View Full Version : Wooden Tool Chest

04-22-2006, 11:58 AM
In browsing thru some of my woodworking magazines to update a reply to the "Sawhorse" thread on the Third Hand BB, I came across something that might be of interest to some. -- Detailed plans for a wooden tool chest, much like those made by Gerstner.

It is in the Jan 2000 issue of "Shopnotes" magazine (issue 49). Their offering
is made of curly maple, with birdseye maple inset panels. Very nice looking chest!

I'm thinking of taking that on myself, with either some cherry or walnut that I have onhand. I'd think hickory would also be ideal, but I don't have enough of that.

04-22-2006, 09:39 PM
I know this isn't a woodworking site, but...

I would not use hickory on a project like a tool chest. Hickory is very "independent" and "shrinks and swells" widely with the seasons. Hickory does ok for items that are made as "one piece" and that doesn't have to be joined to another piece of wood. The relatively close fit of parts wanted in a fine tool chest will most likely cause endless frustration and unhappiness to the owner. I "know" someone will "prove" the opposite with "their" tool chest, located in "their" workshop, but "my" experiance is otherwise.

04-22-2006, 09:52 PM
How about red elm? I have some that has been in the top of a shed for about 20 years. Larry

04-23-2006, 02:20 PM
Well I personally have never used hickory for any projects involving joinery. But at Home Depot a few years back they had on display several complete, beautiful model kitchens from Kraft Maid, located in Ohio. They had cherry, oak, hickory, and others. Most all used raised panel construction. And the one that really stood out, to me, was the hickory.

Assuming kiln dried, I can't see where hickory would be more prone to movement than other open grain woods, such as red oak

...but maybe I'm wrong.

04-23-2006, 03:26 PM
We've got a hickory floor in our upstairs hall, and hickory stair treads. Haven't noticed any problem, or any particular difference in behavior between the hickory and any of the other flooring.

04-24-2006, 01:11 AM

My experiance with red elm is very limited, it is the wood of a slippery elm tree. It is considered inferior to American elm, but because of its scarcity, veneer quality trees have recently been quite valuable. Other uses include boxes, pallets, crates, and bent parts of furniture. Red elm firewood has long been a favorite for fireplace wood burners because of its flame characteristics and relatively low ash production. It is about the same specific gravity as cherry (0.50), but the difference in tangential movement and radial movement is greater.

Wood changes dimension tangentially (across flat grain) and radially (across quater grain). This movement is measured by determining the precentage that wood shrinks from when it is green (freshly cut) to completely dry. the lower the percentage, the less the wood moves and the nore stable it is. Additionally, a big difference between tangential and radial movement indicates that the wood is susceptible to warping, twisting, and bowing.

"Hickory" and "Pecan" are often intermixed and sold as each other (they are the same genus). Hickory is "between" the "red" oaks (less) and the "white" oaks (more) for "warping tendencies" (all three about the same). Pecan has a much greater tendency to warp.

A items like a parquet floor and a five piece door are traditional "solutions" to wood movement. A "strip" floor is litteraly nailed into "submission", "modern" stair building is a long the same lines, and trim hides the rest. Modern factory finishes tend to limit the exchange of moisture, slowing the "swell/shrink" cycle.

Too much "wood" info for a post on a "metal" site.

04-24-2006, 02:09 PM
Those Shopnotes backissues are often posted in alt.binaries.e-books.technical in PDF format. I'll have to start watching for the Jan 2000 issue - thanks.

04-25-2006, 06:34 AM

I got one of those wild hairs you know where to build a highgrade tool box. I went to the wood working store and bought a first rate set of plans. I began collecting and buying the necessary components. I consider myself a pretty fair machinest and adverage wood worker. The snow was knee deep and I started the project. I cut out all the pieces, routed, and drilled them. I started fitting, gluing and nailing them together. Then I started sanding. I sanded and finished some more. I then moned all the hardware. Whne I finished I had much more respect for the folks at Gerstners. when I finished I had $150.00 in materials in each box. I had about 40+ hours labor in each box. The week following the completion of my project I found basically the same box design on the web for $160.00. I bought one just to check out the quality. With a little predijust(sp) mine was better made but not by much. I will not make another.