Tools to Make the Anarchist’s Tool Chest


The following is a list I should have made four years ago when I first started teaching people how to build the full-size tool chest in “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.”

Apologies for the delay.

Here are the tools you need.

Dovetailing Equipment
Dovetail saw (15 point or coarser)
Cutting gauge, such as the Tite-Mark
Mechanical pencil
Dovetail layout square (Or a bevel gauge and smallish try square)
Coping saw with several blades (coarse blades, 12 tpi or so)
1/2” bevel-edge chisel
Mallet (I like a 16 oz. model)
Two pair of small dividers

One bench plane, such as a jack, jointer or smoother
Block plane
Rabbet plane or shoulder plane (if you have one)
If you have a tongue-and-groove plane (or match planes), use them
Beading plane (1/8”, 3/16” or 1/4”)
Plow plane with 1/4” cutter

Nailing equipment
Hand drill
Variety of small bits (1/16” up to 1/8”)
16 oz. hammer
Nail set
Nippers (if you have them)

General Marking/Measuring
12” combination square
12’ tape measure
Spear-point marking knife

Additional Tools
Mortise chisel (1/4″, 5/16″ or a close metric equivalent)
Crosscut handsaw (7 or 8 ppi)
Rip saw (4 to 7 ppi)
Your personal sharpening kit
Clamps (48” bars)

Hardware Installation Tools
Small router plane
Birdcage awl

— Christopher Schwarz

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Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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8 Responses to Tools to Make the Anarchist’s Tool Chest

  1. bobprime0 says:

    Are you missing something to cut the mortises in the top frame? I didn’t think they were anywhere near 1/2″. Or do you have some awesome trick for that?


  2. Reblogged this on Running with Sharp Objects and commented:
    I’m building a Dutch chest now but I want to build one of these someday too.


  3. forbeskm says:

    This is on my list, at the moment I need something more portable as it must be stored up a set of stairs. I may make it anyways in anticipation of moving :).

    Do you like the old Stanley 48’s for tongue and grooves?


  4. momist says:

    Here in the UK, you had me guessing about the Birdcage awl. A quick search showed me some lovely examples at megabucks, but after all it’s only a bradawl with a square point instead of the knife edge. I’ve several bradawls, so I’ll re-purpose one and give it a try.
    Another tool that could be used for this is a clicker. 🙂


  5. Chris, I live in a very humid part of the country. Do you have any suggestions for rust inhibitors that can be placed in the chest (camphor, etc.) or do you think that would even be necessary?


    • There are rust inhibitors, such as the Bullfrog, that help in extreme situations.

      I think that a thin coat of oil is the best medicine. And then storing the tools in a closed box.

      In extreme circumstances, consider putting the box on wheels and rolling it into the house when you are done.


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