In Chests, Chris Schwarz Blog, Tool Storage, Woodworking Blogs

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.


If you are thinking about building the Dutch Tool Chest from the October 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, you aren’t alone. I’ve heard from dozens of other woodworkers who see it as a simple, fast and efficient way to store your hand tools (and make them portable).

I’ve been using my Dutch chest for more than a year now and can honestly say I’ve not found a better way to transport my tools (I made 18 trips in 2013 – sorry honey). The small Dutch chest holds just about every hand tool you need to build almost anything.

But, as they say in a Ronco commercial, that is not all. What has surprised me about the chest is that it’s a joy to work out of. When the slanted lid of the top compartment is open, you can easily reach everything in there. The lower compartment is sized perfectly for joinery and moulding planes (you can see their profiles by sticking them into the chest toe-first).


Plus, I can carry the chest by myself. It is, in fact, designed to be carried by one person. It’s just the right length to get your arms around and your hands into the chest lifts. Then, when you lift it, it sits nicely against your torso as you walk. When it’s fully loaded it’s about 130 pounds – if you use wooden-bodied bench planes yours will weigh a lot less.

Amongst all the readers building the chest, three bloggers have been documenting their Dutch chests. Each blogger is taking a slightly different approach with joinery and interior layout – so you might get some good ideas. Here are some links to get you started.
Marilyn Guthrie at took some nice liberties with the joinery, opting for headed nails instead of screws. I like the look. Be sure to check out her approach to the lid and the nice milk paint job. You can see the finished chest here. You can see all the articles in her series here.
Tom Iovino at use a true hybrid approach when building his chest. The dovetails were cut with a router, but there was plenty of handwork. Be sure to check out Tom’s two-layered tool rack. A sweet, authentically Dutch feature. And Tom painted his green. You can see all the articles on his chest via this link.
Bob Jones at hasn’t painted his chest yet, but there are some nice shots of the construction process. Also, be sure to check out how he made the back from lots of narrow strips from the home center – a nice time saver. See all his articles on the Dutch chest here.

If you’ve built the chest, post a link so we can see what you did with your chest.

— Christopher Schwarz

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

Recent Posts
Showing 25 comments
  • minnesotawood

    Hey all–Came across this vintage example on Craigslist:
    Not sure what the inside is set up for carrying (wagon repairing tools?) Looks like the dovetail construction has held up quite well!

  • Saville

    I love this tool chest and I’m looking for an excuse – ANY excuse – to build it.

    My workbench is up against a wall with no windows so I feel compelled to have tall, shallow cabinets with doors, French hung, to house my marking and layout tools (squares, pencils, compasses, adjustable bevel, striking iron, marking gauges etc) and short saws. I want these right to hand.

    But my main bench is only 6 feet long so soon I have to travel to get to other tools such as the bigger saws, brace, bits, wooden planes, etc.

    In general I’ve arranged the layout of tool racks such that the less a tool is used, the further away it is. These racks are open air racks and consequently need to be cleaned/vacuumed from time to time – an annoyance.

    It occurs to me that this toolbox could be useful for the lesser used tools if I built the taller one and put it on rollers. And I might be able to arrange for dual use – i.e. a main tool box – if I get crafty with the internal racks.

    We’ll see….I haven’t decided to move ahead with it but as I say I’m looking for an excuse to build one.

  • bmyyou

    The link below shows the nearly completed version of the large Dutch Tool Chest (pending chest handles); Thanks for sharing the design and ideas/details for the tool storage!

  • billboard

    I just finished one for my son for Christmas. I added a tool tray in the upper area. You can see pictures at: And My video of the making of the chest at:

  • mattlawrence

    Woodworking and tailgating. What a great combination:

  • william.sympson

    I appreciate the design a lot, although I did take some liberties with it. I posted it on the sawmill creek forum:

    Thanks for the help.


  • samcappo

    Here is the one I built and gave away full of tools……

  • Nikk

    HI Chris,
    here is a pic of mine: P1050672.jpg
    Could hardly wait for the pop wood issue to come out and started the next day.
    eventually there will be 2 small drawers in the narrow compartment, thats the only thing that is not quiet done yet.
    I love it. It’s a huge help to get my workshop organized
    Thanks for your work and ideas!

  • tsstahl

    Mine is still in progress. Here is the first post:

  • pmkierst

    I went to to the link for the issue (Oct 2013) and apparently the digital download is Out Of Stock.

    I think you are misunderstanding some aspects of bits, and copying them.

  • muthrie

    OK … Now I know why the stats on my blog went nuts today. 🙂

    I love my dutch tool chest and use it every time I’m in the shop. The slanted top makes a nice spot to tape plans and I’ve been known to use it as semi seat while sawin’ tenons.

  • aland

    Very nice, just what you needed…another toolbox. 😀

  • Nebraska Ron
  • Ben Lowery

    I built one, but only really documented it on twitter. See results at

  • bendur

    I built one back in January based on your larger version.

    I have limited space in my apartment for woodworking, so the shape and ability to roll it out of the way are great. The height is also perfect for accessing my most-used tools.

  • Bill Lattanzio

    I made one back in July, and posted it to Lumberjocks in September and it made the Daily Top 3. I used dado joinery and decorative cut nails on all the dados and the face boards. Here is a link if anybody wants to check it out:

  • Charlie Simpson

    Hey Chris!

    I’m not quite finished but close. Started a blog too and my first entries are on your class and my chest. My blog address is . I’m opting for a very bright & shiny paint job so stay tuned!

  • Theodore Scott

    Here is my version. I kept it simple – no tool rack, no dovetails.

  • rwyoung

    I think we are up to 13 now for the January DTC workshop at the KC Woodworkers’ Guild.,,All_Forums,,&Words=&Searchpage=1&Limit=25&Main=6542664&Search=true&where=&Name=77799&daterange=&newerval=&newertype=&olderval=&oldertype=&bodyprev=#Post6558358


Start typing and press Enter to search