Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A long-overdue repair

solid cedar chest 1

A solid cedar hope chest very similar to this one that I found online was among my mother’s oldest possessions.

About the only difference is that mom’s had wooden handles and lacked the brass strap over the center. It also had casters under the four legs. Other than that, the brass straps with their staggered studs, the hand cutouts under the front of the lid and the style of the feet tell me it was made by the Roos Manufacturing Co., Chicago, Ill., sometime in the 1930s.

There is a price of $35.00 penciled on the inside of the lid. My parents were married in April, 1939, so that price in ‘39 would equate to $580.09 in today’s money.

We lived in two houses during my time under their roof, moving to the second house in April, 1954. I can’t recall where the chest was in the first house – probably in my parents’ bedroom, since I can’t visualize it anywhere else. From 1954 until we cleared out the house in 2001 following my mother’s death, it stood at the top of the stairs outside my bedroom door.

Sometime during my youth, I did something to break loose the glue holding the block with the caster on the left front leg. My dad, who was not particularly handy with tools, made a game attempt to drive four nails from the inside of the chest into the loose block. I think the repair held for awhile before it failed and the chest has been lame ever since the 1950s.

Since last Friday was the 12th anniversary of mom’s death and since we have a new use for the chest in our guest room, it was a good time to see what I could do to fix it.

The glue surfaces were too rough for a glue repair, so I pulled out the nails and tracked down a couple of long deck screws left over from the construction of the deck behind our Thorntown house. My DeWalt impact driver made pilot holes and screw driving a breeze and the caster block is solidly back in place.

I like to think mom would approve.


Anonymous said...

I also inherited Moms cedar chest given by her in law parents. On the bot. Was fragile stickers ROOS MFG CO. 16th and Fisk streets, Chicago est. 1871. No ident. Numbers in blank area of sticker. Has two straps which wrap the lid but only go down the front by about two inches. Wood exterior handles carved feet blocks with wooden casters in steel frames. I hand rubbed eith rubbing alcohol due to bad attempt of a finish coat and over specs of paint. Took four rags qt of alcohol. QUESTION: should I leave the straps alone with patina, I am concerned because some are green and may have etched the copper. Any suggestions?

Jkbower1@verizon.net thanks.

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