Let’s Go Dutch


With square-shanked Rivierre nails (this is my travel chest…it’s a bit more beat up now).

Waiting for a book to print on the laser writer at the shop is boring, so Chris and I were talking to pass the time as we awaited the pages of Nancy Hiller’s “Kitchen Think”; it’s off to Kara Gebhart Uhl tomorrow for copy edit. He was printing; I was three-hole punching. Such fun we have!

I don’t know how we got to chatting about Dutch tool chests…but as of about 5 p.m. today, I’m writing a book on Dutch tool chests for Lost Art Press. I could not be more excited!

How many of these I’ve built and helped others to build, I don’t know… but I do know it is many. I can build the one I teach in less than two days, from rough lumber to hardware installation. It will take me a bit longer this time though; there will be many pauses along the way for photography.


With screws (this one was for a customer).

Why, you might ask, if there’s already a good article on how to build this form, do we need a book on it? I’ll be going far beyond the article, presenting multiple approaches to several of the joints, and a choice of at least three ways to build the lid. And hardware – my goodness…some of the hardware people have brought to classes that I had to figure out how to install! So I’ll share a bunch of options on that, too…and what not to try to use and why. (For the record, I prefer unequal strap hinges.)

I’ll also be presenting several approaches to the interior fitments. But I have only so many Dutch tool chest interior variations in me – and there’s now a fair number of these chest in shops throughout the country and around the world. So while it’s early days (heck – we just decided on this book a few hours ago!), I’ll eventually be asking for your help – if you’ve built one and come up with a clever interior arrangement, I hope you’ll take some pretty pictures and send them my way so we can include a gallery.

And there are other Dutch tool chests to discuss (and possibly build), so there will also be research into other forms.

There’s no timeline, but I’m going to dive in soon – I have plenty of wide pine in the shop basement, and (unexpectedly) plenty of time this summer. Heck – I even have parts already sized in my basement…along with some half-finished chests. Time to put those to good use!

And why am I not publishing this through Rude Mechanicals Press? Well, Chris is the one who popularized this form; I wouldn’t dream of doing this book with/for anyone but him and Lost Art Press.


This is what happens when you loan all your tools out by day 2 of a class.


About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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13 Responses to Let’s Go Dutch

  1. I can see it now. A mahogany Dutch Tool Chest. A beautiful piece of crotch mahogany for the lid. Rosewood tool racks inside, with ivory inlays. Maybe sitting on ogee bracket feet.

  2. Please include detail on how to attach the lid hardware so that everything lines up well! That was sorely missing from the original article and something I screwed up badly the first time I made one.

  3. jmwagle86 says:

    If you write it, I am buying at least one copy. Keep up the good work.

  4. Billmorris says:

    Can’t wait 😊

  5. Todd Reid says:

    Great idea and fantastic email update. Two things, please continue this level of weekly email and second include a list of suppliers from across the us who make and sell hardware. You guys do a great job of assisting large and small businesses in the US continue by adding this list. Family owned black smith shops like those of Jordan Goodwin “Axe and Anvil hand works” would greatly appreciate the recommendation. Thanks and good luck with the book.

  6. toolnut says:

    Congrats on the book project. I tried posting on LAP site but WordPress is screwy over there. Anyway, with regards to interior design, I always thought the Dutch chest woul lend itself to a modular design. (Think barrister bookcase meets toolchest meets campaign furniture) Top unit core tools. Another unit for nice to haves. Another for all things sharpening etc. if you travel, you take the core unit and any other modules for the class you are teaching or job you are doing. Plus, if you suffer from tool acquisition syndrome, you just build a new module when you need more space.

  7. BLZeebub says:

    Super! I’m certain it will become a classic for the form.

  8. Jeremy says:

    The DTC is a great canvas for personalization and I think this book is certainly going to be useful. In many ways it reminds me on a small scale why shop tours are so popular, every one is individual but we love getting inspiration from other people’s methods that might help us, and possibly learn new tricks. I hope you remember my linkage lidded DTC I brought to LAP a while back, and would be happy to contribute details/pics on that variant along with the other tweaks I made to the as printed design. Just let us know how/what to send to contribute.

  9. o2bsam says:

    Looking forward to it Megan!

  10. Mike C. says:

    I am building a 1/3 scale Dutch inspired tool chest that I have fitted out with my essential layout tools as well as a few 1/3 scale hand tools. So far I have constructed a working model out of scrap wood. I am still modifying the tool layout before I build the final version. I may also build a mock up of a 1/2 scale version, just to see how many butt chisels and hand plane adjustment screwdrivers I can fit in it.

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