Tips needed to refurbish small old brassbound box

  Brumas 22:10 27 Jul 2008
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I would welcome any advice, tips or trade secrets, which would help me refurbish this rather splendid 9x9x3 inch, polished, brass-bound box.
I know you will have difficulty in believing me when I say I bought it, for £3, this morning, at a huge boot sale! I know I wouldn’t believe it if someone told me – but it is the truth!!
There are small areas of what appear to be dried ‘black gunge’ otherwise the overall condition is quite good externally.
Inside was covered in a very coarse green baize type material that was very dirty and reeking of, what smelt to me as, gun oil. I removed the lining as best as I could because it was beyond saving being so impregnated and grubby.
The ‘cap badge’ on the top intrigues me and I would hazard a guess as to it being Polish?
So, feel free in telling me the best way to approach this little project as, basically I am a ‘bodger’ not a craftsman.
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  Bingalau 22:32 27 Jul 2008

Looking at it my first impression is that it may have been made to hold a cutlery set. We had one like it which I now use to keep instruction pamphlets for such items as electrical goods such as food mixers and washing machines etc.

  Brumas 22:55 27 Jul 2008

Fran has already claimed the 'finished article' for a handkerchief box :o(
Well, it will only be finished if I get an idea on how to approach the task.

  Forum Editor 23:23 27 Jul 2008

on what you want to do with the box.

If you think it may have some value as an antique you should do as little to it as possible, save polishing it with a good furniture wax, like Briwax. You certainly shouldn't set about it with any form of solvent cleaner, that will destroy the patina, and reduce the value.

If you want to keep the box as a decorative item you could use one of the proprietory wax removers to clean back the old finish and remove what you refer to as 'dried black gunge' - possibly accumulations of old polish. Then repolish with the aforementioned Briwax.

In both cases you should re-line the box with a good quality baize - green or red would be the usual colours for a Walnut box. I think what you have is walnut, or it might be a piece of mahoghany, it's hard to tell from your images.

  Brumas 23:38 27 Jul 2008

The box is to be kept.
Thanks for the tips, I do have some Briwax.I also think it is walnut, a beautiful wood which, in my opinion, is perfect for these type of boxes.

I shall buy some baize but do you have any ideas as to how I can solve the problem of that lingering odour of gun oil which I must address before I re-line it?

  DieSse 00:07 28 Jul 2008

Bicarbonate of Soda is an excellent "odoureater".

Don't put it straight onto the interior - put a fair amount into a tray and leave inside with the lid shut for a fair time (days, not hours). Renew the bicarb from time to time.

However if there is oil sooked into the wood. it may be impossible to remove.. You could try lining with aluminium foil (or even polythene) under new baize, if you want to mask the smell.

  woody 01:12 28 Jul 2008

Quote - "any ideas as to how I can solve the problem of that lingering odour of gun oil which I must address before I re-line it?"

If the wood has soaked up the oil you do have a problem but if it is just on the surface you could try just leaving it open for a few days.
The smell of good gun oil soaked into wood will last for years - i am glad to say.

  Brumas 09:07 28 Jul 2008

I have no problem with the smell of gun oil however as my dear wife has 'baggsied' the box for an ideal repository for her ever growing collection of linen handkerchiefs - it really doesn't fit in with her plans :o)

  Brumas 09:09 28 Jul 2008

Duly noted and I shall try after I attempt to remove the semi-sticky mess left by the old baize - any ideas on the best way of tackling this?

  Brumas 09:21 28 Jul 2008

I havse just identified the cap badge as being the Polish Air Force.

  Bingalau 09:47 28 Jul 2008

Maybe it was used to keep a handgun in, it certainly sounds as if it has got a history.

I know the daughter of a Polish Airman who settled in this country after the war, as an awful lot of them did. She taught me to say Good Morning and Good evening in Polish, but I can't remember which was which. I think Good Morning was, or sounded like "Jane Dupré" and Good Evening may have been, or sounded like "Dor Branos"... I told you before that I was mine of useless information...

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