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