Any minute now I’m going to develop a complex regarding my undecorated tool chest. It’s pine on the inside and black on the outside. The only eye candy is a 3/16” bead on the skirt, plus the bumps and bruises inflicted on the chest these last 13 months.
No doubt some of you have seen what Peter Follansbee has been doing to his chest.
You can read all about the painting process on Peter’s blog. There’s a piece on period designs he used to inspire his work. Plus these two illustrated posts that show the painting process here and here.
And of course, there is some carving on the inside.
There are other ways to tart up your tool chest (and “tart” is not a bad word in my lexicon). Andy Brownell at Brownell Furniture has been building a traveling-size tool chest recently using some sweet walnut.
Note the bottom boards and the strategic placement of the sap. Very nice. Also worth noting are Andy’s shots of the chest loaded with tools – you can get a lot of stuff into this slightly smaller chest. He covers tool placement and organization in this post.
And do check out this post to see how his chain makes mine look like a Hello Kitty necklace.
And finally, Megan Fitzpatrick showed up at my door on Friday with the child’s tool chest shown at the top of this post that she picked up at a local auction. Likely from the 1920s, the chest has an awesome decal on the inside of the lid, complete with an eagle.
One of the little scenes on the decal shows a young boy holding a wooden hobby horse talking to an older boy holding a hatchet. I’m not sure what they are supposed to be doing, but I imagine the end result was like a scene from “The Godfather.”
The toy chest is missing its till, but it came with some of the tools, including the hatchet.
In a few weeks I head down to Roy Underhill’s school in North Carolina to teach a class in building tool chests. We are all going to use poplar, and I am contemplating some sort of decoration for the interior panel of my lid. Perhaps a pair of painted dividers a la the Lost Art Press logo, or a buxom barbarian woman holding a bloody dismembered head.
I could go either way.
— Christopher Schwarz
26 thoughts on “Flashier Tool Chests”
Ummmm, I vote dividers.
You GO GIRL!
Chris … what would your daughter think?
Maybe some buxom dividers?
…that’s right, something to lift and separate.
My vote goes to keeping it plain and simple. Every new car or truck I’ve ever owned may as well have had a bull’s eye painted on it once I drove it off the lot. Someone was sure to bump it, scratch it, dent it or vandalize something within the first month or so. Follansbee’s chest may be flashier, but a hundred years from now, his will be the first to be picked out in a dusty corner of an attic to be pillaged, probably by someone looking for a saw to paint.
My vote is for the buxom barbarian.
Sunset is an Angel weeping, holding out a bloody sword.
My mind immediately went to Frank Frazetta. Here’s an option for the inside lid:
(I’m pretty sure that’s a 1/4″ chisel she’s holding.)
The younger boy’s horse’s front leg is broken. Since the older boy has this cool tool chest, he can fix it for him and be hailed as the conquering, hatchet-wielding hero he is. With this tool chest and a fulcrum on which to place it, this boy can construct a lever long enough to move the world!
I vote for the Buxom Barbarian holding a pair of dividers. Or beer bottle labels from your worldly travels. Now that says class. Or maybe a big ‘ol STP sticker.
Well if I were you and I’m not, you might want to go along with Lucy May’s suggestion.
I’m just sayin’. But if you choose to live on the edge I have a suggestion for the bloody dismembered head.
I liked the decoration on Megans fathers old tool box, nice letters that were painted on, I think it read E. Fitzpatrixk. I can’t get to my PW magazines right now, but I am pretty sure it was an “end grain” article. So Chris, no decorations on the inside, just a C. Schwarz on the outside in nice letters.
By the way, thumbs up to Haika for the comment. That is truly the right spirit.
How about some classic airbrush art like off of a 1970s era van? Or the Molly Hatchet “Flirtin with Disaster” album cover in bas relief?
Dammit! You really are a silver tongued devil!! I don’t do woodworking (too busy making saws), but you are really pulling at my heart strings.
Lee (the saw guy)
What’s wrong with marquetry and inlay?
My wife, the quilter, suggested that you embellish your tool chest with a Carpenter’s Star quilt block. Quilt blocks are currently popular on barns as well as beds and walls. It could be painted or done in marquetry. Here’s a link showing the Carpenter’s Star pattern: http://www.maryquilts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Carpenter-Star-rev1.pdf
Air-brush art of both you and Lucy dressed up as historical figures in woodworking, holding frothy beer steins.
And a dismembered head?…
Just carve “Brooks was here” with a pocket knife on the inside of the lid. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can add “so was Red” below it.
somewhere between dogma and common sense you may find a slotted board in your undivided trays to keep your tools sharp and organized…dull files do not a useful toolbox make.
Found a more complete image in an ebay listing.
While the Buxom Barbarian and Sun Goddess artwork are worthy considerations, remember the worldly saying “if momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.”
How about a pair of LAP dividers with a bloody dismembered head piked on one end of the dividers. Call it a Lost Art Press for the barbarian logo.
Pinstripes, or a flaming skull with dividers for a tongue. Or maybe a slice of pizza and a bottle of homebrew.
Thundarr the Barbarian holding a set of dividers! The Thundarring Toolchest!
Lucy as the Buxom Barbarian?
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