Dutch Tool Chest

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Project by Steve Diogo posted 02-11-2014 04:24 PM 5048 views 9 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Project: Dutch Tool Chest, a la Christopher Schwarz

Materials: Home center common pine; mahogany, aspen and poplar from my scrap bin for the small drawer unit; home center handles soaked in Kiwi-Strawberry Snapple, stainless screws soaked in vinegar. Reclaimed cut nails.

Finish: General Finishes Coastal Blue milk-paint, thinned 1 to 1.5 with water and a dollop of tung oil, followed by two coats of wipe on poly.

Galoot Index: I’ll give myself 85%. Used a power drill and dowel jig to attach the breadboards on the lid.

Joinery: Dovetails connecting sides to bottom. Fasteners otherwise.

This is what I consider to be my first “real” project beyond the pine farm table the chest is sitting on and some plywood bookshelves. Since I am new to woodworking and didn’t want to mess up with expensive wood, I stuck to inexpensive materials from the local home center and what I had lying around in the scrap bins. Worked without plans; figured out dimensions from watching Schwarz’s presentation of the chest on The Woodwright’s Shop and photos online. First project using dovetails. Particularly fun was working out ways to antique the hardware. Soaked zinc coated parts in Kiwi-Strawberry Snapple and stainless screws in vinegar. Biggest challenge was the saw till on the lid. Tried three different solutions before this one. Still need a way to keep the saws in place when moving the chest as they tend to slide when the lid is closed. Very pleased with the way everything turned out. Thanks to all the LJers in the Dream Tool Chest thread who helped out along the way.

More on the progress at


17 comments so far

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8574 posts in 2832 days

#1 posted 02-11-2014 04:54 PM

Excellent work Steve. It already looks vintage. Hope it serves you well.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View MichaelT77's profile


126 posts in 2962 days

#2 posted 02-11-2014 05:23 PM

Very nice work. I was trying to guess at the size judging by the 2-ft ruler. 32”x24”x 12” ? Is that about right?

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

View theoldfart's profile


12002 posts in 3300 days

#3 posted 02-11-2014 05:25 PM

Steve, it came out really well. Hope mine looks as good as yours when it’s done.

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

View Steve Diogo's profile

Steve Diogo

89 posts in 2442 days

#4 posted 02-11-2014 06:08 PM

Thanks, guys. BigRed, decided to run with the vintage look since I was using pine and some things got a little beat up during the build.

Really close on the dimensions, Michael. They are:

Width: 32 1/2
Depth: 12 3/4
Front height: 15
Rear height: 22 3/8
30-degree pitch


View CL810's profile


4058 posts in 3837 days

#5 posted 02-11-2014 06:18 PM

I like this chest and some of the unique features. I think the drawer approach is very interesting. If/when I build another chest I’ll have to consider that. Never heard the Snapple idea before. I used citric acid for mine which was hard to find out of canning season.


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

View Steve Diogo's profile

Steve Diogo

89 posts in 2442 days

#6 posted 02-11-2014 07:12 PM

cl, couldn’t find citric acid either, so I hit the drink aisle and looked for something that listed it in the ingredients. the kiwi-strawberry Snapple was the first one I found. Took about 8 hours of soaking to get the look I wanted.

Thanks for the favorite!


View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 2720 days

#7 posted 02-11-2014 07:21 PM

Looks great, especially the color. I’m in the process of building a Japanese toolbox, but the aesthetics and dimensions of this look tempting also…maybe I’ll have to build both. Thanks for sharing.

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View jdmaher's profile


468 posts in 3429 days

#8 posted 02-11-2014 07:26 PM

Very nice. Great till fittings.

Gonna build me one of them . . .

Kiwi-Strawberry Snapple! Very interesting.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View BigDaddyO's profile


136 posts in 3627 days

#9 posted 02-11-2014 07:51 PM

i noticed the saw holders don’t entirely surround the saw plates, so, i’m wondering how the saws stay in the holder when you close the lid.


View Steve Diogo's profile

Steve Diogo

89 posts in 2442 days

#10 posted 02-11-2014 08:46 PM

Good eye, BD. Answer is, they don’t stay very well. I did a version 1 with enclosed holders but didn’t like that I had to pull the saws out the side as I have a pretty tight shop. I wanted to be able to lift them out the top. In my focus on solving that problem, I neglected to predict the sliding problem I was creating. Still working on a solution, which may involve a leather strap.


View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16903 posts in 3468 days

#11 posted 02-11-2014 09:32 PM

Yes indeed, a very nice build!

The inside details look great, and you’ll solve the saw problem I’m sure.

Special nod to the use of the Galoot Index! :-)

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

View CL810's profile


4058 posts in 3837 days

#12 posted 02-11-2014 10:04 PM

Steve, the citric works considerably faster. Anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours depending on the zinc coating. In case you want citric acid in the future it is more available during canning season but my Ace Hardware store ordered it in for me for no extra charge.

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

View BenR's profile


341 posts in 3478 days

#13 posted 02-12-2014 04:30 AM

Congrats on a nice build.

-- Ben in Va

View MichaelT77's profile


126 posts in 2962 days

#14 posted 02-12-2014 03:04 PM

I really admire this project. Unless this is meant to carry tools across the prairie, I could see adding casters so it could be moved around the shop from time to time. Again, nice work.

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

View crazicarl's profile


22 posts in 2853 days

#15 posted 02-12-2014 03:09 PM

Very nice. Looking forward to making my own before much longer.

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