Tool Chest

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Project by Hammerthumb posted 07-06-2013 04:49 PM 5574 views 36 times favorited 39 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my version of a tool chest, but is only the first of three pieces that I intend to make for my hand tools. This chest contains: carving tools, chisels, turning tools, measuring and marking tools, files, some of the small saws I use for joinery, drill bits, brace bits, and forstner bits, and miscellaneous small items that I use often.

The next cabinet will sit under this one and will contain my hand planes and a drawer for my sharpening stones. The bottom cabinet will contain my hand saws and other larger items.

I had equipped my shop with a wall of cabinets where these tools use to reside but that proved a difficult storage system as cabinets are not easy to get into, and organization was not very efficient. I found a half sheet of Mahogany plywood while trying to cleaning my shop and thought that this would be enough to make this cabinet. The sides, top, and bottom are plywood with solid wood edging. The drawer faces and the tops front edge are solid wood. I used some oak plywood for the web frame. The wood edging on the face is dovetailed at all intersecting joints. I used Maple drawer sides and hand cut dovetails. Drawer backs have an interlocking dado joint and the bottoms are plywood. I did not use drawer guides as the drawers are fitted so they slide easily within their openings and are easy to remove so I can take them to the bench. I lined the drawer bottoms with cork for tool protection and it makes them look nice. I made tool separators with more maple. They have half moon cutouts to keep the tools from rolling around. I finished the cabinet with a coat of Danish oil, and then a few coats of amber shellac. I then buffed it out with dark paste wax and #0000 steel wool.

I asked for recommendations for the drawer pulls as I was going to make them out of Maple. Some recommended brass, but I asked Dave at Chisel & Forge if he could make something a little more rustic looking. Here is what he cam up with. Please look at the last picture with a close up of the pulls. These look beautiful with the finish I had chosen. My wife even complimented them (it’s not easy to get compliments from her!).

I really enjoyed this build but still have a few things to finish on it. Will need to ask Dave again for an idea for a handle for the lid. Forgot about that part. Have also not decided what to use for something to hold the lid open.

Thanks for looking. I appreciate all comments and suggestions for the next build.


-- Paul, Duvall, WA

39 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3756 days

#1 posted 07-06-2013 04:53 PM

Bravo! It is absolutely amazing. Very well done.

View theoldfart's profile


12734 posts in 3609 days

#2 posted 07-06-2013 04:56 PM

Paul, looks fantastic. Probably should be on the dinning room sideboard rather than the shop. Beautiful work and nice finish.

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

View Don Broussard's profile (online now)

Don Broussard

4048 posts in 3410 days

#3 posted 07-06-2013 05:01 PM

Just awesome, Paul! I have this on my “round tuit” list. Love the drawer pulls from Dave—top notch work. Ain’t it great when a plan comes together?

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View planeBill's profile


506 posts in 3567 days

#4 posted 07-06-2013 06:11 PM

Now that’s what Im talkin bout son!!!

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4807 days

#5 posted 07-06-2013 06:18 PM

very nice

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Don Broussard's profile (online now)

Don Broussard

4048 posts in 3410 days

#6 posted 07-06-2013 06:25 PM

@Paul—BTW, did you work from plans or just wing it based on the tools you intended to store in the chest?

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3348 days

#7 posted 07-06-2013 07:04 PM

very nice,great build.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View ChuckV's profile


3419 posts in 4685 days

#8 posted 07-06-2013 07:18 PM

That is great. I think that the drawer pulls are perfect for this piece.


-- "Join the chorus if you can. It'll make of you an honest man." - I. Anderson

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4734 days

#9 posted 07-06-2013 07:25 PM

Very nicely done my friend.
heirloom quality for sure !

View Paul59's profile


56 posts in 3083 days

#10 posted 07-06-2013 08:49 PM

Beautiful work, congrats on such a fine addition to your shop.

-- "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather, teach them to long for the sea." ~Antoine de Saint Exupery

View Hammerthumb's profile


3098 posts in 3133 days

#11 posted 07-06-2013 09:40 PM

Thanks guys.

Don – No plans. Simple sketch that I did base on the size of the plywood I found. I wanted some 2” drawers for my chisels. carving tools, and marking tools. I needed 3” for the lathe tools. Kind of laid out the first three rows of drawers based on that. The bottom drawer is about 4” for small tools that I have boxes for like drill and forstner bits. Its kind of a catchall right at this point until I get the next part completed.

Thanks again fellow LJs!


-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View Jeff82780's profile


204 posts in 4152 days

#12 posted 07-06-2013 09:58 PM

bravo paul! looks amazing! I love the dovetails! how long did this piece take you to build?

View Francois Vigneron's profile

Francois Vigneron

263 posts in 3478 days

#13 posted 07-06-2013 10:32 PM

I am looking forward your next two tool boxes ! This one is really nice. Thanks for pointing out the knobs ; indeed, they add a nice antique touch. Keep up the good work.

-- Francois Vigneron, Gif-sur-Yvette, France & Altadena, CA

View Hammerthumb's profile


3098 posts in 3133 days

#14 posted 07-06-2013 10:39 PM

Jeff – it took so long that I used the gauge I made you for the dovetails! Really, I’ve been working on it for a couple of months on and off. Lots of other projects going on. Wish I had completed it sooner as it helps to keep me organized. Hoping that will improve my work habits and efficiency.


-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3450 days

#15 posted 07-06-2013 10:40 PM

Very, very nice construction and design, with nice write-up. Your dovetails are particularly nice!

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

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