Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition

Traditional Traveling Tool chest


Traditional Traveling Tool Chest



The traditional English floor chest is a time-tested way to store a kit of woodworking
tools. But for furniture makers with limited shop space, it can be difficult to squeeze a
box this size into a shed, garage or spare bedroom. It can also be difficult to build in just one week.

So Christopher Schwarz, the author of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” designed a smaller-scale chest that uses historical techniques to fit a goodly kit of hand tools into a much smaller space, and that can be built in just a week of shop time (even if you’re new to dovetailing). This chest, which measures about 18 x 18 x 30, takes up considerably less space than a full-size chest, yet is just as easy to work out of (and it will fit in the back seat of most cars). Every tool in the box can be reached with only one hand motion.

Class Description

This summer, Megan Fitzpatrick, former editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine, will lead a week-long class in building this chest entirely by hand. You’ll quickly learn to cut dovetails, tongue-and-groove and miter joints using traditional tools and their appliances.
At the end of the week, you’ll have a tool chest that is ready to work – with two sliding trays, a tool rack and saw tills.

Topics covered include:

• Truing up panels using bench planes
• Traditional through-dovetail joinery
• Cutting basic mouldings by hand
• Cutting shiplap joints
• Fitting plinths to a carcase
• Cut nail technology
• Making a paneled lid
• Installing hinges

Tools Required:

*school provides

*Smoothing plane
*Marking gauge or cutting gauge
*Marking knife
*Mechanical pencil
*Try square or 12” combination square
*Sliding bevel or dovetail marking gauge
*Dovetail saw
*Bevel-edge chisels (1/2” and 3/8”)
*Mortise chisel 1/4” or 5/16”
Dead-blow mallet (school has fewer than eight)
Hand drill with bits (school has fewer than eight)
Rabbeting plane, moving fillister or a large shoulder plane (school has fewer than eight)
Hammer (16 oz.) and a nail set (school has fewer than eight)
Coping saw with extra blades (school has fewer than eight)
Tape measure or folding rule

Optional tools:
Jointer plane (school has fewer than eight)
Block plane
Router plane (school has fewer than eight)
Mortising gauge
Carcase saw with a bench hook
Tenon saw
Your sharpening equipment
Beading plane or other moulding planes you wish to use for your plinth and/or bottom boards


Students should have some experience with hand tools and joinery. We recommend skills equivalent to the Hand Tool Heaven and Hand Tool Heaven II: Joinery courses or the Weekend Hand Tool Woodworking series.

Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.
This class takes place in Building 315 at Fort Worden on June 4-8, 2018. Map
Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.
Please also read our Registration Policy.

Class size: 10
Cost: $750
Materials Charge: $200 (subject to change, possibly higher)
Register by: May 21, 2018

When you click on the Register link you will be able to register for the class or, if the class is full, sign up for the wait list.