In End Grain

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I purchased this classic tool chest at a yard sale in Maine, while on vacation. The case had only two drawers remaining, and no handle. The seller said he had every intention of restoring it, but never got around to it. I bought it for $15 and proudly showed it to my friend Roger, who immediately identified it as an H. Gerstner and Sons tool chest, made in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. (I live in Alabama.) Roger volunteered to take it back to Dayton and check on having new drawers made for it by Gerstner. The company still makes a similar chest, the No. 52 Journeyman’s Tool Chest, and sells replacement hardware.

On the way back to Ohio, Roger’s car caught on fire at a Massachusetts Turnpike tollbooth. The car was totaled, but somehow Roger managed to save the chest. Back in Dayton, the drawer replacement deal didn’t work out–they were too expensive. Roger sent the chest back to me on a boat headed down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers for some fishing in my home state of Alabama. I built the new drawers in my woodshop, and bought a replacement handle. Now that’s a strange journey! I wonder where the missing drawers are? –Harold L. Trammell


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