Tool Chest #7: Hinges, Lock and Paint

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Blog entry by CartersWhittling posted 06-21-2012 05:00 AM 13429 reads 3 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Skirts Part 7 of Tool Chest series Part 8: Tills and Tool Storage »


With the lid finished, bottom in place and skirts glued on I can begin installing the hinges and the lock. All the hardware (excluding casters and lid chain) were bought from which is where Chris Schwarz got his hardware as well.

So first off I began by installing the hinges. I placed the lid on the chest and got it into position and marked one side of each hinge on both the lid and top edge of the chest.

Then I used the hinge itself to mark the width of the hinge.

Then I set my marking gauge to the width of each leaf on the hinge…

...and then set my marking gauge to the thickness of the leaf.

With all my lay out lines marked I just used a chisel to carefully pare away the recesses for the hinges. If you have a router plane you can use that to easily get all the recesses to an even depth.

Turned out nice with a small even gap along the back edge.

Now I can work on fitting the lock. I began by setting a marking gauge to the distance from the pin on the lock to it’s top edge. Then scribe that line onto the front of the chest (make sure to reference the fence of the gauge off of the top edge of the chest, not the skirt).

I then drilled a guide block with a hole the same diameter as the hole in the escutcheon. I centered this guide block on the cross hairs and drilled through the skirt and shell of the chest.

I then set my marking gauge to both dimensions of the lock and scribed those onto the top edge and inside face of the chest. I also used a pencil to mark where the chamber of the lock is.

First I used a backsaw to make kerfs in the recess for the chamber of the lock to help with chiseling it out.

Then I chiseled out the rest of the recess. The depth of these were all done by eye and test fits, but again if you have a router plane now would be the perfect place to use it.

And lastly I used a coping saw and some files to shape the rest of the key hole which was traced directly from the escutcheon.

To install the upper half of the lock I put it onto the bottom portion of the lock and pressed the lid down onto it. You will notice in the picture that the top piece of the lock has two prongs which indent the wood marking the location of it.

I then used a marking knife to scribe along the outside of the upper piece and chiseled the recess out.

I also chiseled out a little recess in the lid’s skirt to act as a handle to open the lid.

At this point I have a fully functional box. All that is left to make it a tool chest is the guts inside the box. But before I make the entrails of the chest I decided to finish it. I had not yet figured out exactly how I want to organize the chest so in the meantime I began painting.

To paint the chest I am using milk paint from Old Fashion Milk Paint Unlike Chris Schwarz I decided to do a black over yellow finish. My reasoning was 1. I like the look of yellow under black and 2. I think it will help blend in any bare wood that will show over the years. When the chest gets dinged up and bare pine shows through the paint, it won’t be so obvious with a yellow undercoat as it would with red. Plus I just want my chest to have a different look.

So after I removed the lid and hinges I sanded all the surfaces to be painted and began the first coat of yellow (Marigold Yellow technically). After the paint dried I used some wood filler and filled any major tear out and some of the large gaps that I had in the bottom skirt. Then I gave the chest a light sanding to remove the filler and raised grain. Take note that you want to remove all the filler that is not literally filling gaps, otherwise it may show through the paint.

Then with the chest sanded I did my last coats of yellow. I managed to get 2-3 coats on the chest. I had already used some of my yellow paint on a previous project so I was only able to get 3 coats on the skirts.

You can see the small recess in the front of the lid to act as a handle.

I then gave the chest another very light sanding and painted the chest black. I managed to get up to 4, even 5 coats, of black on some parts of the chest. Just make sure that the colour is consistent. You do not want some parts being a lot weaker than others.

(These two pictures were after only one coat of black, that is why the colour is uneven. You can also see some filler blotches coming through the paint. After a couple more coats the filler was no longer noticeable, but it was a reminded as to how important it is to sand that filler away.)

