2/19/2021 3:41 PM

‘Labour of Love’ Project Sees Grandson Restore Vintage Moore & Wright Toolbox Back to its Former Glory

Andy Clarke's ‘Labour of Love’ Project Restores Vintage Moore & Wright Toolbox Back to its Former Glory

Moore and Wright Tool Box RestoredMaking the most of time in lockdown, Andy Clarke, of Paignton, Devon, restored his grandfather’s old Moore & Wright apprentice toolbox back to its stunning former glory. Making room in his garage to continue a restoration project of his Triumph Toledo car, Andy stumbled across the old toolbox that had been passed down to him by his father years earlier.

Initially unaware of what it was, he levered the door open to discover a selection of old engineering tools and cigarette tins inside. He also found some old raffle tickets and a membership to the Royal Mint Horticultural club with his grandfather’s name on them. It dawned on him that this was, in fact, his grandfather Raymond's apprentice’s toolbox.

Sadly, the box had sustained extensive damage from damp and woodworm over the years, and as Andy went to put it away for safekeeping, it fell to pieces. For a number of months, it sat on the shelf while he toiled away, trying to find a way to have it restored.

Inspiration and Role Model

Speaking of the project, Andy said: “The toolbox was given to me by my father about 8 years ago. He was moving home and clearing his outhouse, he kept leaving items on my doorstep that I guess he thought were too good to throw away. My grandfather was an inspiration and a role model to me. It was at this point I decided it needed to be saved. Having done the research, I found that these were apprentice toolboxes. I searched the internet and found other people’s restorations, seeing these really inspired me.”

Moore and Wright Tool Box Before

Andy’s grandfather, Raymond, was born in 1914 and became an apprentice around the 1930s. Whilst Andy has no existing proof of the age of the toolbox, curiously, the letters "HB" are stamped into the wood of the lower edge of the front opening, something that Andy feels could have be linked to an owner prior his grandfather.

A Real History

“I've never renovated anything like this before, but I bit the bullet and decided to have a try myself. I have enjoyed doing this so much that I can see it becoming more of a hobby. Doing little bits here and there, the overall project took about six weeks. I still have all his tools to restore too, so I am excited to see what I can do with them and look forward to putting them back in the box. I'm not an engineer but I hope to learn more about these tools as I go along. The toolbox has a real history. It is because of my grandfather and my father that I am quite a hands-on individual and have always enjoyed fixing or building things.”


The project had a huge significance to Andy, proving to be a true labour of love in honour of someone so inspiring to him. Raymond had worked in many fascinating places, starting his career 

making cigarette machines, before moving on to work for the Royal Arsenal, Royal Aircraft Establishment and the Royal Mint.

Pride of Place

When asked what his plans were for the finished piece, Andy explained: “Although I’d love to put the toolbox behind a glass case to preserve it, I think it will take pride of place on a shelf in my garage. Somewhere I can see it and hopefully still make use of some of the tools. I think that would be more of a fitting tribute.”