Vintage Machinist Tool Chest Restoration

Authentic Industrial Furniture

We found an old machinist tool chest on Craigslist. We purchased it from a retiring machinist who had used it in his shop for many years.   This chest is built like a tank and weighs approximately 250 lbs.  While it looked in pretty bad shape, the corrosion was limited to surface rust.


We stripped the cabinet using Jasco paint remover and discovered that much of the steel underneath still had a dark grey, almost black scale except for some areas where the rust had eaten through this natural finish.  After sanding with 220 grit on an orbital sander, I went back and touched up some of the exterior areas with flat black enamel and after it dried, used some Van’s gun bluing. I also and painted the inside of drawers and cabinet with a flat black enamel.  I finished the exterior with a coat of a satin clear coat to keep moisture off the bare steel.


We replaced the hard rubber casters with steel/cast iron ones and added some vintage number tags where the drawer locks had been.



The finished cabinet now resides in our “project” room inside the house.


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