Juggling a book and a furniture commission is like juggling two balls – pretty easy and not all that impressive. These last two weeks have been a full on circus: two books in overdrive (Peter Galbert’s “Chairmaker’s Notebook” and Don Williams’ “Virtuoso”) and two all-consuming projects, some three-legged chairs and a tool chest for Popular Woodworking Magazine.
The tool chest is a joint project between myself and Jameel Abraham at Benchcrafted. I built the box (the easy part) and he created a carved marquetry panel for the lid.
The chest itself is a new traveling design based on a bunch of old examples of chests I’ve studied and measured. After a lot of calculations, I found a chest size that will hold an impressive and nearly complete set of furniture-making tools in the minimum footprint. And it has nice lines and is a bit easier to build than an “Anarchist’s Tool Chest.”
I’m not giving up my floor chest. It is too much a part of the way I work. This smaller chest is going to be ideal for woodworkers who have limited floor space but want to hold a lot of tools that can all be accessed with one hand movement (just like the full-size chest). What’s the downside? There’s not a lot of room for moulding planes.
I’ll write up a full description of the chest’s inner workings and post a video on it when the sucker is done.
Jameel’s marquetry panel arrived about a week ago, but I haven’t had time to install it on the chest because I’ve been a slave to Adobe’s Creative Cloud software. But when I couldn’t stare at a screen anymore, I sneaked to the shop to install the hinges and attach the lid to the carcase.
The hardware is from blacksmith Peter Ross – Jameel and I decided to go whole-chicken on this project. I’m not going to show the lid here. That’s for the magazine’s editors to reveal. But you can see some glimpses of Jameel’s gorgeous work on the lid on his blog here.
This morning I convinced the lid, carcase and hinges to work nicely together and released a huge sigh of relief. Now I just have to attach the dust seal to the lid. And add the crab lock. Paint the sucker. Attach the chest lifts. And write the article. No problem.
After three hours of 100-percent concentration on these hinges, I’m ready to work on something that has an “undo” button. Yeah, InDesign and Photoshop sound like a good idea.
— Christopher Schwarz