The most stressful part of building a tool chest is gluing the lower skirt to the carcase. The fit has to be perfect. If it’s not, the skirt won’t go on at all (this happened to a student once). Or it will be a little loose and you’ll have an ugly gap between the skirt and the carcase.
The first hurdle is to get the four skirt pieces to the perfect length. Here’s how I do this: Dovetail one corner of the skirt, assemble it dry and clamp it in place to the tool chest. Make sure the skirt is dead flush with the bottom edge of the carcase.
Then use a block plane blade to scribe the baselines on the skirt pieces.
Then use a scrap that is the same thickness as your skirt material to pencil in the final lengths of the skirting pieces. Crosscut them and shoot them to final length.
Repeat the process with the other two skirting pieces. Cut the profile on the top edge of the skirting boards (I used a 30° bevel) and plane off the machine marks on the outside of the skirt boards.
The skirts extend 3/4” below the bottom edge of the carcase, creating a rabbet for the bottom boards.
To create this rabbet, nail four scrap pieces of your bottom material to the bottom edge of the carcase. When you glue the skirting to the carcase, those parts will need to be flush with the bottom of these scrap blocks.
Gluing on the skirt is like docking a ship. Glue the two long skirt boards to one short skirt board. Paint the inside of this U-shaped assembly with glue and slide it onto the carcase. Flush the skirts with the scrap blocks as best you can.
Then glue on the fourth skirting board. Place the assembly on a benchtop and knock the skirt boards down until they are flush against the benchtop. Clamp up the dovetails to squeeze out any gaps in the joints. Walk away.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. If, after all this work, you end up with a gap between the skirt and carcase, decline to freak. I’ll show you a trick to hide it beautifully that doesn’t involve paint or putty.