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Thread: Tool Chest - "Prototype"

  1. #1
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    Tool Chest - "Prototype"

    I promised Rob Keeble that I would send him an email with photos of the tool chest that I am trying to complete. You know, life keeps getting in the way, yada yada. Instead I decided to post what I have here, as it is easier.

    Actual this whole tool chest was a reaction to the realization a week before I was to attend a Garrett Hack class in July that my current travelling toolbox was too small. Not true, but that has nothing to do with my perception at the time. I think I just like to panic and see if I can move mountains in the shortest time possible. I tend to work better under stress. In the week before the class, I went though several plans of actions as my thinking (or lack of) evolved. Long story short it was like this: smaller travelling chest made of big leaf maple >> to large chest made of big leaf maple (I know this does not make sense!) >> to small chest made out of plywood >> to large chest made out of plywood (notice a trend here) >> to old tool chest will work just fine.

    What I accomplished in that weeks was: buy 8 each 5/4 x 8(+)" x 12' big leaf quartered sawn maple; cut & glue the box (plywood); cut out all the tray components (plywood); cut out and glue the tray supports (plywood); and finally, work every hour available to me until I threw in the towel and realized my old box was making the trip with me.

    The forced decision to make this out of plywood was hard for me, but when I got back from the class, I decided that I needed to finish it. So in my mind, it is a prototype until I decide I like working out of a tool chest vs a tool cabinet and perform experiments as to the best layout. If I decide to build another out of "real" wood, I will probable still replace the plywood trays and tray supports in this one. I dislike the look of them. The only truly enjoyable part of this build so far, was making the moldings which were scribed and dovetailed to the box. I aged the hardware by torching off the clear finish and dunking them in gun bluing. I think they turned out nice. I still have to finish the partitions (plane & saw till), a sliding shelf, add chisel rack and probably mounts for attaching items to the lid.

    I used the plans out of Bernard Jones' "The Practical Woodworker".

    Here is the wood I bought but did not use....yet. I got for a steal from a local source. 6 sticks out of 8 were quarter sawn. Very strange to see and I should have bought more.

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    The bottom molding, but the same was done for the lid and the dust cover. All made out of poplar.
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    The box. Actually pretty nice once it is painted. The clamps are because I have not attached the tray supports yet, as I have to add a partition and a sliding shelf that sit under it.
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    Last edited by Bill Satko; 11-13-2012 at 05:30 AM. Reason: Referenced wrong book by Jones
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  2. #2
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    I think you'll find the time invested in the prototype to be well worth it.

    There's only so much planning you can do and until you actually use it, it's hard to know how you'd use it, if you know what I mean.

    You'll probably find a few things you'd what to change.

    If you'd made the first one out of fancy wood, you'd probably just make do, but once you learn what changes you might make, you'll have no problem with a 'do over'.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    I think you'll find the time invested in the prototype to be well worth it.

    There's only so much planning you can do and until you actually use it, it's hard to know how you'd use it, if you know what I mean.

    You'll probably find a few things you'd what to change.

    If you'd made the first one out of fancy wood, you'd probably just make do, but once you learn what changes you might make, you'll have no problem with a 'do over'.
    I agree with you Brent. When I was incorporating the design out of Bernard Jones' book, which was written over a hundred years ago, I kept challenging details of the plan, comparing it to Chris Schwarz's recent work on toolboxes. I then realized that there may be reasons the old guys designed it this way and it would be best for me to build it and let the experience of using it allow me to confirm what will work for me. I suspect I will be moving and replacing some of the internal components around over time, or maybe not. Whatever happens, I feel better about building it out of cheaper wood; working out the details and then when I am satisfied, build it out of better quality wood.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  4. #4
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    Thanks for showing us Bill. I dunno i dont agree with the word Prototype. I would say just use modify and move on to build furniture rather.

    Your work looks excellent.

    As to working out of a tool chest.....well i think we should consider that the guys that would have done that in the old days were doing so such that their tools could fit on a cart and be lugged all over the place and locked up while they overnight somewhere. They would have been fitter than we generally are today with most of us spending so much of our time around a computer.

    What i think the use of a tool chest of this nature fails to take into account is the aspect none of us can defy and that is aging. Bending over and on top of it bending and moving sliding trays with hand tools (which aint generally very light ) around is gonna be hard on the back as we age.

    I want to be able to walk up to the cabinet open the double doors and have the whole lot hanging in front of me or in draws pretty high off the ground. Sure i wont be transporting tools to class this way if i ever get to a class that is, but as i age it will certainly make the access of a tool a whole lot easier.

    I can see that on a job site a tool chest could have played several roles back in the day. Simply as somewhere to rest on when cutting a board if needed.

    The other aspect that comes to mind is the aspect of weight. Looks to me like you got your chest on wheels only saying this because of the gap at the base.

    My other offering re prototype is just for a moment consider that should this be the way in which you move your tools to class that in the event you take a class where some airline or other carrier of any sort is going to be moving your tools chest, then i think you will be delighted that you made it in the wood you did and not some fine wood with extra care finish. They will do a good job of giving it the workover and it will have a very abused look after a couple of carrier trips.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas and work.
    cheers

  5. #5
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    Rob,

    I think the current understanding is that tool chests of this size ( almost 2' x 2' x 3') were not moved much. They were transported to the shop where they worked and stayed there until they took employment with another. There were smaller traveling boxes that craftsman used for job sites, but not so much with cabinetmakers but carpenters, joiners and such. Of course, I was not around then, but I do know that once loaded, it would take more than me to move this from my shop. As for airlines, I only let them handle items I consider disposable or replaceable; neither category would I consider my hand tools to fit into.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  6. #6
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    Nice looking tool chest Bill. Making one is somewhere down on my to do list, but given the nature of my shop, with tools mostly on walls or in my bench, I'm not sure I really have a need for one. I made a small traveling tool box to hold my chairmaking tools, but that is pretty limited in what it can hold. No tills, just one open space. Followed Toshio Odate's design but shrunk it down.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  7. #7
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    I'd agree it looks a step past a prototype and well into plumb useful

  8. #8
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    Thanks Ryan.

    Ken, I still think a wall cabinet is in my future, but considering that we might be selling our current house; then moving into a rental until we find or build our dream house, I think this might be my best solution for now. I needed to do something to consolidate all my hand tools together and my smaller traveling tool box was handy, just not big enough.

    Talking about tool storage at the bench, I have decided to install a tool tray at the back of my bench. I am finding having my tools laying on the bench gets in the way of working on the bench. I know I am going against current wisdom, but I believe it all depends on how one works. I am not a messy guy so I don't think it will become a "hamster cage" filled with left out tools & debris. I believe that a tool tray will be asset for me, but am curious how it has worked for others.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  9. #9
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    I wonder how one of those boxes would hold up on a daily use in a construction site. Been looking at getting a gang box, but after seeing this great box I might have to build one. Keep up the good work.

  10. #10
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    Probably not as well as a Knaack box

    Sent from my MB612 using Tapatalk 2
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

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