The Tool Chest

I’ll admit, I always rather fancied owning a toolchest, but after buying a workbench, I felt I was pretty much obliged to make my own. I was rather looking forward to it, in fact. Then there was an ad in the local paper:


Chest of old carpenter’s tools, owned by Newlyn Shipwright, beautiful condition; offers.


As it happened, the tool fund was still plump from my birthday, so off we went. Of course once I’d seen it, any idea of maybe leaving with out it flew out of the window...


The overall dimensions are 39” x 20” x 20” with 4 sliding tills. All pine except for the till runners and ends which are oak for wear resistance, painted gloss black on the outside and mahogany stained within. Dovetailed 7/8” boards for the carcass and mitred and nailed 3/4” for the mouldings. In one pic you can see the 28” Disston (Canada) thumb hole rip, the 22” panel saw from the same manufacturer, and the 14” tenon saw by Marples. They are stored in the front bottom compartment in slots. There’s also a nest of saws and a 10” dovetail saw.

The Tools

Click on the thumbnails to see all the various planes and bits from the compartments. Numerous woodies, and that doesn’t include the box of 25 or so moulders, and some rather choice Stanleys (most of which will need a little TLC). A low knob #5 1/2 with the iron virtually gone - unfortunately it’s the 2 1/4” size, so finding a replacement might well mean ordering from Ron Hock in the US (it did, via Classic Handtools), a #4 1/2, a complete #71 router plane, a #40 1/2 scrub plane, a #10 bench rebate - with the almost inevitable crack in one cheek, but apparently some stuff called J B Weld should fix it (and it did too, but not, alas, for long), and the piece de resistance that put paid to my resistance, a #46 skew combi. The latter with only 2 missing blades, but absolutely smothered in dried linseed oil... You can see the cleaning up process used on it, and some of the others:



As you can see, the usual debris that seems to naturally gravitate towards toolboxes is all present and correct! If you’re in the States reading this, you’re probably going “Big deal” about all this, but for the UK, and Cornwall in particular, most of this stuff I’d never expect to see “in the wild”.


Gradually - oh how so gradually - I'm cleaning it all up and putting the tools back into commission. It's a mammoth task, but I'm getting there. At some point I hope to get round to putting up an inventory of the contents, and maybe some measured drawings of the chest.