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Tool Chest Refurb

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Blog series by Smitty_Cabinetshop updated 08-17-2014 06:48 PM 20 parts 37964 reads 715 comments total

Part 1: Some Background

06-29-2012 02:59 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 35 comments »

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 ...

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Part 2: Prep for Re-Work

07-03-2012 03:41 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 29 comments »

Take a look at a couple of (re-posted) picture for the nails that are evident… The ones left in the one remaining topper board / original lid, and the nails midway down each corner, holding the dovetail joints together. These nails, heck, all nails but what’s in the hinges, need to come out to take the chest apart completely. Yep, I’ve decided to dis-assemble the chest. Why? Because, even though the box itself seems to be stable, the dovetail joints are loose and the boards that ma...

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Part 3: Back to Square One

07-08-2012 02:14 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 32 comments »

Each of the four sides are comprised of two boards, and the dowels ‘n glue that held those pairs of boards together bought the farm decades ago. But for the front board, where I was able to get them apart and check out the locust (?) dowels. To get back to four tight boards from eight loose ones means clamps and glue. Oh, and biscuits. Yes, Norm-loving, electron-killing, can’t-believe-a-true-galoot-would-ever-use- them biscuits! Why would I do such a thing? Why indeed. Let’...

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Part 4: Skirts are for Tool Chests

07-20-2012 09:28 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 60 comments »

I need four sides of skirting for dovetailing in a way opposite the main body of the chest. As in, tails are cut into the face board of the main chest, but will get cut into the side boards of the skirt, to counteract each other and increase overall stability. I’m only able to get the bottom skirting entirely from my blue board: - Two long boards, front and back- Two short sides I want the blue and/or weathered edges to be ‘up,’ and cut edge down on these boards, a...

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Part 5: Everything Below the Lid

08-20-2012 06:26 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 104 comments »

Chest-like object has suffered a bit of neglect, to be sure, and for that there isn’t much of an excuse. Except for these two words: Family and Job. :-) Where in the heck am I with this refurb? Last installment says I ‘completed’ the lower skirt, but what’s pictured includes a skirt that’s not yet permanently attached to the chest. Issue? Well, kinda. But that’s not what this installment is gonna cover. Instead of the base, I’ve moved to the middle of the chest to work the uppe...

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Part 6: Okay, This Time it's All About the Lid...

08-25-2012 02:06 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 34 comments »

Where are we? Oh, yeah. There’s a top skirt (not glued): And the frame part of the frame and panel: With the idea (stupid, perhaps) to use the old, original bottom boards for the panel. Jointed, with biscuits to glue, and work can go on. A problem becomes apparent when clean-up begins. A crack (or craic), that is more like a split, but not good in either sense. With the intervention of my LJ pals, I chose the right path and split the board, then glued up the ...

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Part 7: Chest needs a lid, and now it has one...

09-03-2012 03:50 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 95 comments »

Not going to clench cut nails for hinge install because my cut nails are truly vintage and will break rather than bend. Because of the thickness of the lid skirt, two shorter screws are needed at the base of the three-hole hinge, with one long wood screw good for the top in that it goes through the skirt and into the panel of the lid. Chose the hardware from the parts drawer, and moved out. Clamped the hinge tight, tapped starter holes and drove the screws home. The next pic...

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Part 8: Making New Look Old...

09-09-2012 05:38 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 24 comments »

Again, fewer words and more pictures this go-round. Let’s get started! Begin with an old chest (steady, Al), middling skirt and raw top. Beat it up a bit. Potato-stain the fresh cut edges. Chamfer the bottom skirt. Rub the entire chest with dirt. Apply watered-down paint that the computer color match systemsays is the predominant color of the dirty old chest. Then rub down with WD-40 soaked rag and you’ve got it. Maybe some ...

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Part 9: It's What's Inside that Counts, Right?

11-22-2012 09:02 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 19 comments »

So, The Outside of the Chest looks reasonably authentic now, and features a lid that keeps dust and other detritus away from the rust-prone surfaces of tools within. But after a spring and summer to-do list filled with roofing, siding and other outdoor remediations, there has been no time for tool chests and the like. Until this week, when I starting clearing clutter with my Friendly Confines (Shop) and setting items inside the Chest. Can’t add more without stacking, and IR...

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Part 10: Drawers need Runners...

11-24-2012 06:07 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 10 comments »

Started the day’s activity concentrating effort on the sliding shelf that will separate the till section from the undivided bottom well of the chest. Glue scraping with the #82, then a check for flat with the winding stick. One isolated area of glue residue I can’t get to. If it were tear-out, I’d have an issue. This ain’t that, but it still bugs me. So the bedrock #4C gives way to the #2. Took the glued-up, cleaned up panel over to the chest and ...

