Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest
I built a slightly modified version of Chris Schwarz's Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest as a wedding present for a family member.
Planed and jointed ash for the box.
Panel glue up. Attempts at matching the grain and color better had to be abandoned due to poor lumber selection in the lot of ash i purchased.
more panel glueups
The sides of the box are dovetailed together
Dovetails for all sides of the box done.
boards for bottom of box ship lapped at the table saw
Laying out the bottom boards. Managed to luck out and get exactly enough of both shades of board to make it seem like the colour variation was intentional and not a wood selection limitation.
clamped in place with coins as spacers so i could pre-bore and countersink the nail holes
the idea behind nailing the boards in place is that the bottom is likely to rot before the rest the box, and should be more easily replaceable.
Nailed the bottom boards onto the box after they were ship lapped at the table saw. i was originally going to use fancy forged square nails, but the nails were either much too small to hold the boards securely, or too large (the next size up had a 3/16 shank!) and too close to the end of the boards, and were causing splits as a result. So 2" wire nails the became.
Interior shot of the box after the bottom was installed.
Battens nailed to the bottom as wear strips, as it is easier to replace 3 boards than the entire bottom of the box.
All protruding joints were then planed down (pins, tails, and the boards that make up the bottom were all left slightly oversized)
Rails and stiles were cut for frame and panel lid, then dado-ed at the table saw
cutting the tenons for the frame for the lid.
Dry fit the frame of the lid
Cutting dovetails for the bottom skirt.
Testing the fit of the bottom skirt on the box. This was far more of a PITA than it should have been, as the box sides ended up slightly bowed when they were glued up.
lid frame dry fit and checked against the box to make sure it actually fits. Its about a 1/16th over sized (on all sides) at this point, allowing me to compensate for that bow in the box sides.
Lid glued up after the panel was cut to size.
Bottom skirt glued in place
Top skirt glued in place
Glued the lid dust seal onto the lid with it sitting on the box itself to ensure it would fit correctly. Later ended up being rather pointless after I had to deal with fitment issues from the hinge installation.
In my haste to get the lid done, I forgot to cut the bevels on the top of the lid dust seal and had to resort to using a hand plane.
Exterior part of the chest now "done" ready for sanding
Chris Schwarz's design calls for several sliding tool trays to be installed in the chest. As this chest is smaller than both his full sized and travelling tool chest, I had to guess at appropriate sizes for the trays that would still allow the rest of the box to have enough clearance for taller, heavier tools like planes.
I ripped some 6/4 cherry in half and used it for the tray sides (both because I thought it would provide a nice colour variation to the box...and also because I was out of ash)
The bottom of the trays are made of ship lapped 1/4" ash, and then nailed in place so they can be replaced if they wear down through use. Plus,
The trays slide on rails mounted into the sides of the box. They're screwed in place instead of glued to be easily replaceable should they wear down through excessive tray sliding action. What's not pictured here (or in any other picture I took apparently) are the stops added at the exposed ends of the rails.
Testing the fit and how well the trays slide.
After the interior of the box was shellacked, the hinges were installed onto the lid and box, and final fitment was done on the dust seal by using the back of a chisel like a scraper.
Shellac time. Did roughly 6 1 lbs coats, which may be a little thin, but it's a tool box, it's going to get beat up anyway.
Holes pre-drilled for the handles.
The dog bone handles were turned on the lathe then the ends were profiled with the band saw & spindle sander. They were then separately given a few coats of shellac, then buffed, before being attached to the box.
It was at this point that I realized two things
- I should have put some handles on this thing earlier
- I probably should have listened to Schwarz when he recommended that the box be made from pine, because this thing is supposed to be portable but its a little heavy...and it's empty.
The mortises for the lock were chiseled out by hand. I really should have just used the trim router for it. It ended up taking several hours because I couldn't get enough room for a good strike with a mallet down on the chisel.
The latch plate was installed in a mortise on the lid.
Ring pulls installed on the trays.
The box completed with whole hours to spare before the wedding.