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Fitting out the shop #1: Tool Chest

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Blog entry by Kent posted 06-19-2020 03:01 PM 389 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I just picked up this beauty yesterday. Based on discussions with the previous owner, it is probably 70-90 years old.

It is a bit larger than typical and is heavier than most. It appears as though the carcase and the aprons/trim boards are the only parts made of softwood. My first guess on all the hardwood is that it is ash, but there is no exposed endgrain to help with the identification. The exterior has been painted once or twice while the interior remains wonderfully natural.

The interior is also a bit unusual. There are 4 narrow trays at the front and another 4 deeper (front-to-back) trays at the rear. The top 2 trays have hinged lids that are multi-purpose. In addition to providing all the usual benefits of having lids, opening these lids also push the top 2 trays away from the carcase, making it easier to grasp and move the trays. Looking at how the hinges are mounted will help you to visualize this.

It also seems as though the interior dividers in the trays are placed to make it easier to grasp and slide the trays. Interestingly, the trays are all the same width and are not removable, although the one tray has 4 removable trays inside the lid giving it 2 levels.

Below the 8 trays, there is a small sliding shelf separating the rear trays from the bottom-most level. Originally I had thought that this chest was some sort of job-box equivalent, but this shelf and a now-removed screw eye (to help hold the lid open when clipped to a hook attached on a wall) now make me think this chest was left in a locked workshop for most of its life. The shelf would allow additional overnight storage when the lid was closed and locked.

The lowest level has some bins for a #7 & a #8-sized planes, a 7-saw till and some additional spaces.

I’ve just added some mothballs and am starting the brush off and vacuum up the ancient dust, then I intend to oil and wax it up, build a short table/base for it and put it to use. Stripping and refinishing may come later, but not for quite a while.

-- If I knew then what I know now, I'd have made a completely different set of mistakes.



4 comments so far

View Don Broussard's profile (online now)

Don Broussard

3922 posts in 3059 days


#1 posted 06-19-2020 07:16 PM

That is a very nice, well-designed tool chest. I’d probably just dust it off, put a little wax on it, and call it good. The exterior paint looks to be in pretty good shape, and based on its age, it might well be lead-based paint.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Kent's profile

Kent

353 posts in 2603 days


#2 posted 06-19-2020 09:33 PM

It probably is lead-based paint.

The more I look at it the more I think it’s just going to get a little Mendotta Plane Polish and then put back into service.

-- If I knew then what I know now, I'd have made a completely different set of mistakes.

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

11806 posts in 3258 days


#3 posted 06-19-2020 10:51 PM

That is one finely crafted cabinet makers chest. The bottom is set for wooden hand planes standing on end. My preference would be to lightly clean, and wax the interior and put it to use. That is a great find, I’m jealous and your lucky. :-)

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Kent's profile

Kent

353 posts in 2603 days


#4 posted 06-20-2020 01:21 AM

That is one finely crafted cabinet makers chest. The bottom is set for wooden hand planes standing on end. My preference would be to lightly clean, and wax the interior and put it to use. That is a great find, I m jealous and your lucky. :-)

- theoldfart


Thanks. Good catch on the space for the wooden hand planes; it might have taken me a few years before that epiphany hit.

Next, to build the shop for it ;-)

-- If I knew then what I know now, I'd have made a completely different set of mistakes.

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