Posts Tagged ‘Tool Chest’

Small Tool Chest Bottom

November 17, 2013 3 comments

The bottom of this tool chest is a frame like the lid, with a single panel. Looking closely at the grain I took a chance and decided to split the waste from the tenons using a chisel. This is definitely my preferred method to remove the waste and if all goes well, much quicker.

Grain direction is the critical element when using a chisel to remove the waste. After laying out the tenon and sawing along the bottom I look at the grain and try to determine where it will split. If the grain looks like it will split into the tenon I stop, grab my saw and cut the tenons. If the grain looks like it will split parallel to or away from the tenon I place the tenon in my vise and make some test cuts.

20131117-070202.jpgI place my chisel approximately half way into the waste and and on one side and give it a tap. Watching the split I can confirm that the wood will split where I intend. I then move to the other end and a place my chisel half way and make another test tap. If this works I go ahead and remove the waste. Using this method of checking each end of the tenon has been particularly helpful with the Sapele. The grain can change dramatically over a few inches and where I can use a chisel on one end of the tenon I may not on the other.

I saw two of the tenons and split the other two and quickly finish the mortise and Tenon joints. Most of the joints fit well,  but I still have a little bit of work to smooth the joints. Rigging up a clamp n my vice I am able to support the bottom while I use a plane and cabinet scraper to smooth all of the parts. Sapele has been fun to work, but I could never have gotten by without my cabinet scraper.





Categories: Small Tool Chest

Lid – Small Toolchest

November 11, 2013 4 comments

One of several features in this project is the design of the too chest lid. The lid teaches the methods necessary to make a door with mortise and tenon joints and raised panels. Knowing that I need to develop a twist free lid I begin this stage by making a mortise guide. Similar to the guide I made for the table project, I begin with a scrap piece of ash with the grain running vertically and then carefully cut and plane a piece of Oak to 1/4 inch that will be placed as a guide for the chisel. I learned from my first guides that grain direction and wood choice is critical. The vertical grain on the ash will prevent bending and the horizontal grain on the oak will resist wear.


The guide which is a Paul Sellers Design works brilliantly when you need a perfectly straight mortise. With the guide gluing, I turned to the rails and grabbed my plow plane to cut grooves for the panels. It took me approximately 45 minutes to cut all of the grooves for the top and bottom panels. If I had sharpened up when I began, instead of waiting until the last couple of pieces if would have gone much quicker.


With the grooves in place I turn my attention to marking up all of the mortises and tenons. This is definitely an area where I have a high probability to make a mistake, so I slow down, double check my measurements and think carefully through the process. Wild doing the marking I ganged all of the rails together to ensure that the markings are precise from one to another. Also I work from one end only, eliminating errors that may come from slight deviations in length.


With six mortises and tenons completed the chest design begins to come to life. Next, the bottom and raised panels!


Enhanced Dovetail – Small Tool Chest

November 10, 2013 4 comments



The center rail between the drawers is a combination of mortise and dovetail. Not a particularly difficult joint but since it is at the front of the chest very visible. The basics steps for the joint are to lay out the mortise using the center rail for size. Then I carefully chopped out the edges of the mortise, finishing up with my hand router to ensure a smooth and even mortise. The tail is marked onto the rail with my marking knife and using a hand saw and chisel cut to size. Carefully fitting the rail into the mortise on the one end, I then repeated the process on the other side.

After planing the joint smooth I’m content with the result. A little more practice and this will add a unique feature to other projects.

Categories: Small Tool Chest

What’s Next?

October 10, 2013 3 comments

The end of every project is a great time to take a look around the bench and spend some time cleaning, sharpening and reflecting. since I am not earning a living from woodworking I have the luxury of time. Sweeping up, it’s amazing where all of the shavings and dust accumulate. I have three projects in mind and they follow from the coffee table just completed.

20130908-142341.jpgThe tool box is the next project in Paul Sellers Masterclass series. It sits upon the cabinet in the photo. It includes panel construction, dovetails and as in all of Pauls’s projects, great skill building. I work out of a tool chest based upon The Anarchist Tool Chest and I love it. The design works well for storage and accessibility.

However, I want to make more of an effort to get tools off of my bench as I work. When I was at woodworking class we had benches with a tool tray in the center. This was brilliant and it kept tools below the table top and within easy reach. If I ever build a new bench there will be a center tool tray. Many people have criticized the use of a tool tray as a collector of dust. It is  a great safety feature that allowed me to keep tools at hand, but below working level where I could accidentally catch a sharp edge. The bench I am currently using is adequate and until I have a shop worthy of a new bench, I will not have a tool tray.20130908-142212.jpg

Since there will be no tool tray in the near future I’m also remembering  a small apron on the bench that allowed us to keep the tools off to the side. I really liked this and was teased by my fellow classmates for how clean it was kept. (Yes gentlemen, I have not forgotten) If they had really been paying attention, it would be clear that I was storing tools in use in the center tray

20130908-141859.jpgand upon completion of a part, sharpening and returning tools to the side tray. The tray worked well in the classroom, however I would like to utilize the small tool chest to keep tools accessible. I think setting it adjacent to my bench will serve as tool tray. Paul Seller’s Tool Chest definitely in the future!

