A Joiner’s Tool Chest


Not too big, not too small. This chest is a handy size for a basic set of tools.
By Roy Underhill
Pages: 32-39

From the June 2009 issue #176
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It’s the modern joiner’s dilemma. An old house over in the next county has missing mouldings on the mantel, a kicked-in panel on a bedroom door and seven sash with rotted rails. The question is: Do you lug your full tool chest to the site, or do you pick your planes and pack them in a satchel? The big chest needs four men to move it, and the satchel is a jumble. What you need, of course, is something midsized – you need a chest for the road.

This midsized chest is also a midsized challenge. The sides are common throughdovetails, but the skirt requires a few variations that will bring your dovetailing skills up a notch.

Equally important as the dovetails are the interlocking grooves – grooves that join the bottom into the skirt, the skirt into the broad sides and the panel into the frame of the lid. Even the miter-shouldered bridle joints in the corners of the lid are just overgrown tongue-and-groove joints. The keystone to this chest is the interlock that joins the skirt to the sides. The skirt itself adds depth to the chest – without your having to glue up your stock edge-to-edge. With the narrower boards available these days, a deep dovetailed chest is usually made up from two or more boards glued edge to edge to make one broad one. But even when the joints are well executed, the built-up look of the sides is always disturbing.

Online Extra

To download a SketchUp model of the Joiner’s Tool Chest project, click here.

To read editor Christopher Schwarz’s blog entries about Roy Underhill’s new school, click here.


From the June 2009 issue #176
Buy this issue now