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Part 11: Best Saturday Use of Mock-ups...

11-25-2012 02:50 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 21 comments »

Walked into the shop this AM to this: And I want to get to a reasonable facsimile of this: So setting the depth of each drawer is the action of the day. I have them marked as being 6”, so part of me says just jump in and start making drawers. The more practical side is telling me to do a something I hardly, if ever, do: Mock up the drawers. Why do that, you ask? Well, as has been discussed in this series, the chest is not square. But cutting at least the drawer bottoms I c...

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Part 12: Return from Obscurity

04-17-2013 04:13 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 10 comments »

Precious little dialog, and only three pictures, but know that the Chest has not been forgotten. Worked an idea I had for the sliding tills. The #78 (love that plane) created a rabbet on pallet pine That was matched up with a dado’d (and reclaimed) walnut front To create the beginnings of sliding tills for this chest interior. More to come!

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Part 13: Almost a Year, but Progress Continues...

08-13-2013 02:59 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 60 comments »

Yeah, if you’re like Andy and had popcorn at the ready for another installment of this series, my bad as it’s gone back to seed while you waited. The chest has been an interim resting place for tools that otherwise were a source of clutter, but the chest itself had precious little work done on it’s behalf for the better part of the the last year. This weekend, that changed. But this reprise from a couple installments ago. I’m here: And I want to get to get he...

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Part 14: Looking More Like a Tool Chest

09-12-2013 03:30 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 29 comments »

Had a chest with sliding tills ‘in bottom only…’ So I mounted faces via saw-kerf rabbets… and dovetailed sides to said faces. Glued faces… And now the sides get glued up, one drawer per day. This way I can clamp them up in place so they are ‘set’ where they’ll live. With this box, square is certainly optional… :-) That will get these (sans lid): Into a chest that once lo...

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Part 15: And We're Ready for Hardware!

09-15-2013 07:06 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 12 comments »

Left off last time looking like this: After pulling clamps and doing some trim work first at the bench… And then at the chest with the Stanley #278 in chisel plane mode… The chest is now looking like this: Tills are marked for pulls, then I’ll add finish and it’ll be reveal time… Until then, thanks for following along!

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Part 16: Conclusion!

09-16-2013 01:49 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 28 comments »

Okay, we started here when the evening’s activites went down: Tills were assembled and trimmed up earlier this morning and I was excited to add hardware and apply a finish. So tonight I started by adding a little beading detail using my Stanley #66 beading plane. Once the top edge of each ‘drawer front’ was beaded, it was time to add the ring pulls I had purchased many months ago… I only took a picture of the hole drilling though, sorry… ...

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Part 17: A 'Feature' gets (Re-) Discovered

09-19-2013 06:03 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 64 comments »

Not trying to convince anyone of anything here, but if you’ve read the series y’all know that I chose to install a sliding ledge in rehab’d tool chest as shown in an old chest drawing. I did it because when I first saw it I thought it was cool, and thought it was there to protect the bottom compartment from dust / debris when the lid was open. Got it built and realized a couple of things: - It was, in fact, quite cool looking- It highlighted the large dead space in front of the...

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Part 18: Final Hardware Install

09-30-2013 01:53 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 16 comments »

Here’s what I’ve had: The vertical saw till needed flush ring pulls, and those finally came in this week. Tonight was install time. First to practice on pine. Traced it with a knife, chisel’d (carefully) and drilled and got the fit right. Lots of chiseling ahead on a much narrower piece of walnut. Removed the saws and square from the till and set it up on the bench for work. Chisel’d out the square, marked for the deep, recessed cut ...

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Part 19: A Latch!!

05-04-2014 01:36 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 10 comments »

Only thing this chest has aggravated me with since completion is an inability to open and close it easily. I’ve not slammed the lid on my finger (yet), but both activities have been two-handed operations. Didn’t like that, had my eyes open for a solution, and found this: How to mount it? Glad you asked. Drilled some holes, then worked the slot. Used a carving tool to set in the hinge pin assy… Here’s under the lid~ Add a little m...

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Part 20: A Piece of the Puzzle Arrives

08-17-2014 06:48 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 24 comments »

Hello, and wecome back to this blog series! Installment #20 deals not with a modification to the actual structure of the chest, but with a change in contents that improved functionality. One of the items I’m convinced needs to be in the tool chest is a full-sized framing square. You know what I’m talking about, as there are thousands of these tools out there, and likely several in every shop across America. Now that’s not to say we all know how to actually use the devise ...

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