Sunday, April 4, 2010

Gerstner and Jennings tool chests

I got out of work early on Friday and decided to hit one of my favorite hunting spots, the Livingston Antique Mall in Howell.  It's a good sized mall with a good selection of antiques, including a fair number of tools.  I walked around the corner and I saw this tool box.



Well, my blood started pumping faster.  Could this be a Gerstner, I thought.  Well, of course, it is a beautiful example from that famous Dayton, Ohio company.


The wood has a beautiful patina from the years of use.  There is a tiny bit of bubbling veneer on the top of the box, but that should be an easy fix.  This particular box is a seven drawer model, lined with green felt.  The felt has seen better days so I'm planning on replacing this with Gerstner brown felt.


Best of all, I paid about $80 for this box.  I've never seen one in such good condition for such little money.  All the nickle-plated hardware is present and in great shape.  What a steal!

On my way home, I get a call from my wife.  She mentions that a family friend has a tool chest that I might like.  This family friend happens to be an elderly woman who is moving from her beautiful 1900-built home and there is a fair amount of "stuff" in it.  Of course, I jumped at the chance to go look.  Here's what I found.


The box is definitely in rough shape, but its a Jennings.  I've never seen a Jennings tool box.  In fact, I didn't even know they made boxes until I found this one.

The Jennings Company label on the inside of the lid

Beautiful filigree handles on the Jennings box
Clearly, the box needs some deep cleaning.  The original mortise lock is long gone and clearly the drawer handles aren't original.  Does anyone have any pictures or catalog pages that show what they might have looked like?

I've had a great Easter Weekend so far.  Here's hoping you get some time in your shop and some time to shop for your latest treasures.
Zach

4 comments:

  1. Wow. Those are beautiful. I had never thought about looking for antique tool boxes, but now I will. I am pretty new to this hobby, and your finds have gotten me excited to one day find one myself. Great post.

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  2. Thanks! Tool boxes are one of my favorite things to buy and make. In the upcoming days, I'll be posting some pics of another old carpenters box, with a few changes made to it to make it more useful to me.

    I'm really happy to be able to use both of these beauties. Now, I just need to find a spot to put 'em in my shop.

    Zach

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  3. Them are some great old box's. The first man I worked for as a young carpenter in training worked for Gerstner's when he was a young man. He was in his 70s when I worked for him and that was in the late 1970s. I learn a great deal from him even though I didn't know it at the time. He had several old Gerstner box's in his shop that I use to lust for. I have kept an eye for one for myself since I live close to Dayton, but I have had no luck so far, so I might just build my own. Thanks for your post and enjoy your woodworking treasure

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  4. Joey,

    Thanks for the comment. I really enjoy these boxes as well as all of my other vintage tool chests. Keep an eye out, I'm sure you'll find one, especially if you are near Dayton.

    I haven't had the opportunity to really learn from an old-timer, but I envy those that have.

    Best,

    Zach

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