Thursday, June 13, 2013

All gussied up and ...

ready to use.  I decided to go for the full meal deal, although it seems kind of silly for a tool chest.  My story is that this is like the historical craftsmen whose tool chests were allegedly a statement to potential customers of their capabilities.   In my case, it seems to be working as my wife commented that it would make a nice chest for her sterling silver tableware.  Of course, she pays nothing so this may not be a valid market test.

Here it is:

The solid brass corners from Lee Valley are beautifully made and expensive; I don't know if they are necessary but they certainly look nice.  The knobs are also solid brass and are very easy to grasp with big fingers.  I bought a leather handle with brass fittings for the top but the leather is so light  it looks bad on the dark stained oak, so I'll have to come up with something different.  I thought a long time about whether I wanted two handles on the sides or one on the top of the chest and, after I loaded it with tools, the chest didn't seem too heavy for a single handle on the top.  This is an advantage of a solid top with stout dovetails.

I am sure I will get used to it, but right now this chest seems over-the-top for storing tools.  A major reason I chose to go this route was that it would be a learning exercise and it definitely was.  I think that building a tool chest is a great skill builder:  two types of dovetails, drawers, stopped dados, grooves . . .

There seems to be a mini boom in making tool chests right now.  Paul Sellers is about to make one in his online video series and Fine Woodworking features one on its August 13 cover.  I chose to have mine all drawers without a till, but the incorporation of one with through tenons is a nice touch.  If you don't want to build one, you can always buy one for $780.

An interesting thing to do is to search online for images of machinists tool chests.   Google has a huge number in many shapes and sizes.


  1. "over-the-top for storing tools"? Ha! I get the same comments about my wall hanging tool cabinet that hangs in the garage.

    My response .. it creates an inspiring environment for my work. :)

  2. The leather can be stained a darker color. for dyes and stains.