Grandpas Old Tool Box #1: Great Grandpa's Old Tool Box

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Blog entry by harshest posted 08-15-2012 09:56 AM 32399 reads 6 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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So I finally pulled out my great grandpas tool box from my grandmas barn and want to get it cleaned up but I would like some opinions on how to go about it. I am going to say that this is probably from the 1930’s or 1940’s. The tills had some finish nails and glazing points, so this was his tool box for finish carpentry. He was a general carpenter that later started his own general contracting business and built schools in the 1950’s and 1960’s in Norther Indiana and Southern Michigan.

No on to the pictures:

So my question is:

1 – The inside of the box it pretty musty and dirty, what is the best way to clean this old wood?

11 comments so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4527 days

#1 posted 08-15-2012 02:40 PM

I would just use steel wool on it to clean it up a bit and still keep the old patina look. It would loose alot of its character if you stripped it down to bare wood and refinished it.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3999 days

#2 posted 08-15-2012 02:45 PM

For the musy part, outside in the sunshine is a good way ..

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 4259 days

#3 posted 08-15-2012 02:56 PM

I wouldn’t use anything other than Soapy water, maybe lemon scented if you want a fresher smell.

But don’t soak the wood, it will suck up water & damage the Joints…

Nice looking Box !!!

I guess he didn’t do much work, couldn’t afford any tools to fill it with….... ;)

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View JAGWAH's profile


929 posts in 4302 days

#4 posted 08-15-2012 03:47 PM

Great classic tool box. I agree a light wiping down but it’s the dusty old look that makes this box great. This style is still a poplar build today. Fine Home Building issue # 106 by Scott Synn ran an article about building this style . I even think it was on their cover page.

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View JAGWAH's profile


929 posts in 4302 days

#5 posted 08-15-2012 03:54 PM

My bad it was issue #29 back in 1985, man I’m old, by Tom Law. Somewhat similar.
Sorry the pic’s poor, scarfed it off the web.

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View JAGWAH's profile


929 posts in 4302 days

#6 posted 08-15-2012 05:21 PM

Found my old issue FHB # 106 1997 with Scott Wynns tool box. Here’s a pic of his. Looks more like your Grandpa’s. Thought you might like.

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View harshest's profile


63 posts in 3623 days

#7 posted 08-15-2012 06:14 PM

Thanks for the reply’s guys. I appreciate the advise. I agree the outside just needs a little wipe down to get the dirt and dust off of the old paint.

DaddyZ – Don’t even get me started on the tools. I have some of his stuff, but all of the “good” stuff is with my uncle in Florida. My great grandfather also build a big floor tool box like the one Swartz is peddling in book. There are still a few gems in the big one I want to get my hands on, like a Stanley 112 and Millers Falls miter box. Although my uncle did just give me an old Montgomery Wards miter box that cuts more accurately then my power Delta.

View Woodknack's profile


13584 posts in 3599 days

#8 posted 09-27-2015 07:12 AM

Did you ever clean this up?

-- Rick M,

View robscastle's profile


8232 posts in 3423 days

#9 posted 10-12-2016 05:03 PM

Did you ever clean this up? MkII

-- Regards Rob

View harshest's profile


63 posts in 3623 days

#10 posted 10-12-2016 06:09 PM

I did.I just cleaned it up with some mild soap and water then oiled it up. I am currently working out of it until I build my own Anarchist tool chest.

View dbray45's profile


3414 posts in 3995 days

#11 posted 10-12-2016 06:51 PM

Tom Law was one of the nicest people you could ever meet. He passed away a few years ago. Very interesting and very smart. I have a few of his saws and his video for sharpening saws.

-- David in Palm Bay, FL

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