Spent pretty much all day today finishing up the tool chest. I finished painting it and scrubbed everything with a green pad to blend in the paint. I really liked how the milk paint looked, so I decided against boiled linseed oil. It’s black black black, almost sucks in the light since there’s nearly no sheen. Some of the pictures make it look lighter and much chalkier than it does in person.
After the paint was done, I reinstalled the hinges, this time taking great care to get everything squared up. Went smoothly.
Then I installed the handles. I got these on eBay, they were advertised as antique hand made. They definitely look both. They’re not quite the same size, the holes aren’t quite centered, one of the loops is a bit smaller than the other, etc. I think of this as character. The rivets on the back stuck out, so I had to cut out tiny little mortises for the handles to sit flush on the side.
The handles went on without problem. I then did the hasp. Another eBay purchase, but this was newly manufactured. I had a choice between powder finish and rust. I chose rust. True to the description, the hasp was quite rusty. Last night I brushed some Klean-Strip Phosphoric Prep & Etch on it. I’m impressed with this stuff, I’ve only used it a couple times but it works surprisingly fast, is easy to apply, and doesn’t require a full dunking like vinegar. The Prep and Etch knocked off almost all the rust but left a nice patina. I gave the hasp a quick brushing with a bronze wire brush, then wiped with oil. It matched the hinges and the handles almost exactly.
I had to chop a mortise for half of the hasp, which I did with a chisel. I used a Stanley 71 router plane at first, but it was too big to get to the bottom, the iron kept hitting the sides. The mortise turned out good, I’m happy with the fit. The router plane damaged the paint on the edges, so I touched it up later.
I wasn’t sure I was going to add a hasp, but I’m glad I did. I really like the way it looks, and it might come in handy to be able to lock the chest if I ever take a class. I’m going to have to get an antique-style padlock for it.
Aside from the saw till that I’m going to screw to the inside of the lid, the chest is done. Yay!
Of course I couldn’t wait to put my tools in it.
The chest weighs almost exactly 90 lbs when full of tools. I forgot to weigh it before I filled it. It’s not the most comfortable thing in the world to carry, certainly wouldn’t want to walk up several flights of stairs with it. If I ever have to carry it a fair distance, I’ll use a hand truck.
The only thing left is the lid saw till for my 18” and 22” Disston panel saws. I was going to make a till that sits on the inside for my Japanese razor saw and ryoba, but I’m not sure now. There’s not really enough room for both saws, so I may just leave the razor saw in there loose.
Overall I’m very happy with how the chest turned out. I tried a lot of new things and made a fair number of mistakes on this project, which I will hopefully learn from. I definitely feel like my hand tool skills improved over the course of the build.
I don’t have a good table to keep the chest on, just an ugly little “temporary” table that has managed to stay in use much longer than intended. I plan on making a base for the chest, probably on casters, though I have a couple other projects that are higher priority. I can’t fit all of my tools in this chest, and I’m constantly acquiring more (damn eBay), so it’ll be nice to have another small chest for tools I don’t use much.