Dutch Tool Chest #7: Maximizing Space with Drawers

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Blog entry by Brandon posted 05-27-2013 04:19 AM 22818 reads 12 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Adding a Double-u on the Lid Part 7 of Dutch Tool Chest series no next part

It’s been some time since my last blog post on this tool chest, but I’ve been making changes and using the tool chest for the past month, really putting it to the test.

I debated with myself for some time about what to do with the lower section of the tool chest. I liked the idea of having an open space (what I originally intended) because it’s easy to grab tools as long as they are in my line of sight. However, it was not ideal because there was a lot of space wasted and it was hard to see all the way into that space.

On the nice tool storage thread, DonW suggested that I add a potato bin type of storage in the bottom. Though I liked the concept, I just wasn’t sure it would have worked very efficiently given the physical dimensions of my existing tool chest, plus it would have caused me to think too much.

Here’s an example of a potato bin storage cabinet (not mine):

Click for details

It seemed to me that the best use of space would be to build a couple of drawers. Here’s the view of the tool chest with the drawers:

You’ve probably already noticed the funky designs on the the drawer fronts. These recesses are designed to accommodate the locking mechanism attached to the door. Also, instead of adding knobs or pulls to the drawer fronts, I simply bore holes to make it possible to open the drawers. In terms of construction, the drawers aren’t anything fancy, just rabbet joints reinforced with cut nails. The simple design of the drawers is commensurate with the simple design of the tool chest.

Here’s the top, more shallower drawer. It’s nice for various hand tools, that didn’t fit into the upper section of the tool chest. So far, I have a larger 2” chisel, a large rasp, a second DT saw, a folding ruler, bronze hammer, a spokeshave, a Stanley 80, and a marking gauge. The marking gauge is obscured because it is the same as the one I sent Dave for the tool swap.

And here’s the bottom drawer. It’s a bit deeper than the top one and is perfect for hand planes. Right now it’s holding a 605, K5, butt mortise plane, Bailey 4, Bailey 4 1/2, 40 Scrub, 48 tongue and groove, Bailey 2, 220, 75, 101, and a 12.

Below the bottom drawer is a space for various items—a couple of mallets, a coping saw, a gents saw I hardly use, and a Stanley 71. I try not to hide too much under here.

Overall, I’m very satisfied with the functionality of the drawers, how much they hold, and how they keep things organized. I’m not fully satisfied with the organization of the top drawer yet, but I have a feeling I’ll be tinkering around with it for some time. That said, I’m really happy using this tool chest so far.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

14 comments so far

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4787 days

#1 posted 05-27-2013 04:33 AM

If you are happy with it, that’s all that matters.
Nice job.

View Don W's profile

Don W

20152 posts in 3779 days

#2 posted 05-27-2013 11:47 AM

I really like this chest Brandon. Nice design and execution.

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

View Mauricio's profile


7168 posts in 4363 days

#3 posted 05-27-2013 06:52 PM

Really cool, I love the contents of the bottom drawer. I could stare at that for a while.

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

View CL810's profile


4167 posts in 4199 days

#4 posted 05-27-2013 08:32 PM

I really like the look of the drawer fronts. The nails are a perfect fit.

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

View a1Jim's profile


118201 posts in 4788 days

#5 posted 05-27-2013 09:07 PM

Very nice work a great looking tool chest.


View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3866 days

#6 posted 05-28-2013 01:53 AM

A very sweet addition you have made.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 4162 days

#7 posted 05-28-2013 01:58 AM

Thanks guys! I probably would have done things a little differently had I planned for drawers from the beginning, but that’s what I get for sort of building this thing on the fly.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8577 posts in 3193 days

#8 posted 05-28-2013 02:03 AM

I’m diggin it man.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17500 posts in 3829 days

#9 posted 05-28-2013 11:30 AM

I’m thinking the bottom needs a conversion, too. A slat that pulls out, carrying the contents out into plain view. Getting at that stuff now has to be an exercise on hands and knees. But that said, it’s a fine chest that looks awesome. Nice work w/ the drawers!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 4162 days

#10 posted 05-28-2013 12:24 PM

Smitty, that’s an interesting idea. Honestly, I just have a few things in the bottom and their handles are in view, except for the gent’s saw that I use never. I’m afraid if I add a pull-out at the bottom, the 71 won’t fit any longer. But I could probably relocate that to what is now the bottom drawer.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View chrisstef's profile


18133 posts in 4217 days

#11 posted 05-28-2013 01:38 PM

Looks like a great shop project B Dub. I could use a handy roll around like that myself. Very solid work friendo.

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

View AnthonyReed's profile


10180 posts in 3651 days

#12 posted 05-30-2013 02:00 PM

Friggin awesome Brandon!

-- ~Tony

View Brit's profile


8377 posts in 4054 days

#13 posted 06-08-2013 12:12 PM

I just caught up on this blog series Brandon and I’ve got to say that Tony nailed it with FRIGGIN AWESOME!!!!

A brilliantly written and illustrated blog on a great addition to your shop. You’ll be enjoying that tool chest for years to come. Thanks for a great read.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View AnthonyHbm's profile


67 posts in 2899 days

#14 posted 05-30-2015 01:58 PM

Hello Brandon,

Thank you very much for posting your thought process on this functional project. I appreciate the time you took to catalog and share your steps as it’ll help many, including me, design & build the chest of our dreams. You are a very meticulous woodworker, well done.

Now that some time has passed, have you made any further improvements to your design? I would love to see them, if you’re willing to share.

Wishing you a creative and productive woodworking journey.


-- Anthonyhbm

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