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Gerstner Chest Conundrum

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  • Gerstner Chest Conundrum

    I have been looking for a nice old Gerstner chest for a while and the ones that I have run across were either priced crack smoking high or looked like they had fallen down one too many flights of stairs or spent too much time at the bottom of a lake. Last week the guy who was handling the estate that my Monarch came out of called and said that they had finally almost cleared everything out and still had a Gerstner chest and base set and wondered if I was interested. Long story short is that they were custom ordered almost 20 years ago and never taken out of the boxes. The wood has a lot of figure and rays and the finish is flawless, they look a lot nicer than the oak furniture in our house. I ended up with them and a few other things and now I am trying to figure out what to do.

    Around 1990 I bought a Beretta 686 Black Onyx over and under shotgun. Nicest gun that I have ever had. I hunted and shot skeet with it for a couple of years but lived in terror or scratching the wood (it had very nice wood) and was not really comfortable. One day while duck hunting in a flooded field I stepped off into a ditch with water about 8 feet deep and me and the gun went under. It ended up with a couple of nice scratches and scrapes but I have been much more comfortable with it ever since and don't fret about it getting hunting momentos. I guess it just needed to be baptized into real life. This Gerstner is in the same league. I am wondering if I should put it in the shop and let it sink or swim (I am in the middle of moving the shop anyway) or keep this one at the house as a special treasure. I know that I will feel bad if I or someone else dinks it, but they were made to be used.

  • #2
    That's exactly why I have no interest in those. Much like some of the cars I fixed up "too nice", I was always worried, and in some cases insisted on being seated at restaurants where I could see it. It's also the same reason I have NO desire to do a full "restoration" on my machine tools...

    Anyway, congrats on the great find. Either way, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
    Master Floor Sweeper


    • #3
      You have to decide, but you know it will look like the other stuff in your shop after a while.... Nuff said.


      • #4
        They look nice, but were intended to be used.... Now, maybe they were intended to be used by watchmakers (who don't get very dirty), I dunno.....

        You could compromise..... Use it in your shop, but use it to hold your better measuring and QC equipment..... That way it won't get the abuse it would if you put it next to your largest mill, or near the grinder.....

        Keep eye on ball.
        Hashim Khan


        • #5
          Have you priced a new set lately?

          I just need one more tool,just one!


          • #6
            My first wife loved to buy old furniture and fix it up. She put so much effort into the projects that the furniture became practically useless for fear of messing it up.

            After she passed away, I sold most of the furniture. The few things I kept were put in daily use with some respect being shown for their heritage. Now they've reached a state where they still look nice but not perfect, and we're quite comfortable with them.
            Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.


            • #7

              The scratches and shop grunge will just add patina, and improve the look of chest, like fine leather on an antique car. And if you leave it in the house, the wife will probably fill it with stitching, or potpourri or something. Use it and enjoy it!


              • #8
                Weirdscience, it is not the rolling base, it is the middle box (what Gerstner calls a base). I am going to build one of the rolling bases one day, they are a little rich for my blood.


                • #9
                  I have two gerstners's in nicely used condition and to be honest they are overrated in my opinion. For such a pricey sought after item, you would think the drawers would open a little nicer. Glad I got mine cheap


                  • #10
                    I kind of dislike things like this. If an item is "too nice" to use in its intended capacity, is it even worthy of consideration beyond its aesthetic value?


                    • #11
                      Put a small deliberate scratch somewhere not too noticable, that way it will no longer be perfect and further scratches/dings/patina won't worry you as it was already marked.

                      Always meant to do this with a brand new car, but I've never had a brand new car.


                      • #12
                        My wife inherited a rocking chair, refinished and new cane seat by her grandmother. On display, but no one allowed to sit in it - presenting a horribly excruciating temptation for our grandchildren.

                        I call it "The Chair That Must Not Be Sat Upon."

                        My Gerstner is in the shop, but has accumulated camera equipment, loups, optivisors and other optical and miscellaneous stuff. And some calipers. I have a cheapo cabinet from Lowes that stores tools and tool bits.
                        Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                        ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~


                        • #13
                          this is why I have a cheap clone wooden toolchest...
                          Some of the drawers store things like abrasive stones or 4 1/2" bench grinder accessorys.

                          I get a little laugh every time when I see grinding wheels resting in felt lined drawers... Yaknow, to keep from scratching them.
                          Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


                          • #14
                            Gerstner boxes are oil finished. Minor dings and scratches can be cleaned up with oil finishes such as Min-Wax and Formby's. Gerstner sells their own, but is it pricey. I use Min-Wax Antique Oil Finish on mine.

                            I would use the box myself as I do my older walnut box. I have it out of the general shop area and only keep the precision tools in it. Use it and enjoy it. It sounds like a beauty.
                            Jim H.


                            • #15
                              If it's that nice I'd sell it to a collector and buy a beater.