Union B-20 box

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Forum topic by Ean posted 07-11-2012 03:33 AM 1589 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Ean's profile


9 posts in 2113 days

07-11-2012 03:33 AM

Ok guys, so i acquired an old all wood Union machinist toolbox a few weeks back. I was surprised to see all of the hardware in tact (a bit of surface rust but nothing serious) It has B-20 stamped in the back and 57 written on the backs of all of the drawers as well as stamped on the bottom right corner inside of the box.

It is in somewhat solid shape with a few cracks and dings here and there. I wanted to make this my first restoration project and am wondering the best course of action to strip/sand refinish it.

Should I attempt to get some glue in the cracked areas and clamp it to dry, or should I just bite the bullet and attempt to disassemble and reglue all the joints. I am tempted to take the back off and replace it, as there are decent sized chunks missing out near the hinges (as well as a big ugly metal plate screwed on, possibly to hold it all together) . My only reservation would obvioulsy be taking this from 100% original – even though it already has some “after market” parts foolishly screwed in.

Ideas, thoughts, tips?

I will try to upload some photos of the box either tonight or tomorrow as well.


-- -The New Guy-

3 replies so far

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2805 days

#1 posted 07-17-2012 01:22 PM

Ean, I want one too. I think the answer to your questions lie in what you want to do with it. If you want to increase the collector value there are probably things you shouldn’t do. I don’t know, but just cleaning it might make it less desirable to a collector. If you plan on keeping and using it, I suggest adding to it’s history by putting your sound repairs next to the older ones. Make it usable and enjoy it. With my kid’s violins I always had better luck not “restoring” but “reserecting” . I found doing minimal, reversible repairs on playability/functionality were always more successful than major cosmetic efforts. Nothing wrong with the well used and well loved look IMO. -Jack

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

7926 posts in 2290 days

#2 posted 07-17-2012 03:19 PM

I’m not the type to collect things that I can’t use….

So I suggest making the box structurally sound and stocking it with your best measuring and layout tools.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2210 days

#3 posted 07-17-2012 03:23 PM

My dad has something similar in MINT condition. There is a middle drawer that pulls out and has a “machinists bible” in it. I shudder to think what that is worth. It is jam packed with precision measuring tools and well over 200 solid carbide end mills.


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