When I built my chest for “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” I didn’t include any chest lifts. Why? I don’t know. I had planned on making some intricate rope beckets. But I didn’t. I guess I’m just an idiot.
Months later, Roy Underhill showed me how to make “dog bone” lifts for a chest. He makes them a little differently than I do, but the idea is the same. These are the lifts I use now when I build chests for customers. Here are the steps:
- Make a handle that looks like a dog bone.
- Turn down the middle of the dog bone to a cylinder
- Shape the remainder of the lift with ogees, ovolos, yodas etc.
- Finish and attach.
For each lift, start with a piece of wood that is 1-3/4” x 3” x 13-1/2”. The handle in the middle is 1” in diameter and 4” long. So saw out the excess material as shown in the photo below:
Now chuck the piece in your lathe and turn down the handle to 1” in diameter. I give the handle a slight barrel shape and incise a couple lines (because I am a fancy lad).
Now saw away the excess and shape the ends. I use an ogee and an ovolo. Then I rasp an 1/8” x 1/8” bevel on the hard arrises. Finally, drill the counterbores and pilot holes for attaching the lifts with four stout steel screws.
Finish the lifts. Attach them.
Note that I want these lifts to look handmade (they are). I am not going for the pattern-routed look. I like the sharp silhouette of the chest with the addition of these slightly earthy-looking handles on the ends. You grab them and they feel smooth and worn. It’s Hobbit-y to me.
— Christopher Schwarz
16 thoughts on “Tool Chest: ‘Dog Bone’ Lifts”
I thought you screwed into the thick part of the handle from inside the chest…
that Lathe looks like it mite be a Barnes No. 3, I thought you used a Jet lathe.
A friend who doesn’t turn as much loaned me his Conover lathe. I loaned him my Jet.
You’ve been getting a constant stream of questions about this lathe. Perhaps doing a blog post on it would have a soothing effect. I have a pdf of a 1986 Conover catalog I can send you with all the lathe kit details if you’re interested.
Hobbity 😂 I like it
Thanks for sharing this information! I really enjoy the handmade look, as well as lines – gives it a nice touch. Certainly a great addition to an already awesome chest.
I need new door pulls on some of my outbuildings, will give these a try. Thanks C.S. Hobbit!!
Offsetting the turning will let you use a smaller blank. Save a little money.
I turn about as well as I Disco dance.
Feel free to demonstrate this on the YouTube and I will watch!
I’m not going to watch Shawn Disco dance on YouTube, no mater how how click-baity the intro is. (Again)
I tried offsetting something like this. Once. There is enough mass on these that my puny lathe wanted to bounce across the room. A heavy lathe might be fine, if a little rough on the bearings.
Having the blank cut the way Chris shows keeps the lathe balanced while turning the center section.
I’m intrigued. I may have to try this, but I’m afraid the finished product may come out rather un-Lathe-y-like.
An octagonal (or hexagonal) grip would be cool….
And shouldn’t take more that a week or two each to make.
The easy solution is just to pass on the costs to the customer.
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