This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
The most common way of arranging a tool-chest is in the form of a box, i. e. with the cover opening at top. This has one great disadvantage as compared with what may be called the cupboard arrangement, in that some of the tools must necessarily be below the others and in the dark, giving double trouble to get them out or replace them, and tending not a little to their injury. The chest or cupboard shown in Fig. 565 is based on one described in Amateur Work by the designer. It measures 4 ft. high, 3 ft. wide, and 11 in. deep from back to front, the shell being made of 3/4-in. boards 11 in. wide. These are carefully sawn to size, planed up, and dovetailed at the joints. The shelves are of 5/8-in. boards planed down to about 1/2 in. The back is formed of 1/2-in. lining boards, which may be bought ready ploughed for putting together. The interior is divided into compartments: a measures about 3 ft. high, and 8 in. wide, and is adapted for hanging saws in, hooks being screwed into h for that purpose; b is 2 ft. 2 in. wide, and 14 in. deep, so as to admit full-sized bottles containing turpentine, etc, as well as a paint-pot and glue-pot; c is about 9 in. high and the same width as b; d, e, f, g equally divide the remaining height of the cupboard, the 2 former being only 2 ft. 2 in. wide, while the 2 latter have the full width of the cupboard.
All the boards forming the partitions of the interior are of 5/8-in. stuff planed down to about 1/2 in. The ends of the shelves which abut on the sides of the cupboard are rabbeted into grooves 3/16 in. deep, and those ends which abut on the partition i are supported on triangular strips screwed to i. The shelves may be free to slide to and fro if desired, except h, which receives the upper end of the partition i. The front side of the cupboard is made in the following ingenious manner. A frame of wood 3 in. broad, and 1 1/8 in. thick, is made to go right round, with an upright bar in the centre, the whole being fixed together with mortice and tenon. Tenons cut on the ends of the centre bar are let into mortices in the end pieces, and tenons on the ends of the end pieces into mortices in the side-pieces. A 1/4-in. bead-plane is run along the inside edges of the frame before the tenons are cut or the mortices made. If neatly done, this will leave a complete bead round each door. This frame is nailed to the front of the case; and if it has been made slightly large, there will be a little border to clean off with the plane. The doors may be of any desired style. A good appearance, with little cost or trouble, is gained by the following plan.
The frame is 1 1/8 in. thick; and the apertures to be closed are about 14 in. wide: take two pieces of board of the necessary length and width, and, when planed, 5/8- in. thick; fit these into the apertures of the frame as doors; next take some slips of 3/8-in. wood, 2 1/2 in. broad, dressed and squared; upon one side make a moulding, 3/4 in. broad, with an O-G moulding-plane, and with the slips thus prepared plant the outside of the doors, of course keeping the square edges along the edges of the doors, and the moulding inwards. There is a little caution needed if the deception is to be complete, as viewed from the outside. Consider that you require to keep the pieces appearing as styles full width from top to bottom of door, but cutting the mouldings at an angle where they meet on the inner edges. For the middle and lower rails, these slips should be considerably broader than the styles and top-rail, but proportionate to the size of the door. While the inside of the doors is plain board, the outside has all the appearance of a proper framed door. Secure the case with a lock on each door, as being most handy and neat. Obviously one or more of the spaces e, f, g may be fitted with a nest of drawers for holding assorted nails, screws, and small tools.
These drawers will resemble small shallow boxes, but differing from ordinary boxes, inasmuch as the front side is of thicker stuff than the remainder, because it has to take a blind dovetail (Fig. 515, p. 282). The sides, back, and front of the drawers are dovetailed together, and the bottom rests in a rebate or groove. The dovetails need be only 2 or 3 in number, and shallow, as the sides are thin, say, 1/4-in. stuff. The depth (height) of the drawer should not in general exceed 3 in. The bottom is secured by a few small brads in the rebate or groove cut for it; being supported in this way, it leaves a small portion of the sides of the drawer projecting below it. These form the runners on which the drawer slides in and out, and which may be lubricated by rubbing with a little soap or domestic blacklead (graphite). The drawers, when more than one in depth (height) or width, are separated by a narrow framework running back about 2/3- of the total distance from front to rear.