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Does anyone work from a Chris Shwarz type Dutch Toolchest?

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Benchwayze

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I am in need of a tool chest.

Ideally I'd like an English style chest, but to fit my hand tools it would be pretty large, and unless I mounted it on a stand, I'd suffer from all the bending over it. Also a lot of work in the making; which I'd enjoy of course, but how long would it take me, at my pace?

Instead I am considering the Dutch tool chest. Less work to make, only two dovetail joints, unless I over engineer, and still room for my must-have tools. Mainly, not so much bending to pick up and replace tools when working.

Any ideas on the pros and cons?

Thanks in Anticipation

John :D
 

Benchwayze

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Obviously not. I'll be the first then it seems. Gong to watch the DVD again tonight.

Start on Friday!

Cheers folks.

John (hammer)
 

thetyreman

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it took me 2-3 months to build my chest, but I'm very OCD about the details, mine is an english style joiners chest, the paid for project from woodworking masterclass dot com by paul sellers, great chest, I wouldn't change a thing, it's a good size and fits all my planes. I might make a second one at some point for all my other tools, it's quite an undertaking but well worth it. It has 144 dovetails!
 

shed9

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Benchwayze":2c7gfa49 said:
Obviously not. I'll be the first then it seems. Gong to watch the DVD again tonight.

Start on Friday!

Cheers folks.

John (hammer)
You may be better off asking some of the US forums. FIne woodworking, maybe even the FOG.
 

AJB Temple

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I bought an antique English style tool chest from a junk shop. Cost £80. I don't use it as a tool chest because it is a faff and when full is very heavy.

What I actually use when I am operating out of a temporary workshop (as now - in a barn making a kitchen, some doors etc) I use a draw unit. In my case it is a pine tool chest from a farm workshop, but any drawer unit would do. You can buy oak or mahogany old chests of drawers for under £100 at auctions or even on eBay. That's less than the price of wood. This also gives you a useful work top for, say, a sharpening station.
 

HOJ

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I started to draw up plans with the good intentions, not got round to building it yet, I tend to make things very simply, so probably wouldn't use dovetails, and on reflection would put in draws.

I would be following if you decide to make one.

dutch tool chest.jpg
 

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Jacob

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Personally I can't see any use or need for a tool "chest" but I've been trying to get organised with boxes. About 2ft long and 10" wide, various heights, with hand holes routed out each end. The idea is that they stack neatly and aren't too heavy even when full.
Coincidentally I see that Schwarz had the same idea; "Japanese tool boxes" https://www.popularwoodworking.com/wood ... gs/326395/
but much better made than mine! I'm just bodging because I need them and I hadn't thought of lids (they aren't going outside or anything).
He does some very nice stuff https://christophermschwarz.com/
 

Benchwayze

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Thanks folks.

I never felt the need for a chest either, but my workshop is in such a state, and since I have replaced a few tools recently, I need somewhere to store them. So I decided to make a chest for the lot!

My shop is a single-car garage (Not even big enough to put my car away, and open the doors to get out!) and I need somewhere else to put a chest. The best place is in the utility room, which I am going to use as a breakfast room, when I replace the white goods! It will be pleasant eating breakfast and watching the sun rise in the warmer months. :mrgreen:

Wheeling the chest into the garage will be NP, but working from a deep English chest will be hard on my back. That's why I wondered about the Dutch chest, as it's more upright and accessible from the front. I can still put it on castors.

Today, as it happens, was my first full day in the shop since my wife fell ill, three years ago. I cleared a lot of useless timber and junked some ancient metal. Also made a start cleaning my benchtop. Now I am aching and stiff, and I smell of oak and pine, but at least the shop is becoming clear. I can actually use the bench again and the 1950s Record No 5-1/2 I got from eBay, is proving to be the best plane I ever bought second hand. Not only in good condition , but has never been used!

A plus! I ordered some fresh B.L.O to feed the benchtop, after a proper cleaning up on Thursday and Friday; and I feel human again! :lol:

Thanks folks. I'll let you know how I progress. Might even try it with pics, even if it's only to show you my dovetails! :lol:

Regards
John. (hammer)
 

1snugthejoiner

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FWIW, I have both, and the English style is a bit easier to work out of – all the tools I use the most are easy to grab w/out bending over (in the top 2 tills or hanging in the rack along the front wall. (The exception is my bench planes, but I get them out once in the morning and put them away at night, using my off hand to support myself on the edge of the chest as I lean in.)

The Dutch chest is nice, too, but holds fewer tools of course (I use it for travel), so I have to keep more of what I regularly use in the cubbies under the top portion, so there's more bending over (which is not a problem yet...but will be in short order at my age, no doubt!)
 

Bod

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All I can say about making any tool chest, is to measure the longest tool, you will be putting in it.
Before starting to cut wood...I made a small travelling box, 3/4 inch too short for the saw. Once the saw was made to fit, it still cut wood, but the beauty had gone.

Bod
 

Bodgers

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I have my Grandad's tool chest that dates back to the 1930s. It has a lot of old tools in it that need refurbing.

I know the Schwarz Dutch tool-chest has all the slidey trays to make it easier to get to stuff, but...if you don't have to be rummaging around in a box, then why build a box that makes you do that? I just like my stuff on the wall and in cabinets. If you have to move stuff around then fair enough.

