Complete the Dutch Tool Chest


I call this complete because I got it to the point where I needed it and I’m leaving it alone (for now).


The top front board was nailed in place.  Only time will tell if seasonal wood movement split it.

front_3  front_5


I installed the fall front after the top front board.  I thought it would be easier to work on the latches and catches for the front before I attached the back.


About the back – I had a semi-original idea.  I went back to the home center to seek inexpensive, clear stock that would be suitable.  What I found was processed tongue and groove pine boards.  Talk about easy!  I cut them to length and attached them to the case with screws.  The only watch-out is to lay them all out before ripping the top and bottom boards to width. If you use a whole piece at the bottom, you may be left with only a 1/4″ wide piece needed at the top, and that is poor craftsmanship.

back_2 back_3

I chose to bevel the front board after I nailed it to the front.  Feel free to bevel it first.  The ends were planed flush with the sides after the glue dried.  Be sure the nails and screws are below the surface of the wood, otherwise you will scar your plane.

 hinge_1 hinge_3

Lid hinge install.  I marked the holes with a pencil with the hinge in place, then mark the center of the hole with my awl.  I really like that pointy awl.


When working alone, find a way to keep the lid in place while marking screw locations.

After the front and back was installed I turned to the lid.  I used super cheap strap hinges.  I turned them “inside out” based on the countersinks, because I wanted the hinges on the outside of the chest with no mortises required and the hinges would not rotate far enough the other direction.  I think they look right nice.  I used battens on the underside of the lid rather than breadboard ends because it was much faster.  I think it is a fine compromise for this shipping crate.


What about handles?  I decided that I liked the feel of large, fixed handles rather than the more common type that swing up for lifting.  I did not like the thought of the handles being held in place by only 3/4in long screws, so I doubled the thickness by gluing scraps to the inside of the case behind the handles.  I let the glue dry before screwing in the handles.  I am confident this makes the handles more secure, and hopefully it will prevent splitting of the case (near the handles) which is commonly seen on antiques.


Handle placement – I made it up.  I was about to attach the handles in the center of the chest, as they “should be”, but I thought it would be more comfortable to carry the chest if the handles were raised.  This position also made it easier to attach the reinforcing blocks, so I went for it.  It feels pretty natural to lift the chest with this handle placement.


After all this, I made some interior places to keep tools and called it done.  Paint yours if you like, but I really need to get back to my dresser project.

Bob Jones

4 thoughts on “Complete the Dutch Tool Chest

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