Building my version of the Essential Tool Chest #1: The beginning

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Blog entry by johnstoneb posted 02-27-2015 04:27 PM 4196 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Building my version of the Essential Tool Chest series Part 2: Progress »

I have always wanted to build a Gerstner style wooden tool box but the drawers were designed more for a machinist than woodworking. The project has stayed on the backburner for a long time. A few months ago i saw a picture and downloaded an article from FWW on the Essential Toolbox by Mike Pekovich. I had built a wall cabinet based on his design earlier and found that the design lent itself very well to personalizing it. The toolchest design seemed to be the same way. I really wanted a third row of drawers. I thought I could put in a row of two drawers just above the the other drawers without too much trouble and it would still look good. I started working on the two drawer idea then I priced the lock hardware and changed my mind to a single full width drawer that would look just as good and if I needed I could put in a divider. That lock hardware isn’t cheap and while there are ways of running a lock down the inside and only needing to lock the lid. I like the look of the individual drawer locks and I don’t have to make a living from my tools so locking and unlocking a bunch of drawers every day is not an issue.
Wood selection was a no brainer. The local woodworking club I belong to had just recieved a call from the Idaho Historical Society. They are remodeling the museum and we could have the trim from part of the museumm if we would come and remove it. This was all red oak probably 75 years old or more. Red oak it would be and for contrast I decided to go with Bubinga for the drawer fronts and the panels on the lid.

Wood ready to go.

Pulled all the nails out cleaned finish off
Glue up

Started to cutting to rough size and planing to final thickness. First lesson when making changes in plans, change the dimensions on every page of the plan that those dimensions appear on. I cut the end panels 3” short, back to glue up for those pieces. The errors are big enough pieces that I will be able to use them some where else so not a total loss. After a day delay I cut the bottom well divider and lids to final dimesions and started on the dovetails. The bottom and sides will have handcut dovetails and the well divider will be hand cut mortise and tenons. When cutting dovetails in oak make sure your chisels are sharp and the strop is near. The tails are cut and I have started on the pins. Should have the sides jointed today.

Tails cut, Pins roughed out on one end of bottom.

More tomorrow or the next day

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

3 comments so far

View luv2learn's profile


3003 posts in 2914 days

#1 posted 02-27-2015 05:16 PM

How fortunate to have gotten all that seasoned Red Oak, it will make a beautiful tool chest. I looks like you are off to a great start.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View Mr M's Woodshop's profile

Mr M's Woodshop

422 posts in 3678 days

#2 posted 02-27-2015 05:41 PM

It will be fun to watch your progress on this great project! Keep shooting, and keep writing, please!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View SvenPHX's profile


47 posts in 2376 days

#3 posted 03-01-2015 08:43 PM

Thanks for posting, I’m looking forward to learning how to make this.

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