Old boxes - how to repair

Of course we all like things natural, non-fixed or repaired.
However, I have an early german box, that was repaired years ago and the box is broken on the edges.

I know tape is a no-no, but what is the best glue or other hints in fixing a box?


Can you show us a photo first?

Yes, now I can…
IMG_4331 IMG_4332

I read this in Goretz and Sturgess; that he says you’ll find 1911-1913 ammo in boxes???

When I do fix broken boxes I usually try to find a matching paper or thin cardboard and make small patches which I do fold to 90° and cut to correct length. Then I glue in these patches from the inside (into the corners).
Here one needs to make sure no glue gets to the outside where it can be seen later and also no surface gets contaminated with glue except for the areas where the patches are to be glued on.
Also the box needs to be fixed in place after glueing so nothing can move or come apart while drying.
Here I am using styrofoam blocks cut to shape to go inside while all is drying and rubber bands for the outside to keep things where they shall be. Depending on the box and type of repair also small clamps are helpfull.
As for the glue you need to look what will work best. Sometimes it is faster drying glue, sometimes it is more liquid one. Also there are special paper glues which do not leave a “wet look” and also have a matte surface after drying.
Needless to say that all this has to be done very accurate and precise as it is too easy to ruin a box for good.

But all this is only my take on the subject. Other people may not repair at all or do differently.
Actually I am interested to hear what other people do to fix damaged boxes.

the box is Geco while the cartridges you show are DWM. Both factories were located in/near Karlsruhe, but had no connection. Therefore, the cartridges to not belong to the box.
The photo from Goertz/Sturgess shows samples of DWM boxes, as 480C was the DWM case number. The text mentions the dates of the boxes shown in the photo, not that boxes were only used during the 1911-1913 period.

yes, thank you, I was aware it was a Geico box - I just found it interesting that there are 3 1911, 3 1912 and the rest 1913 cartridges. I only had a couple of the earlier ones before getting this box.

I use a wood toothpick and regular / common white glue. I carefully use the toothpick to pick up a small bit of the glue and then use it to spread a thin & perhaps uneven coating along one edge, the inside edge. (if you look carefully at the break you can see which side is what I’ll call the outside & inside. Also put it together without glue to see how the pieces fit together, this will help show which is the inside or the outside)
Then i press it carefully together & wipe of any excess using my finger & helping to use the excess paper on the outside to go back where it was covering the inside edge.
Then when that edge is dry / solid I go the the next seam that needs restored.

Also look at how the order of which to do first, before you start.

As to restore or not restore, I see nothing wrong if it has been expertly done, . And it should be stated that it has been restored if it is sold / traded & etc.
If some fool has used a hot-glue gun down the seam it’s worse than doing nothing at all

A very tiny bit of glue to just one edge works best for me. I found putting glue on both edges doesn’t work very well as too much glue is being used & thus the excess needs to be removed from both sides of the seam / break and it takes longer to dry.

I use a tooth pick and scrap bookers glue. Be very lenient with the glue. I have found that it leaves no yellow color and really cant be seen. Dries quickly, but keep pressure on it until it is nearly dry. Wipe the fussy edges on the corners over and they will look very good.

This is excellent advice, thank you gentlemen!

I do pretty much the same thing to repair boxes as EOD.
The glue i like is made for archery, it is for attaching the Fletching to the arrow shaft.
The one I use is called “Fletch-Tite Platinum”, made by The Boehning Company. It dries in 5 minutes, and cures completely in 48 hours, dries clear, and has a medium-light viscosity.


The comment above from the caption for the 9mm Para box labels describes the known dates of production of the cases used with the truncated bullet, hollow point cartridges by DWM. I agree with Jeff that these “could” be made from production overrun military cases, I believe it is more probable that they were actually produced for use by German Colonial forces, which in these years were totally seperate from the German military, though German military officers often served in the Colonial forces. The Colonal forces were not restricted from using HP bullets.

Nice Geco box. I am glad you are restoring it. I suspect it dates from the early 1930s, it probably has two letters stamped on the back (examples MK, or NL, or PC) which identify the year of manufacture. If you will post an image of this code I may be able to give you the year of manufacture.


thank you Lew and the previous boxes I talked about, well they are in a box and I simply haven’t got around to it… but I will soon