Anarchist's Traveling Tool Chest

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Project by endgrainy posted 04-10-2016 06:58 PM 1269 views 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My primary hand tool storage area had been the lower shelf under my workbench. As my meager hand tool collection began to grow slowly, I felt the tools needed a better home.

I read Christopher Schwarz’s “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” about a year ago, and loved the philosophy presented, as well as the chest itself. I thought the original chest may be too big for my shop/tool collection, so when I saw the “Traveling Tool Chest” in the August 2015 Popular Woodworking magazine, I figured that would be the perfect size.

The case and tills are made from poplar, dovetailed on the corners (note – my hand cut dovetails tend to look better when painted:) The till runners, slides, and handles are made from white oak. The handles were particularly fun for me, as they were each tuned out of a single piece of wood. It’s my first turning that was partly non-circular.

I broke from convention and attached the lid with newer style torsion hinges so that wouldn’t need a chain or catch. The lid is plywood surrounded by a poplar frame. I didn’t go for the inlaid top – maybe next time.

Finish is milk paint on the outside – black over red. The inside was finished with two light coats of shellac. The chest sits on oak runners finished with shellac and wax to avoid rot.

In all, there were a few stumbles, but I think my hand tools are happier in their new home. Next step – I’ll have to grow my collection to fill out the chest.

-- Follow me on Instagram @endgrainy

9 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13569 posts in 2036 days

#1 posted 04-10-2016 08:29 PM

Looks like a good build. congrats on the new toolchest. I think it’ll be full before you know it.

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

View Pat3's profile


104 posts in 1297 days

#2 posted 04-10-2016 08:36 PM

A very well executed tool chest which should serve you well.
Nice work.

View jesinfla's profile


274 posts in 555 days

#3 posted 04-11-2016 12:24 AM

Looks great – love the compartments! Use it well

-- They said I could be anything... So I became Sarcastic! They also said making drawers is easy... I think they lied :(

View theoldfart's profile


7933 posts in 1869 days

#4 posted 04-11-2016 02:10 AM

Nice work on the traveling ATC. The handles really stand out and add a lot to the chest. All and all an excellent tool chest that you’ll have for years.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View 489tad's profile


3081 posts in 2429 days

#5 posted 04-11-2016 12:05 PM

Congratulations on a great build. I like the handles too!

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View endgrainy's profile


234 posts in 1306 days

#6 posted 04-11-2016 03:22 PM

Thanks for the comments guys! It was a fun build and gave me a good reason to try some new things with hand tools. I’d recommend the chest and the book to every woodworker.

-- Follow me on Instagram @endgrainy

View bonobo's profile


297 posts in 1474 days

#7 posted 04-11-2016 04:47 PM

Looks great. Nice handles.

-- “The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” ― Mark Twain

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2284 days

#8 posted 04-11-2016 06:23 PM

That’s a great tool chest and will be a fine addition to your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Luis M's profile

Luis M

41 posts in 2048 days

#9 posted 04-13-2016 02:29 PM

Great looking chest. I really like the turned oak handles. Good job!

-- Luis

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