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During the last six years, I’ve built a lot of tool chests for customers. To many woodworkers, this might seem odd. Why not build one yourself? The answer is simple.

Why not build your own handplanes? Your chisels? Forge the steel for your tools? Mine the iron ore and learn to transform it into steel? We all have a point at which we’ll say: Someone else can do that job. And that point it is different for each person.

When a customer asks me to build them a tool chest or a workbench, my first response is this: You can build it yourself for a lot less, or you can buy a vintage chest or workbench and save a ton of money.

A 19th-century tool chest that is beautiful but suffers from lots of problems.

That statement is entirely true. But I the following statement is also true: Most old workbenches and tool chests are ragged out beyond belief.

I’ve inspected a ton of old tool chests and workbenches and the following things are true:


 

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