Old wooden crafstman made tool chest - any guesses on age?

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Forum topic by Al posted 12-07-2014 08:26 PM 1624 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 2664 days

12-07-2014 08:26 PM

Hi to all,

I have had this awesome tool chest passed down to me and I would love to know its age and anything else interesting about it.

Family legend has it that it was made by a family member in the distant past but sadly that is ALL I know. Who or when is a mystery and details like was it made as an apprentice piece have been lost in the mists of time.

Does anyone know about these or have one similar to it? Any bits of info would be appreciated.

All I can say is it is made from pine and the hinges seem to be hand forged as they are not identical as mass produced ones are. The main dovetail joints are really very good with not a single loose one or a gap anywhere, in fact I bet the box itself would hold water.


-- I am an insomniac, but I don't lose sleep over it!

7 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3986 days

#1 posted 12-07-2014 10:44 PM

Wow. That looks very similar to the new ones Chris Schwarz teaches how to make. Guess he actually did his homework. Well, except for the hardware, of course.
The hand made hardware would put it into the 1800s I would think, but I’m sure there would be more authoritive persons than me on here. I was only manufacturedd in the first half of the 1900s.

View Al's profile


11 posts in 2664 days

#2 posted 12-08-2014 12:17 AM

When you said Wow I understand exactly what you mean. I had the same feeling when I looked at Chris Schwartz’s site! His new box looks eerily like mine and inside it is virtually identical. Its as if he had seen mine in a dream and remade it almost spot on.

I will see if I can contact Chris and ask if he has any info on mine. You never know.


-- I am an insomniac, but I don't lose sleep over it!

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3311 days

#3 posted 12-08-2014 12:18 AM

A bunch of those screws look brand and then stained over. Maybe things got loose and previous caretaker just went up a size with the fasteners. My guess is 1900ish. The end handles seem sort of Craftsman style to me. It might have been a shipping box that someone put a base on and made the interior dividers. Nothing was ever disposed of like today. Kitty seems to like it. One weird question – does it SMELL old on the inside? Or does it smell like paint?

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 3375 days

#4 posted 12-08-2014 12:27 AM

no useful info from me. just wanted to add to the “wow” What a cool chest! This makes me want to build one even more, very neat!

-- Steve

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2976 days

#5 posted 12-08-2014 12:59 AM

Definitely very cool. I don’t know a lot about dating these, especially from style components, but I do know that pointed screws only started being manufactured after about 1846 or so. I agree some of those fasteners are either replacements or the chest was made in the early 1900s. If you can find some screws in there you are convinced are original you could see if they are pointed.

Here’s one I have. Not as nicely made as yours but based on the metal covering and corner banding I think it’s made near the turn of the century or a bit after.

View AandCstyle's profile


3294 posts in 3272 days

#6 posted 12-08-2014 01:40 AM

If you are really serious about determining the age you can contact these people to see if they might be able to produce any useful information for you. FWIW

-- Art

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 2632 days

#7 posted 12-08-2014 02:06 AM

Look at a book called “Reverence for Wood” by Eric Sloan. It has a section on identifying old hardware that I found fascinating
I would consider it a definite keeper no matter what it ends up.
Enjoy it’s history.

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