Recently, Jimmie Dee’s Airguns acquired two FB Record LP1 air pistols. Both were complete with an instruction manual and box. However, both boxes were missing the tabs and all bar one end flap had been severed through wear and use. Luckily, the previous owner had kept all of the severed pieces inside the boxes rather than relegate them to the waste bin. I decided that as I had all the main pieces, why not try to repair the boxes.
I had some cardboard leftover from a previous box project. But it was far too thick. Then I saw an empty packet of cornflakes ready to be put into the recycling bin. Perfect, I thought. Just the right thickness perhaps. I decided to make two long side pieces to add strength to the box. At the same time, the side pieces would be extended to form new tabs. For the side flaps, I decided that the best approach would be to reinforce them with a card backing. By utilising the folds that had already been provided on the box I could also make this task a little easier.
Of course, the gamble would be whether the pistol would still fit inside the box when the job was completed.
Once I had opened the box and flattened it out, I set about measuring the two long sides and end flap reinforcement sections of card. I used a corner of the end flap as a template to mark out the corners of the side tabs. Using a sharp craft knife, a steel rule and some scissors I carefully cut the card to size and shape.
One thing that crossed my mind was that some of the print would show on the outside of the tabs. This would not do as I wanted the repair to be hidden from the outside. I decided to try to peel off the print from the cardboard. Using the knife, I scored the print side of the card at a point that would be hidden within the box. I then used the knife to carefully peel the top surface away from the card. This actually worked very well. Of course it has weakened the tabs a little but it will do nonetheless.
Before glueing the side pieces to the inside of the box, I creased the fold line of the tabs. I used a bone creaser for this task. You can buy them from craft shops or you could use the rounded blunt side of a knife. This indents the card along the crease line and makes it much easier to crease the card.
The side sections were now ready to be glued and fitted to the inside of the box. I used PVA craft glue and an off-cut of card to spread the glue out. The plus side of applying glue to the print side of the card is that it gives you the chance to slide the card into position before the glue sets. Once in place, I applied glue to any parts of the sides of the box that were frayed and stuck them down onto the new reinforcement strips. Finally, any excess glue was wiped away and then the sides were firmly pressed down with a long section of wood from the inside.
Whilst the glue was setting, I made a start on the end flaps. I had already cut these to size and so it was just a matter of applying the glue and fixing them to the surviving flaps. Once these had set, I trimmed the edges as they were a smidgen oversized. It was at this point that I realised that some of the print would show through at the bend. Oh well, it was never going to be a perfect repair. Maybe I will touch in these sections later with some acrylic buff coloured modeller’s paint.
Last of all I glued the end flaps to the box. The result is pretty good! The ends now lock in place thanks to the new tabs and the box is much stronger and rigid. Although the boxes are still fragile, the repair has served its purpose in making the boxes functional once again. Oh, and the pistols still fit in the box.
I hope some of you will gain inspiration from this small project and repair any tattered and torn boxes that you may have in your collection. After all, there’s nothing better than a vintage air gun that is complete with its original box.
Until next time, happy shooting!