Tools Needed to Make the Dutch Tool Chest


I’m teaching woodworkers how to make the Dutch tool chest all over the hemisphere this year. I have Dutch chest classes going in California in March, Alaska in April, North Carolina in June, and in Maine and England in July.


Plans for the chest are in the October 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, in case you cannot travel to a class.

The Dutch chest is a great project for beginners or for those woodworkers who travel with their tools. It protects your tools, makes them easy to get to while you’re working and is easy to build with dimensional pine.

If you are taking one of the Dutch chest classes this year or seek to make one one your own, here is the list of tools I think are necessary to get the job done.

Dovetailing equipment
Saw, layout tools, cutting gauge, marking knife, chisels, coping saw, mallet etc.

Birdcage or Brad awl
If you can’t find a used one, Czeck Edge, Blue Spruce Tools and Lee Valley all make good examples.

Panel saws (rip and crosscut)
These are the tools needed to dimension the stock. A 7- or 8- point crosscut is handy. For the rip, a saw that is 7 point or coarser is ideal.

Backsaws (carcase saw)
This saw is ideal for trimming the pieces to final length and some joinery cuts. And sharp carcase saw will do.

Router plane (large)
A vintage tool such as the Stanley 71 will do. Also check out modern closed-throat examples from Veritas and Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. This tool finishes all the dado cuts.

Rabbet plane (or a tongue-and-groove plane if you prefer that)
I use a moving fillister for all the rabbet cuts in this project, but a straight rabbet will handle all the shiplap joints.

Jack plane
A Stanley No. 5 or the wooden equivalent is necessary for almost any project. Once you get the iron sharpened to an 8” or 10” radius, you can conquer the world.

Block plane or Smoothing plane
Either tool can handle the final surfacing of the pine boards.

Hand drill. Bits. Countersink
If you have an electric drill, good for you. A good hand drill is about $10 and never will go in the trash.

Hammer, nail set, nail pullers
A 16 oz. hammer with a wooden handle (I like octagonal handles) will serve you for the next 120 years.

Screwdrivers (slotted)
Good screwdrivers from Grace USA are the cat’s meow. But you can buy old ones and grind them to perfection if you prefer.

Framing square
It seems like a carpenter’s tool, but hand tool woodworkers are lost without it.

Paraffin (or no-kill mutton tallow) to lubricate your tools

Optional tools
• Moving fillister plane (for making the thumbnail moulding on the lid and drop front)
• 1/8” or 3/16” beading plane for detailing the backs (a No. 66 beading tool would also work)
• Shooting plane and shooting board
• Router plane (small) to make the recesses for the sliding lock.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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14 Responses to Tools Needed to Make the Dutch Tool Chest

  1. jonathanszczepanski says:

    What, no six-pack?


  2. Bummer, I am not able to leave a comment on “No-kill Mutton Tallow” article. So I will do it here
    Granted it is Inconceivable that in Southern Michigan the ability to acquire Mutton, or the tallow rather is not readily available on the common consumer market. One would have a better chance making it though a Fire Swamp. It is one of the bucket list of things to enjoy a MLT, Mutton, Lettuce & tomato sandwich where the mutton is nice and lean. As of right now it would really take a miracle. Ah well, Your heading to England this summer, right. Have fun stormin’ the castle.


  3. Really enjoying the tool lists you’ve been posting over the past couple of days, Chris. Will you be posting a tool list for building the Anarchist’s Tool Chest as well (which would be both useful in advance of the class in July)?


  4. durbien says:

    Do you have to own all these tools to take one of your classes, or will the school provide them?


    • lostartpress says:

      No, you don’t have to own all of these tools to take the class. Each school has some tools, plus all the students tend to share the tools during the class. We’ve had students show up with a pencil and get along fine.


  5. Don Goodwin says:

    Question on Jack Planes. When I was cleaning out my parent’s place, I came across two #3 planes (one with a corrugated sole and one with a smooth sole). I already have a #4 smoother and a #7 jointer. Would it make sense to put a radius on the iron on a #3 and use it like a Jack Plane? Is the sole too short or the iron too narrow to make this a good option? I have not cleaned up either plane yet.


  6. leoupaint says:

    Can you tell me about the wood item leaning against the Dutch Tool Chest. It looks like a portable clamping device. How is the Karma Ghia restoration going? Leo Stroessenreuther


  7. peteoffroadcode says:

    Stupid questions about your iron radius, what do you mean by a 8″ and 10″, I know you want it curved but how curved is 8″? Metric man from the UK, I’ll see you on the course 😉


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