Tool Chest
Your Own | Joining Up Wide Boards | Dovetailing | Skirts and Bottoms | The Lid | The Little Tool Box | Related Videos
The Woodwright's Workbook: Further Exploration in Traditional Woodcraft By Roy Underhill

Your Own

A small dovetailed poplar chest.A small dovetailed poplar chest. I was disappointed not to ind the plane used to make the grecian ovalo mouldings on the skirt around the bottom of this chest. It and many other tools must have been lost overboard in the chest's century-and-a-half voyage. The real surprise was that so many did survive, and those that did are more than enough to make another tool chest. You need gauges and planes to measure and shape the boards, saws and chisels to cut lap and dovetail joints—and you need the wood to work with.

You need wide boards to make a chest, and when a woodworker finds some wide boards, he goes after them. This wide-board imperative can lead to moral dilemmas. Two years ago my brother was loading his truck with cut-offs from a woodworking factory that had offered them free to anyone who wanted to haul them away for kindling. Halfway down in the mountain of chunks he found a big board. It was mildewed and water stained, but 12 feet long and 22 Inches wide. Beneath it was another just like it; he pulled it free and uncovered another. He kept pulling until he had a pile of fifteen damp but very wide boards. Now these boards were obviously not scrap like the other scrap, but they were in the scrap pile, which made them scrap nonetheless. It was also obvious that If he didn't take them, one of the other pile-pickers would. My brother Is too well raised to acquire anything by dishonest means, but he's not stupid either.

In any event, that was some time ago. The factory burned down a few weeks later, and my brother had to leave the county for unrelated reasons. He gave the boards to me, asking that I make a tool chest for him. And so I did.

This is a little dovetailed chest with a paneled lid, skirted bottom, and sliding trays within. And that is the order to make it in: dovetail the sides, make the top and bottom to fit, and then put in the trays. You may need to glue up some boards in order to have some that are wide enough. Gluedup boards should be just as strong as single wide ones, but to be sure, I always take care that the seam on one side of the chest does not meet the seam on the other.

 

 

 

 

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"The Woodwright's Workbook: Further Exploration in Traditional Woodcraft" By Roy Underhill
© 2012 The University of North Carolina Press

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