Dutch Tool Chest #4: Tills and Thrills

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Blog entry by Brandon posted 04-11-2013 03:05 PM 18747 reads 9 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: The Lid, Handles, and Casters Part 4 of Dutch Tool Chest series Part 5: The Larger Saws »

This is where we left off last time—- a basic carcass completed but no tools inside it yet. On a side note, do you prefer to spell it carcass or carcase? I’ve seen it both ways.

So now comes the fun part: figuring out how I’m going to fit all these tools into the upper section of tool chest. At this point, I’m not really concerned with my larger hand saws, my specialty planes, mallets etc., but most of the smaller hand tools. It seems like a lot of tools, but if it’s organized correctly, it shouldn’t be a problem.

First off are the back saws (the dovetail, carcass, and tenon saws). I followed a similar design found in tool chests except I angled the top of the till to match the angle of the lid opening on the tool chest. Here are the saws in a test on the workbench:

And here they are in the tool chest:

I initially was going to string a single board about two inches wide from the left side of the chest to the right that would most of my chisels, marking knifes, awls, files, rasps, and screwdrivers. The problem with this was that some tools had longer handles and others had longer business ends. This made it impossible to use a single board because some tools would bottom out on the shelf and others would hit the lid with their handles. So I decided to group similar tools together. The first of which were the chisels. What I did was make two rows for the chisels set at different heights to make them easier to access. The longer chisels are in the back. That’s also a burnisher on the lower right end, but it fit nicely there.

Then I tackled was the marking and measuring tools. Here I have the square, the combo square, a couple of awls, a dovetail marker, a marking knife, a wheel marker, and a caliper (behind the marking knife).

Next up are the planes. I wanted to limit the number of planes and so I have a jointer (Bailey 7), a smoother (Sargent 409) and a Jack (either my Keen Kutter 5 or my Stanley SW 92, I can’t decide). I also found a place for my Stanley 93, Stanley 60 1/2 and Stanley 9 1/2. I screwed in the dividers in place so they can easily be moved around if necessary.

The rasps, files, and screwdrivers were roughly the same size and thought a smaller tray would serve them well. I like the idea, but I can see a couple of drawbacks: first the tools might wear on each other, and second accessing the lower tools might be a little pain. The little tray is dovetailed and screwed in place so it’s not going anywhere. It’s only about 3 1/2” wide, which makes accessing tools below it easier.

A second, larger tray sits below the smaller tray, which is meant to hold miscellaneous hand tools. Like the first tray, this too is dovetailed, but is removable in case I want to take it out of the chest.

And here is what the storage set up looks like all empty:

And all full:

This part was a lot of fun, trying to figure out how to fit everything in place while using the space as efficiently as possible. I’m sure others might have gone about things differently, but I’m pretty happy with the layout and hopefully this will help give someone some ideas for their own tool chest or wall cabinet.

I still need to figure out what I want to do with the larger saws. I still think its best to attach them to the lid, but as Ryan (RGTools) pointed out, the design that Chris Schwarz uses makes it necessary to have ample space on both sides of the tool chest to access the saws. I would like to be able to pull the saws out from the top, so if you have any ideas on that, I’m all ears.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

26 comments so far

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3646 days

#1 posted 04-11-2013 03:17 PM

You must be awesome at Tetris.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Mosquito's profile


11227 posts in 3453 days

#2 posted 04-11-2013 03:20 PM

that is looking great!

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Woodknack's profile


13564 posts in 3541 days

#3 posted 04-11-2013 03:24 PM

Good layout takes time, I always end up switching something around. Not really a big fan of the fixed rasp tray but you never know, it might be perfect. This gets me thinking on how I will organize mine as I plan on working out of it, not pulling everything out in the beginning then putting it away.

-- Rick M,

View Mauricio's profile


7166 posts in 4312 days

#4 posted 04-11-2013 03:28 PM

Looks beautiful man! So much eye candy there, and its incredible how many tools you are able to fit in that top section.

