Tool Chest

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Project by MichaelT77 posted 378 days ago 1953 views 5 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just built this tool chest for my grandson. He’s only 8 weeks old, though, so I’m planning on using it for the next 15 or 20 years before giving it to him. I put a little brass plate on the front of the lid with his name and birth date. And now I’ve got another grandson who’s 3 days old. I’m going to build one for him, too.

The tool chest was built from plans I found online (free). It’s called “Grandpa’s Tool Chest.”

I made the tool chest out of cedar. It’s about 2’ long, 1’ deep (front to back), and about 11” from bottom to top of lid. The plans did not call for the tray. That’s my addition. Stick-on cork on the floor of the tray compartments. I included a picture of the bottom of the tray. My first attempt at “bookmatching.” I’m happy with how that turned out. Some glue, of course, and a lot of those antique-looking cut nails. Finished with Arm-R-Seal.

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

14 comments so far

View aussiedave's profile


3014 posts in 449 days

#1 posted 378 days ago

Great looking tool chest Michael….excellent job

-- Dave.......Keep calm and make more sawdust....

View pinebox's profile


29 posts in 593 days

#2 posted 378 days ago

Probably should note that this tool chest comes from the people at Woodsmith magazine. I think it’s great that they put the plans from their tv show on line free.

The plans are available at

It’s a nice chest and you did a great job on it. One of these days I’ll build one too.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

1926 posts in 876 days

#3 posted 378 days ago

@Michael —Well done! Until you turn the tool box over to him, it could probably be used as a toy box or general storage, either with our without the tray. The plaque is a nice touch too.

@pinebox—Thanks for posting the link to the plans. I’ll put this on my ever-growing To Do List.

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

View maplerock's profile


408 posts in 425 days

#4 posted 378 days ago

This is very nice! I think waiting is a good idea… give it time to develop a little patina. Some day it will be a cherished heirloom. Although… I fear many of the heirlooms I give out so lovingly will end up in garage sales someday! Haha

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View Richard 's profile


388 posts in 1746 days

#5 posted 377 days ago

I like it, I am always building chests but I have never tried anything like this before. I have attempted different designs (see my previous projects), but I am going to try this design sometime soon. I really like the raised lid panel. Very sharp!
Good job on the tool chest.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3861 posts in 1005 days

#6 posted 377 days ago

Great idea, the kids will love it when the day comes for it to finally be theirs.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Fishinbo's profile


11216 posts in 801 days

#7 posted 373 days ago

Wonderful tool chest! Great design and very well crafted. I’m sure it will be a great heirloom piece for grandson.

View Richard 's profile


388 posts in 1746 days

#8 posted 371 days ago

Michael, if you had to do it all over again, would you use cedar? It does have a handsome look to it, but I wonder if it is too soft. especially to abuse and where the hinges attach to it..

I do like the look of this chest and I see myself borrowing from your design. I don’t kmow if I want to use cedar or go with maple. The lid looks really sharp in your project, and the detail of the brass plate is a nice touch. Also What kind of handles did you use?

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View MichaelT77's profile


111 posts in 737 days

#9 posted 371 days ago

The plans actually call for fir. Couldn’t get that here, so I bought cedar. Seemed like a close substitute. You’re right, though, cedar is pretty soft. The tool chest already has dings in it just from me bumping into things as I move it around. I’m still at the stage where I’m hesitant to spend $$$ on wood for a project, especially one that isn’t destined for the living room. If you make this of maple, it’ll be a real show piece. This project gives plenty of opportunity for innovation (e.g., my tray, and shelves and compartments).


-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

View MichaelT77's profile


111 posts in 737 days

#10 posted 371 days ago

I used the handles that the plans called for (from Had I to do this over again, I’d use more substantial handles. I can see this tool chest becoming pretty heavy when loaded up with tools.

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

View Richard 's profile


388 posts in 1746 days

#11 posted 355 days ago

still a pretty cool design, like you said the cedar seems soft but I like the color of the wood with the light and dark streaks running through it. I will take your suggestions about the handles. I have always liked the design of these chests and the size of yours is just right.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View helluvawreck's profile


15582 posts in 1492 days

#12 posted 355 days ago

It’s a great looking chest and a wonderful addition to your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View MichaelT77's profile


111 posts in 737 days

#13 posted 345 days ago

Richard, here are the photos to go with the message I sent you.

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

View Richard 's profile


388 posts in 1746 days

#14 posted 345 days ago

Thanks for the pictures. My first tool chest is for practice and my second should be an improvement with your helpful suggestions.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

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