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Veneer Repair on a Gerstner Machinist's Chest

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Forum topic by livewire516 posted 11-02-2021 01:01 AM 531 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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livewire516

120 posts in 1203 days


11-02-2021 01:01 AM

Topic tags/keywords: gerstner machinist tool chest veneer

I have been refurbishing my late grandfather’s machinist chest. The veneer on the inside of the lid cupped to the point of splitting. I peeled the entire length off, and did my best to get glue underneath and good clamping pressure with cauls, but there’s still one point in the middle that remains raised and I’m concerned it’s going to telegraph through the felt lining if I leave it as it is.

Since it won’t be seen, what is the best way to flatten this small point of veneer? Sanding? Paring with chisel/plane iron? I accept I’ll probably then have to go back and apply a filler/putty; I guess my main worry is causing another split that’ll run the length of the grain if I apply too much pressure.

Thanks for any ideas!


7 replies so far

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CWWoodworking

2311 posts in 1522 days


#1 posted 11-02-2021 01:37 AM

If it gets covered up, rip out any loose stuff and bondo/sand smooth.

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HokieKen

20744 posts in 2481 days


#2 posted 11-02-2021 01:16 PM

It’s veneered? Learn something new every day. I’ve never owned a Gerstner but I’ve seen many in person and would have assumed it was solid Oak construction.

I can’t see the exact spot you’re referring to in the photo but, I’d probably just sand it smooth then if it’s not flat, fill it with wood/body filler and sand it smooth before re-felting. I wouldn’t worry about sanding through the veneer since it will never be visible once the felt is on.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

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livewire516

120 posts in 1203 days


#3 posted 11-02-2021 03:26 PM

So I should mention this one is not an actual Gerstner—this one was made by Union Manufacturing Co. in NY State (wasn’t trying to pass it off as one, it just seems as though Gerstner is synonymous with wood machinist chest these days. I wanted to make sure people knew what I was talking about).

At least the top face of the lid and back of the chest are veneered in this case. I can see it bubbling and beginning to peel in a few spots, but I’m not going worry about it for now as I use it for my leatherworking tools so it’s kept indoors, not in a garage or basement.

Perhaps some chests were completely solid, but I’ve seen videos of Gerstner’s own shop repairing/restoring chests on YouTube, and I think I remember a fair bit of veneer repair. They have quite a number of good videos for those curious.

The raised portion was very hard to capture on camera, even with raking light, due to the color of the wood and the fact that it was along the grain. Although it was hard to see now, it was clearly going to telegraph through and be visible after felting. I normally don’t like fussing over these things, especially since it’s a tool chest; however, it’s my grandfather’s.

So I ended up using a plane iron freehand and made sweeping/slicing cuts until it barely perceptible to the touch. I’m content; I figure anything that didn’t come up at this point is adequately glued down. I guess I could call my question answered but I’ll be sure to post the finished product on here in case anyone is interested in seeing how it turns out.

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shipwright

8783 posts in 4141 days


#4 posted 11-03-2021 02:47 PM

For the bubbling you could try wetting the area and heating /pressing it with a clothes iron. It will be animal glue if it’s that old and moist heat should restore it. The iron should be hot to touch but touchable.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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Robert

4857 posts in 2824 days


#5 posted 11-03-2021 03:25 PM

What Paul said ^^^

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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livewire516

120 posts in 1203 days


#6 posted 11-03-2021 05:38 PM


For the bubbling you could try wetting the area and heating /pressing it with a clothes iron. It will be animal glue if it’s that old and moist heat should restore it. The iron should be hot to touch but touchable.

- shipwright



What Paul said ^^^

- Robert

Thanks to both of you. I will definitely keep that in mind for the future, as I seem to end up taking on as many repair-projects as I do ‘from-scratch’ projects.

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livewire516

120 posts in 1203 days


#7 posted 11-03-2021 05:50 PM

For those curious, here’s the chest with the lining completed:

I undecided if I’m going to put the original mirror back on the lid.


I struggled with lining the sides of the top compartment and lid. I sized/starched and ironed the felt several times, but it wasn’t stiff enough for me to be confident I’d be able to get two parallel cuts. So I cut one straight edge, and kept them over-width. I then went back with a razor after the glue dried, trying different techniques to get the cleanest cut. I’m not ecstatic with the results, but it’s fine for now. Getting a chain to support the lid is the next priority.


Eventually, I’ll make a replacement leather post handle for this guy.


I figured I’d share the fleur-de-lis hinges on the back.

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