Antique Ice Chest Restoration

  • Advertise with us
Project by Drew Gregory posted 05-01-2018 05:34 PM 2428 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project started with a colleague asking if I might be interested in cleaning up an old chest that he was going to take to the dump… Buried deep in the back corner of his garage on the farm was this dirty heavily painted ice chest. I first noticed some of the carving near the top and the rot that had formed near the top. Immediately my interest was peaked, I needed to see what was under all that paint! I discovered that the item was a family heirloom that was passed along and was last used as a paint cabinet by the wife’s late father. I stripped the paint with a chemical remover and used a fine pick similar to a dental tool to uncover the ultra fine cravings beneath. The hardware, I simmered in a slowcooker filled with water and the paint fell away. I it a light sand with 220 and finished with Osmo Polix. I needed to replace the top boards as one was badly cracked, and was requested to use a single board so they could used the top. Additinally I needed to replace the feet which had rotted and the swinging toe kick which was missing. All in this restoration took just under 100 hours to complete but was so rewarding to bring this ultra unique chest back to life that appears to date back to about 1892. For my first restoration project I am thrilled with how it came out.

Thanks for reading, any questions or comments are welcomed!

9 comments so far

View UncleBuck's profile


253 posts in 1368 days

#1 posted 05-01-2018 06:29 PM

what a find nice work amazing how the carving stayed after all those years wonderful work

-- Terry Uncle Buck Carvins "woodworking minus patience equals firewood "

View Pimzedd's profile


645 posts in 5431 days

#2 posted 05-01-2018 06:30 PM

Very nice. Well worth the time and effort you put into the restoration.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

View GR8HUNTER's profile


9146 posts in 2000 days

#3 posted 05-01-2018 08:29 PM

you have done a very fine job bringing this piece back to the glory days …..GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View oldnovice's profile


7757 posts in 4656 days

#4 posted 05-01-2018 08:42 PM

That is a great save!
You did an outstanding job.

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View recycle1943's profile


5975 posts in 2910 days

#5 posted 05-01-2018 11:00 PM

Outstanding save
Always liked those old ice boxes

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View BurlyBob's profile


9414 posts in 3554 days

#6 posted 05-02-2018 12:18 AM

Wow, you breathed new life in that. A true wonderful save.

View Dutchy's profile


4217 posts in 3456 days

#7 posted 05-02-2018 06:19 AM

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4321 days

#8 posted 05-02-2018 03:58 PM

Very Nice Indeed Drew! & Well Done Also!

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3665 posts in 5000 days

#9 posted 05-02-2018 05:06 PM


That’s the most beautiful ice chest I have ever seen! You did a remarkable job on the restoration. Do you have a photo of the inside? What material is the inside lining? Does it have wire racks inside?

I have one in maple that was used as my dresser after my parents got a refrigerator. It had been painted and later ended up in the milkhouse. I started restoring it years ago but never finished it. Maybe this will inspire me to get it done.

Thanks for sharing.


-- Voltaire: “Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities, Can Make You Commit Atrocities” There are 112 genders (not including male and female)

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics