Everything has it’s place.

As far as tool protection goes, before making a tool chest it was sad. Chisels were out in the open, saws were unprotected, and worst of all planes were left out to find for themselves. This simply cannot do; planes, chisels, and saws need protection. Layout tools need to be safe, and a proper shop needs order. To this the remedy was a tool chest. In researching the various types, several options were available and within the skill set that needed to be honed. After further review of the chest and storage design, and proper consideration given to work methods just two were left:

The Dutch tool chest

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Dutch tool chest that Christopher Schwarz built.

And the traditional English tool chest.

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English tool chest located in Orange City IA.

Upon further editing the English tool chest was chosen. The reasons are as follows. There needed to the a safe, easy place to grab saws from storage (no toggles or hinges please) moulding planes need there own separate place but within reach. There needed to be enough room for a full set of planes such as fore, jack, transitional, joiner, finish, and plough. There needs to be a safe and separate place for chisels, and layout tools need to within reach at all times. There also needs to be room for expansion, and lastly it needs to look handsome. With this conclusion reached it was off to dovetail city.

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Dovetail City

After the carcass was dovetailed, the floor boards were applied, top and bottom skirts were joined and glued it was time to smooth everything out.

Bottom skirt is smoothed
Bottom skirt is smoothed
Carcass and top skirt dovetails are planed and smoothed.
Carcass and top skirt dovetails are planed and smoothed.
The final smoothing is done.
The final smoothing is done.

The next step was crafting a raised panel for the lid. The main reasons this is employed is to keep the lid flat, square, and it lasts longer than glued panel.

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Lid is fit and final squaring done.

After the panel is made and squared to the carcass the next step is joining and installing the dust seal.

The lid and carcass are made, now one must move inside. There are many options when it comes to the internal workings of a tool chest. There are saw tills, moulding plane storage, sliding tills, and sometimes there are items stored on the lid. Testing out different ways to layout things it became obvious to start with the front saw till and work back. Once the saw till is installed it was back to the moulding plane storage. Take the tallest and longest moulding plane and build the storage to suit. Then its on to the sides; applying oak to the sides so the sliding tills glide smooth as a kitten. Once all this is accomplished its back to doing the dovetail stoop for the tills. One could get away with just rebating and nailing these, but who wants that when dovetails are an option? After the tills were measured joined one has the option of fancy. Some take it; some don’t. That option was taken in this case.

Tools are placed for reference and layout.
Tools are placed for reference and layout.
The fancy option was taken.
The fancy option was taken.

Then it was on to the finish. Paint is chosen due to the durability and the rigors of shop life. Once the paint is dry one has the option of applying a French polish to the inteirior; some dislike the smell of boiled linseed oil and the wax, but it makes the tills slide faster. This was employed here to the maker’s fancy.

French polish of the maker's fancy.
French polish of the maker’s fancy.
Tools are safe and with in reach.
Tools are safe and with in reach.
...And handsome too!
…And handsome too!

Side note/ special thanks: Thank you Christopher Schwarz for writing and publishing the book The Anarchist’s Tool Chest without it this tool chest would not exist.

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