Dec 30, 2010

How To: Refinish an Old Metal Toolbox

created at: 12/30/2010

I'm with John. The selection of toolboxes at hardware stores is awful: flimsy black and yellow junk emblazoned with brands, or cheap synthetic fabrics with seams that are already beginning to come apart.

So, like John, I'm always on the lookout for old metal toolboxes and tackle boxes when at the thrift shop and other secondhand stores. And, over the years, I have a pretty heathly collection of perfectly usable, albeit rust cover and pretty shabby looking, old steel toolboxes.So, I was plenty excited to find John's excellent instructions on refinishing these old gems to give them an attractive and protective facelift that'll guarantee they continue to be in service for another half century.

Depressed by the utter unmanliness of the plastic toolboxes at my local hardware store, I headed to the flea market to see if I could do better. I was looking for a heavy-duty hunk of American steel. It didn't take long to spot a real beauty ... if you find rust and worn paint to be beautiful. But how could I resist a box labeled "Park Manufacturing Co?" After talking the seller down to $13, the old beast was mine. None of the rust seemed to be below surface level. Time to take it home, sand it down to the metal, and bring it back to its original glory.

Make an Old Toolbox New Again



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Julie on May 29, 2019:

Where is the how-to? The link isn't working.

Fred on Nov 06, 2016:

What was wrong with 'before'?
Okay, the rust might have become a problem. But the box had history and with simply painting it blue this value got lost.

handydandy on Jun 05, 2015:

what grit was used before the prime? i heard to take it to atleast 120. i started my tool box project with a 40, now i just finished a 80 grit on my angle grinder. can i prime yet or use a finer grit?

kitliz @ DIYdiva on Jan 04, 2011:

Looks like new, or better than! Love this because I've got more broken down rusty toolboxes than any girl should own. I might paint them up and hand them out for christmas next year!

Lucy on Dec 30, 2010:

The upscaled toobox is lovely, but I can't help but wish you'd gotten 2 of them so you could leave one untouched in it's rusty, lived-in, much-used state.  There's something about the wear and tear on objects that makes me think of the many stories they could tell.  Love the blue color, though.