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
- 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