Toolchest Thread - English, Dutch, Etc.


A forum for talking about toolchests, those Anarchist-inspired repositories for our handtools. Got one? Several? Building something and have questions?

Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

100 Replies

Cool thread. Ya gotta love the chest, doesn't matter to me what type, all of them have attributes, and if the one you pick works for you it's a win. Mine is an old English model, that from the stickers inside it came from a seafaring woodworker. It has what appears to be a Walnut exterior, and everything about it works for me. I need to pull it out and take a few pics to add. I look forward to seeing what others have.  
I don’t have a tool chest, or more accurately not a classic wooden one. It’s always something that occupies a place in my ‘project mind’ but I have the compounding problems of nowhere to keep one, and no real need as I don’t travel with my tools. That said, I’m very excited to see all of yours and learn more about them. I’ve always thought the tool chest was the most outward expression of the craftsman. It’s what one would first see when a craftsman first walked onto the property to do the work he does…an expression of himself and his work in the most utilitarian form. Thanks for starting the thread!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Most excellent!  I'll have to grab some pictures of the current state of my Dutch chest; it's ... well it's progressing lol

I don’t have a chest. I have tills for various types of tools, since I pretty much only work from my shop, and nobody else does, so my organization s my own.

May you have the day you deserve!

Cool, fancy making one at some point, so following along and nicking all the ideas.
I've long noted that my "rustable" hand tools fared much better when stored inside of a closed wooden box, cabinet, or chest. Hanging out in the air and they are a constant challenge to keep the rust off, so for me even though I don't travel, having a wooden box to keep my tools, keeps them rust free, clean, and therefore ready to use.

So a chest simply offers housing, and protection to a larger number of tools at once. Though there is nothing wrong with a box that holds a smaller number. For some I have seen they used the smaller box theory, and in the end it was a lot more of a footprint if you added all of the smaller boxes together. It's just finding a parking spot for some. Fortunately my shops size allows for the smallish footprint of my chest, and I did a small add on of wheels, so I can move mine to anywhere, quickly.
I have long noted the various tool chests and would love to build one.  However, my shop is so small, I would have no where to sit one.  I have given thought to going hand tool only.  However getting most of my wood from a tree surgeon friend makes me hang on to the power equipment.  If I had to process all of my lumber the old fashioned way, I might get one more project completed before I fly up to Woodworker's Heaven.

I guess the plane till that I recently built will have to suffice.  I do find it much handier than I expected.  My bench stays cleaner and my tools are easier to access and return to their new housing.

I look forward to seeing pictures of various chests.  Hum?  Various tool chests.
I love my tills, wouldn’t have it any other way for the handtools, especially with the tool wall/French cleat wall. And I love the idea of tool chests, just don’t have the room. And while I’m sure it helps prevent rust, we’re in such a relatively arid area that is much less of an issue for me than it would certainly be for others. Still love the idea! Bring ‘em on!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

OK, I’ll bite. I have three larger chests and a wooden machinist chest.
Schwartz take on a carpenters/cabinet makers chest that I built.

Another Schwartz take on a Dutch style, built this at Lie Nielsen with Chris Schwartz teaching along with Deneb Pulchaski.

Still some work to do on this one.

And finally this one, it was being used as a coffee table.

Watch and learn, practice and learn, create and learn

Any of those reside at the museum Kevin?
The Dutch did for a short while but the tools in it were not up to the scale of work we did. I brought back home and bought one of those wheeled plastic jobs, now I don’t care if it gets bashed around. I’ve been slowly building up the museums hand tools so less need for mine to make the trip.Lots of folks donate their old tools to us, so I cherry pick the ones that will work for us and we have a yearly “yard” sale for the rest.

Watch and learn, practice and learn, create and learn

Kevin, those are outstanding! Need a tour of the Dutch Chest please!!

Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

Here's the current state of my Dutch chest. Not done, but usable (and being used).

Top section is pretty sorted, but a little more still to go (mainly handplanes storage/organization)

It's the bottom section that needs some work yet. It's just an open cavernous box at this point.

I was pleased with this though, I opted for dual slide lock pieces for the fall front instead of one in the middle. I made the top lock pieces on the fall front in to cleats, added two cleats on the back of the chest like French cleats, and two screws to hold the slides that lock it in place. Now I can hang the locks and fall front on the back of the chest when it's open. The hanging locations of the slide lock pieces also prevent the fall front from sliding side to side and falling off.  I should get more pictures/video of that, as it's proven hard to describe lol

Mos, that is clever! Yes, a pic of the back and of the ‘inside’ of the panel would help clarify. That’s something I’m working on currently, so those ideas will be borrowed.

No bench planes in the top section?

Rob, nice machinists-type chest!

Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

I plan to have bench planes in the top, just haven't decided which ones yet. I was thinking two, maybe 5-1/2 and 3... That long stretch at the front where the marking gauge and box makers plow plane are is intended for bench planes.

Interior pics from my Dutch chest.
Upper slant lid has my two panel saws restored and sharpened by Bob Summerfield along with marking and measuring stuff.

Top compartment  has more marking and measure tools, chisels, and planes.

The bottom compartment is a work in progress. Drills, fret saws, molding planes, and other bits of flotsam!

Watch and learn, practice and learn, create and learn

Is that…is that a muffin on the back of that jointer?

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

After having used a variety of chests, add on boxes, and tills over the years I have come to the conclusion that putting planes into a chest, be it standard, Dutch, or other is a lesson in frustration, and only to be done if travel is in the picture. At that point it's a necessity so you have no choice, unless you want to do away with planes, or put them in a travel of their own.

I think stationary planes will always work much better in a graduated till with doors. Trying to get them into a chest with other tools always ends as a situation where you are trying to fit them into spaces they don't quite want to go. At least this has been my  experience.


Is that…is that a muffin on the back of that jointer?

Kinda looks like it, with a nice paper cup to keep it together. Hey ya have to have something to sustain you if prepping large quantities of stock.
I’m guessing that’s some sort of wax Kev makes and pours into muffin tins.  Then again, maybe it’s just breakfast.