7 Drawer Hickory Toolchest

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Project by Mathew Nedeljko posted 01-03-2008 06:30 AM 14957 views 46 times favorited 41 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello everyone, I wanted to learn how to make handcut dovetails, so I thought what better project than to create a tool chest that could house my growing collection of hand tools. Well, let’s just say I got plenty of opportunity to practice before I was done with this project. The chest is 23”wide x 14”high x 14.5” deep.

The chest case and drawer fronts are Hickory from 2 beautiful planks I saved from getting thrown out with an old neighbors garbage! The interior is soft maple, and the hand formed pulls are walnut. The drawers are joined with half blind dovetails in the front, and through dovetails in the backs. The finish is BLO followed by 4 coats of blonde Shellac and top coated with 2 coats of Arm R Seal.

The funny thing is that after monitoring my progress for a while, my wife declared that this was far too nice to be sitting on my workbench, and that she could put it to good use housing all of her scrap booking punches. How could I refuse? It now has a found its home close to hand in her scrapbooking room…

I guess I’ll have to get around to making another tool chest for myself… Thanks for looking!

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

41 comments so far

View Matt (Upper Cut)'s profile

Matt (Upper Cut)

264 posts in 4873 days

#1 posted 01-03-2008 06:34 AM

Dear Wifey,

I’m off to buy some great wood and tools to make a toolchest, and when I get back I’ll be in the shop for quite a while.

Of course, you won’t have a problem with this because I gave you such a nice case for your scrapbook punches.


-- Matt Gradwohl, Upper Cut Woodworks,

View Kaleo's profile


201 posts in 5200 days

#2 posted 01-03-2008 07:11 AM


Beautiful case. I was wondering are the dovetail on the outer carcass mitered dovetail. Or did you apply a lipping on the front?

-- Kaleo ,

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 5333 days

#3 posted 01-03-2008 07:21 AM

Wow that is very nice… Very nice craftsmanship….

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 4890 days

#4 posted 01-03-2008 07:22 AM

Kaleo, good eye. Yes the front dovetails are mitered. Ian Kirby showed how to do this in one of the recent issues of WWJ. I followed his directions, and they turned out really nice and tight.

I think they dress up the front of the case nicely. Thanks for noticing!

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 5057 days

#5 posted 01-03-2008 07:43 AM

Outstanding work on this case! This is right up my alley.

Without visible drawer dividers (with the excpetion of the vertical divider), it appears that your dividers are stopped short of the front, and covered by an upper or lower edge of the drawers…true?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View David's profile


1969 posts in 5199 days

#6 posted 01-03-2008 07:49 AM

Matthew -

Very nice work and the ultimate compliment from your wife! Very sharp and crisp work! Congratulations.


View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5374 days

#7 posted 01-03-2008 07:56 AM

I agree with your wife. Much to nice for the shop. That’s like hanging a Monet in the closet.

View Jiri Parkman's profile

Jiri Parkman

953 posts in 4873 days

#8 posted 01-03-2008 10:03 AM

I agree with Dennis.

-- Jiri

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4935 days

#9 posted 01-03-2008 11:40 AM

Excellent craftsmanship. I’m impressed.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5221 days

#10 posted 01-03-2008 11:52 AM

so glad to hear that it made it out of the shop! Far too beautiful to not go into the main house.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Kevin Violette's profile

Kevin Violette

235 posts in 4924 days

#11 posted 01-03-2008 01:36 PM

Matthew – Nice job! I can always appreciate nice dovetail work. I feel your pain when it comes to the wife scooping your projects too!

-- Kevin

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 4890 days

#12 posted 01-03-2008 03:10 PM

Thanks everyone for all the nice feedback!

Dorje, you are absolutely correct, the drawer slides are stopped short of the case front and serve as stops for the drawers as well. I was really trying to maximize the amount of drawer space inside the case so I kept the slides as thin as possible. Notice too that for the smaller drawers in the upper half of the case, I left a lip on the bottom of the drawer front, for the bottom drawer I lipped the top of front.

I realized after the case was already assembled, that it would have been much easier to install the slides if they had a small dado to rest in. I should have done that before gluing the case together. Instead, I used glue and 3 small screws to attach the slides to the side of the case.

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 4942 days

#13 posted 01-03-2008 03:58 PM

Mathew, very very nice. Personally I think it would look great in shop.

After staring at it, I finally get how you did the horizontals. The recessed and dovetailed vertical divider is unique. Cool.

And the mitered corners are first class.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4954 days

#14 posted 01-03-2008 04:12 PM


If it were me, it would have stayed in the shop !

Why didnt you “flock” the drawer interiors?

Nice work!!

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5097 days

#15 posted 01-03-2008 04:26 PM

So you wanted to learn to handcut dovetails so you built a first class chest with half blinds and mitered through joints. Hmmm. I’d say you learned pretty good. It’s a marvelous chest, for sure.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

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