Pictured on the left is a fuse [frequently spelled fuze] for a mortar. Why have I put this here? Well...
...The other Saturday morning, ridiculously early, I went with Bob to our local industrial estate, where a motorbike repair place was advertising a relocation sale, with 'lots of tools, large and small'
While Bob poked around in the plastic bins of planes and hammers and wrenches, I spotted a wooden box, upended on a heap of rubbish in the corner. We came away with two woodworking tools - and a box to carry them in [in lieu of a 5p plastic carrier] The label on the box made it clear that it was of military origin - and once held fuzes. They would have been the detonators for mortars- making a very big bang!
But the the box was incredibly dirty - I have no idea how long it had been kicking around the workshop, or why it came to be there.
The wood looked dry and inside was dirt and dust. I took it into the garden and brushed it thoroughly with a stiff brush. A few nails needed hammering back in, and the lock plate was a little bent. Those faults were soon fixed. I wanted to make it look clean - but retain the labels. I made up some wood cleaning solution and went all over the box with it, using ultra fine wire wool. To protect the labels, I held a piece of scrap card over them so I could clean right to the edge.
It didn't take long to make a really different to the dull grey appearance.
You can see here the difference that just a few minutes of cleaning brings out the colour of the wood.
Finally I gave it a light coat of beeswax and buffed it up to a shine.
I haven't quite decided yet what to put into my box. It's strong and the rope handles make it easy to carry - maybe it will be good for carrying crockery and cutlery and condiments outside for BBQs. But whatever goes in it, I can guarantee it will not be weaponry - this is my equivalent of "beating swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks"