Tool chest / long-term tool storage

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Project by llwynog posted 09-22-2013 09:06 PM 4889 views 8 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

1 year ago, I had to move across the country and I knew that I would not have a workshop for 8 to 10 months.
At the same time I was reading Christopher Schwarz’s ‘Anarchist tool chest’ and, although I was not sold 100% to the idea of working from a tool chest, I figured that it would at least be a fun build and a safe place to store my tools for several months.

Building this chest was indeed a very enjoyable project which really taught me a lot in hand tool usage. The chest was built over the course of 1 month and was my last project before I dismantled my workshop. I did not have time to paint the chest but otherwise, everything turned out nicely.

Fastforward 1 year.
I have recently found a house to live in and I brought my tool chest very soon after moved in. I have not had time to set up a proper workshop yet but, as the house needs a lot of renovation, I have been using my tools a lot in my garage, working directly from the tool chest. It turns out that it is much more efficient than I anticipated.

3 weeks ago, I finally came round to painting the chest and took the opportunity to practice an artificially-aged milkpaint technique (other project to come). In the end, I like the outcome of the red parts but the green areas did not turn out as I had envisioned.

Quick picture description:
Picture 1 – Finished chest
Picture 2 – Unpainted chest as I left it 1 year ago
Picture 3 – Painted chest
Picture 4 – Inside of chest, drawers removed
Picture 5 – Inside of chest, drawers spread out
Picture 6 – Inside of chest, drawers tucked to the back

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bête mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

22 comments so far

View maplerock's profile


529 posts in 3038 days

#1 posted 09-22-2013 09:18 PM

Agreed. Great project and fine carpentry… the green paint does not allow the onlooker to appreciate the fine work you did. It is a nice storage box, one that I’d be proud of.

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View ward63's profile


368 posts in 4325 days

#2 posted 09-22-2013 09:44 PM

You really did a nice job on the chest! Choosing tools to put in the chest would be difficult for me, But you seemed get just about everything thats needed and then some.

Thanks for sharing this.

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5304 days

#3 posted 09-22-2013 09:58 PM

Nice build and solution to your tool storage. The chest came out great, I’m just not a fan of putting paint on wood, but that’s just me – there is certainly nothing wrong with it. Nice job and good luck on getting the new shop set up.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View randomray's profile


111 posts in 4262 days

#4 posted 09-22-2013 10:01 PM

Nice tool chest . I’m trying to work on my new to me home without getting a chance to unpack all my tools either . It sure can be a challenge . Good thing you made that sweet tool chest . Are you sure that’s not called a anachronist tool chest ? Very close words , very different meanings . Regardless , best of luck settling in .

-- Anybody can break something it takes skill to make or repair stuff .

View GFresh's profile


10 posts in 3203 days

#5 posted 09-22-2013 11:19 PM

Very nice. At least you were smart enough to build the chest with wheels!! I would have forgotten that feature and then cussed every time I had to try to move it. Great job.

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

839 posts in 5071 days

#6 posted 09-22-2013 11:24 PM

Very nice chest!!! I also like the look of wood but traditionally they painted em with milk paint so…

The tills also look great!

I wonder about grandad?

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5335 days

#7 posted 09-22-2013 11:35 PM

Well built. Glad you are finding it efficient.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View mafe's profile


13330 posts in 4327 days

#8 posted 09-22-2013 11:48 PM

A really fine build, I think you should give the paint another tour, so that your fine work will be seen, perhaps just a darker green on top…
lovely tools, I love the brace extenter.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3892 days

#9 posted 09-23-2013 12:19 AM

You really managed to get that saw till down there. I notice that your lowest tray can move all the way from front to back. That is a VERY nice design tweak. I wish I could have managed that, but it just was not going to work for my chest size and my tool set.

Incidentally, how would you say the interior space of your chest divided out vertically?

Great work.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 4221 days

#10 posted 09-23-2013 03:09 AM

great looking tool box. i’d like to make one also.

View Mauricio's profile


7168 posts in 4389 days

#11 posted 09-23-2013 12:11 PM

Very nice! I’m starting to warm up to the tool chest idea, seems like a great way to store a lot of tools.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View kizerpea's profile


775 posts in 3605 days

#12 posted 09-23-2013 12:46 PM

Great work…


View BigMig's profile


655 posts in 3851 days

#13 posted 09-23-2013 04:07 PM

Hey, that’s a “pro” job. Really nice craftsmanship!

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3530 days

#14 posted 09-23-2013 04:32 PM

Very nicely done.

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

View llwynog's profile


288 posts in 3817 days

#15 posted 09-23-2013 07:53 PM

Thank you everyone for your kind words.

To all those who confirmed that the chest probably looked better without paint, I agree but these chests were traditionally painted (although perhaps better painted than this).
Oh well, if I get fed up after some time I might repaint it or sand it down to bare wood. I’ll see how I feel in a year or two.

@randomray : “Anarchist” is indeed the word that was used in the book. The rationale behind this particular choice of vocabulary is explained inside said book.

@Gfresh : Indeed, wheels are a must have. I can lift the chest when it is empty but when it is full, it gets even hard to lift it up inside the car.

@Rob : When you say you wonder about grandad, do you mean my signature. It translates roughly into “One may be stupid but one may still feel the pain”. My grandfather always used to say this when we did something dangerous/unwise, especially while playing with his tools in his workshop. Usually we would at least pause and give a second thought about what could get wrong (for instance using a 1lb hammer in one hand and holding a 1” nail in the other)

@Mads : I like the extender too, I actually bought it recently at a used tools market where I now live.

@Ryan : Vertically, half of the space is used for saws and planes (about 30cm) and half for the tills.

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bête mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

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