Tool Chest: ‘Dog Bone’ Lifts


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:

  1. Make a handle that looks like a dog bone.
  2. Turn down the middle of the dog bone to a cylinder
  3. Shape the remainder of the lift with ogees, ovolos, yodas etc.
  4. 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

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
This entry was posted in The Anarchist's Tool Chest, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Tool Chest: ‘Dog Bone’ Lifts

  1. jbakerrower says:

    I thought you screwed into the thick part of the handle from inside the chest…


  2. Rachael Boyd says:

    that Lathe looks like it mite be a Barnes No. 3, I thought you used a Jet lathe.


  3. Jars Family says:

    Hobbity 😂 I like it


  4. 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.


  5. Gary Schultz says:

    I need new door pulls on some of my outbuildings, will give these a try. Thanks C.S. Hobbit!!


  6. Shawn Graham says:

    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!


      • Rob Young says:

        I’m not going to watch Shawn Disco dance on YouTube, no mater how how click-baity the intro is. (Again)


    • johncashman73 says:

      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.


  7. I’m intrigued. I may have to try this, but I’m afraid the finished product may come out rather un-Lathe-y-like.


Comments are closed.