Antique Chest: Tools to Turquoise

I had the urge to go hunting for treasures one day a few weeks ago. So I went to a favorite thrift store, walked in and saw a man bending over a large, old wooden box right in front of the cashier. I was crestfallen, gasped, and said, “Oh no! I’m too late!” You see, in addition to bun feet, curvy legs, and Italian 60’s furniture, I also love boxes. And this was a very cool one, a chest, with many old tools inside. The man straightened up, and I noticed his name tag. Name tag! He worked there! He told me that the chest was just brought in and they had just priced it. “Sold!” I said. To me.

In this chest, when I got it home, weere so many amazing things from the past–a vintage task light in a cage, hand drills, wooden handled screwdrivers, Ford Model T tools (pliers, socket set and screwdriver), a hammer set of three sizes with matching heads, early wrenches, a blue painted oak level, large tin snips, lots of metal files, solder, and many other items that indicated that the former owner was very, very productive.

But the really nice thing about this chest is the condition. The inside was totally unfinished, surprisingly clean, and had a sliding tray that rested on ledges inside. However, someone had taken the original lock off and put an ugly galvanized padlock loop on it that was causing the trim to split, as well as more modern galvanized handles on the sides. I cleaned it up, removed the ugly galvanized hardware, sanded it just to get the rough parts under control, stained the lid and trim, and washed it with my favorite turquoise so the wood and grease stains still showed through.

And now it’s gorgeous. It doesn’t belong in a garage anymore. It belongs at the end of a bed, or in front of a sofa, with books on it. Maybe books on auto mechanics or woodworking!



This humble chest went to the Vermont lodge of a high-end home builder. What a great fit for this terrific piece.
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6 thoughts on “Antique Chest: Tools to Turquoise

  1. Love how this chest turned out. I want it and blue isn’t even my color!! (I use earth tones in my 1950’s ranch home.) Also like the simplicity of the staging in this photo. Good job!

    Small House / Big Sky Donna / White Oak Studio Designs / SW Michigan
    Hand-Painted Vintage Furniture Transformations
    Facebook: (for portfolio of chalk painted work)


  2. Such a beautiful finish on this piece! And I agree, it would fit perfectly in front of a couch or at the end of the bed. So glad I found your blog. Stopped by from Elizabeth & Co.


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