Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New tool chest for the sea 1

I have used the old tool chest for the sea in a bit more than a year, and I can't ignore the fact any more: It needs to be replaced.
Being thrown around in a bag in various airports have taken its toll on the chest, and it is pretty much beyond repair now. 

The good news is that it gives me an excuse for building another small chest while I am on the ship. Furthermore I now know that it needs to be a bit more sturdy built than the old one. 

There was hardly any space left in the existing tool chest, so I want to make the new chest a little bit bigger, so it can accommodate my moving fillister plane as well. But I still need to be able to put the chest in my bag for transportation.

I have pretty much settled for a chest with outside measurements of 16 x 11.5 x 8" My aim is to make the stock approximately 5/8". That should give me an inside volume of around 3.5 gallons (13.5 L) which is a bit more than my current tools chest.
I might make the bottom just 1/2" which should give a little extra volume. With a bit of luck, I can maybe use the bottom of my current tool chest. 

Normally when I attach a bottom to a small chest, I either nail it on and cover the sides with a skirt, or I'll plough a groove and insert the bottom in that.
For this chest my idea is that instead of adding a skirt for covering the end grain of the bottom, I'll make a rabbet for the bottom and thereby leave a clean looking side. The bottom will then be nailed in place with nails from the sides to add strength to it. That will also give me an excuse for using the moving fillister.
If I am able to use the plywood bottom from the old chest, I'll use screws from the bottom only
I should be able to see in a year or so, if it is an OK solution.

The lid will probably be a panel in a frame assembled with mitered bridle joints. 
I would like to paint the chest, so that will rule out using the lid for a shooting board this time. Instead I might be able to make a small shooting board that can fit inside the chest. Kind of like a bench hook.

As usual I'll make the major parts out of pallet sides, I found this set of sides that looked OK. It is for a half pallet, and It should be enough for the sides of the chest.
I started out by sawing off the hinges.
Next I flattened one side of each of the boards and then I tried to make it 5/8" thick. 
I am not very good at planing 4 panels to the same thickness, so there is bound to be a bit of planing to do once it is assembled. I did get pretty close on these boards though, and that is fine with me.

One of the boards revealed a massive pocket of liquid resin, once I had planed it to the final thickness.
Even I couldn't ignore such a pool, so I had to do something about it.
I traced the outside of a piece of wood that would cover the resin pocket. Then I carefully sawed on the inside of the line and chiselled out the waste afterwards. Kind of like a very shallow mortise.
The piece was glued in, and when the glue has dried, I am going to plane it flush with the board again.

The pallet sides.

Stock preparation.

Resin pocket.

Shallow mortise and graving piece.

Graving piece glued in.


  1. Good luck with the new chest! A bench hook is a good idea, as you could also use it for sawing. I use my bench hook as a shooting board sometimes and it works great. It's a shame you are limited to size constraints, but there is little you can do about it.

  2. Hi Bill.

    I am actually worried that it might be a bit on the large side, but, I'll just have to wait and see.
    The good thing is that we are not restricted by volume, only by weight.
    So if anything fails, I'll just have to get a bigger bag to use for my travel.

    Right now I have been working on making some nails to attach the bottom once I get that far. It turns out that we didn't have any nails on board anyway, and rather than use screws, I prefer to make some nails for it. I think nails look better, but screws will hold better, so it is just a matter of my personal preference.