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Marmotjr

Machinist's Tool Chest

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Working in a machine shop.  I'm going to be building a tool box/chest to hold what tools I need for the job.  Our QA manager has a Gerstner Chest, and it's inspired me to build my own.  One, because I don't feel like dropping $2400+ on a tool box, 2) Cause I can, and 3) One of the guys in the shop makes boxes for micrometers, using pine and an Bridgeport.  That's it, no sanding or nuttin, just a rough cut box using a end mill and some hinges.  So I think I gotta show them up a bit ;).    Once I start the build, and finalize the design, I'll start a project journal thread, but for now, this will do for ideas. 

So  comments or ideas are welcome.  I just have rough ideas in my head for now, a large lidded compartment on top, 6 (2x3) drawers int he middle, and 2-3 large full width drawers for the precision tools.  Overall size would be roughly 24"w, 18"h, 12" deep, but that's just a ballpark.  Handles on the sides for carrying (I don't need load bearing hinges on the lid then).

1) I have about 50-60 linear feet of .75"x.75" Ipe I acquired from my last job.  I plan on putting that around the base and any other area that might encounter impacts.   I want a nice looking chest, with nice details, but I don't plan on babying it either.  It will be kept out in the shop area. 

2) I plan on flocking all the drawer insides.  The precision tool drawers will have cut fitted foam for each tool.  I've used flocking in the past, and it's done well, but how well would it hold up in a tool chest?

3) Inlay.  I'm thinking a border string inlay (probably curly maple, maybe cherry, sides with paduak inlay, Yeah it'll contrast, but I think I want that in a tool box), and then my initials on the lid. 

4) Hardware, source?  Brusso is an option, but I'd like to keep costs down, I have all the wood I think I'll need, so If I can keep the hardware costs to a minimum, that'd be great.   I'm thinking Quadrant hinges on the lid, and drawer pulls similar to what you'd see on a library card catalog. 

Just some brainstorming going on, feel free to pile on. 

 

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Using Gerstner as inspiration you are starting on the right foot.  IPE is tough wood, interesting choice, walnut would be another choice, the dark wood will hide the inevitable hand prints better.  Of course, maple is light coloured but can be dyed/stained too.  I've never worked IPE but I have heard it can be challenging.  Whatever hardware you choose, make sure it is up to the task, particularly the side carrying handles as there will be some weight involved.  I'm not sure about flocking, a full felt pad may give a gentler place for precision tools to lay on.  Then again, you said you wanted foam inserts, so that point may be moot.  I'll be following along when you journal the build.  I've thought about it myself so it will be interesting.

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3 hours ago, Marmotjr said:

I have about 50-60 linear feet of .75"x.75" Ipe I acquired from my last job. 

There's something satisfying about using stuff from the last employment on a new better job.  

I can't comment on the ease of workability, though.

3 hours ago, Marmotjr said:

I plan on flocking all the drawer insides. 

Flock might work, but consider buying some velvet from the fabric store and lining with that.  It would be a lot more upscale and if you're going to poke a finger at your new coworkers then you want to leave the full finger print.

You really should include something turned in the piece.  Could be drawer knobs.  

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Personally, I would not use flocking in the drawers.  A fabric square folded and glued around 1/8" hardboard will make a nice floor that can be removed if needed. 

For a bit of cushion, thin batting under the fabric helps when you don't want to set everything in carefully and won't allow things to shift while moving it.

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4 hours ago, Evans_Woodcrafts said:

I'd consider Kaizan foam instead of flocking.

I think this would be my thinking also.  You could use the flocking just for the appearance on the sides, from and back of the drawers.

If I remember correctly you can go to Gerstner's website and purchase their hardware.

I am going to need you to get this done in a timely fashion so I can copy it. :P  My Daughter wants me to make a machinist tool chest for my son in law so "she" can give it to him for Christmas.

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You may also consider some type of cover for the box. In the shop I work in the coolant and oil spray in the air turnes everything nasty real quick.

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I've had a Kennedy machinist toolbox like the attached for about 15 years and the felt/flocked drawers have held up surprisingly well. It has been a general toolbox for many of those years. I don't just place precision tools in the drawers- I throw wrenches, screwdrivers, files, hammers, etc in, sometimes from several feet away if I left the drawer/top open.

I haven't applied flocking, so I'm not sure how it compares to the lining in these drawers, but it looks similar.

Kennedy.jpg

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14 hours ago, AnonymousAccountant said:

I've had a Kennedy machinist toolbox

About half the shop have these.  They are good inspiration for layout and design choices.   Solid box.  I would be looking at one of these if I was looking at a metal chest. 

 

14 hours ago, Steve B Anderson said:

You may also consider some type of cover for the box. In the shop I work in the coolant and oil spray in the air turnes everything nasty real quick.

Oh yeah, forgot.  Finish.   I was thinking just poly, but if there's anything better, I'm all ears.   I'm kinda thinking I want the weathered look to set in over the years, so I'm not too worried about that aspect of it, but I don't want finish or glues getting gummed up. 

This is by far the cleanest shop I have ever worked in.  Once a week the morning shift sets aside an hour or so to do a thorough cleaning of a section of the shop.  Well ventilated too.  I'm usually a stickler for respiratory protection, but in this place, I've had no thoughts at all about it. 

19 hours ago, Mark J said:

You really should include something turned in the piece.  Could be drawer knobs. 

Ooh.   Ipe Drawer pulls.  

 

16 hours ago, Chet said:

I am going to need you to get this done in a timely fashion so I can copy it. :P  My Daughter wants me to make a machinist tool chest for my son in law so "she" can give it to him for Christmas.

I'll do my best.  I have to get fully hired in, and then the company will subsidize the precision tools I need to acquire.  Once I have those, then I can plan the main drawer sizes (those will get the foam), which will then dictate the rest of the chest.

But don't hold your breathe, after getting burned out at the woodshop I was in, and a touch of depression that followed, I've still got two projects pending that were supposed to be Xmas gifts this past year. 

21 hours ago, Jim DaddyO said:

, walnut would be another choice, the dark wood will hide the inevitable hand prints better

Most of my walnut is going to a chess board veneered (maple/walnut board) side table.  I'll have to work from my stash, as I don't have the funds to be buying more lumber.   So with budget concerns in mind, The large panels will be maple or cherry, I'm thinking Cherry perhaps since it will darken some over time.  And maybe matched paduak drawer fronts, which will also darken some.   I have a bunch of mahogany that may make up some structural pieces, maybe.   Ply for the interior structure. 

 

Joinery.  I'm lost as to what I should be doing.  The drawers will be too small for good dovetails (that I can do).  Maybe finger or small box joints for all the edges.  I dunno.   Still thinking.

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Gertsner sells the hardware for their boxes on their site if you wanted to replicate the look of their box.

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Cherry would look pretty nice as you stated it was an option.  Combined with maple....well, that is just classic, you can't go wrong there.

Finish thoughts.  A poly would be tough and durable, although any film finish will be prone to flaking after time.  2 or 3 light coats would be best IMO if going that way.  There is also the option of a coat of BLO, let dry well, then the poly, or maybe just wax as a final coat.  The wax wont be as durable, but it can be cleaned and reapplied very easily over time.

 

This is an option for the joinery.  It's how I did my tool chest.

Parts.jpg

I put the back panel in flipped the other way so there is a bit more "warning" that you are getting close to pulling the drawer right out, and I put a false front on it too.

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For the joinery would a sliding dovetail work?  It would be a little more showy if that's a goal.

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