Craftsman Toolbox Restoration – Part 3

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In parts one and two of this project, I fought forty year old hammerite and rust. In this one, I tackle some weird angles on the inside of the box and a good size dent in the bottom.

I went after the inside with the electric palm sander, getting to everything that I could.

Then I went after the corners and edges with all the tools and options I used before, the wire brushes, sanding blocks, and plain old sand paper.

The area pictured at the top right of the picture below was a nice little creased dent that looked like something heavy was dropped into the box on top of a socket or something. You can see the remaining paint around it.

I used the blocks of wood and tiny hammer to lightly tap out the dent as best I could. First from the inside, then the outside. Obviously, there are special tools for this and obviously I don’t know what I’m doing. The dent is mostly flattened out now, but the area around it is wavy, where the metal is stretched now. The more I tried to flatten it, the more wavy it got. Here is how it looks from the bottom.

In the last post, I was concerned with the remaining rust that I wasn’t able to remove, and someone commented that rust converter primer should take care of it. Relieved (and only a little skeptical) I picked up a can of Rustoleum Rust Reformer.

I say I’m skeptical because I had used something similar years ago on the wheel wells of a car after getting it down to bare metal. I “converted” it, primed it, painted it, and about three months later, the paint was bubbling off from new rust underneath. It was probably just me not getting it down to “bare enough” metal, but in either case, I wasn’t impressed at that time.

If nothing else, the Rust Reformer gave the box a nice, Stealth Bomber kind of look. You can see the wavy spot in the lower third of the picture above. Not too shabby.

There you can see one of the deeper rust areas and the nasty texture it leaves. If this was anything other than a toolbox, I would try my hand at body filler to smooth all this out. I have used Bondo in the past and didn’t do too bad with it, but am not an expert by any means. I can only imagine, though, the first time I throw a pair of pliers in there, the body filler would crack and separate, taking the hammerite with it.

Anyway, that’s where it is currently. I bought some nice dark bronze hammerite that should look good with the silver clasps and hardware. I figure, the darker it is, the better it will look after regular use.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot… The tool tray that sits on top hasn’t been touched yet. It matches how the rest of the toolbox looked before, but there isn’t much rust on it. The outside of it has no weird angles, but the inside of the tray has a divider, presumably for sockets, and looks like it will be a bitch to get cleaned up.

Craftsman Toolbox Restoration – Part 2

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A few months ago, I started this project with part 1. It has been slow going!

I started stripping the loose paint and rust from the toolbox with wire brushes. That part was easy! Paint and rust was flying, I thought I would make quick work of this thing and have a shining show piece in no time.

I bought a pack of foam sanding pads, fairly low grit, though I don’t know the exact specifications. I have had several hand sanding sessions over the last few months, probably twenty hours or so total, just getting the outside stripped. The paint has now been mostly removed, but those rusted areas that I mentioned in Part 1 are very concerning.

The rust is very deep and has pitted the metal.

There are also areas of oxidation that are raised up above the metal, where chemistry has converted it into something harder than the original metal.

I sanded until it felt like my arm was going to fall off with not much to show for the effort. I got discouraged and hadn’t touched the toolbox again for the last couple of months.

I got an e-mail today from a fellow toolbox restorer inquiring about updates. So, here we are! Today, I finally gave in and threw an electric palm sander in to the mix. I put on a sheet of 60 grit paper and went to work.

Textured areas before (sorry for the blurry pictures)

And after the electric sander

Significant improvement in a very short amount of time. Maybe an hour of going over the whole toolbox with the electric sander. You can’t argue with results like that!

So, in future updates, I will approach the inside of the box, which is painted and rusted exactly the same as the outside, only in a much more confined space, along with a little shelf welded in to hold the top tool tray. That will be much more awkward to try and work around. The Dremel will definitely be involved in stripping the inside and grinding away in all the joints in the various pieces of metal. Also, I need to do some more research and figure out how to approach those pitted areas that are still full of rusted metal. Rust never sleeps! If I were to just cover it up with filler and paint, it would be no time before the rust had taken over again, undoing all this hard work.

More updates to come in [hopefully] quicker fashion.

View part three here.

Bee Two Thousand Eleven

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Back in 1995, I was living in Tucson, AZ and working in a record store. The “senior” staff there had control of what music was played over the sound system and, aside from a number of industrial dance beat shifts a week, it was a great place to be forcibly introduced to new music. One of the things I picked up while working there was Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand.

I loved it instantly. I’m not sure what spoke to me about it. There are a few things in my music collection that stand [FAR] out; beginning to end masterpieces. This is definitely on the short list. Unfortunately (I guess that is relative), the recording quality of this album is not great. I never really processed how bad the quality was until years later, after repeatedly trying to play it for new friends. No one would ever give it a chance. That, and I, too, had been making recordings that sounded similar to those for several years. Sure, it’s hard to listen to if it doesn’t catch you immediately. There’s definitely some magic there, though, and lots of those in the know continue to give it accolades, putting it in all sorts of top 100 lists:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_Thousand#Accolades

Anyway, a few years ago, I started talking about recording my interpretation of the whole album, as a salute, or a tribute, I guess, to the handful of people responsible for making it in the first place. Maybe my old friends would hear what I was on about all those years if the songs were a little more produced. I have talked about things like that before and talk is cheap. Usually, I just record one or two covers of songs that stand out to me (plug) and leave it at that.

This time, though, I meant it, and now, six or seven years later, I’ve actually done it. Of course, I did have a little help from my friends. I started working on these tracks nearly a year ago with my old drumming buddy and a fantastic grower of beards, Chad Hildebran (website || facebook). We knocked out a bunch of them fairly quickly, then a few months went by, we recorded a couple more, then a few months went by… You get the pattern.

Around the same time, I handed off lyrics sheets and chord charts to my longest running collaborator and partner in crime, Dan Taylor (website, website || facebook), who had agreed to play bass on it if we could ever actually get it together. Almost a year went by with no news. Granted, we hadn’t actually gotten it together, and granted, he’s a busy guy, being a total rock star (Metroid Metal, Yes Mayhem), as well as a great dad and coincidentally, also a fantastic grower of beards… Now that I have gotten it together and knocked the rest of the recordings out, Dan came through in smashing fashion, recording all his tracks over the course of three or four days. They’re ridiculous AND came out better and more on point than I ever imagined.

So, here we are and now it’s done and I love it. Hopefully, you will love it, too. If you do, go buy the original in a record store or online somewhere. This is still pure indie rock; everything here is free to all and was recorded in one bedroom or another by one person or another.

We’ve decided to call this project Guided By Guided By Voices – Bee Two Thousand Eleven.

Enjoy!

James

 

Here’s the full album download (ZIP, ~85MB) or stream/download individual tracks below.

01. Hardcore UFOs

02. Buzzards and Dreadful Crows

03. Tractor Rape Chain

04. The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory

05. Hot Freaks

06. Smothered in Hugs

07. Yours To Keep

08. Echos Myron

09. Gold Star For Robot Boy

10. Awful Bliss

11. Mincer Ray

12. Big Fan of the Pigpen

13. Queen of Cans and Jars

14. Her Psychology Today

15. Kicker of Elves

16. Esther’s Day

17. Demons are Real

18. I am a Scientist

19. Peep Hole

20. You’re Not an Airplane