Dutch Toolchest part 1 of 3

This tool chest came into being due to a set of circumstances involving (1) a dawning realization (at that time) that my very recently finished Japanese-influenced toolbox was insufficient to meet my needs & (2) a class I was lucky enough to take that involved Chris Schwarz demonstrating how to make one of these Dutch tool chests by hand.

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The class was in February and was hosted by our local woodworker’s guild. Mr Schwarz was with us for two full days and took several white pine boards and turned them into a very nice tool chest, teaching and entertaining as he worked.

It was a truly wonderful experience. If you ever get a chance to take a class with him, you should know that it is well worth your time and money, even if you aren’t in the market for whatever he may be making in the class.

So a few months later, our guild hosted a series of group builds, where we got together in the guild shop for a weekend in groups of 7 or 8 guys and worked on our own Dutch tool chests.

I worked completely by hand tools alone on this project. In the 14 – 16 hours in the guild shop I managed to complete 80% of the work. All that remained was to fit the top, the fall-front, carve out the battens and the lock, and fit the hinges & latch, etc.

The poor, unfinished tool chest, waiting patiently amidst the shavings
The poor, unfinished tool chest, waiting patiently amidst the shavings

Unfortunately I have had a very busy spring and summer so far, with a honey-do list that has kept me very occupied. Fortunately one of the items on that list was to build new side tables for the new (remodeled) house, which at least got me into the shop. However, the result of such a full schedule this year is that my new tool chest has languished half formed and forgotten in the shop for most of the year so far.

As I wrap up the new side tables, I have had opportunities to begin finishing the construction of the Dutch tool chest.

I had some scraps of straight grained walnut that made nice interior lock hardware and battens to hold the fall-front in place.

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Using my Christmas present to drill pilot holes. If anyone recognizes the model of hand drill this is, please message me; I’d love to know.
The fall-front. Falling... as it should.
The fall-front. Falling… as it should.
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The fall-front, in an easier-to-understand view.
The interior lock for the fall-front. This slim strip of wood slides through the top shelf of the chest, a walnut catch, and into a little stopped rabbet in the bottom of the chest. This secures the front from opening when you don't want it to do so. I added a subtle hand-carved finger-rest to make the lock easier to use.
The interior lock for the fall-front. This slim strip of wood slides through the top shelf of the chest, a walnut catch, and into a little stopped rabbet in the bottom of the chest. This secures the front from opening when you don’t want it to do so. I added a subtle hand-carved finger-rest to make the lock easier to use.

This was my first time to attach hardware to a piece. It went better than I anticipated, and I am very happy with the result so far. I was particularly worried about attaching the hinges, but it all went together smoothly and functions as I hoped it would.

Laying out the mortises for the hinges
Laying out the mortises for the hinges

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More pics tomorrow as I sand out my charcoal pencil markings and attach the handles…

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Dutch Toolchest part 1 of 3

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