• The Retro Angler

Vintage tackle box

This month was another month, unfortunately bereft of fishing, so I thought I'd share a 'restoration' project I've been working on.

I bought this very dishevelled looking box online and thought it would make an ideal addition to my shed. It was advertised as a 'Vintage Fishing Tackle Box' and located about an hour away. I bought it for £12.71.

The box sat in the corner of the shed for just over a year as I didn't really know to start! Then, one day during the summer I decided to make a start, and gave it a really good clean with hot, soapy water.

The pine on the outside had been painted black and once I'd cleaned the dirt and grime away, I could see the carved dovetail joints.

The drawers also had carefully hand carved joints with good quality fronts and I replaced the original plastic handles with brass handles.

Meanwhile, I had removed all the brass fittings; hinges, catches and the lock and I put them in lemon juice and olive oil, which loosened the black paint and years of dirt enough to get it off with a cloth.

I replaced the worn and damaged plywood from the front and back, then I sanded down all the black paint on the outside to reveal the grain as much as possible. I sanded the drawers, staining the backs and varnishing the fronts and lined the insides with new green felt.

After giving the brass fittings a good clean I put them back and put the box back together. Finally, I added some float foam to the inside of the cover and slotted in some old floats. Then I put all the bits and pieces and odds and ends I've collected into the drawers. A pretty good job all-in-all and I'm pleased with the result.

It was very sad to hear the passing of John Wilson, who has been an inspiration to many anglers including myself. I remember watching Go Fishing as a youngster, transfixed on John with his knowledge, enthusiasm, humour and love of the sport and his appreciation of nature.


This website and its content is the copyright of The Retro Angler © 2019. All rights reserved. Proudly created with