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The adjustable-height outfeed table – done. An adjustable-height bench – check, done. The adjustable-height miter-saw stand – done and done.

And now, the adjustable-height tool chest.

Tool collector and woodworker John Sindelar brought lots of crazy, beautiful and rare tools to Woodworking in America last weekend. But none was more unusual than the adjustable-height tool chest that he had purchased a couple weeks before.

The chest is a fairly standard size. But everything else about it is surprising. The front panel of the chest falls down to reveal three graduated drawers. Under the lid are two lift-out trays and two deep compartments. At the four corners are four hidden posts that drop below the base of the chest to raise it off the floor.

There are three detents in the legs so the chest can be raised to four heights. The mechanisms are spring-loaded. You pull a tab next to each leg and that leg is free to move. Release the spring-loaded tab and it locks into a nearby detent.

It’s a clever mechanism. The only downside is that it requires some lifting and fiddling to get the legs up or down. And I imagine it would be a little bit of a dance to try to do it by yourself.

The outside of the chest is inlaid with parquetry that has survived fairly well (especially the stuff in the back).

Sindelar and his traveling tool museum never disappoint me. He is always restocking it with new and wilder tools. As always, it was one of the highlights of the conference for me.

— Christopher Schwarz

Another highlight of Woodworking in America: Ron Herman. As always, Ron outworked us all. If you missed his lecture on saw sharpening, I highly – highly – recommend his DVD “Sharpening Your Handsaws.”

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Showing 6 comments
  • Roccocal

    John, although this is one of the nicest chests I’ve seen, I must say the Studley chest is unquestionably the best. Great find and keep up the good work.

  • Steve_OH

    Looks like a convenient way to “accidentally” get rid of an apprentice who just isn’t working out.


  • nateswoodworks

    That is impressive to say the least. Difficult to adjust yeah, but set it once before you fill it up and leave it in one place and you are done. Not the end all be all but still very cool. Another fine thing to come from the great state of Mn.:) Thanks for showing!!!

  • John Cashman

    A little bit of a dance to raise the chest yourself? You’ve got to be kidding. You’d have to be Superman to do that by yourself.

    It’s a nice chest, but the gizmocity factor is its number one attribute.

  • Publius Secundus

    John and the museum never fail to disappoint? You’re disappointed? Perhaps they never disappoint you. Megan would have caught that and eased you back on track.

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