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why are machinists chests usually brown with green felt?

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  • why are machinists chests usually brown with green felt?


    just a curiosity ive been wondering about. i always see the machinsists tool chests and almost always they are oak with some type of felt lining. usually green. i also saw sears selling a metal version and even that has a brown finish.

    i can understand the idea of small drawers and a lining to protect tools, but i'm wondering if there is more involved. physics, tradition, some some combination??

  • #2
    My chest is honky hide colored; all ugly and hairy. It used to be just below my collar bones but after 63 years its much closer to my belt. Green felt? My chest has been on a few pools tables but outside of that I'm not answering questions.

    [This message has been edited by Forrest Addy (edited 04-29-2005).]

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    • #3
      Don't tell that to the Kennedy tool chest makers. Nice boxes, all metal. Oh yeah, with green felt. I think in the beginning the color of the felt was an arbitrary choice.

      Oak is durable and fairly stable over temp and humidity, and are easily made by most clever wood workers. Building a metal box is a bit more work even if you have the tools.

      Then there's that whole tradition thing. Handing down tools in the family, etc. Look how long it took to get bread boxes off kitchen counters. And having one drawer in the kitchen with metal lining.

      dp

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      • #4
        <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Forrest Addy:
        My chest is honky hide colored; all ugly and hairy. It used to be just below my collar bones but after 63 years its much closer to my belt. Green felt? My chest has been on a few pools tables but outside of that I'm not answering questions.

        [This message has been edited by Forrest Addy (edited 04-29-2005).]
        </font>
        funny!! i had to read that a few times before i figured out what the hell you were talking about. and i am now horribly frightened by the thought of you face down on a pool table. please do not share any further details.

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        • #5
          He is tarnishing our reputation of being dull, boring, lackluster and humorless, just like the Kennedy tool chests

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          • #6
            Forrest, please see a doctor right away. I think you have "chest of draws" disease. That is when your chest falls down into you draws. Not much they can do about it but you would at least know if that is what you have. I have it too.

            Joe

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            • #7
              my felt is brown. Perhaps I didn't wipe thourghly?

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              • #8
                A few guesses....

                I think in the mid- to late 19th century there was a big fad for figured oak in furniture, and the tool chest manufacturers followed the trend. And, as dp says, oak is hard and durable, desirable qualities in a toolbox.

                I've got an old wood Union tool chest, oak, with light blue felt. I think Gerstner may have used different colors of felt at various times, but their "standard" seems to have been green. And at this point, it's just tradition.

                ----------
                Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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                • #9
                  Because they have good taste.

                  ------------------
                  James Kilroy
                  James Kilroy

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                  • #10
                    Wood? Probably because as you grab a tool, sometimes it slips, and wood doesn't ding the edge like metal. I would like any tool chest!! Especially filled with tools, instead of dreams!!

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                    • #11
                      Moisture does not condense on wood as it does with metal.
                      I thought they used green because it was easy on the eyes and provided a contrast for metal parts. My Kennedys have broun and some little stuff gets lost.BTW My grandfathers old tool box has purple felt in it.

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                      • #12
                        I always thought the felt was there to hold oil. I coat my tools with M1 before putting them away and the felt collects the runoff. In the good ole days quality tools came in boxes with felt lining, I love those old B&S cases! As for felt in a wood drawer, maybe it's to prevent splinters?

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                        • #13
                          WHELP, KENNEDY TOOL BOXES are tradition I remember entering my first real machine shop job with a red craftsman 19 drawer 2 piece set all waxed and shinny to make a good impression. But nooooooooo, out of 12 other guys 10 kennedys, 1 gerstner,1 solid walnut with all kinds of inlays and several coats of clear laquer.truley beautiful.and my red box stuck out like a sore thumb.

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                          • #14
                            In the grand scheme of things, it was ordained that machinist boxes be brown with green felt.
                            This is one of those things that should not be questioned by mere mortals.

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                            • #15
                              I heard from a a museum picture and book restorer that green felt has the least amount of acid in it.Blue is apparently the worst.Acid cause rust?who knows.
                              Hans

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