Small Chest: Starting

My next project is a scaled-down down version of the traditional English tool chest, for use in my office as a place to store the junk that always seems to pile up on my desk. Call it “The Conformist’s Doodad Chest” or whatever. Though it will resemble the original form, let me be clear: I don’t intend to use it for tools. It’s not big enough for that purpose, at least not for woodworking. It’s half the length of the ATC as originally published, but has only 1/6th the volume. The stock I’m using isn’t quite as thick; it’s not intended to be beat around a shop.

Coincidentally, Joe just finished a tool chest about the same size, of which he will be detailing the build process soon.

As I was preparing the stock for the shell, I realized that I probably ought to make a new shooting board because I was doing stupid improvised stuff like this:

I started on the shooting board, but it will be a topic for another day, maybe.

You have to make a lot of dovetails for these chests, and I used my new bench-on-bench to make them. So far, so good, and I soon had the sides of the chest made:

I glued them up yesterday, so now I have the shell with untrimmed dovetail ends:

That scribbling reads “flat (enough).”

Now, I suppose that since I have to make a bunch of skirts and tills and stuff, it’s time to stop kicking the shooting board can down the road.

2 thoughts on “Small Chest: Starting

  1. Looking good and thanks to the link to my post. When I made mine, I had the dovetails about 1/16″ proud. It took a fair bit of work to handplane flush. Are you doing the same or just leaving them proud?


    • Hi Joe, I’ve already trimmed them flush. I used a Japanese flush-cut saw to get them most of the way down, then just zapped off the remaining tiny nubs with a chisel. I might even have a post describing how I did that with a half-blind dovetail somewhere in the recent past, if I recall. Search for “coffee table drawers” or something like that.

      I will still plane them down as a final step with a block plane if it’s a nasty wood. Using the saw seems to disturb the long grain on the mating boards less. With a flush-cut saw, it’s actually helpful to leave the ends significantly proud (1/16″ is fine), because the saw will be able to establish a kerf rather than skip over the end.


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