I bought my dad a new toolbox for his birthday and swapped him for the metal one that he's had since I was a kid. I want to restore the old box to its former glory. Any advice?
The process is actually pretty simple.
- Paint won't stick to a dirty surface, so wipe the box with a clean cloth and mineral spirits, or, if it's really nasty, something powerful like Castrol Super Clean.
- Follow that with a damp cloth and wipe the box dry.
- Next, remove any rust with a drill and a 60- to 80-grit sanding disc. If that leaves swirl marks, hand-sand them away.
- Your primer should be a high-build type, like what they use for auto repair. It's thicker and will do a better job of hiding scratches and filling small pits.
- After one to three coats, remove any imperfections with 1,000-grit sandpaper, then add a couple coats of hammer-finish spray paint on the outside of the box.
- For the lift-out tray, stick with red. That's just how it's always been.
If either of the latches is shot, you can find a replacement (called a draw bolt) at Rockler, a supplier of woodworking tools and materials, or at websites that sell leather-craft supplies.
Use steel blind rivets to attach the new latches and your dad's old toolbox will be ready for the next generation.