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What to do with an old tool box
Dove Cochrane
January 9, 2013 in Design Dilemma
This hefty tool box had been sitting out in the weather for years before I discovered it.
It's large; 1ft top to bottom & 31in long.
I would like to use it on the dinning room table, perhaps the coffee or sofa table, maybe the kitchen island.
1: should I freshen it up with tung oil or linseed oil or leave as is?
2: what should I put in it? I'm not shabby chic, but I love anything that surprises the eye. Like a mix of rustic and elegant.
Please no silk flowers or faux plants.
My decorating style is eclectic transitional. I also posted a fabric sample used on the 4 chairs in my living room conversation circle.
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Hi, Dove. You could line the exterior with your fabric and line the interior with plastic and plant herbs in it. The different compartments could be used to separate the herbs, or you could do a combination of things - just so long as none of them needs too much water. And, you could still use it as a portable decoration. It's very nice, and we wish you luck!
January 9, 2013 at 11:31AM     
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Dove Cochrane
ATG, Thank you for responding. I thought about herbs, it's just requires so much sunlight to keep them from getting leggy. I'm really trying to come up with something that will create an interesting contrast to the rustic wood; silver, crystal.... ?
January 9, 2013 at 11:58AM   
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Look for or have custom baskets made to fit the openings and use it as a silver holder for buffet style meals, even picnics.
January 9, 2013 at 12:06PM     
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I'd clean it up with oil.

Use it to sort mail. The center could hold your checkbook, stamps, and envelopes. The side partitions would be new mail and mail to be answered.

If you knit or crochet, fill it with balls of yarn in the side compartments and your latest project in the center.

If you quilt, fill with several stiffed balls in the color of your dining room.

An arrangement that includes dried plants from your garden or the roadside and pine cones would be nice in the fall. Maybe pine cones in the center and small bunches of dried flowers in the side compartment.
January 9, 2013 at 12:11PM     
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On the Spot Furniture Revival llc
Fill with sand or rocks and use as a candle holder?
January 9, 2013 at 12:20PM     
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Perfect for garden tools.
January 9, 2013 at 12:31PM     
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Dove Cochrane
I don't know what kind of Paul Bunyan carried this tool box but empty it weighs an easy 15lbs. It's not what I consider portable, better suited for a centerpiece type decoration.
I like the candle idea, I wonder how it would look chucked full of assorted heights and types of candle sticks.
January 9, 2013 at 2:57PM     
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I have one like that. i hung it on the wall, placed hook screws on them so I can hang my car keys and used it as a key organizer.
January 10, 2013 at 7:05AM     
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This would make a great center piece as the season changes.

January 10, 2013 at 8:10AM     
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HI -- Wow ! that is just like the one my Dad had, but was stolen . Please don't change it or paint it or put any hooks or store anything in it that will harm it ,etc. I would just keep it as is ,-just dust it up . Maybe just add some tiny furniture protectors on the bottom so it won't harm anything it sits on. You could use it on the kitchen island for fruit or cooking oils as display in the center of the diningroom table or on the floor under a console table or in a bathroom for towels and soaps and so on or set in a livingroom or den for books or magazines . If you keep it as is then it could be used where ever, when ever . I know it will work with any style decor from modern to traditional . My Dad's was very heavy also . Most of these were usually made by the carpenter that used them . Love it ! Makes me want to cry !
January 10, 2013 at 9:11AM     
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Dove Cochrane
I think seasonal decorations could be a lot of fun. I would also like something for the in between times that has some shine to it. Perhaps mercury spheres or blown glass orbs.
January 10, 2013 at 9:41AM     
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I like the seasonal changes idea, but when I look at it I see it on a buffet with eating utensils in each compartment and napkins in the center.

Or filll it with glass/chrystal bud vase and a few single flowers.
January 10, 2013 at 10:07AM   
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Dove Cochrane
So you know what I'm talking about, it's huge. I considered putting it in my studio to hold paint brushes, palette knives, etc - but I didn't want to ruin it, no matter how tidy you are, studios are happy disaster areas.
I'm sure this is home made too. I will put some felt pads on the bottom so it would leave marks, great idea, I should have thought of that.
I'm so sorry your father's stolen, I would be heart broken too.
January 10, 2013 at 11:02AM     
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Dove Cochrane
Hi Janis,
Thanks for the photos. The art department at my college has an excellent glass blowing program. I think blowing spheres is part of the required curriculum. I'm going to check it out. Most students are thrilled to get a few bucks to cover cost. It may not be Chihuly, but then I'm not a museum either.
January 10, 2013 at 11:19AM     
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E Klo
Not sure if this would work with the handle across the top - but I've seen a couple where the put different colored glass wine bottles in the middle as a centerpiece (maybe use bottles that pull colors from your fabric). Love the toolbox!
January 10, 2013 at 12:12PM     
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Good GRAVY what a find! I think we have similar styles Dove and I love many of the ideas you've had.

