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From W.K.H., Chase City, Va. – Among the numerous plans presented in the columns of Carpentry and Building for tool chests, the fact seems to have been overlooked that the chests are often exposed to the weather, and the tops are not made to turn water. Permit me to present my idea of a good chest top, a sketch of which is shown in the accompanying engraving. In addition to forming a good roof, the top is so constructed as to make it a convenient place for a saw rack. The bottom edge of the top frame should be a trifle larger than the chest itself and rabbeted over the outer edges of the chest top.

Carpentry and Building, page 118, May 1891;
with thanks to Jeff Burks for his tireless unearthing of vintage woodworking advice

Too late, Mr. W.K.H., too late. I suppose I’ll just have to keep my “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” inside.

Tomorrow, I’ll fit the hinges. And now that I have my milk paint, I plan to apply the first coat (peacock blue) on Tuesday and subsequent coats (French gray) later in the week. With just slides, tills, a chisel rack and a saw till to fit in the interior, I hope to be working out of my new chest shortly. Then maybe I’ll be able to get my study/shop back in to some semblance of order.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. We now have available on CD the scanned PDFs of every issue of Popular Woodworking from 1995-1999 – a period when we packed a huge number of projects into every issue, including masses of beginner projects, toys and jigs – but also some gorgeous pieces such as Warren May’s “Kentucky Sideboard” and, if memory serves, a “Pencil Post Bed” from Troy Sexton (forgive me if I’m wrong – I have holiday brain…a.k.a. staying-up-too-late-every-night-and-drinking-bourbon brain – a habit that I need to get over before Wednesday).

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Showing 8 comments
  • robertwf

    Megan, Just out of curiousity why are you foing to paint your ATC? Why not stain it and put on an oil based stain and an oil based finish? Just curious??
    Thanks tons

  • mysticcarver

    Looking good! Can’t wait to see the finished piece!

  • almartin

    Nice work.

    Mead might make the transition easier. Might not, but it won’t hurt trying. 😉

  • xMike

    Very nice craftsmanship!
    You do good work, Megan.

  • Jonathan Szczepanski

    It looks like the panel in the lid is made from one board. Is that the case? If so, you are one lucky woodworker.

  • tjhenrik

    Looking good! I can’t wait to see the finished product. I painted my traveler with a gray primer then black topcoat. I miss the gray.

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