I dont know how esthetically pleasing this would be but why not mount a couple of saws to the outside of the case? Or even onto the back? I mean you’re not actually going to be traveling with this chest.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3759 days

#5 posted 04-11-2013 03:29 PM

Dang, this thing is looking good. Amazing how much stuff you can get in there.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6444 posts in 3974 days

#6 posted 04-11-2013 03:34 PM

Dutch or otherwise that is a nice tool chest. I applaud you.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 4112 days

#7 posted 04-11-2013 03:34 PM

Brian, I’m pretty good at Tetris until it starts moving wickedly fast. I like to think about things a little more slowly. :-) In fact, I made not a few changes while fitting and testing the tills and trays.

Rick, I hear you on the rasp tray, but it works, and I couldn’t think of an alternative that I like better.

Mauricio, No, I probably won’t be taking my tool chest on the road, but I’m not sure fixing saws to the outside of it is a good solution given how much I’ve already banged the tool chest around in the shop and it’s only been about a week!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Mauricio's profile


7166 posts in 4312 days

#8 posted 04-11-2013 03:40 PM

Ah good point, so it does travel, just not outside of the shop.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Don W's profile

Don W

20121 posts in 3728 days

#9 posted 04-11-2013 03:43 PM

I really like this design. I may convert mine to something similar. Will you have is set in a permanent location, or wheel it around?

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 4112 days

#10 posted 04-11-2013 03:49 PM

Don, I have a couple of spots that I think I will prefer for it, but I do wheel it around I also store it in the adjacent laundry room just so it’s behind one more locked door. That’s where I’ve been storing most of my hand tools and smaller power tools, so having them in the tool chest actually brings the tools closer to where I’m working.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View MonsDr's profile


2 posts in 3032 days

#11 posted 04-11-2013 04:34 PM

Brandon Very nice chest. Placement of the longer saws seems to inspire discussion, so I’d like to feed a few of the thinkers. With the height of the back side if the chest, the longer rip and cross cut saws could be mounted vertically in the back, through the shelf and into the bottom section, with appropriate blade protection in the bottom. Or a horizontal till could be put there, or anywhere in the top section, even having the lid raise the saw till as it is opened. Wooden scabbards for protecting the saw blades could do double duty as the locking bars for the lower door. The saws would still be accessible from the top section. Or the saws could be mounted to the inside of the lower door itself, being easily accessible by just tilting the lower door slightly open when they are needed. That door doesn’t have the problem of rotating the saws more than 90 degrees before they could be accessed and would still allow them to be removed vertically. The lower door locking bars would fit behind the saw blades. Just food for thought. Now where to mount my light saber…

View CL810's profile


4157 posts in 4149 days

#12 posted 04-11-2013 04:55 PM

Great work Brandon and thanks for the blog.

I’m not sure that you need the area to one side of the chest available to remove a saw. If you have a small “boot” for the tip of the saw to slip into first and a locking tote holder I think it would hold just fine.

If the piece inside the hole was sloped and each piece had a piece of leather or suede glued to it I think it would be more than sufficient to hold the saw.

Anyway, can’t say with certainty that will work but it’s what I’m planning to try out on mine. So, FWIW.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 4041 days

#13 posted 04-11-2013 05:41 PM

Very cool

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View chrisstef's profile


18133 posts in 4167 days

#14 posted 04-11-2013 05:53 PM

Well done BW! Looks like it holds all the goodies required. I do think that the lid needs some sort of adornment though.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 4112 days

#15 posted 04-11-2013 06:13 PM

MonsDr, welcome to Lumberjocks! I like the idea of hanging the saw vertically in the back, but I’m afraid it’d be way too much work to re-engineer the tool chest at this point. But it might be very helpful for something else wanting to do the Dutch tool chest from the start. I hadn’t even thought about using the door as a place for the saws, I’ll have to see if they’ll fit and if it’d be practical. At the very least, that’s a good spot for sticking a bow saw, when I get one. Thanks for the suggestion.

CL810, I do like the locking tote holders. Actually, I”ve already made them for the two saws, but haven’t installed them yet. My only concern is that if I only support the saws from the two ends that they may sag, which probably isn’t good. I think what I’ll end up doing is adding some type of a middle support as well.

Stef, yes, I’m pretty sure that sign would be a great addition to the tool chest.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

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