I am, I'd buy the leatherette chest for the drawers and end up restoring it as well, I'm a bit OCD when it comes to things of a vintage nature, striving for perfection at all costs... I may be looking into some hardware from you like some new drawer knobs and possibly some cabinet corners, that is if you have the correct ones for my chest, I think I saw them on your site, but can't remember at the moment. I appreciate everyones replies and help, I can't begin to express my thanks.
Kevin

h12721
06-17-2010, 10:31 PM
Go to the Site of "Popular Woodworking." Key in the search "" Gerstner Chest ""
In 2008 they had two articles on the Gerstner Co and
there Tool chests. I think it was in the Feb. Issue.
Hilmar

machinistchest
06-18-2010, 01:39 PM
Hey Kev,

I have been taking those locks apart, of coarse I`m a machinist so it`s easy for me ,then I`ll replate all the parts .If the lock is pitted with rust it must be sanded, filed. and finally buffed out to a desiribale finish.

In regards to the key . I `d measure the tumblers and hand file a key or mill and cut the first one. Gerstner does still sell replacment keys IF they still have any left .You`ll notice the lock number on the side of the lock if it`s a Eagle. National lock was on the lower front and then there was also Yale and Corbin lock companies The lock alone will sell for $75 bucks if it`s got a key.Again think about a leatherette covered.

I recently put an inquire in to have that Eagle lock reproduced. If all goes well we should have a first article in about two months, production in about six months.The lock will be polished solid brass and or nickel plated.

And here`s the fun part, proof of ownership won`t be necessary.

There is also a plating fourm if you decide to go that route http://forum.caswellplating.com/electroplating-questions/

and finally some eye candy!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26012426@N08/


Thanks John

David Woodruff
12-25-2010, 09:45 PM
I am restoring an old Gerstner chest. Does anyone have experience in removing the rivets that fasten the hardware. I have three chests I am working with(1 union) and can obtain a much better job if I don't have to work around the hardware. Special tools used for extracting the rivets and replacing would be most helpful. Are the old rivets used or replaced with new rivets. Thanks

madman
12-25-2010, 11:21 PM
Apply Spar varnish. I took a Hacksaw blade many many years ago and ground a big 45 degree notch out of it. Then i had to trim its length so it would balance on a Old machinists wooden box. It took a couple of tries. (I worked in a aerospace machine shop back then) to make mateers short one day i come up to this cranky old bugger and say is that really made of wood duh... He was pissed of at me just asking such a stupid question as I was setting him up. The next day lunch time i balanced that hacksaw blade on its cutout 45 degree section on the top of his box. I waited till he came back from Lunch break and when he saw me near his box I said John you were right Im so sorry youre Machine Tool Box Is made of wood... He freaked out seeing my hacksaw blade sitting on his tool box a Gestetner double decker model. Yet when he saw what i had done after I ran for my Life he actually started to speak to me . I thought it funny. Just a true story.