Friday, June 7, 2013

Three Birds With One Stone!

Reading woodworking magazines and blogs doesn't ever make your I'd-like-to-build-it-someday list get shorter. For several years Schwarz guilted me with each variation of his saw bench (never-mind I don't use my xcut/rip saws much). After reading The Anarchist's Tool Chest It pained me to see my tools stored in the open, so...naked and exposed. But given the time commitments I had at the time, I knew there was no way I could build a full-size chest fast enough to prevent my saws and long planes from oxidizing....again. About this time, CS started talking about get'er'done vernacular furniture of necessity and 6 board chests in particular. If I squinted a bit, I saw a way to check off 3 projects in the proverbial "weekend." (~15hr shop time)

So I set about a quickly built design to meet my design requirements and efficiently use standard cheap materials* without panel glue-ups.

  • Dust Tight
  • Use home center 1X material (1x12 width means can't fit saws and planes on one level) 
  • Bench planes (heavy) on lower shelf ( LV BU jointer longest plane)
  • Saws on sliding till for accessing lower planes without removing (saws dictate final length and height.)
Originally, the sides were to be 2 ship-lapped boards to get the height required and allow for seasonal expansion (fixing the theoretical cross grain over-constraint problem with 6 boards) but when I headed to Menard's I discovered that the pre-milled "car-siding" was of better quality and would be a cheaper, faster, better way to get my box built.

Then I built it pretty much as described by CS and finished the outside with a few coats of leftover paint (black over red)

The useful items that separate this from a standard boarded chest:
  • Dust sealing
    • The batons that keep the top flat fit tight against the ends.
    • A thin "tongue" was lapped into the batons (sturdy joint) and fits into a the topmost groove of the car siding.
  • Sides
    • I rabbeted the ends to provide racking support to the structure then glued and nailed the top and bottom boards.
    • The center board works like a floating panel door with no glue or nails. It floats in the T&G joints and the rabbets on the ends prevent it from sliding or letting dust in.
  • Design
    • I've been anti-straight line for a while and so sketched some curves & chamfers where I could. In the end I think it's OK, but with the T&G car siding lines drawing the eye, I would embrace rectilinear if I were to do it again.
    • The sliding till was the hardest thing to lay-out to fit the saws I needed to fit in there, yet be narrow enough to access the planes. I like the till a lot and if I ever build the ATC, I'll incorporate it on the middle runners in CS's chest.
This simple chest allows storing my long tools with less fear of oxidation and allows me to get on to making other furniture & tools. Someday, I'll make a full size "legacy" (not fancy) chest, but then, this one will house my apprentice's tools upon becoming a journey(wo)man. In fact, as I was putting on the 2nd coat of black my 9yr old said, "when you're gone, I think I'm gonna paint it purple..."

2-1X6X10' car siding (speeds up T&G construction and was less expensive than similar quality 1x material)
hardwood scraps


  1. Now there's a good idea! Turn your six board chest into a tool chest. I like it!

    So have you thought about side handles? I'm toying with the idea for mine. I think its going to be a bit awkward to move without them.

  2. Yes it needs handles if you are going to move it (as does the small chest I built at Roy's Feb '11) I've been thinking about using this method: but to be honest I don't move it that much and only think about handles while moving. It's not too bad to move but a bit longish to reach to pick it up bear hug style, but definitely less heavy than a fully loaded ATC would be.

    I'd also like to make a dutch chest and several of those nifty Japanese boxes that could be pretty modular and seem to be contagious, Raney (DAED) had one at handworks:

  3. I like it. I made a 6 board chest into my saw bench/saw storage box as well. I've been thinking about making another one to use as a travelling tool chest, and I really like what you did with the tray that pops out with saws. well designed.

  4. Nice job.
    I would try to use it for some time before deciding to add handles or not. Making boxes or chests is always satisfying.
    And by the way. Thumbs up for starting a blog.

  5. Thanks for the comment, gives me peace of mind that I'm not just being lazy w/o handles.... I've really enjoyed reading your blog over the last few months as well, it brings a nice perspective to the community.