Tool Chest

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Project by Hammerthumb posted 07-06-2013 at 09:49 AM 2535 views 26 times favorited 39 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my version of a tool chest, but is only the first of three pieces that I intend to make for my hand tools. This chest contains: carving tools, chisels, turning tools, measuring and marking tools, files, some of the small saws I use for joinery, drill bits, brace bits, and forstner bits, and miscellaneous small items that I use often.

The next cabinet will sit under this one and will contain my hand planes and a drawer for my sharpening stones. The bottom cabinet will contain my hand saws and other larger items.

I had equipped my shop with a wall of cabinets where these tools use to reside but that proved a difficult storage system as cabinets are not easy to get into, and organization was not very efficient. I found a half sheet of Mahogany plywood while trying to cleaning my shop and thought that this would be enough to make this cabinet. The sides, top, and bottom are plywood with solid wood edging. The drawer faces and the tops front edge are solid wood. I used some oak plywood for the web frame. The wood edging on the face is dovetailed at all intersecting joints. I used Maple drawer sides and hand cut dovetails. Drawer backs have an interlocking dado joint and the bottoms are plywood. I did not use drawer guides as the drawers are fitted so they slide easily within their openings and are easy to remove so I can take them to the bench. I lined the drawer bottoms with cork for tool protection and it makes them look nice. I made tool separators with more maple. They have half moon cutouts to keep the tools from rolling around. I finished the cabinet with a coat of Danish oil, and then a few coats of amber shellac. I then buffed it out with dark paste wax and #0000 steel wool.

I asked for recommendations for the drawer pulls as I was going to make them out of Maple. Some recommended brass, but I asked Dave at Chisel & Forge if he could make something a little more rustic looking. Here is what he cam up with. Please look at the last picture with a close up of the pulls. These look beautiful with the finish I had chosen. My wife even complimented them (it’s not easy to get compliments from her!).

I really enjoyed this build but still have a few things to finish on it. Will need to ask Dave again for an idea for a handle for the lid. Forgot about that part. Have also not decided what to use for something to hold the lid open.

Thanks for looking. I appreciate all comments and suggestions for the next build.


-- Paul, Las Vegas

39 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile


5290 posts in 1235 days

#1 posted 07-06-2013 at 09:53 AM

Bravo! It is absolutely amazing. Very well done.

View theoldfart's profile


4082 posts in 1088 days

#2 posted 07-06-2013 at 09:56 AM

Paul, looks fantastic. Probably should be on the dinning room sideboard rather than the shop. Beautiful work and nice finish.

-- "Aged flatus, I heard that some one has already blown out your mortise." THE Surgeon ……………………………………. Kevin

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

1950 posts in 888 days

#3 posted 07-06-2013 at 10:01 AM

Just awesome, Paul! I have this on my “round tuit” list. Love the drawer pulls from Dave—top notch work. Ain’t it great when a plan comes together?

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

View planeBill's profile


478 posts in 1046 days

#4 posted 07-06-2013 at 11:11 AM

Now that’s what Im talkin bout son!!!

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.

View PurpLev's profile


8476 posts in 2285 days

#5 posted 07-06-2013 at 11:18 AM

very nice

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

1950 posts in 888 days

#6 posted 07-06-2013 at 11:25 AM

@Paul—BTW, did you work from plans or just wing it based on the tools you intended to store in the 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 whitebeast88's profile


3505 posts in 827 days

#7 posted 07-06-2013 at 12:04 PM

very nice,great build.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View ChuckV's profile


2411 posts in 2164 days

#8 posted 07-06-2013 at 12:18 PM

That is great. I think that the drawer pulls are perfect for this piece.


-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View Woodwrecker's profile


3590 posts in 2212 days

#9 posted 07-06-2013 at 12:25 PM

Very nicely done my friend.
heirloom quality for sure !

-- Having fun...Eric

View Paul59's profile


56 posts in 562 days

#10 posted 07-06-2013 at 01:49 PM

Beautiful work, congrats on such a fine addition to your shop.

-- "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather, teach them to long for the sea." ~Antoine de Saint Exupery

View Hammerthumb's profile


1222 posts in 612 days

#11 posted 07-06-2013 at 02:40 PM

Thanks guys.

Don – No plans. Simple sketch that I did base on the size of the plywood I found. I wanted some 2” drawers for my chisels. carving tools, and marking tools. I needed 3” for the lathe tools. Kind of laid out the first three rows of drawers based on that. The bottom drawer is about 4” for small tools that I have boxes for like drill and forstner bits. Its kind of a catchall right at this point until I get the next part completed.

Thanks again fellow LJs!


-- Paul, Las Vegas

View Jeff82780's profile


182 posts in 1631 days

#12 posted 07-06-2013 at 02:58 PM

bravo paul! looks amazing! I love the dovetails! how long did this piece take you to build?

View Francois Vigneron's profile

Francois Vigneron

263 posts in 956 days

#13 posted 07-06-2013 at 03:32 PM

I am looking forward your next two tool boxes ! This one is really nice. Thanks for pointing out the knobs ; indeed, they add a nice antique touch. Keep up the good work.

-- Francois Vigneron, Gif-sur-Yvette, France & Altadena, CA

View Hammerthumb's profile


1222 posts in 612 days

#14 posted 07-06-2013 at 03:39 PM

Jeff – it took so long that I used the gauge I made you for the dovetails! Really, I’ve been working on it for a couple of months on and off. Lots of other projects going on. Wish I had completed it sooner as it helps to keep me organized. Hoping that will improve my work habits and efficiency.


-- Paul, Las Vegas

View HillbillyShooter's profile


4510 posts in 929 days

#15 posted 07-06-2013 at 03:40 PM

Very, very nice construction and design, with nice write-up. Your dovetails are particularly nice!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

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