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Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

author-gravatar FistoRoboto Apr 25, 2019

I built a slightly modified version of Chris Schwarz's Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest as a wedding present for a family member.

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Planed and jointed ash for the box.

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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.

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

more panel glueups

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

The sides of the box are dovetailed together

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Dovetails for all sides of the box done.

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

boards for bottom of box ship lapped at the table saw

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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. 

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

clamped in place with coins as spacers so i could pre-bore and countersink the nail holes

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest
Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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.

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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.

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Interior shot of the box after the bottom was installed. 

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Battens nailed to the bottom as wear strips, as it is easier to replace 3 boards than the entire bottom of the box.

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest
Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

All protruding joints were then planed down (pins, tails, and the boards that make up the bottom were all left slightly oversized)

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Rails and stiles were cut for frame and panel lid, then dado-ed at the table saw

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest
Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

cutting the tenons for the frame for the lid.

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Dry fit the frame of the lid

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Cutting dovetails for the bottom skirt.

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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. 

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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. 

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Lid glued up after the panel was cut to size. 

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Bottom skirt glued in place

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Top skirt glued in place

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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. 

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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.

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Exterior part of the chest now "done" ready for sanding

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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)

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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,

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest
Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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. 

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Testing the fit and how well the trays slide.

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest
Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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.

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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.

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Holes pre-drilled for the handles. 

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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 

  1. I should have put some handles on this thing earlier
  2. 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.
Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest
Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest
Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

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. 

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

The latch plate was installed in a mortise on the lid. 

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

Ring pulls installed on the trays. 

Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest
Photo of Travelling Anarchist Tool Chest

The box completed with whole hours to spare before the wedding. 

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