Everything but the Lid

In the past couple of days I’ve been able to make some real progress on the tool chest. Let’s start from where I left off.

After I took the carcase out of the clamps I jumped a little ahead of myself and attached the lower lip.

lower lipWhen I finished I realized I forgot to cut out the notch where the fall-front locks fall. So I unscrewed the lip and marked my areas.

lower baten catch outlineA little sawing…


IMG_6555waste clearing…

IMG_6556and I was on my way to a decent looking stopped rabbet.

IMG_6559It’s hidden under the lip so ugliness doesn’t matter. I also cut out the rest of the notches for the fall-front locks while I was at it.

IMG_6561It probably would have been easier to do the notches for the panel battens at this point as well but I did it once they were already installed on the fall-front.

I added the front to the carcase and took a step back to admire my work from the front

IMG_6564and the rear.

IMG_6565Next was getting the back attached. I used my skewed rabbet plane to cut a rabbet a little more than 3/8 deep across a 5′ board.


I clamped it to the back of the chest and screwed everything in place using the whole board.

IMG_6570Then I used a flush-cut pull saw to get the right fit rather than measuring.

IMG_6571I added the opposing groove for the shiplap and finished up the back. At this point I was dying to see what it would look like with tools to I did some glamor shots.

IMG_6577IMG_6578This got me excited for the home stretch. After I fit the fall-front to fit vertically I clamped it and marked it out the same way I did the back panels.

IMG_6580I made the four lock catches out of one piece of wood that I cut the 2″ wide dado in…

IMG_6587before cutting them into individual pieces.

IMG_6589Like I had mentioned in the beginning, I used all dimensioned lumber from Home Depot and did basically no milling to any boards just so I could speed up this building process. I finally ran into my first snafu.

IMG_6590The board I used to get my full width for the front-fall had a little twist so I hit the catches when I tried to insert the locks. Speaking of which, up until today I’ve used pretty much every scrap and have not purchased any additional poplar. This left me short of wood for the lid, locks, and battens. Today I made another trip to Home Depot to get the remaining wood and decided to cheat in the thinner stock pieces and bought some already 1/4″ and 1/2″  pieces for the locks and battens. Anyhow, I took off the one catch and took off about 1/16″

IMG_6592I put it back on and everything fit nice!

IMG_6594One of the last things I did today was to install the strap hinges to the case itself. I measured the height at 9/16″ and marked my case to cut out the notches but when I fit them they were still too high.

IMG_6595I took off an additional 1/8″ and that made things fit just right.

IMG_6596Now all I need is the lid which is currently clamped and waiting. As much as I want to finish things up tonight I don’t think I’ll be able to. My loving wife has been patiently waiting for me to finish this chest so we can catch up on Breaking Bad and I think I owe her an episode or two tonight.

Sorry this post was so long but as this is really the accumulation of about 3 or 4 nights worth. If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with it to the end. Once the lid is installed all I have left is to paint. I am using milk paint and I can’t decided between slate or pitch black. Anyone have any suggestions?

6 thoughts on “Everything but the Lid

  1. The chest looks absolutely great. I like the method of holding the front panel in place; I’m not too sure why I didn’t use that myself. Currently I have a little door lock/keeper, which doesn’t look all that great but I had one in my hardware bin. Once I decide on how to paint it I’m going to install a latch of some kind with a bar that runs down across the whole face of the panel, sort of like you would see on a metal tool cart.
    I like your hinges, they probably will help with controlling warp. Also, nice set of moulding planes. I have one beading plane, I am still figuring out a way to sharpen it properly. Good luck with the rest of the chest; you’re in the home stretch now.

  2. Nice! I zipped through and will take a closer look.
    I’m in the same boat – a few hours in the evenings and weekends.
    I built and use the Anarchist’s Tool Chest (cypress, black paint on top of red milk paint). Looking at your chest, I’m thinking… there’s no reason I can’t have both.

    1. I initially thought about building that one but the time and effort deterred me at this time. Once this chest is done and I have things better organized and some extra cash for materials and hardware I do see myself building the Anarchrist’s tool chest. Maybe in a few years but some time definitely.

      1. The ATC was pretty expensive to build. I used 1″ cypress because I couldn’t find anything else, but it was a pleasure to work. It went faster than most of my projects – like three months. That includes a drive to Chicago to meet Chris Schwarz at a Lie-Nielsen tool event. I’ll be posting about it soon.

  3. Nice work! How heavy is it? I built a small tool chest out of poplar and was surprised how heavy it was when done.
    Go with the pitch black. Anything lighter than 80% grey may look like a metal file cabinet, flat or semigloss?

    1. Empty it’s not too heavy. Mine is on casters so mobility won’t be too much of an issue. The milk paint is flat and I’ll probably add three coats and no varnish to keep it flat. My wife votes slate and now I have a vote in for pitch black. Who’s gonna offer their opinion for the tie breaker?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s