My Anarchist's Tool Chest Build

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Project by BloodAndSalt posted 08-04-2013 11:21 AM 4463 views 16 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I read Christopher Schwarz’s book and decided to build the chest. I’ve moved every other year for the last six, and needed something to carry all my tools in safely, the latest move was overseas and I don’t trust the movers to pack things well. The cool part was when the movers just wrapped the chest up in packing paper, tools and all inside, and put the hole thing in the crate. When it came out in Italy I was nervous, but all my tools were fine, just like I’d left them. Except my smoothing plane was upside down. I guess the boat hid rough seas on the way over.

I did disobey the book as the book suggest. Instead of pine, I used red oak for the carcass and only used pine for the trays, tills and lid panel. I wanted the added strength to stand up to moving overseas. I tried using milk paint for the first time and was not happy with the results. It looked good at the store, but I just couldn’t get the consistency I’m used too with regular paint, so I think I’ll repaint it black when I get back to the US. It took about 2 and half months worth of weekends and a week of leave but I got it done on time for the move.

This was my first real project after building my work bench (which I no longer have, thank you Navy). I used hand tools for most of the work, but I was luck to have the thickness planer I inherited. But that was about it. I don’t think power tools are practical for me at this stage in my life as the weight allowance I get every time I move along with the small housing would not allow for them. So I’m pretty much forced to be a hand tool only woodworker. I did learn a lot of skills that I had never thought to try by hand before(dovetailing, mortice and tenon joints, raised panelling,jointing).

I owe Mr. Schwarz a thank you for writing an excellent book, I couldn’t put it down. And also thanks to Roy Underhill and the Woodwright’s shop for all the episodes and demonstrating what I could not understand on my own.

Also if anyone knows anything about wood working in Italy, like were to find wood to work with, please message me in the comments.

13 comments so far

View SirFatty's profile


507 posts in 1299 days

#1 posted 08-04-2013 11:43 AM

I saw this box on The Woodwright’s Shop with Christopher Schwarz demonstrating it (two ADHD people talking over one another, tedious TV). I know that pine would be lighter, but it does not seem durable if it is to be moved around a lot. I guess you had the same thought. Especially the amount you are moving.

Nice work, I hope it gives you a lifetime of use!


-- Visit my blog at

View Buckethead's profile


3121 posts in 956 days

#2 posted 08-04-2013 12:40 PM

Excellent build. I really need to read the book.

Today: sharpening and book search.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5540 posts in 1379 days

#3 posted 08-04-2013 12:59 PM

Nice build—I like your use of red oak for the carcass as pine can really get beat up even if it is the traditional wood of choice.

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

View RGtools's profile


3343 posts in 1742 days

#4 posted 08-04-2013 02:58 PM

Very nicely done. The good news is that you can get just about anything done with what is in that box.

The weight thing is an interesting issue. How do you plan to solve the workbench issue with that constraint?

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


113822 posts in 2664 days

#5 posted 08-04-2013 04:19 PM

Greet looking tool chest an extra fine build.

-- Custom furniture

View Bogeyguy's profile


549 posts in 1155 days

#6 posted 08-04-2013 09:25 PM

The challenge will be when you return to the states. For some reason, things have a way of disappearing if not secured like a bank vault when they leave over seas.

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View aussiedave's profile


3109 posts in 911 days

#7 posted 08-04-2013 09:52 PM

Excellent tool chest, really like the stack of three boxes being able to slide them aside to get to the one underneath, great idea. The interior is very functional…Excellent job.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View crazicarl's profile


22 posts in 1091 days

#8 posted 08-05-2013 01:25 AM

Looks great. This is one project that is high on my list. As far as the workbench goes, you might check out some of the knock a part benches people have posted. Still might not work with the weight allowance, but you never know. Have fun in Italy and thanks for your service. My dad was Navy.

View theoldfart's profile (online now)


6548 posts in 1538 days

#9 posted 08-05-2013 01:37 AM

Nice build. and you will have it for a lifetime. I love mine and its getting plenty of use.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

5863 posts in 1467 days

#10 posted 08-05-2013 03:25 AM

Nice work on the chest. Can you lift it?


View WayneC's profile


12638 posts in 3184 days

#11 posted 08-05-2013 04:54 AM

Very very nice. It will last generations.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View BloodAndSalt's profile


8 posts in 845 days

#12 posted 08-05-2013 09:33 PM

Rick M. I can’t get my arms far enough around it to lift it on my own. Two people can lift it easily when it’s empty. One of the movers lifted it wrapped up in packing paper and full of all the tools, by himself. He was bigger than me.

View theoldfart's profile (online now)


6548 posts in 1538 days

#13 posted 08-05-2013 09:38 PM

You must have light weight tools, two guys couldn’t lift mine! Must be wooden planes.:

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

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