Traditional Tool Chest build



Well, I finished the tool chest 100%, and am I pleased with what I have.

First, the cart: I built this chest smaller because I didn’t want to give up the floor space.  Well, it turns out I don’t want to give up the bench space either.

I walked into the shop not long after finishing the chest and spied a nice piece of 8/4 leaning on my lumber rack.  Hmmm…  I bet that would work perfectly for legs for a rolling cart.  Well, it’s pretty simple, and it didn’t take long to make a nice way to move the chest around the shop.  And I don’t know anyone that has one of these.

The chest is, of course, removable.  And I am building a top to replace it when I need just a rolling tool cart.  Chest goes on the bench, top goes on the cart, and I have a good rolling tool depository for working on vehicles/motorcycles/surgery; you name it.

I mentioned earlier that there were some things I changed with the design of this chest.  I’d like to cover some of these because they really change the look and feel of the chest.

Probably the most noticeable change was the roundover bit I used on the corners.  I didn’t like all the hard corners, and sharp corners are weak.  They just chip too easily.



I used a 1/4″ roundover bit on all corners of the skirt and dust seal.  I did not round over the corners of the chest.  I used a 3/8″ roundover bit on the top of the skirt.  I also rounded over the top of the chest above the dust skirt.  I really like this detail.


I also rounded over the top edge of the panel in the lid.  These small details really made this chest stand out.  They softened the overall look and feel of the piece.

Another change from the normal design that I almost insisted on was the way I attached the lid.  All the other chests I saw left the bottom of the dust seal off the back, and used butt hinges to attach the lid.  I just didn’t like the look of the back of the chest.  It looked unfinished.

While looking at the smaller chest that inspired this build, I noticed that strap hinges were used and the rear dust seal was intact.  I liked it.


Not a great pic, but you can see the strap hinges bent for a 1-1/2″ offset that allows me to make the dust seal around the back of the lid.  I got the hinges from Nathan’s Forge, and with one quick email, he readily agreed to make me a set with the 1-1/2″ offset.

It really changes the look of the chest.

These are a few of the construction details I thought important enough to mention.  I think some more are forthcoming.  There was a lot to building this chest, and a lot to learn from it.



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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