Just a Little Dutch

I finished painting my downsized Dutch chest last night (yes, this one fits in my car thanks for asking), filled it up with tools and started work with it today.

As you can see I made some small changes to the interior. And I have one more thing I might add, if I can hold my nose hard enough. More on that in a moment.

Some changes:

1. Low-profile iron chest lifts instead of mahogany handles. The mahogany handles (and casters) are what got me in trouble in the first place. These iron lifts are new old stock (NOS) iron handles off eBay – $5 each. They are bolted through the case to make them stronger.

2. Leather accessories. My shop assistant, Ty Black, sewed up some pockets for my block plane and marking tools. These were made from scraps from our Roorkhee chair adventure. (If you would like to hire Ty to make you anything except bondage apparel, send him an e-mail at ty.black@gmail.com.)

3. Slightly different dividers for the handplanes, and a smaller holder thingy for the backsaws.

4. A more capacious (Megan word) tool rack. The 1/2”-diameter holes are now on 1-1/8” centers instead of 1-1/2” centers. It makes a huge difference.

The biggest change is there is only one compartment behind the removable front. Surprisingly, I can get the same amount of tools in this smaller chest thanks to some nip and tuck action.

Finally, I left just enough space at the top of this lower compartment to put… a … (gags a bit) drawer.

Or, as I like to call it, a shallow sliding tray. This will be to hold all the flipping drill bits I have to travel with to build benches and furniture. I really dislike drawers on principle because I tend to fill them with random junk so I can hide it away. But several original Dutch chests feature a drawer in this position and so I am (probably) going to try one.

Anyway, if you want to see this chest and the miniature bench I just finished, be sure to stop by Highland Hardware in Atlanta next weekend. I’ll be there for the free Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event and then teaching a class next Sunday on building wooden layout tools.

Details are here.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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44 Responses to Just a Little Dutch

  1. Might also work as a secret-compartment podium 🙂

  2. dave says:

    Looks great, though I miss those pretty handles. Has the PW article already been submitted, or will it cover both chest sizes?

  3. joemcglynn says:

    That’s really nice Chris.

  4. sablebadger says:

    Nice work, I really like this.

    I am wrestling with myself on whether or not to build one of these to bring my tools with me to Port Townsend for the Build a tool chest class.

    I can hear my wife sighing from here. Are you really going to build a tool chest so you can build a tool chest? Actually, in reality she’d just encourage me to do it, I’m the one giving myself crap about it.

    Which means I should just go for it. I guess.


  5. John Cashman says:

    I bet that Ty would make bondage apparel if someone asked.

    • robert says:

      Gimp’s outfit – Pulp Fiction

      • ty black says:

        “Well allow me to retort” I have been studying up on upholstery so i would rather make the pommel horse. “Bring out the Gimp”. The real problem as I see is where do I get those shiny red balls. “Zeds dead baby” Are they giant red nylon ball bearing “The way your dad looked at …. this watch is your birth right” Then after i find the balls ,plural,. I assume you want more than one. Is now I have to visit a tack shop and get the halter hardware. “I want you to go into that bag and find my wallet, Which on is it. Its the one that says”. Now can you imagine the sales person when I ask for the halter hardware so i can make one that will fit on a human. “Say what again, I dare you, I double dare you”

  6. Niels says:

    Well that chest’s about as cute as a pile of kittens. I like the svelter streamlined design.
    Two questions:
    What’s the overall dimesions?
    What is the joinery like on the case? Is it all nailed or is there a dovetail to attached the sides to the base?

  7. Jennie asks… How do you handle rust enhancing acidic fingerprints on tool steel, e.g. when removing the back saws from the tool chest?

  8. Brian Dormer says:

    It appears that this chest holds almost as much as the full size Anarchist chest. Is that really the case? (no pun intended… but it is pretty witty if I do say so myself).

    • sablebadger says:

      It doesn’t have the full array of molding planes and hollows and rounds for one. Probably two less saws, panel gauge, and maybe some of the more specialized tools that make life easier. Just a slimmed down version of the ATC list.

