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Dutch Tool Chest

The Dutch Tool Chest from the October 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine has proven to be a popular project – I’ve been asked to teach classes on building this chest all over the world this year.

In that article, I provide plans for building two versions of the chest. The small chest has a single lower compartment for tools. The larger chest has two compartments for tools.

During the last year, I’ve been traveling with the small Dutch chest. It holds a lot of tools, but sometimes I need some extra capacity when I travel with fasteners, lots of moulding planes or unusual and bulky bits – such as the large Forstners I use for building workbenches.

So I decided to build a lower case for my tool chest that stacks below, much like a campaign chest. The regular chest will nest between some cleats on the top of the lower one, which will have casters to make it easy to move. The lower case uses the same sliding lock system and fall-front on the other Dutch chests I’ve examined.

Dutch Tool Chest

The joinery on the lower case is much like the joinery on the upper one: dovetails at the corners with the shiplapped back and front bits screwed on.

I’ve never seen a Dutch chest with a second lower case like this, so if you’re looking for period accuracy, stop reading.

I’m going to build this chest this week while teaching a Dutch tool chest class at Roy Underhill’s The Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, N.C. I’ll post videos and photos from the class so you can see how it goes together.

You can download my SketchUp drawings of the small Dutch chest and lower case using the link below. The files are compressed into a .zip file. You can uncompress them by double-clicking the file after it has downloaded. (The SketchUp 3D Warehouse is down today.)

Dutch Tool Chests

Oh, and here’s the cutting list for the small lower case.

Item        T    W        L

2    Sides        3/4”    11-1/4”        11”
2    Top/bottom    3/4”    11-1/4”        27”
1    Back        3/4”    11-1/2”        27”
2    Front lips    3/4”    1-1/2”        27”
2    Top cleats    1/2”    1-1/4”        11-1/4”
1    Fall front    3/4”    8-1/2”        27”
1    Sliding lock    1/4”    2”        11-1/8”

— Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 12 comments
  • Adam

    Hi Chris, great addition and thank you for including the SketchUp plans. Any concerns if this base was used with the larger, 2 compartment chest for non-mobile storage? Any tipping (weight) issues…maybe use without casters or join chest and base? Thanks!

  • tom d

    Chris last fall after building my dutch chest I built a 2 bay riser/ bottom box. It has wheels, and makes the top area of the dutch box right at bench height. The lower bay has the same fall st up as the dutch box. The upper area has a hinged fall. It has been a great addition to the dutch box.

    Tom D.

  • jpj6780

    I like it. Will it be close to sawbench height with the casters on it?

    If it’s close, it might be nice to have another surface at your sawbench height handy for cutoffs and such.

  • apbeelen

    I lijk it. Nice idea Mr. Vander Schwarzma.

  • M.Agnew

    Bottom should be English and the top Dutch. Sliding tills kick but. “Everything in a place!” But seriously,

  • Charlie Simpson

    This lower chest is a really cool idea. Looking forward to seeing the finished product.

  • tropicalww

    So, the Dutch Campaign tool chest made by an Anarchist?

  • grg3

    Maybe a drawer would be nice for the bottom unit?

  • markg

    How do you open the fall front? Is it possible with the chest on top. Can’t really tell from the pics.

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