For many years, Roy Underhill has owned a slant-top tool chest that has a ridiculous story attached to it that involves 248 children, Greenland and, oh never mind. I should make him tell the tale.
The chest is interesting to me because it’s similar to a chest drawn in “Grandpa’s Workshop” and one I’ve seen a few times in the wild. However, I can’t recall any old books that talk about this form, and I’m away from my library this week.
I would really like to build the chest from “Grandpa’s Workshop” to see what it’s like to work out of it. But until I dig up some good historical examples to work from, we’ll just have to admire some of these details from this chest from Roy’s collection.
I call it the “White Star Line” chest because it has a label on the left end identifying it as belonging to a second-class passenger. The chest is overbuilt in almost every way. The stock used throughout the main carcase is a full 1” thick – the interior parts and base moulding are thinner.
The front and back are dovetailed to the ends with boldly sloped tails, while the thick lid is held flat with breadboard ends.
And the hardware is impressive. The strap hinges are bolted through the top and slant lid. The hasp is a massive twist of iron.
Inside the chest there is one sliding till, dovetailed at the corners, and the bottom 9” of the chest is divided into two compartments. The rear compartment is 7” from the back wall of the chest. And there is a sawtill on the lid that looks sized for a single panel saw.
Overall height: 17-1/4”
If you know of chests that look like this but are a little taller (like the one shown in the illustration), I’d appreciate any details at email@example.com. Update: One reader sent me a photo of a very similar Dutch chest from “The Toolbox Book.” So that was very helpful.
— Christopher Schwarz