The Slant-lid Tool Chest - Popular Woodworking Magazine

The Slant-lid Tool Chest

 In Chris Schwarz Blog, Woodworking Blogs

Slant-lid Tool Chest

In some Victorian books on woodworking, the author suggests that if you don’t have a shop you could use a chest of drawers as a woodworking bench, tool chest and shaving collector.

I’ve not seen an occurrence of this in the wild, but it is an interesting idea.

Recently, Will of Texas sent me photos of his tool chest, which is based off a slant-lid desk with banks of drawers below. And he put the whole thing on wheels.

Slant-lid Tool Chest

For a chest that stays in a shop, I think it’s quite clever. I especially like how Will puts the bench planes on what would normally be the desktop.

If I were going to build this chest for myself, I’d probably try to store handsaws on the slant lid and perhaps make the lid stand upright (much like a traditional chest). But that’s just me.

Nice work, Will!

— Christopher Schwarz

Slant-lid Tool Chest

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Showing 11 comments
  • keithm

    After years of never getting the time to design and build a tool chest, I bought a mechanic’s style chest. Wished I had done it 20 years earlier. My other regret was not buying two. I could have filled them both.

  • josephjmclean

    As for seeing furniture used as a workbench…about a decade ago my dad and brother restored and sold a Gustav Stickley sideboard as part of their antiques business. the damage they had to repair included holes from drill bits, many saw kerfs from missed cuts, and bolt holes where a woodworking vice had been mounted. You would think that any woodworker would have seen the value of a Stickley sideboard! But…sadly, no…

  • Wood_smyth

    I like the tool chest but in the intro to the article, you mention that the author’s intent was to utilize it for a woodworking bench, as well as other obvious uses. Wouldn’t it better serve you if the slant top were to level out and perhaps be secured on the side opposite side from the hinges?

  • gumpbelly

    For the same reasons an upright tool cabinet works for a mechanic, it works here quite well for a woodworker too. Only young people want to go around crawling on their knees to grab a tool. I’m thinking Will is either past 50, or he is planning ahead. 🙂

    • Hovey

      I’m not 50 yet and I never liked the idea of bending over for every tool. But regardless of ones flexibility, this gives you twice the storage for the same foot print. And that is no small gain for those of us with limited shop space.

  • morganew

    Interesting choice to reverse the dovetails so the endgrain shows on the front. Was this just a personal move or is that something you see in tool chests from certain eras?

    • Derrick

      I am not sure what you mean … The pictures seem to show fairly standard through dovetail drawer construction with the pins in the drawer front and the tails in the sides so that the tails are used where stress is most likely to be applied (the pulling and pushing action of opening and closing the drawer).

    • Sawtooth

      I think the difference is that the dovetails on the drawers are thru dovetails, rather then half blind. Probably a matter of pesonal taste or choice.

  • Sergeant82d

    This reminds me of the secretary I built in high school, very similar proportions except this one is built much better! Very nice chest, Will.

  • Coeptus

    Lee Valley has plans for a bench/chest that looks much alike the Victorian types you are describing.,46158,56642

    • R. Kimberly

      I like this! I like it a lot. I also like the Lee Valley chest. I will definitely have to make this slant chest for my shop, and maybe the lee valley chest for other uses. But it will sure help to keep my tools handy, and off of my wood work bench, or the other benches, in my shop. When I get back out to Montana, I will definitely be making one or both of these. Thanks.

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