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Hey everyone. For some time I have been thinking about making a wooden tool chest.

There are three plans that I am looking at building. In order from easy to more difficult we have the following chests.

Woodsmith — Grandpa’s Tool Chest
Rough inside dimensions: 22″W x10″D x 8.5″H

Made by MichaelT77 on Lumberjocks

Woodsmith plans from Issue 161 — Traditional Tool Chest
Rough inside dimensions: 33″W x17″D x 15″H

Made by Bob Wolak

Roy Underhill’s Joiner’s Tool Chest
Rough inside dimensions: 31.5″W x16.5″D x ?”H (His plan shows 1/4 tall?)

Made by Bob Rozaieski from Logan Cabinet Shop

The main thing I have not made a decision about is the size of chest I would like. I do not want something huge, nor do I want a tiny chest either. The reason I want to build a tool chest is to transport my woodworking tools when we move out to our homestead this summer. It will also give me a way to store my tools and easily access them when we are working on building a shop and house.

I am leaning towards the Traditional Tool Chest from issue 161 of the Woodsmith magazine. I like the overall design and look, and it seems to be a decent size. I am also contemplating skipping dovetail joints and going with box joints or just a simple rabbet joint as in the Woodsmith plans. I like the idea of the dovetail joints, but skipping them would save quite a bit of time and still give me a serviceable tool chest. Besides, I have seen plenty of tests comparing the strength of dovetail joints against box joints and the box joints tend to slightly edge out the dovetail joints in strength.

This is going to be a user chest not a piece of furniture and will end up getting beat up in the move and on the homestead. When I have the time I can then make another chest that is more elegant. I think cutting all the dovetails by hand would a be a fun exercise, but I would never get it done right now if I went that route.

I am open for advice on building a tool chest. What have you guys built? How did you build it? Has it served you well and if you were to make another one what would you do differently?

Thanks,
Dave

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