Hybrid Tool Chest, Part III
For those following, this series follows my attempts to design and build a Hybrid tool chest for my meager hand tool collection. The first and second parts will get you up to speed with the box up until this point.
After talking with Art Director Mike Pekovich, I realized that the bottom of my case was trapped and stood a very likely chance of expanding enough to blow the glue joints surrounding it. To relieve this, I simply used a circular saw to cut two kerfs through the bottom. To make sure the “slats” I had just created didn’t fall out, I simply used some screws to bind the pieces to the case sides.
Now that the I was more comfortable with my hard work not turning into kindling due to humidity, I moved onto building the lower trays that will hold a few Stanley Bailey planes, and the handsaws that are soon to be in my future. I went with ply for the dividers that were fit in place, and then capped with an ash runner along the top edges. These runners would provide a durable edging for the ply that will also better support the trays to come in the future. After some trial and error, I had everything fit, albeit very snug. No worries on that though, I made all the dividers and rails removable in the event I change the box’s layout.
The last thing I did was act on a cool idea I thought of while messing around with the box at home. I found the lid also fits upside down in the box opening, and the wedge also locks it in that way as well. This leaves a nice flat surface that’s securely attached straight to the weighted box… so I turned it into a plane stop/mini-work surface. A thin strip of white oak and two screws later, the lid now flips over to reveal a mini planing station.
Overall, this installment was relatively painless, and I think the till in the bottom of the box will work well and the plane stop feature will come in handy. Next installment will finish off this series, with a couple trays for chisels and other tools and a finish of some sort.
... which in turn can be clamped with dogs to a bench for a raised work surface for small parts or detail work.
Before I could get into the lower plane till, at the suggestion of a much more observant fellow FWW staffer, I relieved the chest bottom to avoid blowing out the sides of my chest. I simply set the depth on a standard circular saw, set up a straight guide to offset the cut, and went to town. Countersunk screws keep everything tight.
While traditional Japanese boxes are left open on the inside like mine had sat for awhile, the Western influence in my box will take the shape of separated tool storage to keep the western style iron planes and tools from clattering around.
The dividers themselves are just 1/4" ply that I butt-jointed to really tight tolerances, taking tiny slivers off at the compound miter saw. I considered using solid hardwood for this -- maybe some of the ash I had -- but realized this dividers are gonna take a beating AND all the ply was scrap left around the shop.
The ash rails are rabbeted along the back so they sit over and hold the plywood in place vertically and laterally, notched with a handsaw for the inner rails and then mitered at the corners. This setup works for the outer edges, but the inner rails needed a bit of cleverness...
I knew when I started that this box would be an ongoing evolution, so I didn't want to have anything glued in place if I could help it. Instead, I used some short flat head screws to affix the outside rails and a thrown-together wedge to jam the interior rails in place. Now, all I need is a screwdriver to pull the entire bottom till.
A No. 220, No. 4 and No. 5 Stanley in their tills. I still have plenty of room to fit more tools and such, but it was nice to see the planes (some of my first woodworking tool purchases) in a chest I built.
Simply flip over the lid and put the wedge in the same way it came out. This locks the lid to case...
To make a rail that saddled over the ply, I took the extra strips of rabbeted ash I cut and glued on a 1/8" strip to the rabbeted side, basically making a groove. A quick MDF caul setup up had my two lengths drying super quick.
Adding the 1/8" oak plane stop to the back of my lid was a no brainer: it's easily replaced and is low-profile so it doesn't take up any room inside the chest.