Clamp Storage is a topic that comes up for all woodworkers. There are many articles in the magazines and blogs that throw out many great plans. Clamps have always been stored under the shelves above my bench. This has been effective. There are a couple of problems…..sometimes I end up pulling out all of the clamps to get to the one on the bottom which is usually the one I want. My fingers are tired of being pinched between the many clamps jumbled up. With the additional clamps I purchased for the coffee table project I need a new system. Anyone have thoughts on what works well or what to avoid?

The last project that I have in mind is a matching side table to the coffee table. There are many lessons that I learned during the project and I would like to put them to good use. I think a smaller table that is square and matches the coffee table would look nice.

As if these three are not enough there is a blanket chest to be made, another desk and so forth. No I’m not ignoring these at all, I think in my skill development the tool chest will give me the panel skills that these projects require.


Tool Chest Open for Business

March 31, 2013 7 comments

20130303-163029.jpg With the drawers in place and sliding freely, I began placing tools into the chest. Top drawer has marking and measuring tools along with my roll of chisels and block planes. The second drawer remains partially empty as I determine what I need at hand. The third holds my specialty planes and blades, router, fillister and rabbit.

I have had them this way for the past couple of weeks and am well satisfied. The chest is a good height and I have access to all that I need. Best of all is the casters that allow me to roll it out of the way or close at hand depending upon my project.

There are still several items to complete: knobs on the other tills, the lock and of course the finish. I intend to put finish on when the weather is consistently warmer and the other items as I get time.

This was a great project and my hand skills have moved forward very rapidly. The first hand cut dovetails are in this project along with many hours of planed boards.My confidence has soared and I have a finished project that is proving very useful.


Tool Chest Glue Up

March 4, 2013 Leave a comment

20130302-153610.jpg Finally all of the parts are made and I can begin assembling and gluing the interior of the chest.I don’t think the garage has been over 25 degrees for the past several weeks so there is little chance of glue being efffective. Therefore I moved the chest inside the house for a couple of days to allow it to warm and the lumber to move if it desires.

The first step is installing the saw till. You can find details of how I assembled this on a prior blog. I cut four pieces of oak that will fit on each side of the till which will slide in between the pieces. I attached these to the side of the chest using hide glue and screws. Drilling small holes like these really makes my Miller Falls drill shine.


I did have a minor problem when I sheared the drill bit attached to the countersink. The hand drill certainly did not provide enough force to cause this problem, and yes at only a couple of it’s a financial disaster just frustrating. I’ll have to start cruising the tool shows for some old countersinks that are of a better quality (anyone out there have success with other types or brands?)


In the back corner of the chest I installed an area to place the few moulding planes that I own. This was made fr two pieces of wood dovetailed together. Then I installed pieces of oak on each side of the ends to hold it in place.


I installed two more supports in the corners for the drawer runners. These were also glued and screwed into place. Next came the bottom drawer runner which rests on two of the drawer supports. I debated back and forth on how to attach this runner and the two above. I even got great insight from John at If you haven’t been to his blog yet give it a try.

Based upon the thickness of the runners I decided that gluing them in would be best. A little hide glue and gentle persuasion with a rubber hammer and they fit into place. I set the drawers in temporarily, they will have to be planed to fit.


Divide and Conquer

March 3, 2013 1 comment

After writing my last blog, I wandered out into the garage and began thinking about how to best utilize the


drawer space. It did not take long to begin placing planes and blades into the deepest of the drawers. The drawers are approximately 30″ in length and 8 inches wide. They are longest at the top and shorten by 1/4″ each step down. This allows space for the runners. (this will become clearer when I get the runners in place and get some photos onto the blog).

The first tools that need a new home are my rabbit plane, plow plane and router plane. I have quite a number of blades with these planes and wish to keep them together and close at hand. They are too tall to fit into the top two drawers, so I tried them in the third. They fit nicely but I quickly realized that adding dividers to this drawer would help keep the tools organized and the various blades with its tool. This is why I waited to glue up the drawers allowing me the option of making changes.



Looking around the garage I found pieces of 1/2″ poplar left over from the drawer sides. I set up my planer and planed them down to 1/4″. The plow plane has the most components so I decided to place a divider for each plane and make an area to store the plow plane accessories.

I disassembled the drawers and using my 1/4″ dado blade placed slots in in of the drawer sides. I reassembled the drawers dropped the dividers in place and ‘whammo’ nicely divided drawers.




Categories: Tool Chest

Tool Chest – Drawer Dovetails

February 9, 2013 1 comment

My wife’s heater appeared in the garage this morning so I put it to work. With a little extra heat I was able to finish cutting the dovetails for the last drawer.


