Dovetail Toolchest

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Blog entry by Tomy Hovington posted 03-19-2015 08:23 PM 3022 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I needed an upgrade in my shop for my Lutherie tools and I didn’t want to get those pricy steel tool box to go in my woodworking environment. So I sat down at my drawing table and tried to come up with something to accommodate my need, at a reasonable price, and made of wood.

I made this tool chest with only 4 boards of 8’x6”x1” of black Walnut. I always love the Idea of not using screws and/or nails, therefore I made a Dovetail construction. The entire construction was completed in 4 months, (I do have a day job, and haven’t touch it in the month of December.) Also it was my first attempt at making a video footage in the shop. I think it turned out ok. I divised it in 8 parts and uploaded it to Youtube.

I also used reclamed Oak, red and white, for the drawers slides and and back. Natural satin finish to allow the black Walnut to speak for itself.

It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun!

-- Tomy Hovington

3 comments so far

View Tugboater78's profile


2796 posts in 2967 days

#1 posted 03-20-2015 10:18 AM

Great looking chest, didnt watch all the videos but marked for later. Will watch when on home wifi.

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View Aj2's profile


3085 posts in 2573 days

#2 posted 03-31-2015 05:07 AM

Tomy, walnut is very forgiving but the long grain glue to end grain is usually a bad idea. Your dovetail work looks to be very precise,but you will still need to keep the grain going in the same direction.Your walnut boards are like long bundles of straws.They want to expand and contract as they fill with water from the air,so they change shape in the width ,not so much in length.
I bet if you build with this in mind your work will survive a long time and might be a heirloom.Walnut is very stable wood so maybe Im way off.Anyways thanks for sharing your work.Aj

-- Aj

View Tomy Hovington's profile

Tomy Hovington

169 posts in 1962 days

#3 posted 04-01-2015 04:21 AM

Aj2, thanks for your comment… Planning the build was a lot of work on it’s own, and went in two major steps. First I knew for a box this size if I wanted my pannel sections to stay straight I would have to have a tongue and groove piece at the top going across the bottom pieces. It’s been proven to work well on the Gerstner style toolchest.

Second was the how to get all the dovetails set up so I would minimize what you just pointed out. If you look carefully on the pictures I have both end grain and long grain dovetails.The end grain are meeting with end grain and the long grain are meeting with long grain, with the exception of the transition (for one tail) where I have the top tongue and groove piece. And the sides of the lid. I think I’ve maximized the integrity of the construction by minimizing the amount of long grain to end grain connections. I was well aware of the fact that I had to keep the grain in the same direction.

Something I didn’t know though was that Walnut is more stable then other woods…To be honest I chose Walnut for it’s color and workability, but It’s nice to know that It does have this property too.

Thanks for taking the time to share your concern…

-- Tomy Hovington

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