In “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” I profess a love – actually it’s more of an uncomfortable lust, the kind so weird that you can’t look the other person in the eye the next morning – for Eastern white pine.
But Eastern white pine can be difficult to find outside of its range on the Eastern seaboard and the Great Lakes area.
I’ve had several readers ask me for alternative choices for woods for the shell of a tool chest. I do have a few ideas to share, but before I do that, here’s the “how to fish” portion of the blog entry: Look for a cheap, lightweight wood that is indigenous to your area. Buy it in 4/4 or 5/4 in the rough and dress it to 7/8” or 1” thickness and you will be fine.
Don’t buy 3/4” surfaced material — that’s too thin.
So if you are in the deep South, look for cypress. Out West? Sitka spruce. Europe? Scots pine. In the Middle West, look hard for Eastern white pine, it’s out there.
If none of these options pan out for you, use poplar, which is widely available in most parts of the United States.
If you have other suggestions, post them in the comments below.
— Christopher Schwarz