Next I planed stock for the bottoms down to 1/2″ and prepared to cut a groove into the drawer sides. In the Anarchist Toolchest the drawer bottoms are nailed to the bottom of the drawers. This appears to have been done for ease of installation and to enable replacement of the bottoms should they wear. Since I used Oak on the sides of the drawers where they contact the runners, I don’t think wear will be an issue. I much prefer to place the drawer bottom in a groove. If you have been reading my blog you are probably think yeah, yeah, yeah it’s just an excuse to use the plow plane, and you are correct. The small veritas plow plane has become my favorite tool. I like the feel of the wood curling up over my fingers and the sound it makes cutting a groove. I set the plane up to cut a 1/4″ grove a little over a quarter inch from the edge of the board.

Cutting the sides went well and I cut the groove through the end of the board knowing that the small groove will be hidden by the drawer runners and that if I desire I can place a plug into the groove. Using my gramercy holdfasts it was quick work.


When I set up to groove the  drawer sides I realized that the short length was going to pose a problem with holding the boards in place. The holdfasts did not prevent the sides from twisting away from the plane. The ends of the drawers required a different holding plan.

Placing one of my clamps in my Moxon vice I was able to secure the side and allow plenty of room for the guide of my plow plane to pass over the vice. I placed a spare piece of wood under the drawer side and plowed the groove.


Once all of the groves were cut I will trim the bottom boards down to size and test fit them into the drawers. Two more to go and I’ll be ready for glue up.





Tool Chest – Saws

January 27, 2013 2 comments

I am moving along with the inside of the chest and planning where to place my various tools. The saw till needs to hold two handsaws, a tenon saw and a dovetail saw. I have a couple of other saws, but I will keep them in the other saw till I have been building along with this project. (Think reading two books at the same time is difficult? I actually have three projects underway in the garage!) The two handsaws are fairly simple since they are approximately the same size, the tenon saw is much shorter, but has a deep saw plate so as long as I can support the saw in two places it should work well. The dovetail saw is a problem unto itself. It’s short length and shallow saw plate may require a totally different solution.

20130119-181023.jpgUsing the dimensions in the Anarchist Tool Chest I cut two boards to the same width and height. Since the ash I was using is prone to chip along the saw cut I used a technique from Paul Sellers and used my marking knife to make two parallel lines roughly the width of the saw kerf. Cutting between the lines I was able to get very clean, chip free edges.

I then marked the semi circle on the pieces using a compass, clamped them together and cut the curve with a coping saw. Next time I will make sure I have spare blades handy. I placed sandpaper around a piece of pipe and used it to sand the curves smooth. I used the table saw to cut the grooves for the saws. Carefully cutting a groove on one side, turning the piece over to get a matching groove on the opposite edge, then repeating on the second piece. Once all four grooves were cut I cleaned them up with a hand saw.













Next I cut a piece of poplar to fit the length of the chest and four pieces of oak to attach the till to the sides. Using my # 4 Stanley Plane I quickly smoothed all of the boards cleaned up the corners and stared blankly into the chest.

I needed to step back and carefully plan the position of the till pieces to optimize the use of space, support the saws and hopefully identify a spot for my dovetail saw. Supporting the hand saws and the Large Tennon saw demands that the till pieces be spaced no further apart than 11″.













20130127-183606.jpgI drilled holes for four 1 1/2″ screws in each of the till supports. I have not used a power drill since I picked up my Millers Falls Drill. The ability to carefully control the drill speed and position makes it very accurate and less likely to chip the wood at the exit of the hole. It also looks cool and only cost $7 with bits included! I screwed the supports to the board and placed it into the chest. I plan on using some polyurethane on the till pieces and on the guides used on the board. It should make a nice contrast.

I can see a place for my dovetail saw on one side of the saws and will make a support to hold it. Next step… finishing the drawers and drawer slides. Hopefully it’ll be warmer next weekend.


Tool Chest Hardware

January 19, 2013 Leave a comment


I spent a couple of days looking around local stores for hinges that would work for the tool chest. It is very difficult to find narrow hinges that will work on the 7/8″ carcass. Finally I ordered hinges and a lock set from Horton Brasses. They seemed expensive, but are very well made and operate smoothly. I’m thinking money well spent and will add to my tool roll for future reference.

Traditionally when installing hinges, I have used a powered router and a chisel in the corners with varying success. On the chest I did it all by hand in less time, with much better results. The hinges were laid out using a marking knife and round mortising gage, then I deepened the marks using a chisel. I adjusted my hand router to a portion of the total depth and after a few passes reached final depth and cleaned up with a chisel. Drilling the screw holes with my eggbeater drill gave me good control and I attached the hinges with the steel screws included in the package from Horton Brass. They also sent brass screws which I will install when the tool chest is complete. Best of all, I didn’t all in the living room while the shop was too cold to work.