A Cabinetmaker’s Tool Chest
A home for hand tools
Synopsis: Tony Konovaloff took an old tool chest he built early in his career and improved on it. The original had eight drawers, removable boxes and racks to hold tools in specific places. He explains how the improvements evolved and how he built it, using hand tools exclusively. He discusses how to plan places for your tools and recommends using a light-color wood for the inside for visibility in finding tools. He used sliding dovetails on the ends of the lid and installed cleats to act as stops. He details how he hung the lid and installed the storage compartments, and offers information on how to thickness with a scrub plane. Project drawings show where each tool goes and how the piece comes together.
If you work wood, you need a place to store your tools. So for many of us, a tote box, a tool cabinet or a chest is one of the first woodworking projects we undertake. My pine tool chest, shown on the left in the photo on the facing page, was one of my earliest projects, and it served me well for years. Each tool has a home—on the bottom of the chest, in one of eight drawers, in removable boxes or on a rack inside the chest or its lid. As I collected new tools and learned new storage tricks, I altered the chest’s storage layout by moving drawer guides and tool racks. The inside of the chest is now pockmarked with screw holes, as evidence of these alterations. So after too many alterations on my pine chest, I decided to build a new chest of walnut.
Since the size of my first tool chest is as practical as it is big, I made the new one, which is shown in the drawing…