Heirloom Tool Chest Variation

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Project by TDog posted 04-18-2012 03:22 AM 4901 views 2 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first mostly hand crafted project; an heirloom tool chest based on a FWW plan. One picture shows the finished chest with stain applied. Another picture shows the top view without stain highlighting the frame and panel lid. One of the pictures shows the glued up panels stacked up after I final hand cut the dovetails with much fun and frustration. Another picture shows how the frame and panel life actually fits together with some mallet taps to say the least. Finally, one of the pictures shows the unstained chest with finished tool trays and particular tools in place. I finally stained it In the first of July of 2012. It took a while to settle on a style and color of finish. I am very satisfied. MinWax brand stain with a pre-conditioner used. It is a color a bit darker then “Early American.” The chest is made mostly of Southern Yellow Pine from a home center in our area. I have divided the inside at the bottom for hand planes and added a sliding tray up top for smaller hand tools. It is a smaller scale tool chest as opposed to C. Schwarz’ Anarchist Tool Chest design.

I cleaned out my previous open cabinet and single drawer for this storage method after plenty of dust covered my hand tools because of some machine work earlier on other projects. Learning more about cutting dovetails and mortise and tenons has been plenty of fun. That is also my first shot at hand cutting a mortise and tenon joint for the frame and panel lid. Obviously I still have lots to learn. But, it is plenty of fun and relieves lots of stress getting lost in the handwork per say.

I did use the table saw quite a bit for ripping the parts and some crosscutting of parts. The glue ups at different times was extremely challenging using mostly pipe clamps, glue, and a dead blow mallet. I am still debating on paint or a natural stain or finish for it to show the joinery. However, after seeing more professional work, I may opt to paint this chest anyway. But then again, I am in it because I love working wood. No matter how out of center or imperfect the end result may be. The pursuit of great work is a reward in itself.

Brass handles for carrying and the prep and finish are almost all that’s left. And, man…does this little chest hold lots of hand tools. It’s made much more space available on the old workbench and saw horses…

Tools mostly used…
Marples chisels, LN Dovetail saw, stanley square, smaller hammer, stanley bevel, titebond II, pipe clamps, self centering ruler, irwin clamps, Elmer’s wood glue, Dunlap Block Plane, Stanley Jack and Smoothing Plans, Lowe’s pine lumber, sander, and a few other tools, can’t wait to build another project in the months to come…I will post a barn wood coffee table I built a little later.

God Bless,

Psalm 121

-- "So many little time..." Psalm 23

18 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5027 days

#1 posted 04-18-2012 03:34 AM

Nice looking tool chest well done.


View bruc101's profile


1556 posts in 4991 days

#2 posted 04-18-2012 04:12 AM

Nice looking chest. I was taught on SYP, still love it and still use it. Course, that’s when it was probably a dime a foot too.

-- Bruce Free Plans & Calculators

View GenerationWW's profile


521 posts in 3699 days

#3 posted 04-18-2012 11:39 PM

I say you did a great job! looks nice.

-- list your handcrafted treasures @ for free!

View Gabe C.'s profile

Gabe C.

288 posts in 3791 days

#4 posted 04-19-2012 03:00 AM

Great job on having the patience and ambition to take on the joinery by hand. I like projects that push us in the direction of refining our skills, well done.
And I would vote for NOT painting it. This is the kind of thing that you have some time and effort in, and years from now you will enjoy looking at the grain and lines in this, remembering how well it has served you and how far you’ve come.
Thanks for posting!

-- If I could just get this whole "Time/Money" problem figured out...

View TDog's profile


235 posts in 3680 days

#5 posted 04-19-2012 04:22 AM

Thanks for taking a look. I am thinking a light stain or rub of some kind. The project plans called for Cherry, but that was a bit up there on the price for me right now. It was a great deal of fun. Putting the finishing trim on and installing the lid and hardware in the next few weeks. Still working on finalizing the sliding tray configuration with one or two stacked or passing etc. But, wow does this thing hold a good bit of hand tools. Got my entire bench cleared off and know where most of my main tools are now. Still got to organize those crazy clamps. LOL

Major reads etc…
Anarchist’s Tool Chest
The Joiner and Cabinet Maker
The Essential Wood Worker
Make a Joint Stool From a Tree
Furniture in the Southern Style

“So many projects…so little time…”

-- "So many little time..." Psalm 23

View TDog's profile


235 posts in 3680 days

#6 posted 04-19-2012 06:04 PM

Original Plans From

Fine Woodworking
Heirloom Tool Chest
designed by Christ Gochnour

Some adaptions from
The Anarchist’s Tool Chest
by Christopher Schwarz

-- "So many little time..." Psalm 23

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6883 posts in 5429 days

#7 posted 04-19-2012 06:05 PM

Looks very good.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View TDog's profile


235 posts in 3680 days

#8 posted 04-19-2012 06:28 PM

Thank you for the comment. Hoping to build a great workbench to replace ye old plywood soon.
Got to find another barn falling in for some stock..

-- "So many little time..." Psalm 23

View Bertha's profile


13635 posts in 4143 days

#9 posted 04-19-2012 06:29 PM

Really nice effort. I love the look of definite handcraftsmanship. It will serve you well.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17816 posts in 4068 days

#10 posted 04-19-2012 06:34 PM

Very nice, TDog. Jumping right into to LJs is another good move on your part. :-) Nice to have another handtooler on board!

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

View TDog's profile


235 posts in 3680 days

#11 posted 04-19-2012 06:52 PM

Thanks, I wish I would have joined sooner, many folks close by don’t share the same interest in making sawdust and shavings…I should have known there was something to be concerned about when every time my wife and I get near sawdust I get excited and daydream about creating, she starts sneezing and asks for the Claritin, she’s a trooper though she designs many of our picture frames and is quite the designer and visionary… for furnitures styles and mixing and matching…

-- "So many little time..." Psalm 23

View TDog's profile


235 posts in 3680 days

#12 posted 05-08-2012 02:45 PM

I just finalized all the trim work.
I will put new pics up soon.

-- "So many little time..." Psalm 23

View theoldfart's profile


13128 posts in 3901 days

#13 posted 05-30-2012 10:05 PM

What are you going to do on the inside? Drawers, trays, saw ill etc?

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

View TDog's profile


235 posts in 3680 days

#14 posted 06-03-2012 01:36 AM

I have two sliding trays and I separated the bottom in half.
Hand planes are on one side and room for a saw till on the other.
I need to update the pic since I finished the trim work. It looks much better.

-- "So many little time..." Psalm 23

View TDog's profile


235 posts in 3680 days

#15 posted 07-14-2012 04:46 AM

I finally stained my tool chest. The color turned out great. A bit lighter than Early American stain from MinWax.
Let me know what you think and of course offer any pointers for better and more even staining.

-- "So many little time..." Psalm 23

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