WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Building The Perfect Tool Chest

Building The Perfect Tool Chest
by Jim Stack

Popular Woodworking Books: 2003
Paperback, 127 pp., $24.99
ISBN 1-55870-650-X

     Fifteen different projects are outlined for everything from rolling tool carts to caddys, chests, tote boxes and a standing floor cabinet big enough for all one's handheld power tools. Step by step photos show detailed information on construction tips, glue-up procedures and hardware installation. Separate cut lists are given for both imperial and metric dimensions in building these projects.
     The full color photography is clear and detailed, with shaded, sepia toned drawings giving an accurate picture of the inner workings of lock mechanisms, handle attachements and sliding door grooves.
     The author explains several shopmade jigs he used for constructing these units, including a tablesaw dovetailing fixture and a sliding cross-bar jig with a router attached to cut a perfect elipse with a V-groove bit. He also has an interesting method of producing routed door handles on a twin sliding-door cabinet, using a 1/2" cove bit in a router table on four edges of a large hardwood strip, then separating them with a rip cut and stop-cutting the coved handles to length. They are then edge-glued to the sliding door material for an attractive, full length handle. Several of the tool chests are built using recycled pallet wood, and all are given with advice on where and how to alter the plan to fit various needs. One has a flipper door with spring loaded dowels running in guide slots, another is a fully mitered, closed-box construction, hinge-taped and glued together, then cut apart into box and lid on the tablesaw. There is a bow-front tool chest with bun feet, a small parts chest with ten shallow drawers beaded top and bottom, and a fly-tying box with a fold-over top and numerous compartments. There are a lot of varied woodworking techniques put to use in making these projects. Mr. Stack also borrows a few designs from others. He presents a figured maple chest of drawers by Malcolm and Glen Huey, with deep, hinged cabinet doors that when closed, make it appear a beautiful piece of bedroom furniture. When opened, they reveal chisels, router bits and sanding belts hung beside maple-trimmed drawers decorated with fancy brass pulls. Christopher Schwarz presents a wall-hung case with a drop down front door that protects his metal handplane collection, all laid neatly on their sides for quick visibility and ease of use. This is a nicely done book. The text is entertaining and the details of project construction well explained. Many of these projects, functioning as shop storage solutions, are truly a class act, and would likely impress anyone visiting the shop.

. . . Barb Siddiqui