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How to restore old Kennedy toolbox?

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  • How to restore old Kennedy toolbox?

    I bought this Kennedy machinists box at a garage sale for $5 today and am curious about how to properly restore it. There is a decent amount of rust that needs to be addressed.

  • #2
    Depends on how severe the rust is.

    My preference for rust removal is electrolysis, but sometimes bead blasting is more convenient. In either case, the 1st thing to do is to completely disassemble it and get a good assessment of that you're dealing with. I would think that you can probably get new slides and other parts from Kennedy if you need them, but they'll cost more than $5.00.

    Those are nice boxes and definitely worth spending the time to restore.


    • #3
      If you want to make it look like it did when it left the factory Kennedy sells spray paint and replacement hardware - check out their web site.


      • #4
        You can't really be worried about messing up such alow investment as this is not expensive at five bucks I would have it sanded or if you can blasted lightly then undercoated and repainted .Take your time and it could be made as new .If you've got the time and inclination, money will not be a big drain as it's mostly elbow grease and alittle paint.Have fun I wish it were mine. Alistair
        Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


        • #5
          Just so happens a friend has a sand blaster. I will check out the Kennedy website for the paint and whatnot. I will post pictures on the.progress...don't hold your breath in anticipation as it might be awhile.


          • #6
            I think MSC sell the paint.


            • #7
              When I "restored" one I picked up, I didn't have a rust problem but an oil/grease one. The liners were toast and the paint didn't look too good.

              Got the paint from KBC and the liner material from Lee Valley. It is still in service doing yeoman duty.

              Well worth fixing up IMO since the bones are good.



              • #8
                I got the very same model chest at an auction a few years ago. No serious rust, just well used and full of tools. I just rubbed it down with paint thinner to clean it and there it still sits. It has that Master Machinist at work look to it.


                • #9
                  Turns out the rust is merely on the surface. I took a piece of 600 grit sand paper, and with almost no pressure sanded the top and the rust and what is left of the paint fell off, leaving a nice bare metal clean surface. Hopefully the rest goes this smooth.


                  • #10
                    If you google "Garage Journal old tool boxes" you will find lots of info on that site, plus lots of gorgeous old tool boxes, as found, and also restored.


                    • #11
                      Excellent, thanks.

                      Originally posted by sasquatch
                      If you google "Garage Journal old tool boxes" you will find lots of info on that site, plus lots of gorgeous old tool boxes, as found, and also restored.


                      • #12
                        My mother in law had a 3 drawer green Kennedy toolbox in her attic. It belonged to her late husband's brother who worked in an aircraft plant in Texas in WWII and died in an traffic accident in 1944. The box was locked and she had no idea what it contained. After a few years of gentle coaxing, she finally agreed to let me get it down and open it up. It contained a dial indicator, a caliper, a few wrenches, drill bits, and odds and ends. Absolutely nothing of use to her. I hinted that both the box and stuff inside were of interest to me, and she replied " just close it back up and put it back where you found it".

                        My wife spent the next few months convincing her that it would make a nice Xmas present for me and finally she agreed. Much nicer than the flimsy bathrobes and argyle socks I usually got from her!

                        This was about 10 years ago. Now she's 82 and extremely cantankerous. I think she's not welcome in Heaven and Hell is afraid she would take over and so I'm going to be stuck with her for many years to come...


                        • #13
                          Does it have the front cover panel??


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by moe1942
                            Does it have the front cover panel??
                            It did. but I have no idea where it is. Can't remember if it was there when I got it, but I just checked and it's not under the bottom drawer or anywhere else near the box, so I suspect I don't have have it.

                            Does your interest mean it was worth something?


                            • #15
                              Most Kennedy boxes of my experiences were coated with wrinkle paint. Use abrasive rust removal methids and the wrinkle texture will suffer.

                              I hit on a soft brush and Ajax kitchen cleanser. Ajax is designed to remove rust. It has a mild abrasive and a detergent resulting in a powerful cleaning action for some kinds of kitchen dirt which icludes rust stains on paint and vitreous enamel. Yesterday, inspired by this thread I brought in the lightly rusted front panel of an Kennedy box I inheretd from an old machinist and scrubbed it up with Ajax. Looks pretty good. It restored the original olive color, removed most all the light rust and all of the greasy film oxidized on for 50 years.

                              Try a few non-injurious cleaning methods before you bead blast, wet sand etc old but sound paint. Sometimes gentler methods work and can save you paint removal to bare metal and a complete repaint.

                              OTH bead blast is great but erosive to the base metal when the paint ti tough. In the past I've used solvent based paint remover with great success. The thing to remember is that the solvent will eventually get the paint. You just have to keep the solvent in contact with the paint long enough to do the deed. Prepared paint removers have a "retarder" gel as part of the formulation. This inhibits solvent evaporation but it doesn't prevent it. You got about a half hour.

                              My approach to resistant paint is to slobber on paint remover and wrap the work in aluminum foil. The foil is impervious to the solvent and if the work is tightly wrapped in foil (lapped over closures) the solvent will last for a day.

                              Whan you unwrap the work, remove the goop quickly. If the solvent evaporates the paint can reconstitute itself to a degree making removal difficult.
                              Last edited by Forrest Addy; 08-29-2011, 05:55 PM.