Penguin Tool Chest

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Blog series by bobasaurus updated 06-16-2012 05:42 PM 12 parts 43603 reads 32 comments total

Part 1: Design and Milling

10-17-2011 01:45 AM by bobasaurus | 1 comment »

I decided to make a fancy wooden tool chest as a retirement gift for my Dad. Fortunately, there are many inspiring tool chests here on lumberjocks that I was able to use as a basis (such as JaiMaluga22's, jm82435's, Coleby's, and Mathew Nedeljko's). After examining these and many other tool chests, I came out with a design I liked and made a simple version of it in Sketchup: (not sure why this turned out so blurry here… I must not be getting the image resolution correct and some re...

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Part 2: Routes and Many Dovetails

10-17-2011 02:07 AM by bobasaurus | 4 comments »

I wanted this toolchest to be fairly traditional, so I worked on the setup for wooden runners early in the build. I used a 1/2” router bit to make dados that run most of the length of the side panels, stopping 3/8” shy of the front. This involved very delicate adjustments and stop-block placements: The dados will give extra support for the runners, and make them easier to position. I also routed a sliding dovetail for a horizontal divider, and a normal dado for the plywo...

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Part 3: Turquoise and Internal Dividers

10-17-2011 02:28 AM by bobasaurus | 2 comments »

One of the bookmatched side panels of the chest had a large knothole that needed filling. I’ve seen lots of neat stone inlay here on lumberjocks and wanted to give it a try. My Dad found some crushed turquoise and fancy epoxy at a jewelry supply store, and I bought some bigger pieces at a local gem and mineral show. After testing the technique on some scrap, I epoxied the turquoise pieces into the knothole: I tried to place in big pieces first, then fill the rest of the gap wi...

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Part 4: Penguin Inlay

10-17-2011 02:44 AM by bobasaurus | 2 comments »

My Dad spent a year at the South Pole as part of his job. Ever since he got back, friends and relatives have been jokingly giving him penguin-themed gifts (despite the lack of penguins at the South Pole), so it seemed like an appropriate subject for trying out wooden inlay. I used the router inlay technique of the Wood Whisperer, which routes out a matching groove in solid stock, though doesn’t use a template like some router inlay systems. Here is the pattern I came up with, trace...

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Part 5: shipwright-style Box Hinges

10-17-2011 03:19 AM by bobasaurus | 7 comments »

After seeing shipwright’s nifty wooden box hinge technique , I knew I had to try it myself. I’m not sure if it’s been attempted on this large a scale, but I’m happy with how it came out. The only change I made to the original technique was putting the grooves on the face of the board instead of the edge, that way the somewhat-unsightly filled groove would be hidden from view on the outside of the tool chest. Here is the initial setup with the grooves still open: ...

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Part 6: Drawer Runners

11-06-2011 04:03 AM by bobasaurus | 1 comment »

Recently I’ve been making drawer runners for the tool chest (slow progress, I know). I started off with a piece of red oak about 8” wide. After hand-planing one face (too wide for my jointer) somewhat flat, I sent it through the planer to get the 1/2” width, then ripped and crosscut on the table saw to size. Using a 3/8” roundover bit, I made the round edge profile on one side to fit my runner dados: I then used my thin-rip jig to cut out 3/8” strips to...

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Part 7: Dovetails and a Glue-Up

11-07-2011 04:54 AM by bobasaurus | 2 comments »

Today I sanded the drawer runners for a while, then worked on the vertical divider’s sliding dovetails. I first marked and chiseled-out the rear section of the sliding dovetail groove (I’d already done the front a few weeks back), then cut the recess in the front rail for the false front dovetail to fit into. Here are some pictures of the test fits: Then it was finally time to glue-up the top section of the carcass. I sanded all inside sections to 150 grit before startin...

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Part 8: Finishing the Carcass and Starting the Drawers

11-14-2011 01:23 AM by bobasaurus | 2 comments »

I finally managed to finish the last part of the carcass assembly by gluing in the vertical divider. It’s looking pretty awesome with everything together (except for the cheap pine plywood, which I’ll cover with some material after finishing): This weekend, I’ve been spending my time flattening and cutting up a ridiculously twisted and bowed elm board: This will become the drawer sides. After spending hours and hours with a combination of hand planes, the joi...

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Part 9: Slow Drawer Progress

12-24-2011 07:48 PM by bobasaurus | 1 comment »

My progress working on the tool chest has been very slow, mostly thanks to Colorado’s cold weather and my unheated garage shop. But I finally got something done on the first drawer. I made a mistake laying out the dovetails, and unfortunately had already cut the tail members before realizing, resulting in this fiasco: Oops. I was able to fill the holes with small wood pieces glued in, then re-cut the angle on the pins and re-fit the dovetail. Now I know, I guess. The rest of...

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Part 10: Fitting Drawers and Making Mistakes

02-07-2012 05:33 AM by bobasaurus | 3 comments »

I finally finished dovetailing the last of the drawers. The next step was to sand the sides until they would slide easily into the tool chest (I made them a little too large to facilitate the fitting process). After getting all six little drawers to fit without runners (crowning the sides a bit with the orbital sander, unfortunately, but I’ll flatten them better later on), I screwed their drawer runners in place: I had applied one coat of finish to the dados and backs of the ru...

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Part 11: Attaching the Lid and Final Sanding

05-13-2012 03:19 AM by bobasaurus | 5 comments »

I’m finally about done with the tool chest. After sanding the inside of the lid smooth, I attached it permanently to the carcass by gluing in strips of matching wood (masking off other areas to protect against glue drops/smears) and sawing/sanding flush: I then spent forever sanding every corner of this damn thing. Rounding all the edges and de-pointing corners took a while too. I stopped at about 400 grit, then buffed with 0000 steel wool. The turquoise inlay now looks prett...

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Part 12: Finally Finished the Tool Chest

06-16-2012 05:42 PM by bobasaurus | 2 comments »

I finally managed to finish the tool chest a little over a week ago (I was on a trip this week and couldn’t post it). Here is the project page with the details: And a photo set with more pictures: Thanks for following along. It has been a long journey getting this thing to completion.

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