Love for the old soul - Part 2

Luckily I have a fairly stocked studio and found most of what I needed.


  • Wallpaper paste
  • Paint scraper
  • Plastic bowls
  • Q-tips
  • Sponges
  • Caustic soda
  • Gloves
  • Brushes
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Linseed oil
  • Insanity
First step: Off with the metal bits.  Not good to expose it to acid if I don't really know what kind of metal it is.  Most bits looked brass. Loads of screws and a few nails as well and a lock (sadly no key).

Second step: Remove paint.

By mixing the wallpaper paste with the caustic soda, the paint softening acid sits where you want it to and doesn't drip.  You can coat several sides at once and let it do the work while you make some coffee.  It took several soaks and washes.  Apply goo, let it sit, scrap it off.  Rinse.  Repeat.  After a few times I rinsed it in water and let the wood dry a few days.  I worked on one part (Lid or base ) at a time.  When the box was as dry as I could wait, I used Q-tips to take off the remaining paint in hard to reach corners and such.  Occasionally I had to use a wood chisel to ever so gently scrape a fine layer of paint infused wood away.  After which I sanded everything smooth again.

I kinda wish I would have taken more photos of the steps I took but I think the work was mostly meditative  and I didn't think of it.

I did the same with the tin trays and brass fittings, screws 'n everything metal; Acid, rinse, sand.  I did this and not much else for 7 days.  One part dried while I worked on the other.   Then both needed to dry and I worked on the metal.

For the finish and health of the wood, I coated it 3 times with linseed oil.  Every week or so I still do that to keep it from getting thirsty.  I need to find a key for it as well.  Maybe the German silversmith across the hall with make one for me.

  • Aprox. cost of box: 3 dollars
  • Aprox. cost of restoration: 10 dollars
  • Estimated value: 150 - 200 dollars

I know this is a heck of a build up.  "How does it look?" you ask...


Absolutely gorgeous. 


Front cut from single piece as you can see in the wood grain.


Yup, Mahogany 


Yup, Brass fittings





Mid 1800's Mahogany travel paintbox


k y r i o u s . o r g