Monday, October 7, 2019

Dutch Tool Chest: Six Months Later

You need wide boards to make a chest, and when a woodworker finds some wide boards, he goes after them.

Roy Underhill, The Woodwright's Workbook, 1986

I have worked out of my Dutch style tool chest nearly every day for the last six months. I never close the lid or the fall front cover for easy access to the tools I need. Such a treat! It's almost as nice as handing tools on a wall.

I'm sure you have noticed that I never got around to painting the chest and there are a few other things that need to be do for tool organization, like adding a saw till for my backsaws. I haven't made the time to finish it, I'd rather make guitars and I have discovered that even though this is a wonderful design, it doesn't quite fulfill my needs.

Here are a few things I want to change when I make another Dutch Style Tool Chest...

1. Make it deeper. As you can see in the above photo I have my hand planes lined up with the totes facing out, making them quickly accessible. The Stanley No.5 planes are three inches longer than the depth of the chest, in order to close up the box I have to turn them sideways to fit with all the other tools. By making it deeper, the workbench totes will be able to fit and then I can make them stackable!

2. Make it wider. The lid accommodates my Lie-Nielsen twenty inch long panel saws, but there are days that I want my longer, vintage rip and crosscut saws to be at hand in the same chest instead of walking out to the garage to pull them from "the other" tool chest. The extra width will, of course, provide storage for more tools, which could be a bad thing.

3. Make it taller. That can be accomplished by simply building a separate box with a drop front cover to go underneath the tool chest. Again, more storage and perhaps, less bending over and getting on my knees to locate tools in the lower section of the main chest.

4. No dovetail joinery, just butted rabbet joints held together with glue and nails. And the nails don't have to be the old fashioned square nails, 8d galvies will work. To me, it's just a tool chest, not a fancy piece of furniture.


The one thing I won't change is the lid! No clearing of shop detritus off the lid to get to the tools! An ingenious idea!

And be nice, I know that not every tool chest fits every woodworker, I learned that a long time ago when I was a teenager working with my father!

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