I flicked through this book once, but it just seems like a bit of old thing, for old-thing's, hipster, sake.
 

ScaredyCat

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For what it's worth I'm thinking of building one of these, although a proper strapped version. Mainly because

a) I have to work in the garden and am forever having to go back in the house, go upstairs to get the bits I need. It'd be much easier to have somehting like this to store them in and just carry outside once, and have everything I need.

b) they're simple to build so I can get on with what I *need* to do, rather than make a posh tool chest that'd take forever to do.
 

custard

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Benchwayze":1k7lzod8 said:
not so much bending to pick up and replace tools when working
I use a tool chest, which lives at the end of my bench.

Tool-Chest.jpg


I don't store all my hand tools here, but probably around half of the key items are in the chest.

Your point about repeat bending down to access tools is a common view but that's not what you should be aiming for. The objective is to identify the tools you'll need for the next few hours work, get those tools out, do the job, then replace the tools and move onto the next task. It's all very planned and methodical.

I once worked in a workshop where the benches had drawers underneath for your tools. If you fastened a workpiece or a jig to the front of the bench you wouldn't then have access to the tool drawers, and if you needed something you'd have to detach the workpiece to get to the missing tool. There was little sympathy for anyone in that situation, the general view was that was bad planning, and a competent craftsman should have thought ahead and had all necessary tools laid out in advance. It's interesting how amongst full time makers there's as much emphasis on efficient working practises as on out and out skill.
 

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Jacob

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thetyreman":2cnnlr5k said:
..... It has 144 dovetails!
I know the feeling! I'm doing a tool chest of 4 drawers, in fits and starts. Similar number of DTs. A full chest of drawers can have more.
Hand cut DTs are an incredibly effective joint, widely used even on cheap stuff; doing them quickly/efficiently must have been key. I'm working on it!
 

Just4Fun

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custard":2pcnmmep said:
It's interesting how amongst full time makers there's as much emphasis on efficient working practises as on out and out skill.
So true; I have seen the same thing observing people in various trades who (unlike me) know what they are doing. My guess is that amongst professionals an acceptable skill level is - or should be - a given. My grandfather was a skilled craftsman in his own field and he always used to say "You don't have to work hard, you have to work fast". To him, efficiency was key and skill/quality didn't enter the equation because his skill level ensured he always did quality work.

Coming back to the subject of chests I am thinking of building one next winter. My motivation is that I want to do a large project with lots of hand-cut dovetails. I can do small boxes with a few dovetails and enjoy doing them, but I want to see if I can scale it up. A tool chest seems a good project for that but I am also considering a blanket chest or something. I don't actually need or even want a tool chest, I just want to make one :?
 

MikeG.

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custard":r4vrwl1s said:
........................It's interesting how amongst full time makers there's as much emphasis on efficient working practises as on out and out skill.
Indeed, but logical if you think about it, as a room full of cabinet makers will all know that each of them has the appropriate skill levels, but that some are lazy pippers, some disorganised, some are clumsy or accident-prone, and so on. "The Village Carpenter" by Walter Rose, the only book I've ever read on woodworking, discusses this idea here and there, with repeated comments on working speedily and efficiently.
 

Phil Pascoe

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When I was about sixteen I went into the woodwork hut one Saturday morning (yes, we went to school Saturday mornings) to be greeted by - your work is quite good, but you need to get used to working quicker. I need a coffee table ........... by lunchtime. The wood's over there, I expect you to finish it to a good standard but you don't have to lacquer it. I did it. It wasn't until years after that someone told he'd promised a coffee table to the church bazaar (which was the day after) but had forgotten. :D
 

Andy Kev.

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Just4Fun":r4ovkoc8 said:
Coming back to the subject of chests I am thinking of building one next winter. My motivation is that I want to do a large project with lots of hand-cut dovetails. I can do small boxes with a few dovetails and enjoy doing them, but I want to see if I can scale it up. A tool chest seems a good project for that but I am also considering a blanket chest or something. I don't actually need or even want a tool chest, I just want to make one :?
The first serious project I made was my tool chest and my mistake was to take it on before I had properly acquired the necessary skills but doing it did eventually fill the skill gap. I followed the plan from The Anarchist's Tool Chest by Christopher Schwarz.

My second mistake was to attempt it in normal pine. I failed dismally at the task of planing boards flat although I ended up with a lot of useful pine offcuts. I decided to start again from scratch and switched to a more expensive but easier to work kind of pine and eventually got all four sides of the box done to the right standard. At that point I decided that there was no way on earth that I was going to put all that work at risk by dovetailing free-handed, so I bought the Veritas magnetic dovetail guide/fence/thingy and it made it child's play. I reckon that by now I can work without it but on critical things I still like to just kick off a cut with it. Were I to make the chest again, I think I would do it in American Poplar, which was the wood from which I made the skirts and the bottoms of the chest and trays.

So the upshot of this is that I now have a tool chest with which I am happy and making it was my foundation course in planing. The experience has also led me to detest pine. I love the way a finished piece looks but can't stand working it. Marking it is above all a pain: yes I can now do it but if possible I go for a wood which has more sporting instincts and plays fair. Chiselling pine is also not something I look forward to.

All that said, if you're more or less a black belt in free hand dovetailing and planing, making a tool chest should give you no problems.
 

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