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Many folks don’t understand the beaming pride of transforming a rather pathetic looking object into something with an entirely new life, perhaps better than it ever was. Take this machinist’s tool chest, for instance. Compare the awful ‘before’ picture on the left with the breathtaking chest on the right. This goes beyond repair – it’s custom restoration.

With no control over what he’s handed, reader txinkman repairs and restores these old chests, creatively putting right what time and a few decades of hard shop treatment have torn apart — and obviously he’s not afraid to accept a challenge.  We put this kind of work on an even par with artistic endeavors.   Hats off and beers up to you, sir.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]


5 Responses to From the Flickr Pool: Fine Restoration

  1. Frank Townend says:

    His work is beautiful, kudos.

  2. Maybe its just me.. but I like the “before” chest so much more than the “after” chest.. the “before” chest has the patina of hard work infused throughout it, it conjures up images of a diligent craftsman who cherished the chest and its contents his entire life.

    The “after” photo is slick and so artificially sweetened. Its robbed the chest of its heritage.


  3. Julian Tracy says:

    I also like the before picture better. That chest was in great shape. A little work on the loose drawers and it wouldv’e been good as new.

    Looks like a damn jewlry box at Sams Club now.

    Like taking a great looking dog and girling him all up – just don’t seem right.


  4. rbb says:

    One hundred years from now, when one of his descendants hauls the chest in to the Antiques Roadshow, they are going to give them the bad news that it is worthless because someone scrubbed off the “patina.”

  5. txinkman says:

    It seems to me (from the pointy end of the stick, as it were) that there’s a hefty difference between “patina” and “trashed”. Myself, I’ve got lot’s of stuff with patina, in fact I revere patina, but this box was trashed, and headed for the dump. If you follow the Toolmonger Flickr stream, you’ll see I took some effort to preserve my old friend’s carved initials while updating the rest of the box as a tribute to him and his difficult early days as an apprentice and the machist’s trade in general.

    Without getting too artsy-fartsy about it, rest assured, fellas, I spend way too much time working out what details to keep and which to discard during the restoration of each box. In all cases I purposely keep more original parts than I really should from any sane economic viewpoint. Otherwise, why bother? I could build a new one at a quarter of the cost, in an eighth of the time. Or, hell, just buy a painted metal box from Home Depot and stuff my tools into it.

    I look at it in the same way that antique car guys relate to “barn finds”. So, do I leave it rotting in the barn, full of “patina”, or tow it out of the barn and let it live again?

    Perhaps the point is, for better or worse, that in a hundred years, hopefully my ancestors will be able to take a box to be on Antiques Roadshow, that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

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