I do think I'd give it a swipe with some kind of oil if for no other reason than to feed the wood. Tung oil or maybe just lemon oil?

I love the idea of a mix of candles including maybe a couple in tall pewter or crystal candle sticks.
January 10, 2013 at 12:29PM     
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Dove Cochrane
Oh I think we're getting closer, love the wine bottle idea, if I can keep them in there long enough before someone (like me) decides to have a a glass or two :-)
Candle sticks and wine, what a lovely combination.
I'm going to have to bring it in the house and try a few sample ideas and post them. It will give a better idea of scale if I do.
January 10, 2013 at 12:36PM   
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Dove Cochrane
I wanted people who helped me with all their great suggestions to see what I finally came up with.
My college has a glass blowing program. At the annual student craft sale I picked up a few glass balls. I have a few more in different (not blue) colors on request. I love the polished / rustic contrast.
October 26, 2013 at 6:31PM     
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Nancy Walton
Very nice!
October 26, 2013 at 6:37PM     
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Beautiful, Dave. When something is real, authentic as in this case...simplicity is the best choice.
October 26, 2013 at 6:44PM     
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In the spring put some herb plants in it or some tulips.
October 26, 2013 at 6:55PM   
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Clean, sand &wax it, then fill it with fresh fruit as an amazing table centrepiece. Imagine bright green apples, or big juicy oranges...
October 26, 2013 at 8:47PM     
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Silver leaf or gold leaf!
October 27, 2013 at 6:11PM   
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Paint the outside if you like , if you sew use it to store things from your sewing room , I don't think that I would like it on my dining room table , its a tool box,
October 27, 2013 at 6:18PM   
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It would make a lovely planter.
November 18, 2013 at 7:41AM   
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I would change it with the seasons: fall leaves and pinecones, all things Christmas, winter, spring and summer arrangements. If it was mine, I would have keepsakes, photos, postcards and letters. Look and touch.
November 18, 2013 at 8:41AM     
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Dove Cochrane
Thank you mkhodges,
I really didn't want to alter the box, I love it's rustic finish. The sleek glass balls make contrast in texture and finish I was seeking.
November 18, 2013 at 5:16PM   
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Dove Cochrane
Genevieve it's not on my dinning room table, as it turned out it was too large for the dinning table. It happily sits on the coffee/cocktail table in our family room.
November 18, 2013 at 5:18PM   
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we have one on top of the toilet tank and in it are current magazines of interest to us (sheep/horses/cattle/decor/and tons of catalogues) we have another one we painted barn red and it's our tinder box by the fireplace
November 18, 2013 at 5:21PM     
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Dove Cochrane
We have pomegranates growing all over around here, that may be a pretty change for Christmas time
November 18, 2013 at 5:22PM     
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i have another one i use in the horse barn as a grooming bucket....holds all my brushes/combs/picks and many other things for equine beautification
November 18, 2013 at 5:23PM   
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you are SOOOOOO lucky to have pomegranates!!!
November 18, 2013 at 5:24PM     
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Be neat to store your remotes for your tv, newspapers etc
November 18, 2013 at 5:32PM   
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Nancy Walton
@eightpondfarm, that is what I use mine for, too!
November 18, 2013 at 5:33PM     
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Or roll up towels and put it in your washroom
November 18, 2013 at 5:33PM   
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Ok....even though you've already made a decision, just to keep the wood "healthy"...

a light coat of linseed oil to bring the beauty of the wood out. I mix my linseed like so: 3/4 linseed & 1/4 turpentine. Helps the oil soak in & dry up quicker. Once done you don't smell it at all.

I'm glad you don't want to paint it...it's a great piece! It will work well outside when grilling too. It can hold quite a bit! :0)
November 18, 2013 at 5:43PM   
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If you use it on the kitchen island you could fill it with biscotti, packages of oatmeal, tea bags/coffee packets and accessories.
November 18, 2013 at 5:52PM   
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I love decorating with natural elements like seashells, pinecones, small gourds etc.
November 18, 2013 at 6:01PM   
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We have one that has sat at the back of an old buffet style cupboard and we use it for mail, pens, bits and bobs that need a place . It sits by the front door so it tends to collect quite a bit .
November 18, 2013 at 6:04PM   
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