|Project by brianl||posted 05-17-2011 01:53 AM||6002 views||8 times favorited||10 comments|
Back when I did most of my work with power tools, the number of tools I had was pretty limited and usually they were pretty big. Table saw, Drill Press, Planer, etc… Now that I am using hand tools, I have a lot more tools, each of which is suited to a specific task. For example, instead of a thickness planer I have a collection of hand planes (#7, #5, #4, #3, #40, etc…). Similarly, instead of a table saw I have a collection of hand saws (Rip, Crosscut, Back, Dovetail, etc…).
Don’t get me wrong, I love my tools, but after a while my little working area was getting a little messy. I just had no place to store my tools. I looked at going out and buying a metal tool chest, but for some reason it just seemed wrong to go buy a metal box so I would more efficiently build wooden boxes. With that in mind, I started looking at building a wooden tool chest.
I finally found plans for one that I liked: The Craftsman tool chest at plansnow.com. The plans specify oak, but since I’m a cheapskate I went with poplar. My thinking is that it’s shop-furniture, why spend a bunch of money on it?
Building the chest was a great learning lesson. I had never done drawers by hand before (did them with a 1/2” and a 1/4” plow cutter on my stanley 45). Nor had I done a lot of drawer work in general. Plus, now I can actually keep my work area neat! The one downside is that I did not measure a few of my tools and some of the drawers are just not deep enough. It only affects a couple of tools though, so it’s not too big of an issue.
Since it’s going into my shop, I just sanded it to 180 grit, put on a coat of Boiled Linseed Oil, and then topped it with some wax. I’m pretty happy with it. The BLO gave it a bit too much of a yellow tone. Maybe I’m just too used to using Tung Oil for shop tools and pieces though.
- The most important thing in carcase construction is to get the sides perfectly straight, parallel, and perpendicular. I had a slight bow in two panels I glued up and had to completely redo them. Clamping cauls are your friend.
- Adapt plans. There were several steps in the plans that were intended for power tool users. I could have bypassed them. Instead, I ended up doing extra work.
Now it’s time to build a saw till!
-- Brian - Belmont, Massachusetts