Traditional Tool Chest


Well, I feel like I just gave birth.  I’ve been working on this since before Christmas, and I finally just filled it up with tools.

I’m intentionally not calling it an Anarchist’s Tool Chest, but truthfully, if you don’t live in a cave, you know that this particular design was made popular by Chris Schwarz.  And everyone is building them.

I was originally attracted to this box, as I’m sure is the case with most people, because of the traditional look.  It just looks nostalgic.  And who doesn’t want a fancy box to hold some of your most prize possessions?

Well, I was attracted to the traditional design, but not the traditional size.  Huge.  Floor space-sucking gigantisaur.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the room in the shop for another piece of furniture, even if it is on wheels. And frankly, I don’t have enough tools to fill it up anyway.

I was perusing the latest Fine Woodworking magazine when I came across a John Tetrault video on making socket chisel handles.  The video was nice, but somewhere in the middle I caught a glimpse of his tool chest sitting on his bench.  On his bench.  What a great idea.  Just take the great design of the gigantic original and scale it down to a usable size.  Boy can I be slow sometimes.

And was it pretty.  Anyone familiar with Tetrault’s work is already familiar with his talent, and his chest was the single inspiration for this iteration.


I made some changes from the original design, and I didn’t follow all of the directions on some of the more esoteric details that most people follow when building this chest.

I didn’t use white pine

Simple; I didn’t have any.  I wasn’t too concerned with the weight of the box since it was going to be smaller, so I went with what I had.  White oak.  Heavy, hard, and beautiful.

I did NOT paint it

What?  Paint it?  This is the one thing I can neither follow nor forgive.  I don’t care what the reasoning is.  I don’t paint wood.  The wood is the whole reason I’m here.

There are a host of other things I want to talk about regarding the construction of this chest, but I’ll get to them in the next post, I promise.  This is just a teaser, and I couldn’t wait to brag a little about finally finishing it.  Enjoy some pics while you wait.


About Sam

Young, good-looking, manly--you get the picture. Novice woodworker with just too much rolling around upstairs to keep to myself. Random thoughts, philosophical questions, the occasional flash of insight or just dumb luck that needs to be shared with anyone who cares.
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1 Response to Traditional Tool Chest

  1. Dad says:

    Good job, Sam…looks beautiful after the linseed oil treatment. So glad you didn’t paint it. Stick with the honesty of natural wood.

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