February 13, 2021 at 9:24 pm #37563
Hello, I am restoring my grandfather’s 41b. He built submarines at the portsmouth naval shipyard in the 40s-60s. When he passed away no one wanted the case and it spent many years in my garage until I did some googling and found out what it is! Inside I found an inspection sticker that was put on all the boxes when workers went home to make sure nothing was taken off the yard, time cards, and my Grandfather name plate so I’m excited to have the old case restored. I plan to use it for tools I use to keep my guitar collection in ship shape. I’m just about done restoring it and have two questions. First there is no stamp inside on the bottom of w/ the Gerstner name but it has a Gerstner foil name plate, penciled numbers on the back of the drawers, measurements fit for 41b, and a Gerstner lock, etc. so all the specs line up. Is it common not to have the Gerstner stamp on the inside of the bottom? I also see (see pic) that it has metal supports…is that normal or perhaps the bottom was repaired/replaced resulting in the metal supports and wood replacement thus no logo. The main question I have is regarding a replacement handle. I ordered a new Gerstner handle. The handle is about half inch too wide so it will not fit in the original the handle holes (see pic). How can I make the handle fit? Is it a matter of softening the leather or putting it in a vice and bending the metal frame? Thanks for the help! Jeff (Ann Abor, MI)February 14, 2021 at 5:09 am #37571
The replacement handles from Gerstner have little in common with the originals. The frames under the wraps of leather and paper are tubular, rather than the stiff wire used in the originals. I am not sure how that tubular frame would act if subjected to the remedy you describe. It may buckle and collapse, where the wire would be more pliant. Also, the new ferrules they send with the handles are not like the originals.
Do you still have the original handle? Pictures? Have you thought about getting it re-covered?
TerryFebruary 14, 2021 at 5:15 am #37573
I just noticed the picture you attached that shows the two handles. I see that you are trying to use the old ferrules with the new handle. That may be part of the problem.
Your old handle doesn’t look to be beyond redemption.
TerryFebruary 14, 2021 at 5:42 am #37574
Did you carefully read the description online:
The Gerstner Leather Top Handle with Nickel brackets can be used as a replacement handle for older chests that have handles. These hand stitched leather handles have a steel tube running through the handle for added stability.
This is not a direct replacement for older top handles.
The handle length is 6-1/2″ to 6-3/4″. The handle bracket mounting holes are 1-1/8″ apart (center to center). When the handle is mounted on the chest, the holes on the brackets can be 6-1/4″ to 6-1/2″ apart (center to center).
The handle comes with 4 split rivets for mounting.February 14, 2021 at 12:16 pm #37578
Thanks for responding. I really appreciate it!
So I have some options:
1.) Try to return the handle (not sure if I can) and send the original for new leather to someone who can do the work(since that is beyond my skill set). Not sure if people do that work and how much it would cost…?
2.) Soak the new handle and try to bend it into place. The original ferrules are similar enough I think to the new that I would use them to keep the same patina with the rest of the hardware.
JeffFebruary 14, 2021 at 5:13 pm #37583
Gerstner did not use the corrugated fasteners to attach the sides of the box, but I have seen them that were added by a previous owner.
I have no idea why you would want to “soak” the handle… The leather is not was is restricting its movement.
Again, the old ferrules and the new ferrules from Gerstner are not the same. The old ones you are trying to use have a ridge that cuts into the leather of the handle.
I don’t know of anyone who re-covers these handles other than me.February 14, 2021 at 6:30 pm #37584
You’re right soak was to strong a word…I should have said soften the leather and underlying wrapping material. The new handle is so bulky it wont even fit under the new ferrules. So the leather has to be worked a little.
I’ll definitely be in touch if I can’t get it to fit w/ a little persuasion.
JeffFebruary 15, 2021 at 4:07 pm #37592
Well I got the gerstner leather replacement handle to fit on my 41b. As Terry said be sure to measure to make sure the handle will fit your top. The ferrules for the original handle were about a half inch closer to each other. So it took a lot of gentle persuasion with a vice make the handle bow ever so slightly to fit. Wouldn’t recommend this as it was a bit of work to not snap the tube in the handle. Attached the handle today (see pics) and glued down the felt so the restoration is complete! Next I plan to save for a base!
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