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Small Tool Chest

Uncut boards stacked on a bench, notes jotted on a page of paper, and tools freshly sharpened ready for work, bring a sense of anticipation into the shop. Taking a few moments I run my hand down the rough boards and think about the trip they have taken and the sights they have seen. One of the gifts of working wood by hand is a sense of respect for the lumber and an intimate knowledge of the way it has grown and the life it has seen. Not to say that working wood with machines doesn’t bring this respect for others, just that it was missing when I used them. I rarely took the time to feel the grain, study the best way to plane a board and listen to the planes and chisels for messages on how to proceed.

Today I’m starting on a new project that I am very excited about, it’s a smaller tool chest designed by Paul Sellers and is part of his masterclasses series. There are many unique features and as I build I’ll share what I can. I went to a new lumber yard and spent some time looking a several options for the tool chest. Many of you may disagree with the choice, but I chose to build in Sapele. Yes expensive; however I hope to be looking at this chest for a very long time.


I cut the boards to rough length, planed one side by hand and the other by machine and set out to glue up the panels for the sides. For the last couple of projects I have been planing one side by hand to remove any twist or cup. I do have a jointer, but I find it easier to flatten one side by hand. It’s also a lot more pleasant than listening to the roar of the jointer. Flattening one side of the board could easily be done with one plane, but if you have a jointer and smoother why not use them. In this case I used a Stanley #7 and Stanley #4 and because I like the little guy, the #3 for the edges. No, I did not stage the picture. This is just where they ended up when I was done.





I enjoy working different woods and learning how they react to the tools. Sapele planes beautifully and although the grain is very complex I had little tear out. I do anticipate some later on. The smell of the lumber has caused me to founder for a memory. It is very distinct and hopefully sooner or later I will find the lost memory.


I glued up three panels for the two sides and the back of the chest. They are 11 3/4 inches high and in a short time I was able to plane the edges square and glue the boards together. I am really enjoying my new clamps. in particular I like the handle used for tightening them. I have never like the design with the through pin that slides back and forth on my previous clamps.20131014-192739.jpg

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  1. October 11, 2020 at 10:04 am

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