A Nice Dutch Tool Chest (not mine)


Travis from middle Tennessee saw my post on building a Dutch Tool Chest and offered to send me some pictures of his.  I think you will agree that he did a fantastic job on the build and has filled it with a nice set of tools.  The pictures prompted some questions from me, so I thought an interview type post would be fun.  So check out all the pictures and learn what you can from them.


“Can you give me some of your highlights from the build?”

“I used home center white pine. The top and fall front are glued panels. SYP for the locks, battens, and skids. I made the larger version because I do not have any other chest or cabinet for tool storage. As you can see by the orientation of the planes, I too am a southpaw. The #8 is the one I bought from you. I made a small drawer for inlay tools that always seem to get lost. It is a simple rabbeted construction with a nailed on bottom. I made no attempts to remove plane tracks or tear out. There is a lot of tear out and I am ok with it. I think I got the craziest grained white pine in America. One coat of primer followed by two coats of flat latex and one coat of wax. The hinges and hasp are from Van Dyke’s Restorers. The handles are home center zinc plated. I removed the zinc with vinegar. All hardware was treated with gun blue and oiled.”

That was not enough info for me, so I probed a little deeper.


“What would you do differently if you had it to do again?”

“Make it deeper front to back. At 11 1/4 inches the top compartment feels cramped.

Make the top compartment deeper top to bottom. I wanted to hang a small try square on one of the sides but there is no room.

Make the middle shelf narrower. Stopped dadoes would not take anymore time than cutting all the notches for the locks and battens, and would make it easier to attach tools to the fall front.

Use milk paint for the finish. I had some leftover primer and paint so I don’t feel too bad. I prefer the look of milk paint.”

“Do you recommend the small drawer below the shelf for others?”

“I would recommend the drawer if you have small tools that are prone to getting lost. I store inlay tools and a router adapter in there. I don’t use them enough to put in the top and I was afraid that they would get lost or fall out if placed in the open compartment.”


“How do you have the lid attached / stopped?”

“I don’t follow instructions well so I tried to do something different with the top. It did not go well and as a result the top was too narrow to act as a stop when open. At first I used a leather strap and that failed because of the weight of the lid. The attached photo shows my solution. Two blocks approximately 2 x 3 x 3/4 inches. The top of the blocks are cut at 10 degrees. They work great and take most of the stress off of the hinges. I recommend them if your vehicle is large enough that there is little chance of knocking them (when) moving the chest in and out.”


“Ok, what’s the significance of the donkey?”

“Two-fold: 1) I love donkeys. 2) Many people are put off by my sense of humor and I have been called a ‘donkey’ (paraphrase) more than once.”

“I have to ask.  Is there any political influence in the choice of the donkey?  Someone who reads the post will ask, so we may as well get that out there.”
“The donkey has zero political indication. It never even occurred to me. I’m not naive, honestly. I love burros.”

Many thanks to Travis for sharing and being willing to answer all my questions.  I expect this will help others who are considering building this chest.  Please, since the burro is not political let’s leave the politics discussion for other blogs.  Thanks!

Bob Jones

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