My grandfather bought a Gerstner tool chest to hold his archery arrow-making supplies over 50 years ago. It now resides at my lucky-ass uncle’s house, and while it’s a bit dusty, the last time I saw the old chest it looked exactly the same — except for an awesome patina that the wood had taken on from years of finger oil.
These chests are all made with solid kiln-dried red oak drawers and feature felt liners, carefully fitted drawers and panels, tongue and groove joinery, hand rubbed lacquer finish, steel reinforced corner protectors, locking pins and latches, and a lockable front panel. But what makes ’em really cool is that you’ll for sure end up passing them on to future generations.
Gerstner has been producing hardwood chests like these in Ohio for over a hundred years, but in the last few years through the subsidiary Gerstner International they’ve been producing some of their designs in China. Before you cry foul, think about this — producing them overseas puts them in the hands of some people who’d never see the originals… Like me!
You can still get the made-in-the-USA versions, but if you can touch it for under $300 it’s most likely made overseas. That doesn’t mean they’re junk, though. I’ve heard that QC on them is good, and they’re fine units.
The China-made small chest is 16″ x 8″ x 10″ high and runs about $119 while the large chest is 24″ x 10″ x 16-1/4″ high with 10 drawers of varying sizes and a large 3″ deep top storage area. They go for around $250.