If you are thinking about building the Dutch Tool Chest from the October 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, you aren’t alone. I’ve heard from dozens of other woodworkers who see it as a simple, fast and efficient way to store your hand tools (and make them portable).
I’ve been using my Dutch chest for more than a year now and can honestly say I’ve not found a better way to transport my tools (I made 18 trips in 2013 – sorry honey). The small Dutch chest holds just about every hand tool you need to build almost anything.
But, as they say in a Ronco commercial, that is not all. What has surprised me about the chest is that it’s a joy to work out of. When the slanted lid of the top compartment is open, you can easily reach everything in there. The lower compartment is sized perfectly for joinery and moulding planes (you can see their profiles by sticking them into the chest toe-first).
Plus, I can carry the chest by myself. It is, in fact, designed to be carried by one person. It’s just the right length to get your arms around and your hands into the chest lifts. Then, when you lift it, it sits nicely against your torso as you walk. When it’s fully loaded it’s about 130 pounds – if you use wooden-bodied bench planes yours will weigh a lot less.
Amongst all the readers building the chest, three bloggers have been documenting their Dutch chests. Each blogger is taking a slightly different approach with joinery and interior layout – so you might get some good ideas. Here are some links to get you started.
Marilyn Guthrie at sheworkswood.com took some nice liberties with the joinery, opting for headed nails instead of screws. I like the look. Be sure to check out her approach to the lid and the nice milk paint job. You can see the finished chest here. You can see all the articles in her series here.
Tom Iovino at tomsworkbench.com use a true hybrid approach when building his chest. The dovetails were cut with a router, but there was plenty of handwork. Be sure to check out Tom’s two-layered tool rack. A sweet, authentically Dutch feature. And Tom painted his green. You can see all the articles on his chest via this link.
Bob Jones at thechristiantoolcabinet.com hasn’t painted his chest yet, but there are some nice shots of the construction process. Also, be sure to check out how he made the back from lots of narrow strips from the home center – a nice time saver. See all his articles on the Dutch chest here.
If you’ve built the chest, post a link so we can see what you did with your chest.
— Christopher Schwarz