Sorby Tools

Sorby Tools

Bit Braces

English Saws


Woodworking with Jason Stamper


Reviving a Traditional Tool Chest

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A few years ago I bought and read Chris Schwarz’s book “The Anarchists Tool Chest.” When I found this book I was in the process of making a tool box with a lift-up front.

Even as I was making this toolbox, I realized it would end up being far too small for my burgeoning tool collection.

After reading the book and thinking about it, I decided I would need to build my own tool chest. At this point I stopped working on the first toolbox, it’s still not finished, and started planning for the larger tool chest. As fate would have it I discovered a very heavy antique tool chest at my favorite rusty iron dealer. I talked him down to $60, and loaded it in the back of our Explorer; along with the two panel saws I bought that day. As I have often jokingly told my dear wife, I have an iron deficiency.

To say that this thing was rough was an understatement! This was a “face that only a mother could love.” It was covered with ugly silver paint, even on the inside!!! There was also a bunch of junk inside, but sadly no good tools. One plus was that I found the key buried in some trash inside, and it still worked. Moreover, the inside smelled just plain AWFUL. On the other hand it had good bones, and already had the sliding tills so was more or less what I was going to build. Plus it is old, at least 100 years and I do love old tools.

The first thing I did was to strip the old paint off with paint stripper. This turned out to be a tough, and nasty, job. That old paint did not want to give up and I concentrated most of my efforts on the interior and the tills. After a great deal of scraping and then sanding, I found to my delight, the wood to be absolutely beautiful old growth pine!

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Stanley Planes

Block Planes


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