A gift for my Grampa

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Project by NoLongerHere posted 01-29-2011 01:08 PM 3700 views 43 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My Grandfather, Francis Townsend was an inspiration to me as I grew up.

He was always working on one of his inventions in his shop when I came to visit.

He would take the time to explain things when I asked and I think he appreciated my interest in his work.

We always had a nice time talking about our projects together.


To show my respect and appreciation,

I built this tool box for him to put his tools in when he finally retired, thinking it would be kept in the family and someday, it would be passed on to one of our young relatives.


The tool cabinet is made of walnut, mahogany, birds eye maple, ebony and 1/4 sawn white oak

that I recycled from the podium in a 128 yr old church I remodeled in Glencoe IL. 1992?

The hand cut 1/4” dovetailed drawers are made of walnut and lined in tan suede leather.

There is a hidden drawer at the bottom with a push open lock.

I installed ball bearing wheel guides inside dadoes which also act as a stop.


There is a brass rod with an antique hinge finial on top that drops down thru walnut guides to lock the drawers.


The rod hangs on walnut brackets under the lid.


There is a Dragonfly inlay on the lid made of mahogany and birds eye maple.


The corner splines are made of ebony.


I’m thankful for all he’s done and the inspiration he created.

I miss him very much.


The story continues in the comments … Thanks for sharing, everyone.


34 comments so far

View mafe's profile


11725 posts in 3084 days

#1 posted 01-29-2011 01:24 PM

What a beautiful gesture, he is a lucky man.
What wonderful craftmanship.
What a tastefull design.
What wonderful details.
What wonderful tools.
I smimply are touched in all my sences.
Thank you for sharing this with us,
best thoughts,
(The chisels with the brown handles, are they Iles? And how do you like these?).

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View obi999's profile


213 posts in 3402 days

#2 posted 01-29-2011 02:09 PM

Oh man this is fantastic. Everyone who ownes such a toolbox -and those tools- could feel as a lucky man.
And the one who builted this beauty may be the luckiest.
Thank you for posting!

-- *** the german lumberjock ***

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3329 days

#3 posted 01-29-2011 02:42 PM

I fully agree with Mafe’s comments and I can only guess how happy your grandfather must have been to receive this remarkable tool chest as a gift. This is a real WOW project straight from the heart. I although think your willingness to part with it shows how generous you are.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 2831 days

#4 posted 01-29-2011 02:56 PM

It is a beauty. And I am made happy seeing the work and the purpose.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3110 days

#5 posted 01-29-2011 04:02 PM

a very nice toolbox and a great gift I´m sure he preciated alot :-)
a clever drawer locker :-)
thank´s forsharing and welcome to L J enjoy and have fun

take care

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3071 days

#6 posted 01-29-2011 04:06 PM

Stunning tool box! What a great gift. Well done!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View woodzy's profile


418 posts in 2673 days

#7 posted 01-29-2011 04:19 PM

Great Story, thanks for sharing. He must have been very proud to see his grandson displaying the same inginuity and apptitude that you admired in him.

You have a lot of really great details, i really like your drawer lock, not that i need to point it out, its practical and beautiful. the keys on the toolbox lid are a nice detain as well.

-- Anthony

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3683 days

#8 posted 01-29-2011 04:20 PM

I want one too !!!
This is the nicest toolbox that I’ve ever seen !!
Fantastic Craftsmanship on your part and how delighted and proud must your Grampa be to own such a work of art : )
Any close-ups of your inlay ?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Bob Bonham's profile

Bob Bonham

35 posts in 3100 days

#9 posted 01-29-2011 04:22 PM

Wow! This is absolutely beautiful!!!

View Bags's profile


39 posts in 3506 days

#10 posted 01-29-2011 04:55 PM

Amen to all of the comments – a great chest! A strictly selfish request – would you consider doing a “how to” blog?

View joeob's profile


70 posts in 3324 days

#11 posted 01-29-2011 05:10 PM

I agree with everything written above.
A VERY fine piece.
I especially agree with Bags. While a lot of the construction is simple enough
There are enough subtle and special touches to merit a blog.
That is if you and the new owner agree.
Again WELL done.

-- To finish something you must first start!

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3080 days

#12 posted 01-29-2011 05:17 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks. That is a wonderful toolbox, built by a master woodworker who put skill as well
as love into this work. Thank you for sharing and I hope you and your family enjoy many more years of
using and sharing your skills. You are indeed sharing it forward with this toolbox not only with your
grandfather, but with all who will see it and be inspired to learn the skills and abilities that built it.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View sras's profile


4795 posts in 3124 days

#13 posted 01-29-2011 05:48 PM

Beatuiful chest and a wonderful story as well. The attention to detail is impressive! Thanksfor sharing.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3718 days

#14 posted 01-29-2011 06:02 PM

A great toolbox and a great use of recycled wood. The photography is really impressive also.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2671 days

#15 posted 01-29-2011 06:54 PM

I wasn’t expecting all these comments. Thank you so much.

Most of you recognise the simplicity of this frame and panel (door) cabinet. This was the focus from the beginning.
The walnut drawer guides inside are a neat design. They have a dado for the drawer box and another dado for a nylon BB wheel screwed to the back sides of the drawer which stops behind the beaded face frame.

If you can imagine my grampa, he was a practical man with great ideas and an inventor of many things including one of the first coin change machines. His latest project was an Argon gas vacuum pump for neon signs.
Growing up thru the depression, he didn’t have much and he worked with what tools he had and his hands.
Even though he became successful, he still maintained his conservative lifestyle and had no need for vanity.

I drove down from Chicago to Oklahoma City in 2004 to give the tool box to him.
He never had a chance to retire his tools in the box as he worked in his shop until the day he died at 90 yrs. old a couple of years ago.

showing 1 through 15 of 34 comments

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