Machinist chest

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Project by swdst posted 11-28-2017 01:20 AM 1494 views 9 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a project I had been wanting to take on for quite some time, but was unsure if my skill level was there, and felt daunted every time I thought about starting it. The guy I work with is a hobby machinist and has been talking about buying a good machinist chest, but has fallen on hard times and can’t afford one, that was the incentive I needed. He has been good to me when things were tight, including a couple loans which he keeps putting off me paying back, so, Merry Christmas. The tool chest measures 24” w, 18” d, and 20” and a smidge high. I also found him an older copy of the machinery’s handbook, and the upper drawers were built around holding the book as the originals did. The lid is held on by a wooden hinge, cut from the lid and back panel so there is no “separate hinge”. Latches are from Rocker, and the mirror, felt, and front panel keeper pins are Gerstner. The front panel slides under the bottom drawers and rides on 3/16 brass rods in a 1/4 dado. The drawer knobs are thumb bolts that we get as extra hardware from equipment we put in, he saves the extra one Everytime we get one to “use someday”, I snuck his stash out of his shop to use on this for him lol. All case joinery is tongue and groove except the front top brace, which is a sliding dovetail. Case is qs oak and cherry, drawer fronts are cherry and drawer sides are oak. Dividers are ply that I edge banded with some of the thin strips of oak that cutoffs from the case. It is finished in shellac. Machinist handbook drawer has a false bottom for hiding things, and there is a hidden drawer behind it that is held in with a magnetic plunger, and is released my placing a magnet in the bottom of the top compartment above the plunger, lifting it from its hole in the bottom divider, and is towed out via magnets in the handbook drawer (thing of a train car, but magnets instead of couplers). All in all I estimate close to 120 hours in all. Lots of math lol, and definitely a lot of measure 20 times and cut once ( only had one shot at the drawers as I wanted the continuous grain pattern. Thanks for taking the time to look.

24 comments so far

View TheFridge's profile


9100 posts in 1421 days

#1 posted 11-28-2017 01:55 AM

Well done my good man.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Bobsboxes's profile


1345 posts in 2599 days

#2 posted 11-28-2017 02:00 AM

Great build and story, I’m sure he will treasure this piece.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3505 posts in 2186 days

#3 posted 11-28-2017 03:07 AM

Agreed. Great story and an extremely kind gesture. Including the Machinist’s Handbook was very thoughtful. I hope you made one for yourself too, because that’s an awesome machinist chest!

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Woodknack's profile


11313 posts in 2315 days

#4 posted 11-28-2017 09:17 AM

Really good work.

But sorry, I couldn’t stand it that the best picture was sideways.

-- Rick M,

View swdst's profile


68 posts in 1026 days

#5 posted 11-28-2017 10:25 AM

Thanks for that, they turned sideways when I uploaded them, didn’t notice it til after they loaded

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

1735 posts in 517 days

#6 posted 11-28-2017 01:03 PM

Great build and a really nice gesture.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View Levex's profile


44 posts in 1090 days

#7 posted 11-28-2017 01:16 PM

Brilliant work and a good back story as well. Your co-worker is a lucky man to have such a good friend. Cheers.

View Peteybadboy's profile


256 posts in 1884 days

#8 posted 11-28-2017 01:31 PM

This project is great! You did a fine job. Can you show detail of your magnet lock?

-- Petey

View johnstoneb's profile


2819 posts in 2107 days

#9 posted 11-28-2017 01:43 PM

Beautiful. That is so much better than the commercially available chest. You’re friend will think of you and thank you every time he looks at that chest. Good tools deserve a beautiful place to reside.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Just_Iain's profile


280 posts in 351 days

#10 posted 11-28-2017 03:40 PM

The old saying from elementary school comes to mind: “Can I be your friend?”

It looks great and he now has a fantastic keepsake from ‘work’ and a coworker.

-- For those about to die, remember your bicycle helmet!

View BurlyBob's profile


5308 posts in 2200 days

#11 posted 11-28-2017 05:00 PM

A truly wonderful chest. Obviously a gift from the heart. I’m certain it will mean all the more for your friend.

View helluvawreck's profile


30527 posts in 2801 days

#12 posted 11-28-2017 06:02 PM

This is a wonderful machinist chess and you have done a beautiful job on it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View DonDA's profile


166 posts in 3166 days

#13 posted 11-28-2017 07:34 PM

Absolutely awesome. You did a great job. I’ve been putting off doing one of these myself. You are giving me inspiration.

-- Don, Saginaw Mi

View drewpy's profile


783 posts in 1292 days

#14 posted 11-28-2017 09:03 PM

You did great work on this. It turned out awesome. Thanks for sharing.

-- Drew -- "The greatest wealth is health".

View oldnovice's profile


6689 posts in 3302 days

#15 posted 11-28-2017 09:20 PM

Very well done sir!
A really nice project.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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