My Anarchists Tool Chest, Finally, Almost, will never really be complete... but a slow continuation

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Project by Zjawin posted 01-16-2014 07:25 PM 16770 views 26 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So here we start with 4/4 poplar, some of it was planned out for me by the mill, some I had to go at it with a plane. I use a No. 6 with a 8” radius blade as my jack, 22” Sargent jointer, and a No 4 LN with a high angle frog (this is not ideal to use with softwoods, I’ll pickup my coffin or No. 3 stanley most of the time for anything soft).

Here I’ve cut my tails and coped the waste out with my bowsaw (which i made from parts offered @ toolsforworkingwood). I use a 10” 15 ppi Taylor Bro dt saw for the case and a 8” 20 ppi for the thin hardwood parts (think tills)

Fit the case

When happy, veneer the inside of the case with mahogany, I use hot hide glue and a veneer hammer.

For the veneer hammer I got 1/4” brass bar stock from mcmastercarr, cut a groove into a board, fit the brass, etched with garlic (someone told me to do this) and glued it with hide. Contrary to popular belief, even with the hammers on a hot plate the brass doesn’t give a bit because there’s just soo much glue from use that they’re stuck. throw some screws in it if you’re scared.

Glue up the case, I taped the inside edges so i had less squeeze out to deal with.

Build a top! I used 7/8 poplar and banded it with sapele dovetailed at all 4 corners (this is a pain in the butt and differs from the Anarchist Tool Chest where he only wraps 3 sides of the top, however, i used this method on a smaller chest and didn’t like the look) I over sized the top and cut/planed my way to a tight fit. Before I fit the panel I veneered it with pompel sapele and cross veneered the back then painted a primer of milk paint to stem excessive cupping.

This is the dust lid and moulding sticks ready to be stuck with some hollows and rounds

This is my method for transferring marks for dovetails, because the bottom skirt was so wide the handplane trick didn’t work so i used my tool chest drawer to hold the board while i marked the mating board in the vice.

For the tool chest I used a nose and cove or a close arrangement for all of the mouldings on the chest (till fronts to cover non sapele bottoms, panel moulding on lid, top and bottom skirts. Draw it up to the proportions you like, make a template, transfer to a stick, rabbet to hollow/rounds, and finish with a sanding sponge on the edges to soften the appearance…and so you dont get a splinter.

here’s a finished pic of the bottom skirt

And now this blog has taken too much time and I have way too many more photos to finish this now. Other things include the saw till, chisel rack, backsaw holding, till lid, moulding plane storage, bla bla bla

Update 1. Here’s another shot of the chisel rack, Saw till and hangers.

The chisel rack is made of all 1/2” sapele with glue blocks as spacers cut to width and glued/pinned to the face(21ga). I drilled holes for a screwdriver and marking knife. I added a 1/4” bead on the top and bottom and stopped it with an ogee fillet. My chisels are my pride and joy, you can’t really see them but they were my first turning project, anyways the longest is 17”

I had to plan ahead on a fixed height for the tool chest to ensure I had clearance for the top till to be able to slide all the way forward. I did this for two reasons 1.) For maximum flexibility in reaching other tools 2.) because some day I intend on adding another till in the front, this would be a perfect size to store my carving tool roll and venerating tools. Someday….

The saw till wall is 5/8 poplar, that’s veneered (ok, it was for practice, and it was going to be a till lid, but I didn’t like it, and it fit because the width of the carcass is the same, so I recycled) with rosewood and zebra wood on the hidden side.mahogany on the other. That’s a shot of it before I put screws in it.

I used thin 3/16” mahogany cleats to hold the till wall, you can kinda see the nose and cove profile I added to it.
The slotted holder is only screwed into the till wall and doesn’t extend to the chest side to make room for chisels. This’s sounds/looks like it wouldn’t work, but the weight of the saws, the cleats, and the fitt keep it glued to the floor of the chest. Weight comes from a 26” 8pt Atkins, Disston 24” 8pt rip (believe it or not this is my go to saw for any tenon in 4/4 or thicker), Richardson 22” 10pt hybrid cut, and a 16” spear and Jackson 11 pt xcut. It’s not moving.

Here’s a pic of the sliding till construction. I liked the bead on the ATC, but the contrast with oak bottoms would’ve been too much so I added another nose and cove moulding. Forgive me for the sideways photos, they won’t orient correctly.