At this point you can leave the chest painted black, but the finish is very flat and chalky in appearance (if you have ever used milk paint you know what I mean). By rubbing the finish down with fine steel wool and oiling the finish you can give the paint a beautiful satin sheen that is soft to the touch. But before I do that I want to distress the finish a little bit. One of the reason I wanted the yellow under black was so I could rub through the black strategically and give the chest a worn look. So I used fine sand paper and maroon Scotch-Brite to rub through the black around the edges and corners. I also wore through around the key hole so that when I nail on the escutcheon it will stand out a little more. After I reached a balanced level of distress I used 0000 steel wool to buff the finish and followed that with a few coats of linseed oil.

(Remember to time those screws.)

While I was finishing the chest I was contemplating the interior design of the chest and figured out exactly which tools will go where. I want a turning saw and carpenter’s square to hang on the inside of the lid with my handsaws/back saws along the bottom front of the chest. I also want my auger bits, drill bits, and chisel on the inside front wall so they are organized and easy to access. The only downside I thought about putting tools into dedicated slots on the front of the chest was that there is no way to quickly reorganize them if I get more/new chisels and drill bits.

So I came up with an idea involving custom canvas tool rolls…

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23

15 comments so far

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4805 days

#1 posted 06-21-2012 05:42 AM

Fabulous, I am jealous! Can I
I just pop over and pick up this chest? I really like the yellow, good choice.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5137 days

#2 posted 06-21-2012 06:31 AM

Fantastic job!


Keep on a chuggin…

Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View mafe's profile


13188 posts in 4174 days

#3 posted 06-21-2012 09:26 AM

Beautiful job you have done here on the chest.
I love the chest when it stands there in it’s best with a open lid and the wood shines out from it.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Don W's profile

Don W

20056 posts in 3653 days

#4 posted 06-21-2012 10:46 AM

What a great tool chest.

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

View terryR's profile


7646 posts in 3394 days

#5 posted 06-21-2012 11:07 AM

A very impressive build, my friend, love the finished distressed look! Thanks for taking the time to share all your knowledge…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Doug's profile


1247 posts in 3846 days

#6 posted 06-21-2012 11:15 AM

Excellent work Carter. The skills one can learn from a project like this are invaluable. Will you be posting the construction of the interior components as well?

-- Doug

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3889 days

#7 posted 06-21-2012 12:09 PM

Nicely detailed picture how to. Nice chest.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 4376 days

#8 posted 06-21-2012 12:23 PM

How do you “time” screws? I’ve seen this done on fine guns, also, where it must be even harder.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View sb194's profile


197 posts in 4104 days

#9 posted 06-21-2012 03:20 PM

Wonderful job. I would love to have a tool chest like that.

View CartersWhittling's profile


454 posts in 3759 days

#10 posted 06-21-2012 03:42 PM

@nobuckle, yes I will be posting the interior of the chest once I get working on it.

@JJohnston, I just turned the screws until they lined up. The pine is so soft that you can turn the screws further in than if it was harder wood. I know there are techniques to doing timing screws, but I haven’t had experience trying them.

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23

View Mauricio's profile


7166 posts in 4237 days

#11 posted 06-21-2012 04:05 PM

Wow, this looks increadible. I think the black on yellow was a good choice.

The way the screws lined up is a really nice detail I have to shoot for that next time I use screws that will show.

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

View mafe's profile


13188 posts in 4174 days

#12 posted 06-21-2012 05:40 PM

One question…
Are the screws really lined up here?
When I was a boy my father learned me they had to be same direction, on a line…
But when this is said I think it is beautiful as it is.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

276 posts in 4274 days

#13 posted 06-21-2012 07:29 PM

Lovely piece of work, nice write-up, nice pics. Like others, I love the black-on-yellow and your finishing of it to bring out the satin shine is great.

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3740 days

#14 posted 07-20-2012 04:38 PM

One question…is there a trick to timing the screws?

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

View CartersWhittling's profile


454 posts in 3759 days

#15 posted 07-21-2012 01:10 AM

Not that I know of. I know Chris Schwarz wrote a blog about it, but I forget what he said.

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23

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