Lovely HUGE old tool chest

Spent this week stripping and re-finishing this old tool chest, part of a job lot deal (see earlier Worcestershire post). I made a new skirt around the bottom, as the old one had rotted. Then stripped and re-finished the sills (sliding drawers), and finally gave it two coats of black paint in the traditional colour for these chests, which was usually black.

These craftsman-made tool-chests were a travelling ‘portfolio’ for the journeyman joiner/carpenter. The outsides were made very plain and utilitarian, as they would be taking inevitable knocks and scratches from being moved all the time. The insides however, were crafted as a showpiece to what the maker could do, and thus all the drawers had to be well-fitting, with excellent joinery.

The box has multiple sills for various sizes of tools. You would put your larger planes and bigger tools right down in the bottom. Your saws would slip into the cut slots of the ‘saw till’, right down there as well. One of the nicest parts of the chest is the lock, you don’t get hardware like this on mainstream pieces anymore. A nice big lock that closes with a ‘clunk!’, and thankfully, two keys were also hidden away in one of the sills.

My own minor restoration of the chest went really well, plus it’s now a keeper, I couldn’t bear to part with it, and my tools need an upgrade from their current cardboard box.

Planes Restoration

Stanley #48 restoration

This Stanley #48 is a tonguing and grooving plane. Designed to work on stock from 3/4″ to 1 1/4″, (the groove centers on stock 7/8″). It holds two cutters, and originally the one to the right was a wider one, meaning if you’re working with stock that isn’t 7/8″, the wider cutter will still trim it. To use the plane, you disengage the little sprung pin at the front, which releases the guide rail, and switches to either use one cutter, or two. You’re then set up to make the tongue, or the groove.
This plane has some rust, but should be serviceable once I can get the front pin and guide rail moving. Both are currently seized!

I’m hoping most of this is just surface rust. 🙁

I’ve found the best way to get something moving again usually involves a product called ‘WD40’. But even after several quirts of this, and a short wait, things are staying stubbornly solid.

Flipping the plane over, I can see that the front pin has a hole right through to the base, so in goes another big squirt of ‘WD40’, and the same for the central guide bolt, upon which the guide rail swings.

(Drums fingers on countertop).

TAA-DAA! The pin finally releases, with a bit of help from my pliers. (I put a bit of cloth on the jaws to make sure I didn’t mess up the pin’s head). The guide rail creaks into it’s first swing in years, and I add another liberal spray of ‘WD40’, just for luck.

I’m using a rust removal gel from ‘Hammerite’. A liberal coating goes on with my girlfriend’s toothbrush, (not the one she currently uses, I hasten to add). A wait of 20 mins, and let’s see how much rust comes away.

First application did pretty well, but another two coats and some scrubbing with very fine wire-wool, gets just about everything off.

The finished article gets a good wash of clean water and a dry with my girlfriend’s hairdryer. After that, a quick coat of oil to protect the metal from flash rust, and we’re good to go. The blades have been cleaned, honed and replaced. Just need to put the front rosewood knob back on and I’ll post some pics of this in use soon.

Swing out sister! 🙂