How to Refinish an Antique Carpenters Tool Box

Written by hubert oresco
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How to Refinish an Antique Carpenters Tool Box
(Hemera Technologies/ Images)

A wooden antique carpenter's tool box is a stylishly practical addition to your home or work space's decor. Not only does it add a warm, rustic feel to your space, it can also serve as a container for many things like books, records, and, of course, tools. It can even be an addition to the outside of your home, serving as a planter. Upon acquiring such a piece, or after years of wear and tear, you may need to refinish it to revitalise its look.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Sanding sealer
  • Paintbrushes
  • Clean cloths
  • Stain
  • Polyurethane

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  1. 1

    Sand the antique carpenter's tool box with 120-grit sandpaper. Be sure to sand off all of the original finish and grime to expose fresh wood underneath.

  2. 2

    Wipe the tool box clean of dust and grime with a tack cloth.

  3. 3

    Sand the tool box again with the 220-grit sandpaper. Remove any remaining bits of the old finish and create a smooth wood surface for the new finish.

  4. 4

    Brush on a heavy coat of sanding sealer and allow it to absorb into the wood. This will ensure the wood of the tool box absorbs the new finish evenly and does not look splotchy. Wipe off any excess sealer with a clean cloth.

  5. 5

    Wipe a coat of stain onto the antique tool box with a clean cloth. Let it sit on the wood for several minutes, then wipe off any excess stain with a clean cloth. Wipe on further coats to create a darker final finish.

  6. 6

    Brush a thin coat of polyurethane onto the toolbox. Allow this coat to dry and then lightly sand it with the 220-grit sandpaper. Apply at least two more coats in this way to ensure the wood is sealed and protected.

Tips and warnings

  • Sand and brush with the grain
  • Work in a well-ventilated area when using stain
  • Wear eye and hand protection

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