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Gerstner Machinist Boxes

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Old 04-17-2005, 05:00:39 PM
CJ Winslow
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Default A bit off topic - Gerstner Machinist Boxes

Alrighty here is the situation I am in. I am graduating from college in about a month. My parents are looking to get me a gift and asked me for ideas. I was thinking that a nice Gerstner box would be perfect - something that I would really like and have for a long time yet would be reluctant bo buy on my own because they are so expensive. I want to advise them on what to get. I am not going to be a machinist by trade but I plan to have a pretty serious home shop and spend a lot of time machining things at home. I have a couple of options here. The new gerstner boxes (smaller ones) run about $600 and up. That is just too much to ask for at this point. Gerstner makes a new line called "Gerstner International" boxes that are imported. On their web page they outline the differences between the conventional boxes and the import ones. The "Gerstner International" boxes run about 1/2 to 1/3 the price of a standard box. Am I better off getting a used conventional box or buying a new imported box. I know many folks like to "Buy American" but in this case it just is not economical. I was curious if anybody has expierence with the imported boxes and can give input as to the quality etc. Just based on labor cost alone they could reduce the cost a lot and still make a quality box. Any input here would be much appreciated.

- Thanks CJ Winslow
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Old 04-17-2005, 05:42:58 PM
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Jim Sherman Jim Sherman is offline
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Default Re: A bit off topic - Gerstner Machinist Boxes

Personally I like my oak model 52, the thing that I was told by my grandpa about buying one was if you have the space get a 26" wide box so your 24" rule will fit in it.
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Old 04-17-2005, 09:11:40 PM
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Nick Nick is offline
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Default Re: A bit off topic - Gerstner Machinist Boxes

CJ, spend the $$$ and get the genuine one. This is something you will only ever buy once and will own for a long time. Good machinists take excellent care of their precision tools and there's nothing like a Gershner to tell your tools you love them.

Cheers! NICK
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Old 04-17-2005, 09:29:56 PM
Rob Charles Rob Charles is offline
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Default Re: A bit off topic - Gerstner Machinist Boxes

About 17 years ago I decided I wanted a a poor boy I could only afford their "economy" model which was 26" wide and has 8 drawers .It is oak.The 1st problem I had was that the fitted drawer cover swelled up and didn't go in and out at all.Finally I left it out for a few years and from sitting around it fell apart.In comparison to my Dad's model O52 there is alot of differences in the joinery.The 52 is built much much better.The locks and latches are better and there are more of them on the 52.Dad's 52 was 60 bucks in the early 60's.Don't know what they sell for now but I'll bet it's a bit higher.I also have my Grand dad's O52 box .It's 60 plus years old and other than being dirty is in fine shape.Much better than my 17 year old 1.Anyhow you get what you pay for .Buy the good 1 .Rob
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Old 04-17-2005, 09:42:04 PM
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Byron Roberts Byron Roberts is offline
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Default Re: A bit off topic - Gerstner Machinist Boxes

CJ:: Have you thought about used Gerstners.... They are made in Dayton OH. about 15 miles away.... From me.. If you go to auctions around here Older Boxes go for $100- $400 most of the time....Probably made in the 50s-60s ...Not counting on the stuff the auctioneer left in the box.....A used box will last you a while ....Just a thought....Byron
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Old 04-17-2005, 11:34:41 PM
Wm. Galloway Wm. Galloway is offline
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Default Re: A bit off topic - Gerstner Machinist Boxes

As a patternmaker it was always a dream to have a nice Gerstner. They are well made. I would make a few suggestions.
1) Buy the genuine thing. Long after you are able to afford the higher priced one, you will remember all the activities you have experienced.
2) The suggestion of buying a used one is very good. Go to second hand shops and keep looking. Buying a used (experienced) can be very gratifying. Visualize all the experience that man had in using the tool box. Many of the old tool boxes have the guys name on it or some sort of legacy.
3) consider the unfinished models. (Do-It-Yourself) They are correct in saying they have completed all the difficult steps. All you need to do is stain and paint.
4) If you still want new. Consider a Kennedy. Same level of craftsmanship as Gerstner in a metal box. Know the reason for difference of a brown chest and a red one.
I can tell you I have looked at a “knock off” at Cabelas. I was not impressed. Very poor construction. For $80 you gets what you pay for.
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Old 04-18-2005, 08:41:06 AM
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Eric Schultz Eric Schultz is offline
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Default Re: A bit off topic - Gerstner Machinist Boxes

You can buy "seconds" from Gerstner. They have minor blemishes here or there, and are considerably cheaper! I bought one for my wife as a jewelry box, and she loves it. It is a thing of beauty! If there are any blemishes, I cant find it. I would love one for my shop, but it would get all beat up.
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Old 04-18-2005, 09:23:16 AM
ronm ronm is offline
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Default Re: A bit off topic - Gerstner Machinist Boxes

My wife came home from Sam's Club one day w/a chicom knock-off oak box...she said-"I knew you wanted a wood tool box"...After having it a couple years, it's OK-definitely not a Gerstner, but definitely worth 80 bucks...I still watch auctions for the real thing, but Western CO is not the center of the world for machinist stuff...what there is is rare & spendy, sometimes crazy...I watched a dude pay $300 for 10 Enco R8 collets in a coffee can-I went home & looked in the flier, you could get a full set for about $120...oh well, I think the widow was happier after that sale.
Ron in CO...
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:42:23 AM
Leonard Keifer Leonard Keifer is offline
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Default Re: A bit off topic - Gerstner Machinist Boxes

I just plugged Gerstner Machinist Box in the search page on ebay and found 6 boxes up for auction right now. If you're not too impatient and keep watching and bidding whatever you choose as a reasonable price you might get one without going into serious debt.
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:01:31 AM
Harvey Teal Harvey Teal is offline
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Default Re: A bit off topic - Gerstner Machinist Boxes

CJ, I know this is heresy but I'd go for a Kennedy steel unit. It might be another matter if I were to inherit an old family heirloom. For the money the Kennedy is twice the box, and it will survive longer in a working environment.
Or spend the money on some good tools instead, while they can still be found.
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