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Project by jm82435 posted 03-12-2008 04:50 AM 4373 views 19 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I worked for years as a machinist and I always wanted a Gerstner chest, but did I mention I am cheap? I built this out of one beautiful piece of cherry. Honestly if your time is worth anything, it would cheaper to just buy one… I am blown away with some of the projects I have seen here! I still haven’t finished it yet. I will someday line it with felt.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

31 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3988 days

#1 posted 03-12-2008 04:51 AM

Great looking box. I started out life as a machinist also.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3822 days

#2 posted 03-12-2008 05:10 AM

This is a beautiful box. I don’t believe that you can go wrong with cherry it is my favorite wood with which to work.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14172 posts in 3983 days

#3 posted 03-12-2008 05:50 AM

beautiful piece of work. you are right, the cherry is spectacular … I went thru my machinist apprentiship … in 1974 … been around machine shops and factories ever since. I’ve always wanted a Gerstner chest myself. Still got my old Kennedy that I bought used for 35 bucks.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3774 days

#4 posted 03-12-2008 05:59 AM

Great looking chest. You did a beautiful job on it. I have always loved cherry. Thanks for posting.


-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3997 days

#5 posted 03-12-2008 08:24 AM

Gorgeous! That’s a very impressive project! I have an old machinist’s case from my grandpa that has white oak drawer faces, but I’ve always wanted a Gerstner too…

I’d much rather build one one day…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4066 days

#6 posted 03-12-2008 09:47 AM

Beautiful box. I just watched a show on TV featuring the Gersnter factory and their story. Very interesting.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3875 days

#7 posted 03-12-2008 12:45 PM

Great tool box. It looks too nice to put tools in.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4314 days

#8 posted 03-12-2008 02:49 PM

A beautiful box!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4218 days

#9 posted 03-12-2008 04:14 PM

I’ve always had a desire to make one of these, but I’m not quite up to tackling it. Great job!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View stanley2's profile


344 posts in 3795 days

#10 posted 03-12-2008 04:23 PM

ahh the precision of a machinist – lovely!

-- Phil in British Columbia

View Hibernicvs's profile


65 posts in 3868 days

#11 posted 03-12-2008 07:10 PM

“if your time is worth anything, it would cheaper to just buy one”

I (respectfully!) disagree. Recreation, the arts—everything that Aristotle considered “leisure work,” that is, the “work of civilization,” cannot be measured in monetary terms. If your goal is just the bottom line, yes, it might be better in some cases to buy something rather than make it, but then you miss the fun of making it yourself, as well as what you would learn by doing.

Besides, as a CPA in real life, I have some background in cost accounting. Factoring in things like opportunity cost and the differential between a quality product you make v. something not-so-good you buy, it really can be cheaper to make something of high quality, rather than purchase something of low or lower quality. Assuming you’re doing it as recreation or as your contribution to civilization, not as a business (I would have other tips, then … and charge $400 per hour … right):

• The cost of the tools, usually the most expensive part of any project, can be prorated over future projects.

• If you’re making it for yourself, the time is “free”—the “opportunity cost” of woodworking instead of watching television or drinking beer (I HOPE no one is woodworking while gassed up …) is $-0- or less (beer for the gut and electricity for the TV cost money and produce nothing except … well, you figure it out).

• If you’re careful, the materials cost can approximate the cost of a lower quality bought item—within limits. Some of that stuff is just plain bad, and not worth the money, even if they paid you.

• Like that credit card commercial, the satisfaction as well as the increase in quality are priceless.

(I had some other really good things to say, but a client just called and put them all out of my head. He’s in building supplies, so we had more to talk about than his question on his company’s ESOP.)

-- Hibernicvs

View Lakey's profile


97 posts in 3773 days

#12 posted 03-12-2008 07:32 PM

Ooooh – that is just plain yummy. I’m jealous!

-- "No Board Left Behind"

View jm82435's profile


1285 posts in 3742 days

#13 posted 03-12-2008 08:04 PM

I agree, building it yourself is priceless. A similar Cherry Gerstner 92XL runs ~$1500. The Riser another $650. It took me a couple of weeks evenings and weekends. I learned a lot and it was fun. Like all good projects, it gave me an excuse to buy more tools and try new techniques. I do have a Gerstner journeyman box. I have to say their build quality is pretty darn good (easily the Cadillac of toolboxes). They use a lot of veneers over plywood (not anything wrong with that – especially when you do not want things moving and warping). Since I haven’t attempted that skill yet, I am counting on the stability of the solid cherry not to warp, crack, shrink grow, etc. I think my drawers are a little tighter and smoother with less lateral play. At the end of the day, it is nice to look at something you built and appreciate the process and ownership that comes only from creating it yourself.
Thanks for your comments – I appreciate the camaraderie that I have found here.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 4105 days

#14 posted 03-12-2008 08:21 PM

Gorgeous. This is one of the items on my list as well. I have not started yet though.

Did you design it from scratch, or work it out based on an existing unit, or from plans?

I think you design is better than an off the shelf box.

How did you do the drawers? An original is a locking rabbet, if I recall. I’d love to see more photos.

View HeirloomWoodworking's profile


238 posts in 3740 days

#15 posted 03-12-2008 08:43 PM

Lovely piece. Great Job!

Taking the personal pride that you obviously did in making this project, will make this worth more to you than any tool chest that you could have purchased.



-- Trevor Premer Head Termite and Servant to the Queen - Heirloom Woodworking

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