A Home For Tools – Why the Dutch?

Dutch Tool Chest PWWWhen it comes to woodworking design, I have none. Most of what I build (probably along with most hobbiest woodworkers) is modification/redesign of something seen somewhere else. I do have a couple of “original” pieces but I consider them frankeinsteins of many different elements seen elsewhere. Sometimes it’s just easier to follow someone else’s plan.

Since I’ve taken up the hobby of woodworking I’ve managed to start a decent collection of hand tools. The problem is that I have no where to store or protect these tools. My most used ones are kept on a shelf below the bench; during projects they are basically stored on any flat surface that isn’t at the time occupied. It seems I spend more time making room and looking for tools then I do using them.

Once we had settled in our house here in NC last year I began thinking about how I wanted to store them. Initially I thought about building the hanging tool cabinet from the video series on Finewoodworking.com. However, there was one issue. Cabinets require organization and layout and as I am still building my tool collection my OCD doesn’t agree with that. If I were to build a cabinet I would need to have a space for all my tools as well as future purchases and since I don’t know when or what I will buy, I just won’t do it.

So my next choice was a tool chest. Of course like many other woodworkers I was drawn to the Anarchrist’s Tool Chest. Great design, solidly built and tons of storage. The estimated completion time is 40-60 hours or so (more like 70-90 for me) and since my woodworking time is about an hour and a half at nights (when I make it out there) and about half a day on Sunday’s, that’s a couple of months of shop time. That’s more effort than I want to dedicate right now. Then Chris Schwarz came out with the two day chest. This really intrigued me for time constraint reasons however as I don’t own any power tools I would need to go to the wood hobby shop on base. Definitley fesible but I really enjoy working at home much more so I was just waiting on my last option.

For anyone that follows the Lost Art Press blog (along with many other blogs that have built one), the Dutch Tool Chest is where it’s at right now (at least for me). It’s quick to build, requires little material, is straight forward in joinery and has lots a space. The article was to be published in the Oct issue of Popular Woodworking so I’ve just been waiting around. Imaging how happy I was when I checked my email two days ago and my digial issue was waiting for me!

Did I really need the plans to build this chest? No, of course not. It is a straight forward and simple design and I could have come up with my own dimensions based off the numerous articles and blogs as well as to accomodate my own needs. As I mentioned in the beginning, sometimes it’s just easier to follow plans then to come up with my own. I bet you’ll never guess what I’m starting on this weekend.

11 thoughts on “A Home For Tools – Why the Dutch?

  1. Hey! I’m right there with you and starting to work on my Dutch Tool Chest as well. I too am squeezin’ in so I’m hoping I can get it mostly done over the labor day week. It’ll beg great fun to see how your’s turns out. 🙂

    1. I think Labor Day weekend is what I’m aiming for as well. That four day weekend will be my final push in case I slack these next two weeks. I’ve got an inspection coming up at work the beginning of Sept so I’m really trying to finish before then.

  2. I recently completed a dutch tool chest, or at least a form of it. I made it a bit larger than the original, or I should say wider. I like the design because it takes up much less space than a traditional chest. For the material I used Baltic Birch Plywood and white spruce. The chest itself is done, I still haven’t painted it or made the small tool rack. I’m planning on doing that in the fall.
    Unless you are feeling very traditional I would use plywood for two reasons: cost and stability, and it actually looks really nice. I see no benefit in using a softwood that is most likely going to be painted, especially if it’s going to be sitting on casters and getting dinged up in your garage, like mine does. The birch is very dent resistant. I used dado joinery and held it together with glue and cut nails. If you are planning on dovetailing the bottom of the chest then obviously plywood isn’t the way to go.

    I built it with a mix of power tools, mainly table saw, carcass saw, and jack plane. I like the design as far as holding tools is concerned. As far as the looks I’m not overly impressed, though it is first and foremost a storage project. For me, I used decorative head cut nails to give the chest a somewhat unique look and to give it some character. Good luck, it’s an easy/straightforward build so you should have no trouble.

    1. When I saw you start building yours I thought about just starting mine but my wife asked me to build a small bench first. This past week has been slow out in the shop so a perfect time to get my PWW issue.

      Not that I’m feeling über traditional but I am gonna go with some pine or poplar mainly because I don’t want to haul materials back and forth between my house and the hobby shop to use machinery to cut down plywood stock. I’ve tried by hand and it isn’t pretty. Plus, it’ll all be “free”. More to come on that next post.

  3. I also am building a Dutch Toolbox to be a traveling toolbox. Dimensions 15 deep x 26 wide x 30 tall. Seems big but I don’t want to limit growth. Slow going. Sides cut out. Just recieved Lee Valley order and only got one strap hinge so I’ll have to order another. Restarting my blog with this project, slowly. Making the toolbox out of plywood like Bill with a mix of power and hand tools.

    Am modeling my box after the http://confusedwoodworker.wordpress.com/tag/dutch-tool-chest/
    Looking forward to following along and sharing my progress. I’m also thinking of how I can incorporate a stand/cart to help with transport. I work in two shops and sometimes I’m stuck by tools being in the other shop.

    1. I’ve thought about making my chest deeper like most bloggers I’ve read so far but just using some 1×12 seems good enough for now. I’ll do some basic layout of how I plan to organize the top storage before I commit to those dimensions. My only worry is the saw till. I have a back saw addiction (damn you Mark Harrell!). Looking forward to seeing your progress.

      1. Making my Dutch toolbox out of plywood so I’m not constrained by 1X12 dimensional lumber. Won’t last as long but with outside painted it will look as good I hope.

        I am a hybrid woodworker and am addicted to Japanese Saws and have the desire to till them (for care and display) in the toolbox. Still working on a design. I use traditional Western planes and sloyd and traditional carving. A real hodge podge of styles.

  4. I must have missed the bandwagon as I had not seen this chest before. Were there plans on the internet somewhere for one of the chests? Thanks for bringing this to my attention.


    1. Funny thing is that was initially going to title this post “Jumping on the Bamdwagon”. Chris Schwarz had first brought this to my attention via his Lost Art Press blog which you can catch up on some posts here http://blog.lostartpress.com/?s=Dutch+tool+chest. Marilyn of http://sheworkswood.com/category/dutch-tool-chest/ is also just starting hers and Bill at http://confusedwoodworker.wordpress.com/tag/dutch-tool-chest/ just mostly finished his. The actual plans are in the Oct issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. I get the digital subscription so I’m not sure if its out on the newsstand yet.

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