Hardware Choices for the Dutch Tool Chest

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If you are building a Dutch Tool Chest, you have a number of good choices when it comes to the hardware. Here is some of the hardware I’ve had success with.

hasp_IMG_5511Black Bear Forge. John Switzer, the blacksmith at Black Bear Forge, can provide everything you need for the chest at a reasonable price for handmade work. The strap hinges and hasp are $250 as a set. Chest lifts are $65 a pair. This is gorgeous stuff and is what I have on my personal chest.

John makes things one at a time, so be sure to give him some lead time when planning your project.

Lee Valley Tools carries a lot of hinges that work well with this project.

Unequal Strap Hinges. The two longer hinges (with the 9-1/2”-long leaf) are best for the Dutch chest. With these hinges, you screw the short leaf onto the back of the chest. Yes, it’s traditional.

Equal Strap Hinges. These are also surface-mounted on the back of the chest and the inside of the lid. No mortising is required – only a small notch in the lid to house the hinge’s barrel.

Large Strap Hinges. If security is a real concern, these hinges are a good choice. One end is mortised into the case and the strap is screwed to the lid. I don’t think these look quite as nice as any of the above options, but I’m a hardware snob.

The chest handles for this project can be difficult to source. I have some old brass ones, which are difficult to find for some reason. Lee Valley offers these nice iron ones. I also encourage you to search on eBay. I’ve had good luck there.

Van Dyke’s Restorers also carries a lot of strap hinges. Here is a good place to start. Most of the hinges that have one leaf that is a butt hinge and the second leaf is a strap will work. But check the measurements to make sure the leaves aren’t too big. Some of these hinges are for architectural woodwork.

Van Dyke’s also carries some reasonably priced hasps, including this one.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Chris Schwarz

Publisher of woodworking books and DVDs specializing in hand tool techniques.
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10 Responses to Hardware Choices for the Dutch Tool Chest

  1. I have those Lee Valley iron chest handles on mine. I like them quite well and are cheap.

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  2. bsrlee says:

    The last lot of iron hasps I got from Van Dykes are very brittle cast iron, I have had something like a 70% failure rate, always with one knuckle braking off. In a few of the hinges the matching surfaces of the break had the same paint that was on the rest of the hasp on them, so the damage had occurred before they were sent to Van Dykes & the paint was holding them together – Van Dykes just need to look for a supplier who can supply the hasps in a more robust casting.

  3. nateharold says:

    I have the Lee Valley strap hinges. They arrive with surface rust – I removed the rust and then followed the Jameel’s “Cold Bluing Handwheels” blog post to make them look black and old and fantastic. For screws (pan head and flathead), I stripped the zinc with citric acid and gave them the same treatment.

    • tsstahl says:

      I, too, got the Lee Valley unequal strap hinges after Van Dykes could not fill my order. I like the rust. Though I knocked off the rough stuff and shellaced them :)

  4. Aaron says:

    Van Dyke’s also has some decent handles, which made them a one-stop shop for me. Hinges, hasp, handles – and don’t forget a padlock too.

    Here’s one handle option, but search for “trunk handles” to see more…

    http://www.vandykes.com/iron-trunk-lifter-handle/p/203531/

  5. John Switzer says:

    I have made quite a few of these hinges since the first set. It has been a real privilage to be a part of so many folks projects. I guess I need to get busy in the wood shop and make my own chest.

  6. I seriously doubt no true Ducthman is going cough up $ 250.00 bucks for hinges!

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