I did a little "soft" restoration this weekend.
About 4 weeks ago I bought the first version of the AF #104 station on the 'bay. It came with the heavily taped, partial remains of its box.
I thought the box was worth trying to save primarily because of the interesting label on one end (more on this in a moment).
"Fortunately" the tape holding the box together was of the heavy plastic variety so I sat down with my wife's hair drier set on high heat and played the stream of hot air over one of the tape ends. In time the adhesive softened and allowed me to pull the tape away from the box/other tape without incurring any additional damage to the box cardboard. The whole process took about 2 hours. As I removed sections of the tape, the box, which was also in sections, began to fall apart (as expected). When I was finished I had a nearly complete box (puzzle) less the fold over flaps for the top.
One long side of the box was "complete" but in several pieces. I laid the pieces down on a flat surface and carefully applied archival cloth tape to the side that would be the inner surface of the assembled box.
Reassembled puzzle side.
There were two pieces of box missing, one on the label side and one on one side of the box. I cut .040 picture mounting cardboard to match the shapes of the missing pieces and then I carefully reassembled the box, one side at a time, using more archival cloth tape. Finally, I used a combination of hot glue and archival tape to assemble the box and I added some tape to the box edge seams for additional strength.
Box Label Side with repair piece of cardboard
The overall condition of the original box, even after re-assembly is fragile so rather than trying to make replacement box top flaps I made a simple slide on box top out of more .040 mounting cardboard.
So, for my efforts, I now have a half-way reasonable original box and a very nice example of the first version of the #104 station to put in it.
As noted above, the main reason for all of the effort is the box label. The first version of the #104 was just the second version of the #96 with the addition of an outside light. An examination of the box label indicates the original label was for a #96. It would appear that when it came time to box and ship this example of #104 there were no appropriately labeled boxes ready so they just took a #104 label and slapped it on over the #96. If you look closely at the box end you can see the outline of the #96 label underneath the #104 label and you can make out a piece of illustration of the base of the #96 station peeking out from the bottom edge of the #104 label.