Machinist's tool chest - Page 3
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  1. #41
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    Sep 2001
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    That is true that a Gerstner Box cost a weeks pay. A Gerstner Box was a real status symbol, you were nobody unless you had Gerstner box for all of your good tools and a Kennedy for the junk. I bought mine in 1962 for a $110.00 and that was a weeks pay at 55 hours for an apprentice mold maker.As I moved up the ladder I gave it to my son who was an apprentice 30 years later, now 42 years later my son has his own shop and He returned the box to me. I will pass it to my Grandson. It is walnut and I still like to look at it and rub my hand over the top as it brings back a lot of good memories.

  2. #42
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    Apr 2003
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    Berkeley Springs, WV, USA
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    Sniff , I am miffed

    Gerstenr's is now calling their No. 42 chest The Apprentice Chest.

    Apprentices must really have it good these days.

    I bought mine from a retired master and I have had my Journeyman ticket since 1971.

    All we got in our apprenticeship was the Gerstner 041 which they don't show.

    I have their 041C on a Richards elevating table that I roll around from machine to machiine The 42 sits in one place.

    I have really gotten to depend on the smaller box, I keep all the tools I need for ordinary machine work in it and it doesn't take up much space on the small table. I just push the whole outfit from machine to machine.

    The top center drawer of the 42 chest usta be called the handbook drawer.

    That was until "Machinery" and "American Machinist" made a Grand Opus out of their handbooks.

    The Seventh Edition of Colvin and Stanley's fits right in and there is enough room left over for the Starrett Book for Student Machinists.

    Whilst I was looking this morning, I also found the papers on my South Bend 11 inch lathe from the Navy Yard surplus sale (1966) and a Picture ID from the National Bureau of Standards. (1970) The picture is still clear, but I don't recognize the guy.

    There is a two dollar bill, series 1953 that my aunt gave to me as good luck when I opened my first business.

    Must be true, I am still going despite my Elmer Fudd business practices.

    That is the wonderful thing about Gerstner tool chests, they are the keeper of a lot more than just tools.



    [This message has been edited by JimK (edited 05-07-2004).]

  3. #43
    kimatgerstner Guest

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    FYI - an interesting thing about the handbook. We have changed drawer sizes over the years to keep up with the increasing size of "the book". One indicator of finding (or having) an older chest is the width of the drawer - the skinnier it is, the older it is!

    We are in the process of making plans for the release of our 100th anniversary chest. At this time it appears we are going to re-release the first two chest designs (with minor modifications) for the series. Model #18 & model 31 are the front runners for this stage of planning.

    The 41 series chests (41C being the all time seller to date) has been by far the most popular series of chests. The "C" series - the last of the older models was discontinued in the early 1980's.

    For you history buffs - the 41 series is the first top opening chest Gerstner built. To this day a 7 drawer chest (still labeled in the 41 series) remains the top selling chest.

    These days the 41 ("D" now) is mostly used for home use. Watch, pocket knife, jewelry and other kinds of collectibles.

    One of these days, I hope to have some kind of a format for older chest information - in the form of a book or other kind of research tool. I have been working on collecting information for the last 15 years or so - it's a huge project and I've only scratched the surface at this time.

    Anytime someone wants to email me stories or information about older chests they have, I would love to hear from you. If you have a chest that you can prove (original receipt or similar documentation) is older than 1945 I will provide a free "Age of Chest" certificate.

    This helps me build our database for identifying older chests. Chests that do not have documentaion are not eligible. For more details or to relate your story send your emails to: [email protected]

    Thanks again for all the support!

    Kim
    Gerstner & Sons
    www.GerstnerUSA.com

  4. #44
    J Tiers Guest

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    OK, My Dad-in-law has an old Gerstner style box, with a fairly narrow "handbook drawer". Belonged to his uncle, who would have been about 95 this year, so it is likely from no later than the 40s or early 50s.

    The odd thing about it is that the "handbook drawer" has in it a sort of "drill index".

    The odder thing is that the "drill index" has locations set up and marked for a lot of sizes in it, but only a few have holes through. The others are marked, etc, but only have a slight depression which is filled with black paint.

    Looking at the back side, it is solid, so there are no "push-out" fillers or the like.

    What is the story behind that?

  5. #45
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    May 2004
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    Another "I gotta have it." A Gerstner box will be the first purchase I make after I finish my shop, IF I can wait that long. I sure would like to finish my own, and with the price I may be able to get a base or riser too. I wander how an oil rubbed finish would work out, It seems ideal. Has Gerstner ever offered an oil rubbed finish?

  6. #46
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    Mar 2002
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    Robbie, after reading the recent reference here to "Gerstner International"....meaning, apparently, that Kim has chosen to sub-contract some of the Gerstner production to some firm in some other country.....I went to the Gersner web-site to check out the story, and, indeed, 'tis true.

    Gerstners is also offering something which may be to your taste, if you'd prefer a rubbed oil finish.....you could buy a new Gerstner chest in an "unfinished" condition, and apply your own finish.....considering the sheer amount of time and patience involved in doing a high-quality rubbed oil finish, that's probably the only way you could have that class of finish work on a Gerstner box, aside from very expensive special order.

    All that said, I'd tend to recommend against doing a rubbed oil finish on a tool chest. I've done the traditional oil finish on a number of rifle and shotgun stocks, and, whilst it will bring out the beauty of fine old walnut, doing an oil finish properly is awfully time-consuming, and the white oak, and relatively open-grained American walnut used for these chests really doesn't lend itself to oil-finishing in the same way that the dense, close-grained walnut used for best quality gunstock work will.

    You can get a very good, and much more durable, finish on something like a tool chest with a best quality varnish, with or without a bit of stain "to taste" for the colour you prefer.

    The more open grain of white oak really should have a grain filler applied before the varnish.....several coats of good varnish, allowing time for the varnish to fully dry, then wet-sanding between coats will bring up a nice high finish, and a semi-finish polish with pumice powder/light oil, followed by a finish polish with "rottenstone" will give you a truly fine finish, equivalent to the best of furniture or instrument work.

    Whilst there's no question that a best quality varnish is the superior finish, I've often used lacquer myself, just to avoid having to wait for the drying time of the varnish.

    Is it worth the time involved, for a tool chest used in the shop?.....well, thats a question of personal choices and preferences......it is fair to say, in my opinion, that since a component of the function of a nicely finished tool chest is to impress clients, you can charge the chest, and your time finishing it, off to "advertising"... : )

    cheers

    Carla

  7. #47
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    Jun 2001
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    St Louis
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    Matt:

    Any chance that your metal covered cabinet is a "Sipco"? When I was looking up Sipco (Schartow Iron Products Co) I found they had made metal covered cabinets as well as all-wood ones such as the one I am restoring.

    There might be the remains of a read and gold decal with the name, or it might say "Sipco" on the main latch.


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