Gerstner inspired tool chest

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Project by Buckethead posted 04-14-2015 10:48 PM 4621 views 27 times favorited 52 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Gerstner inspired, and loosely interpreted, this chest is of African Mahogany, and flecked, spalty oak which was salvaged from a jobsite, and landfill bound. The drawer faces were originally dunnage for steel sprinkler pipes.

Hardware, from the web, thanks to FWW giving the source for their handles in the “Essential Tool Chest” essay, and ebay for the knobs. Tremont nails for the rose head cut nails on the back panel. (Shoutout to The Old Fart on that source)

Speaking of the back panel, it was also salvaged, and I believe it is sweet gum. (Also very poplarish, but harder to work, and a different looking grain). Some of the pieces were really twisted, but I’m confident that they had ample time to accommodate. I planed those down from 5/4 to 3/4” by hand. That was a chunk of work, in and of itself. Also, you may have noticed some paint on the Mahogany. I left that intentionally as an homage to the guys who felled and milled the lumber. (It was on the rough lumber from the mill. (Presumably a batch identifier or some such). I realize most people won’t like that part, but I really do, so I kept it.

This box is another example of design on the fly, inexperience, and attrition. I can’t begin to muster the energy to document all the trials, errors, and successes in this little chest. My first foray into hand work alone, but not entirely. I used to router to form the dado for the drawer bottoms. (I did not have a proper plow plane, so I used what I had)

So there she is. The amount of hours I put into this, I can’t really say. It was a lot. Most of those hours, were a real joy.

Thanks for looking!

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

52 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17508 posts in 3837 days

#1 posted 04-14-2015 11:24 PM

Bucket, very nice work on this project! And I like the markings on the back, for what it’s worth. Good choices made in the hardware, wood, design, etc. etc. etc. Congrats, and may the tool chest be enjoyed for many, many years to come!

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

View theoldfart's profile


12835 posts in 3670 days

#2 posted 04-14-2015 11:32 PM

Mr. Bucket, a real fine example of skilled workmanship. DT’s, grain direction, and proportions all work for me. Glad you found the rose heads. Also I’m with Smitty, I do like the heritage markings on the back. May you enjoy it for years to come and pass it on to the next generation.

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

View CL810's profile


4167 posts in 4207 days

#3 posted 04-14-2015 11:43 PM

Bucket I like the wood choices. The oak and mahogany suit my eye fine. And the DTs look mighty fine. Good job!

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

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 3351 days

#4 posted 04-14-2015 11:54 PM

Very, very nice craftsmanship! Great wood choices, they compliment each other quite well. Nice grain kept after finish applied Bottom line I certainly like it. Wish I could cut dovetails so nicely..

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 3088 days

#5 posted 04-15-2015 12:03 AM

Thanks fellas! *blushes.

I know its customary to give the compliments, but I like em anyway!

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4366 days

#6 posted 04-15-2015 12:10 AM

All-in-all a great looking tool chest! And I too like your saving of the board’s history.

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3511 days

#7 posted 04-15-2015 12:39 AM

Outstanding and very attractive—very nicely done.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View woodcox's profile


2386 posts in 3231 days

#8 posted 04-15-2015 12:50 AM

Nice work Bucket. Very stout looking. How thick is the case mahogany?

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4809 posts in 4328 days

#9 posted 04-15-2015 01:35 AM

Nice! I’m currently building a 6-drawer chest that has roots in Gerstner and Jim Tolpin’s toolbox book’s designs. Mine is mostly plywood and poplar because I haven’t built a case like this in a long time, and I’m going to paint it for that reason.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 3088 days

#10 posted 04-15-2015 01:39 AM

Woodcox, it is a shade below 5/4 thickness. It started out at 6/4, but flattening plus fixing tearout took a good bit by the time I was done.

Thanks again, everyone. Love the kind words!

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3817 days

#11 posted 04-15-2015 01:40 AM

Whoa, this is a fantastic looking box. Everything turned out great. Wood, design, and execution are all outstanding. You should post some pics of it stocked up some day too.

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 3088 days

#12 posted 04-15-2015 01:51 AM

Thanks Shane, I plan to give that a go. After seeing Kevin and Terry (and others) make such phenomenal inserts and bins, I think I need to give that a try. Plus I want to make a single drawer chest with a larger footpirint that this one will sit on, which will have a deeper, wider drawer. (I’ve just enough of the same oak left over to do it.)

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26666 posts in 4324 days

#13 posted 04-15-2015 02:24 AM

Great looking tool chest! Nice job on it!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Hammerthumb's profile


3102 posts in 3194 days

#14 posted 04-15-2015 02:47 AM

Very nice tool chest Bucket!

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View Robsshop's profile


923 posts in 4194 days

#15 posted 04-15-2015 03:28 AM

This is a very impressive looking chest,it will look awesome when it is displayed in the dining room where you obviously will store your fine china and silverware!!!(LOL) just kidding around, this is a great project and the experience you must have taken from the build is priceless I am sure, thanks for sharing!

-- Rob,Gaithersburg,MD,One mans trash is another mans wood shop treasure ! ;-)

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