Cleaning machinist boxes
I agree with the stepwise approach proposed, but considering all the damage
and filth on some of these, I would go right to a detergent based cleaner
after wiping down with a solvent. I happen to like old fashioned
turpentine, since you can use it safely on old shellac as well as old BLO
surfaces. No one mentioned it, so I thought it might be worth
consideration. I have used crud kutter as well as the Castrol Degreasing
spray which worked better for me. If a lot of the old finish is damaged
and flaking, I try to figure out what it was, and proceed accordingly. I
have tried those citrus based cleaners which don’t really work for me,
although they help deodorize. I hate that old fermented gym sock smell
found on some of these.
Sometimes the lacquer thinner/acetone/denatured alcohol is your only
solution for the badly damaged finishes. I like BLO for all workshop stuff
(you can use it over just about any of the old tyme finishes without
issues, and I will then use shellac to seal the insides of drawers,
followed by a wax rub made from beeswax and turpentine. It gets rid of the
old mouldy smells of barn finds. I make sure everything has dried out
properly before starting any additional finishes. Sometimes the moisture
level on these is really high from being stored in damp basements.
I enjoyed the repair photos- thanks for sharing.