It occurs to me that I haven't posted anything about a little project I completed last year; here it is:
I've done a couple of DIY watch box projects before. One was a rather straightforward bit of sewing:
And then there was this renovation of an old leather writing case:
At the end of the latter thread you will see mention of this old gun case:
It has only really come back to me whilst I've been working on this that I bought it at a market in Dublin over Christmas 2000 (probably Mother Redcaps which I suspect no longer exists) and presumably for a pittance. I then flew to Berlin for the start of my very first overseas posting in the new year. As you can see I've done feck all with it in the intervening period and I'm amazed that SWBO tolerated it being propped up against the wall in various corners of the flat.
The first task was to treat the leather and it took a couple of weeks of occasional treatment with leather balsam (and the remains of a tin of Mars leather oil that I found in my parent's garage - I had originally bought it about 30 years previously). The other thing was to get some brasso on the lock but that didn't take very long at all.
I had a vague idea about how I'd kit out the internals but this very much adapted as I went along. For reference here's a few more pictures as I began work:
I don't seem to have taken pictures between the treatment of the leather and start of work on the internals. I had intended to keep as many of the internal partitions as possible and work around them to somehow make space for watches - several of them crumbled into splinters almost immediately on contact with the enemy (me) and some had to go, in the end, just to make way.
The first bits of raw material are a set of balsa wood sheets from Bauhaus - the German equivalent of B&Q.
Nice and easy to cut freehand with a blade as long as you're working along the grain. Normal wood glue and various clamps and right angles mean that we get some trays to work with very quickly.
The observant amongst you will see a bracket from a Cisco rack mounting kit being used to good effect. I could probably have done with more of these and I will probably raid my mingi box* at work should I ever have the bravado to do something like this again.
And finally we have two complete trays for dress watches on leather or NATO straps.
One of the side benefits of this exercise was to discover a magical little hardware shop in the basement of a local shopping centre. Some of the work needs access to a craft/handiwork shop and, as already stated, I needed a few bits from a more conventional DIY place. The shop that I found has a bit of both and was really useful, particularly as it's a less-than-ten-minute walk from home. The component that prompted the search for this local retailer was green baize felt. This stuff:
And we start to line the boxes.
Unfortunately I don't seem to have taken a photo at the stage when both trays were covered so we'll have to wait for that. I then found some felt to cushion the bottoms.
The next challenge was how to make a compartment to house watches on bracelets. I contemplated buying some Ebay cushions and trying to find a way to fit those in but ended up with a different idea - a padded wooden bar suspended, or rather resting, in another tray.
Wooden bar and foam (from an old Peli case)
There was a last bit over in the right-hand corner where I decided to add a little strap compartment. This is the only picture I seem to have taken of that. The second bracelet watch compartment doesn't seem to have any photo record. More assistance from Cisco.
And now it's finished. Well, almost.
Here's the strap box. I'm assuming the cylindrical well to the right of this is for a bottle of gun oil - I may see if I can find something that fits in there and fill it with silicon grease to ease squeaky bracelets or perhaps some Loctite to do the opposite effects to the screws.
Further work was to include trying to get a key for it - a local junk shop was selling up and I managed to find one that fitted from a jar of spares that they had. That was a result as with the writing case in the link above, I took it to a locksmith who said that they would only be able to get one made if I was able to remove the lock from the case. You'll note that in the original photo there is one external luggage strap - that's been renovated but it looks a bit silly with only one. I could try and find somebody, on Etsy for example, to make me a duplicate but as that will make it a pfaff to open the box when I want to pull a watch out I'll probably do without.
I also bought some leather to attempt to patch some of the tatty finishes but left it out, in the end. I couldn't make it match the patina of the case and decided to keep the shabby chicness and general air of genteel neglect - a perfect match for myself. I can live with it.
I had an idea that I would try to keep this case just for the Universal Genève watches in my collection and I've managed to achieve that.
I now need a bigger case as I have at least 4 UGs that don't fit in there now. Harrummph!
So, if somebody turns up at the next GTG with a shotgun case you don't need to fret. It's only me.
* Mingi box. This was explained to me by a sadly deceased friend who was an Irish Army subaltern in the Congo, in the sixties. A mingi box was a converted ammunition tin that an officer used to transport his mobile office - there would be compartments for stationery, paperwork and, vitally, always the makings of a brew. Frank would pull up in a village and the mingi box would be the first thing to come out - mainly to get the kettle on but he might also have to write a Sitrep, produce boiled sweets to give to children or whatever - whereupon all of the locals would gather round and shout "mingi, mingi!". Mingi is Swahili for many things. I had a similar box which was commonly named in the British Army, and not so exotically, a battle box. Unfortunately my mingi box at work is an old, and probably stolen, British Telecom toolcase and not an ammunition container.