I have been designing a bench in my head for six months now and am getting ready to tackle it this spring (workshop is in garage and its too cold out there right now).
American Woodworker magazine was acquired by F+W Media (parent company of Popular Woodworking) in 2014. You can download a deluxe SketchUp drawing of the Schoolbox, a project that was featured on the cover of the Autumn 2009 issue. This file was made by Randall Wilkins, a set designer in the film industry who uses SketchUp in his job and in his woodworking hobby. Wilkins has added additional scenes (click on the tabs at the top of the file) that will create shop drawings for you in a variety of views, including some helpful section views. Chris is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking Magazine and the publisher at Lost Art Press. I use Vectorworks professionally, so it seemed natural to plan my woodworking projects using the same package. This week, I built a lower cabinet for my small Dutch tool chest, a project featured in the October 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. I built this lower unit while simultaneously teaching a class on building the upper unit at Roy Underhill’s The Woodwright’s School – with the help of your helpful editor, Megan Fitzpatrick. The case’s sides, top and bottom are joined with through-dovetails – four tails to a corner to make things easy. The front of the case has two rails – one at the top and one at the bottom – that are glued and nailed to the dovetailed case. Several of the students asked about how the locking mechanism on the lower cabinet would work with the locking mechanism on the upper cabinet.
At the end of this three-day class, Megan and I loaded up the lower cabinet with nails and a bunch of extra detritus I’d hauled down for the class. When I get home on Monday I’ll paint the sucker black and start applying stickers to the new unit of the chest.
Still working on finishing up my version–have the hardware and paint and hopefully some time this weekend. I really like the idea of this lower chest, but the instructions for how to lock and unlock it are a bit complicated. I’m not a hand tool only person but my block and jackplane go everywhere with me along with my two cherry chisels and jap saws. I realize WW II is now a long way back, but those US citizens of Japanese ancestry still consider your 3-letter abbreviation an insult, not unlike a certain old reference to people of African ancestry. Changing the topic a bit, but are you bringing the Dutch tool chest class on the road again next year, specifically, to Australia? Firstly, I am surprised that it has taken Chris so long to come up with this, it was the first thing I thought of when I cut out the sides of the chest and saw how far I was going to have to bend down to reach stuff in the chest.. Secondly: For those of us wanting to keep the door closed but not fully locked, so that the bottom chest does not become a new home for furry freeloaders, just put a couple of rare earth magnets in pockets in either the door or the sides, then a couple of screws or clout nails opposite will keep the door closed well enough to protect the contents but make it readily opened and closed again without faffing around with keys or slips of wood.
The August 2011 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine is making its way to subscribers (it will be on bookstore racks in a few weeks). Glen Huey is a former managing editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine, a period furniture maker and author of numerous woodworking books, videos and magazine articles. The assembled bench design worked, but then again, it wasn’t sturdy, solid or anywhere near going to be the bench that I used for an extended period of time.
It gives me extra space for tooling and hardware that I sometimes need to drag along to classes I teach. It raises the main tool well of the Dutch chest about 12”, meaning I don’t have to put the chest on a sawbench to raise it to a pleasant working height. Here are some details of the lower unit’s construction (a SketchUp drawing and cutting list can be found in this earlier entry). Between these rails is a loose panel, called the fall-front, which is secured to the case with a sliding lock that works like a machinist’s chest. And yeah, I could have gotten around this little tiny problem by using a cupboard lock on the lower cabinet. Its similar to this chest with the milkman workbench on top as the lid and the festool t lock system made with wood on the front to lock it down. As a result, I’m beginning to get questions about the Spice Box drawer layout and construction, as well as the secret compartments buried within the cabinet.
But the structural members, as well as the top, had to be tiger maple – of which over the years I had accumulated quite a stash of less-than-quality figured wood that would do nicely as a workbench top. Someday, if I ever get some free time, I’ll likely rebuild the base from SYP, using the same knock-down design. A very nice compromise for those of us for whom a monolithic workbench is not practical, or who live outside the yellow pine zone! And the box’s lid is now a dynamic component , which means it will open and shut with a mouse click.
The fact that the two units can be taken apart makes it easy to transport everything in my SUV.
If you study the SketchUp drawing for 5 minutes, you’ll get a full understanding of the mechanism.
But I wanted the two cabinets to use the same mechanism so they look like they were made for each other.
Being a newbie, I’d be worried about messing up a full-size chest… That, and I hardly have enough hand tools to fill the Dutch chest!
If you need to pick up a copy, click here for a digital download or click here to have a paper issue dropped in the mail. Mainly because I am just to lazy to take the top chest off every time I want something out of the lower unit. Here’s a quick video with drawer information and where you can find the secret compartments.
Wilkins created these drawings because he is planning on making a copy of the schoolbox for each of his daughters. One that when looked at in 100 years, most observers would wonder if it was for use or for show.
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