Tool chest

This is a version of the boarded tool chest from the Anarchist’s Design Book by Christopher Schwartz. The original plan was to go to a timberyard and get a decent set of straight-grained pine planks which I could throw through a thicknesser. Another lockdown put paid to that idea so this is made from DIY store pine which I thicknesses by hand. The grain did not make that enjoyable.

The corners are lap joints, with the nails skewed to help dovetail it to the side. I wanted to tongue and groove the floor, but ended up shiplapping it.

Starting to think about tool layout but the next step is tills, lid and skirt. So far my only complaints are difficulty fitting my moulding planes in a useful spot, and difficulty fitting my brace anywhere (but then braces are awkward anyhow).


Nice one! That came together quickly! I’ve ordered some poplar and will be getting going on the DTC shortly. I bought those tongue and groove planes as well and I don’t think they’re perfect but after a good sharpening I was able to cut a successful tongue and groove in some scrap

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For what it’s worth, if you want to put something together quickly, I reckon you could skip the dovetails and replace them with nailed laps the way much of the stuff in the ADB is put together. Good luck!

Haha no I think if anything I’ll want to eek it out and enjoy the journey! Wood is too expensive to do projects too quickly :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously impressed Ed!!
I managed to get a copy of schwarz’s anarchists toolchest from Germany and will be a project when I get the room to put it somewhere.

Hope all is going well in Canada, looks like you have a nice set up there!!

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Cheers Mark! I can reccomend the Anarchist’s Design Book as well (I have a copy if you want a browse), and the Anarchist’s Workbench (which is free as PDF).

There’s a good workshop here I’ve joined (when it’s not shut down for lockdown) but I’m definitely enjoying having my own bench!

Thanks Ed,

Anarchists toolchest was tracked down and read the last lockdown, downloaded the anarchists workbench last week and devoured it in three days.

Now waiting for the anarchists design book which should be here in the next couple of days.

Which will make Christopher schwarz up there with my most read authors! Along with Tolkien, richard Harris, Jeffery archer (sorry) Dean koonts and Ian banks! I never saw that coming!

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He really is extremely readable, and very approachable woodworking wise. I think you’re going to enjoy the design book - look forward to seeing what you make of it!

They look like great books. And I’d buy them if they weren’t so expensive in this country!

I’ve downloaded and started the Workbench book but already he wants me to buy 2x12 yellow pine. Can’t get that in B&Q, can I?

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Can’t get it anywhere but 6x2 is available and nearly all of the 12x6 is ripped in half.

I worked out you need about 85m of 6x2

Cheapest I could find is treated c24 carcassing timber from howarths in Brockley , still comes out at £360

As the final size required is 1 1/4” x 5”
Hopefully the treated sides will be planed off.

I will be shortly making some saw benches from this, so will let you know.
Just worried about dust from the treated timber if put through a planer thicknesser.

It seems odd I cannot find untreated timber cheaper than certified graded and treated structural timber.

If anyone knows where we can get 6x2 less than £4 a metre please let me know

Would this do?

It would make it definitely but not so sure I would want to use it

There are three types of constructional timber
Cls (Canadian lumber standard) as you mentioned (fast growing pine)
Used for non load bearing stud work between drywall
Soft lightweight but not strong … and notoriously twisted. I have been through nearly a pallet of the stuff to find 10 straight pieces.

C16 — structural timber normally pine, slower growing than cls used for joists and some load bearing construction straighter and heavier than cls

C24 as I mentioned , normally slower growing such as redwood , straighter grain and less defects
Normally the choice of engineers and specifiers. Used as per c16 but suitable for longer spans and weights

Heavier and straighter than both the above.
Can order for delivery without picking the pieces knowing it is going to be straight

If the c24 Cleans up ok happy to pay that

I think I recall some discussion in the toolbench book about this kind of thing, and speculation that the reason English benches look the way they do is because of the relative higher cost and lower availability of lumber (which is a problem stretching back to Nelson’s Navy).

Fwiw I ended up building a Nicholson (i.e. English) style and it’s holding up well so far.

@lewisss might this be suitable? I had looked at it for a chest but wasn’t sure.

The other option for a workbench which I think would be viable would be to buy kitchen worktops for the bench and top up with some std stock for legs etc. You can get a 2m length of 40mm beech worktop for c£110. Glue 2 of those together and you’ve got yourself a nice thick top with no work. I imagine the remaining wood would be the same cost again from somewhere like Surrey Timbers. Slight issues (but manageable) with this route are the wood is glued up without regard for grain direction so flattening is more difficult (although they come flat) and I’m told the finger joints in the wood are a nightmare to work so if they landed where you were trying to do leg mortices or something it might add some difficulty.

Lid on, tool rack in, first till made. I like having a tool rack for my chisels and awls - I used one in my last tool chest and appreciated being able to lay my hands on them more quickly than with a drawer or till. I will say that it takes enough off the width that seeing into the bottom of the chest is a little awkward, so if I made them again I might do the tills at five or six inches wide rather than seven.

The bottom of the till is recycled maple, resawn and bookmatched. I’m not going to be looking at it much, but when I do it will be nice to see the pattern.

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Looking great!

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