Workbench Chest of Drawers with Dovetail-shaped Pulls

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Project by Blake posted 12-17-2009 09:26 AM 16298 views 24 times favorited 36 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this chest of drawers for under the workbench I completed a couple of weeks ago:

Click for details

As I was building it I realized that the drawer faces were going to be flush with the front of the bench. This meant that I could not use drawer pulls or knobs that protruded outward. I didn’t want to make “cut-out” pulls because I wanted to keep moisture out of the drawers.

So the solution I came up with were to cut these dovetail-shaped pulls into the sides of the drawer faces. I think it came out pretty cool. They are not added to the sides of the faces but cut out of them (drawer front+pulls=one solid piece).

I cut the general dovetail shape on the bandsaw and then hand-shaped them on my new bench with chisels. I shaped them to look like they are slanting forward.


The carcass and drawers are 1/2” birch plywood shot together with a brad nailer and a little glue. I had most of the pieces cut to size at the lumber yard like usual. This way when I get to the shop all I have to do is assemble. It also limits the formaldehyde sawdust I have to breath. The drawers got full-extension slides:


I finished it by rubbing on the same Danish Oil that I used for the bench to match. I also lined the drawers with sheets of Cork. Then came the fun part: filling up the drawers with all of my favorite hand tools.

Drawer 1: Marking and measuring tools.


Drawer 2: Chisels. There is a cork-covered magnetic strip (the kind you hang kitchen knives from) under the blades to keep them in place. I think I will probably also add some dividers of some kind later. Starting from the left: my 4 best Japanese chisels, 3 cheap Japanese gouges, 3 construction chisels, & misc. specialty chisels.


Drawer 3: Block planes, specialty planes, spoke-shaves, cabinet scrapers, Japanese crank-neck dovetail chisels


Drawer 4: Jointer planes, jack planes, dado plane, etc.


-- Happy woodworking!

36 comments so far

View Mark's profile


27 posts in 4952 days

#1 posted 12-17-2009 09:42 AM

Hi Blake,

Nice looking chest! The drawers are looking a bit full though…I’d be happy to take some of your tools off you to give you a bit more room!


-- Mark, Sydney, Australia

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 4606 days

#2 posted 12-17-2009 10:45 AM


-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4833 days

#3 posted 12-17-2009 11:55 AM

Good solution and very nice work Blake. I like your dovetail pulls too. Having a well organized shop and a place for everything really adds to the pleasure of woodworking. It is also great to have all of your hand tools where you will be using them so they can be put away easily and quickly when you are done using them. Even though I try to keep it neat in the shop I often leave a lot of small hand tools lying around instead of putting them away. When I need one of them again I have to hunt all over and under things to find them. Otherwise I go around knocking them off table tops. Not very efficient. Thanks for setting a good example.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 5089 days

#4 posted 12-17-2009 12:08 PM

Very very nice workbench chest of drawers; and those very well organized tools are really teasing me!
I hope you will not have problem putting back all the tools in this very neat organization after eachh use.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5745 days

#5 posted 12-17-2009 12:21 PM

Great job Blake, man am I ashamed, after seeing this. I have all those nice tools and have to hunt like the dickens to find the darn things. I don’t have any nice jack planes though like you have. Pretty cool.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Ken90712's profile


18123 posts in 4687 days

#6 posted 12-17-2009 12:40 PM

Great job and cleaver idea! Nice set of planes as well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5380 days

#7 posted 12-17-2009 03:09 PM

Sweet. Man, you are a busy guy.
Nice job, and well presented.

You are missing some handsaws (as if ….)


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View blockhead's profile


1475 posts in 4807 days

#8 posted 12-17-2009 03:21 PM

Nice! The pulls add a unique touch as found in most of your projects. The drawers a great addition to your workbench. The only problem I see is, it looks pretty full now, where are you going to put the hand tools you have yet to collect? What a good problem to have.

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 5196 days

#9 posted 12-17-2009 03:28 PM

Very neat I like that,very nice setup too.

View tnwood's profile


275 posts in 4585 days

#10 posted 12-17-2009 03:34 PM

What a unique solution but you are so too organized. Can you tell us more about the bench, the size and construction details? I like the design and compact nature of everything.

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 4918 days

#11 posted 12-17-2009 03:56 PM

I like it! The cork lining is a good idea. I always buy the rubber mats from HF, but I’ll have to experiment with the cork. It looks so much better.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View Karson's profile


35301 posts in 5899 days

#12 posted 12-17-2009 04:01 PM


Looks like a great addition to the shop. The drawer pulls are very unique and fit in great in a workshop.

Some very nice organization. At least at the start of the day. LOL

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7234 posts in 4693 days

#13 posted 12-17-2009 04:15 PM

Greetings Blake: Good job on the storage box full of drawers. You can never have enough storage. One note: It ’s neat and tidy now, but it won’t stay that way very long…......... lol.. You’ve got more planes than I’ll ever own. I have one….... it’s still in the box…..don’t like planing or scraping…......... give me a belt sander—random orbit sander…. that’ll do !!!!!

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View mloy365's profile


448 posts in 4629 days

#14 posted 12-17-2009 04:19 PM

Great job! I have been looking for ideas to redesign my bench. You have just helped me a great deal. Thanks for the pictures. Those drawer pulls are outstanding/creative!

-- Mike - Northern Upper Michigan

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5717 days

#15 posted 12-17-2009 04:21 PM

Very cool, and a great collection of stuff, too!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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