Below is pretty important if you want to stick mouldings and the sticks are a little drunk. I make a new sticking board for each new project, it’s kinda necessary. Anyways, take note of the 1/8” mahogany strip holding the moulding to the fence. It shouldnt be wide or at a greater thickness than the edge of the profile you’re working, but I feel the clamp is essential because it also works as measure of how much to thickness each stick. Working with hand tools it’s very hard, almost stupid to try and be precise, but this is a good measure of how close your tolerances are. In the end profiles are easy to blend, but the height of the moulding is not.

24 comments so far

View jim65's profile


1020 posts in 2709 days

#1 posted 01-16-2014 08:02 PM

Excellent! That is a fantastic chest and your hand tool skills are unbelievable, Compliments!

-- Jim, Marostica Italy

View Zjawin's profile


14 posts in 2696 days

#2 posted 01-16-2014 08:11 PM

Thanks Jim! I can’t lie, it took a really long time to finish because my shop space is soo tiny, every operation involved moving something around in the shop; but the upside to working with hand tools is you dont need a lot of space

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3068 days

#3 posted 01-16-2014 08:21 PM

Very attractive chest and outstanding craftsmanship on display! Congratulations on project you can always treasure and will become a family heirloom.

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

View Zjawin's profile


14 posts in 2696 days

#4 posted 01-16-2014 08:42 PM

I forgot to ask, if anyone has any ideas of marquetry or veneering parquetry patterns for a till lid i’d be open to suggestions, right now I have the till lid split into three windows with the center window slightly wider than the side window panels.

My idea was to incorporate more diamonds or maybe initials but i haven’t run past anything online that strikes me as fitting this case.

View jcees's profile


1079 posts in 4575 days

#5 posted 01-16-2014 09:27 PM

Shweeeeeet! Lovely toolbox indeed. As far as till top design, I’d go with something traditional to fit the overall design sense you’ve already established.

-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16711 posts in 3394 days

#6 posted 01-16-2014 10:07 PM

Wow, very nice indeed. I’d like to see how you wrapped the hinged portion of the hasp lock to the inside of the lid, if possible.

Congrats on a great build!

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

View Zjawin's profile


14 posts in 2696 days

#7 posted 01-16-2014 10:23 PM

For the hasp, I bought it from van dykes for 2.99 it’s the same model Chris Schwartz(sp) used for a Dutch chest but was designed to be a surface mount.

To make it work I had to pop the pin, flip the hinge, then I was able to mortise it into the top of the dust lid. The bead moulding is on the lower half of the dust lid.

View theoldfart's profile


11643 posts in 3227 days

#8 posted 01-16-2014 11:48 PM

Great build and well trimmed. Should last for generations. A post to the Dream tool chest thread would be appropriate.

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

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4496 days

#9 posted 01-16-2014 11:56 PM

Well, fabulous, outstanding, terrific … I’ll have get my thesaurus out to find the rest of the list to describe this project. I’m in the home stretch go my own so I really appreciate you sharing this and can’t wait to see the details of your tool holding solutions. Thanks!

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View DouginVa's profile


501 posts in 3049 days

#10 posted 01-17-2014 01:12 AM

Christopher Schwarz would be proud.

-- Just a man with his chisel.........

View CL810's profile


4040 posts in 3764 days

#11 posted 01-17-2014 02:14 AM

Great craftsmanship. Everything about works.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Hoosierdaddy's profile


81 posts in 3417 days

#12 posted 01-17-2014 02:22 AM

It’s seeing projects like this that make me want to sell my tools and pick up a new hobby! Talk about setting the bar high! Veneering the inside of the cabinet with mahogany is a stroke of genius and it takes the project from a tool chest to a piece of fine furniture. I’m going to favorite this with the hopes I can make a decent stab at my own. I’ve got a bench to build but barring any other projects this is what I plan to do next. Nicely done and congrats on an outstanding job!

-- I don't know what this is going to be like, but there's only one way to find out..........

View yuridichesky's profile


624 posts in 2740 days

#13 posted 01-17-2014 08:27 AM

Great tool chest from overall construction to every little detail.

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View Kv0nT's profile


84 posts in 2903 days

#14 posted 01-17-2014 01:52 PM

I know this is your first time veneering and I am blown away. Would you mind sharing what resources you referenced in learning this skill so quickly?

View Marty 529's profile

Marty 529

344 posts in 2495 days

#15 posted 01-17-2014 02:32 PM

Wow, beautiful work. Lots of good pictures too.

-- Marty, Ohio

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