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My Machine Gun Cart restoration requires seven WWI period machine gun ammo boxes. They are not hard to find and often pop up on ebay and gun shows. I have a couple of pristine original ammo boxes that I keep in the collection. I am using those original boxes and the original drawing as reference when restoring the ammo boxes for my Gun Cart. I was looking for damaged and beat up ammo boxes that I could restore like the one pictured above. The plan is bring these boxes up to museum standard for display purposes. This restoration is one of those boxes.

PAINTING AND FINAL FINISH


   I have observed these ammo boxes in swap meets, gun shows, antique shops and in the


WW1 Preservation Collection. I have examined the finishes, hardware and characteristics of


these original boxes to determine how they were painted so I could duplicate the original


finish. My conclusion is as follows:



1. The olive drab green paint was applied extremely thin, In most cases the pattern of the


    wood​ grain is still visible on the original boxes.


2. Sometimes just the inside of the lid is painted sometime not, the bottom box is not painted    

    inside. 


3. There is a 3 bullet stencil in black in the bottom of all boxes showing the direction that the    

    belt gets loaded into the box.


4. After years of handling the flatness of the olive drab paint has smoothed out and has a slight    

    sheen to the finish.


5. The boxes were painted fast with a brush, the paint was water thin this so it would easily      

    coat everything quickly. It would also dry quickly. These boxes were disposable to the Army


    and there was no attempt to beautify the painted finish. It is not unusual to see paint


    applied so thin that the wood still shows through. In fact this is quite common on many of  


    the boxes I have inspected.



Inspection found many flaws, cracks, multi colors of paint, this box had many drill holes including a broken hole in the lid. I was lucky that the missing piece was still inside the box. My task was to repair the worst of the cracks, fill the drill holes, manufacture a new leather handle and restore a period factory paint finish.

HARD TO BELIEVE IT'S THE SAME BOX


This box and six others that I have restored will be perfect compliments to my


WW1 Machine Gun Cart Restoration



LEATHER HANDLE PIN REMOVAL

INSPECTION

PROJECT COMPLETE

The handle pins are seated through holes in the side of the cover. Wooden plugs have been inserted in the holes to retain the pins. To remove the pins attach vice grips to one side of visible portion of the pin and simply tap the vice grip with a hammer. The plug will fall out and the pin can be extracted.

REPAIRS AND SANDING


For repairs I filled all the drill holes with wood filler. then glued and clamped the worst of the


cracks. I sanded the whole box and lid with 100 grit sand paper and then re-blackened any of


the screws and hardware that got sanded and made to look silver.



THE LEATHER HANDLE


One of the boxes had the remains of the original leather handle. Using the old leather handle


as a pattern I was able to re-create a new handle.



TRICK TO APPLY WORN SHEEN


This is a simple trick that I came up with that adds a convincing luster to flat OD green paint in


areas that are to be worn or handled a lot. Just find some Lemon Pledge furniture polish,


spray some on your hand and work in into the box like your polishing your car. Leave it stand


for about a minute and then buff it of with a clean dry rag. It will leave a softer finish that is


not quite flat anymore and looks like the items have been handled a lot.



U.S. 1917 MACHINE GUN AMMO BOX RESTORATION


preserving the past...for the future

PAINT APPLIED


What you see above is the box that is painted completely. I used my WW1 color oil based paint


that has been extremely watered down with xylene. Notice the painted surfaces have


absorbed the paint completely leaving a very flat finish still showing the wood grain.


this is perfect exactly what I want.