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With the plans for the Dutch Tool Chest in the October 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine now out, several readers have been asking about how they should finish the inside surfaces of the chest.

Here’s the short answer: Don’t.

Many of the vintage tool chests that I have encountered have just bare wood inside. There is no evidence that a finish was ever applied. The downside to this approach is that the wood gets fairly dirty from contact with your hands, the tools and any lubricant on them.

I don’t mind this grungy look – but it’s an aesthetic thing. And it is the one and only “foolproof” finish I know of. So I don’t finish the insides of my tool chests.

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A number of  readers have asked if they should apply boiled linseed oil to the inside of their chests. I think this is a sub-optimal idea. Linseed oil has a smell that won’t dissipate when it’s applied to enclosed surfaces, such as drawers and chests.


 

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