      • Brian Dormer says:

        Well… OK, fewer hollows and rounds (I haven’t jumped into THAT game yet, so I tend to ignore them) – but I count 2 panel saws (cc & rip) and 3 back saws (dovetail, carcass/sash & tenon) which is pretty much the whole set. The ATC set was only about 50 tools to start with. And I don’t recall a panel gauge being in the full set… Even so, an 18″ gauge (maybe even a 24″, with some careful positioning) should fit in the top compartment, at least for transport.

  9. John Callaway says:

    Luckily, I just moved a few miles outside of south Atlanta. I’m looking forward to sayig hello next Saturday.
    ( highland’s website only shows you being at the hand tool event on Saturday. Is this correct or will you be there Friday too? )

  10. amvolk says:

    It would be great to see these two chest photographed side by side!

  11. Love the chest HATE the music. How about some ACDC, Boston, Kansas…..etc.

  12. Patrick says:

    What’s the weight difference between the original and the little dutch?

  13. ScottV says:


    Don’t many surviving Dutch chests like this have a fixed tool tray in the left hand of the upper compartment?

  14. How do you keep your pencils from falling out of the pouch when the lid is closed??

  15. Ken says:

    and… how do you keep the panel saws from falling out when lid is closed. At least the pencils et al will grap the leather.

    • lostartpress says:

      The panels saws cannot go anywhere unless you pull them out. When the lid is closed the teeth bite into their rack. They are constrained laterally by the sides of the chest.

  16. sweat man says:

    Very nice Chris, your skills are impressive.

    I think I like it better then the ATC, especially for small shops.

  17. steveschafer says:

    “If you would like to hire Ty to make you anything except bondage apparel, send him an e-mail at ty.black@gmail.com.”

    So, there’s a different email address to use for bondage apparel? (I can understand why he’d want to keep the two lines of business separate.)

    As for the “shiny red balls”: http://www.amazon.com/Extreme-Sex-UNISEX-Harness-Adjustable/dp/B00AVE1T0A/ref=sr_1_23?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1359171789

    (Note that they’re in the “Health and Personal Care” section.)

  18. Damien says:

    Great, three tool chests and one to come, how many tools can you put away in all these 🙂

  19. CT says:

    They were discussing the topic of drawer usage on one of those “improvement” type shows a while back-I won’t mention which one. The fella on there did a pretty good job explaining why he didn’t care for them. By the end of the segment he had been maced, tazered, and thrown in the back of a patrol car. Come to think of it, he was gagging quite a bit too – so that must be a pretty common response.

  20. Brian Dormer says:

    “What else was on the lower portion of the pencild pouch? Looked like there was somthing there, but it went by so quick I couldn’t tell what it was.”

    Looks like a dovetail marker and a saddle square.

  21. Brian Dormer says:

    Any chance we’ll see a Sketchup model of this?

  22. Ed Clarke says:

    I was under the impression that the prior posting by Chris and Megan was a joke… but isn’t that “tole” painting on the top of the new chest??? Hmmmmm….

  23. steveford1999rd says:

    Just curious about what the back of the chest look like.

    • lostartpress says:

      Tongue-and-groove boards. Beaded on the long edges. Screwed to the back of the case. Very simple and utilitarian.

      • Thanks for that, but I was more curious about the hinges, and how they are mounted. I’m still kind of new to this, and have seen various types of strap hinges. Do the hinges you used have a full strap on both ends of the hinge, or something else? All the forged hardware looks great.

  24. sawdustmaker says:

    Under Item 2 which discusses your shop assistant Ty making leather goods (except bondage appearal). my question naturalyy going to be “what do you have against bondage material ? LOL

  25. woodly says:

    Chris, I always enjoy the bluegrass/mountain/folk music on your video clips. Seems perfect for the hand tool and tool chest clips. Can you add a music credit to the video so I could track down source?

    So, when are you going to do a segment on making a fiddle?

  26. jay cooper says:

    I’ve appreciated your work on these four tool chests, as I need to build one myself. A few questions though.
    What are the comparative overall (case only) dimensions for the four tool chests (ATC, Traveling ATC, Dutch, and Little Dutch), as they appear to hold virtually the same tool set? Will their comparative dimensions, and their respective tool lists, be identified (as in your ATC book) in the upcoming article (or online here)?
    Second, in your (ATC) book you’ve made a point to address keeping dust out of the chest with the lid’s seal. How is this concern addressed with the dutch chests?

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