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Tool Chest Refurb #1: Some Background

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 755 days ago 2240 reads 0 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Tool Chest Refurb series Part 2: Prep for Re-Work »

Posted a ‘Shop Notes’ entry some time ago to talk about a big ‘ole pine dovetailed box I bought at a local auction.

Not absolutely certain it was ever a tool chest, but I won’t rule it out either. Some points to consider on the tool chest vs. plain box discussion:

- There’s no evidence it ever had sliding trays or inserts. Not that they’re required, I suppose, but modern authors suggest that’s the historical norm. Maybe the builder wasn’t norm.

- No mortise lock, only a ring for a hasp / padlock. But then, a lock is a lock.

- It has chest-like handles. They’re clinched through (and very cool looking).

- It has remnants of a chest-type lid. Wish there were more of it, but alas.

- The scallop marks from a cambered plane are clearly evident. You could suppose a finished box would have gotten a run with the smoother. But then a tool chest should show more capability. This one could go either way.

- The owner was indeed a carpenter of some merit. He (or his descendant) at least had a Sargent VBM smoother in nice condition, fore and jack planes, a wooden jointer with fence, iron bench dog (no bench though), decent handsaws and a mortising gage that appears to be a rosewood and brass Stanley #77. These tools (and others) were also auctioned off on sale day and most had the same initials marked on them.

- The overall dimensions don’t rule out it being a tool chest, and actually seem right for one.

- No skirting for extra base support or for dust control around the lid

One thing is clear, though. If it’s going to be a tool chest for me, it’s gonna need some work.

- Regluing of the carcase dovetails

- A lid
- Top and bottom skirting
- Wheels
- Interior sliding tray(s)
- Interior saw till

The wonderful blue patina of the old chest is a big reason the antique dealer wanted it. 

If I’m going to refurbish this piece into something useable, I’d like to have the new work on the exterior blend in with the original as much as possible. Details for the skirts, lid and interior will come from C. Schwarz’ Anarchist Tool Chest and a build here on LJs by Carters Whittling. Overall it’s a very, very low priority project.

Thanks for looking!

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



35 comments so far

View SamuelP's profile

SamuelP

735 posts in 1244 days


#1 posted 755 days ago

I will be tuning in on this show.

-- -Sam - Tampa, FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View Don W's profile

Don W

14618 posts in 1165 days


#2 posted 755 days ago

Smitty, I restored my great grandfather’s (so my dad told me) tool box several years ago for my wife to use. I probably went further with it than I would today, but I still think it came out ok.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9575 posts in 1216 days


#3 posted 755 days ago

Thanks, Sam! Should be interesting…

Don- It looks good! You think you went too far with the rehab, or ?

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

14618 posts in 1165 days


#4 posted 755 days ago

well, its not a tool box anymore

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4085 posts in 1454 days


#5 posted 755 days ago

Smitty

I’ve seen tool chest with a full lift out

drawer section, so there were no slides

in it.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9575 posts in 1216 days


#6 posted 755 days ago

You can always reclaim it for the shop. But then you’ve got a couple in there already… This is my only (will be), pretty sure.

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

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9575 posts in 1216 days


#7 posted 755 days ago

Jamie, very true, there’s a LJ doing one that I looked at earlier this week doing that.

There are a notches at the top of the sides, visible in pics 1 & 3 above, that came from repeated contact with something. A till, perhaps? I have no idea…

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

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6747 posts in 1749 days


#8 posted 755 days ago

This will be interesting to watch as it comes along Smitty. I love old chests.

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

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4779 posts in 1220 days


#9 posted 755 days ago

” I’d like to have the new work on the exterior blend in with the original as much as possible”

This will be the interesting part for me.

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9575 posts in 1216 days


#10 posted 754 days ago

Me, too.

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

View bhog's profile (online now)

bhog

1968 posts in 1287 days


#11 posted 754 days ago

Im sure you thought of barn wood to help with the blending,but what would you use to age the cuts etc.Or are you planning on using “new” wood and dying,scruffing,staining etc?

Will be a learning experience for sure.

-- I don't drive a Prius.

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4779 posts in 1220 days


#12 posted 754 days ago

Can you subscibe to a blog series here on LJ’s?

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View Don W's profile

Don W

14618 posts in 1165 days


#13 posted 754 days ago

not that I know of Scott. That was my last “improve LJ” request actually.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Don W's profile

Don W

14618 posts in 1165 days


#14 posted 754 days ago

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4779 posts in 1220 days


#15 posted 754 days ago

I just find that some of my LJ buddies email notifications get buried in the deluge of daily email. I have missed or been late to some great blog entries.

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

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