Yup. I am one of the many who have followed along with Chris Schwarz’ book The Anarchist’s Tool Chest & made a tool chest. http://www.lostartpress.com/The_Anarchist_s_Tool_Chest_p/bk-atc.htm
It was the rust that got me…
My shop at the museum has an ocean view. Good for the soul. Good for birding at lunchtime. But tough for iron & steel. When I read Chris’ note that one benefit of keeping tools in a chest was rust prevention, I was sold. I changed a bunch of things, some intentional, some otherwise. The lid I made has two panels that are flush with the framing. This way I can use strap hinges on the inside…those are on order now. The dust seal on my lid is fixed to its bottom surface, not the edges. It gets the same effect, I think.
I’m not much of a dovetail-er…but now I have had some practice.
dovetails on box for gouges
My carcass is white pine, but the trays inside are walnut. I ran out of pine, and had a fair amount of the walnut leftover. So I ripped a bunch of it down to ½” thick and made the three trays from that. “Trays” doesn’t quite seem the right term for them, but I guess they aren’t quite drawers either.
I have never studied antique tool chests, so all I had to go on was the book; the way these trays ride is pretty nice. The lowest tray rides on slats fixed to the inside walls of the chest; but the trays are different widths. The narrowest is the bottom, the next one a bit wider and the top one is the full width of the chest’s interior. So to keep them from flopping laterally, you need to fix spacers beside the trays. In the case of the bottom tray, the spacers also serve as the runners for the next tray, and this repeats once more for the top tray. Chris used quartersawn white oak for his. Nice tough wood for sliding those heavy trays across.
I decided to use some odd bits of carving demos for mine. (in this view, the top tray doesn’t have its bottom yet.) Couldn’t bear to use up new blank pieces of oak. This way we’ll know this chest is mine. Some of these were done during the shooting of the DVDs on carving. Some I make boxes from, but I don’t need three versions of each box around here. Others were carvings I did for demonstrations, but never finished them…
The trays’ bottoms are also oak, in this case riven clapboards I conned the carpenters into letting go. I planed them down to ¼” thick. Using a period-style bench makes planing this very thin stuff quite challenging. I used a simple lap joint between the boards; ship-lapped it’s sometimes called. In this case, I used machine-made nails; no sense using hand-made nails for this tiny work.
1/4" thick oak bottoms, ship-lapped
So far, I have put dividers in two of the trays; the clapboard bottoms flopped around a bit in the wide open middle of these long trays. So I inserted a divider, and nailed the bottom boards up to that.
top tray's divider, with another box inside
Today I made a tray-within-a-tray; to keep carving gouges in. This way I can just lift the small tray out of the box, and bring it to the bench. We’ll see how it goes. At this point, I’m at the stage where I am fitting various tools into the trays, etc. It’s been a fun project, but I am continually reminded that I am a joiner, not a cabinetmaker. And that’s a good thing…joinery I can handle, this I’m barely getting by…
box for carving tools
But as I finish this part, I am planning the paint. And it’s not going to be any solid-color plain job. Wait til you see it. Remember the MFA cupboard? http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/let-the-second-guessing-begin/