Local 706 - The Artisan

Winter 2019

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Page 39 of 47

40 • THE ARTISAN WINTER 2019 in brown leather with antique nickel hardware, while the interior was detailed in red and brown felt, creating a one-of-a-kind result, with some cool history and ownership. Other models included the slightly smaller BK309, which I've restored for Trefor Proud and Gunn Espegard. The smaller set case known as BK311 was also popular in the range and I've restored these for Sue Cabral-Ebert, Eryn Krueger Mekash, Mike Mekash and Vivian Baker. Howard Berger recently acquired a restored BK309 and BK311 from me that once belonged to Bob Norin and Michael Blake. An even rarer W308A, with a finish of natural walnut, surfaced a few years ago, and provided the tougher challenge. It had been quickly painted with black paint in the late 1980s, so needed to be completely dis- assembled and stripped to the natural wood. Though time-consuming, this proved to be the most rewarding to revive, and I opted to give it a deep mahogany finish and lacquer. It remains the case I carry most often. I restored the same model for Robin Beauchesne, who got it early in her career and now proudly carries it back onto set. I've done dozens of Gerstner restorations at this point, and will continue, so long as the cases are out there. And I'm asked almost daily, "Where can I get one?" The best bet is to try antique and second-hand circles. Retiring artists also often want to pass down their heirloom boxes. However, Gerstner have been known to manufacture retro models by request, at a price. The $1,000+ price tag for a new case isn't for everyone, but the cases do hold their value and remain stunning conversation pieces. Gerstner also sells parts online at gerstnerusa.com, and may even have additional parts not listed if you inquire. One can only hope that a full case production revival may one day be in the cards. Until then, dust off your cases and get them packed again, or find an artist to carry on the tradition and pass them on. And if you've yet to own one, keep hunting. Gerstner cases will remain an indelible Hollywood icon, and carry more than pan-sticks and powder puffs. They carry stories and a legacy.•

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