The thing that stinks about studying lots of chests is that you want to try out a lot of different interior arrangements and details. And so you build more chests (see also: bench-building syndrome).
On the traveling chest I’m working on this week I’ve been trying out some details that I’ve gathered in my notebook while doing research for “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.” On both the lower skirt and upper skirt I’ve added a 5/8” x 1” bevel, which reduces the visual bulk of the skirts.
At first I thought the lower skirt was too wide, and that’s one of the things that stalled me on this project. I kept looking at it and thinking: Ugh, how am I going to fix that or take it off?
With the addition of the bevels, I’m happy.
Other details I’m considering:
1. Binding the edges of the top with 1/16” x 3/4” iron plate that is attached with screws. I’ve seen many old chests bound in iron. It looks cool and it protects the corners. This chest is going to get messed with on the road.
2. Store some backsaws on the lid. I have a sawtill on the English-style chest I built in the 1990s, which I don’t like. It eats saw totes for breakfast. This till will prevent the saws from scooting left and right and into the hungry jaws of the lid.
3. A tool rack on the inside of the front wall.
4. Iron chest lifts (I have a pair of lifts around here somewhere).
5. Mahogany fronts on the tills. I probably won’t do this, but I have so much mahogany sitting around from my campaign furniture projects that it is tempting.
6. A hinged lid on the chest’s top till. Again, I probably won’t do this, but it is a fairly common feature on old chests.
7. Some veneering on the top edge of the case. Some chests have this feature. I might do this, again, because I have a lot of thin mahogany stacked up in the shop.
Tomorrow: A 1936 article on tool chests.
— Christopher Schwarz