Tool Chest Update

Tool Chest Update

Tool Chest Update

While I haven’t been able to make it back to the shop for the past two weeks, I’ve kept working on our new tool chest, so I wanted to bring you some quick updates.

In case you missed our previous post, we’re building a chest similar to those shown below: 

Both are from James M. Gaynor and Nancy L. Hagedorn’s book Tools: Working Wood in Eighteenth-century America. The first has a New England provenance[1], while the latter is from upstate New York.[2]

We’re making ours based mostly on the Upstate New York example, with a small lidded tray (though we made ours larger than the one shown to accommodate string lines and some of the larger layout tools millwrights need), chisel racks, and molding/joinery plane racks.

Here’s what we’ve gotten done so far: 

Ripped the stock down to width.

These pieces were then joined with tongues and grooves and cut to length. Here you can see the two long sides (1 and 3) and the short ends (2 and 4). 

Next the dovetails were laid out and cut. 

Dovetails are done!

And finally, the bottom is nailed on to a rabbet cut into the side pieces, the base and end wall of the small tray are inserted, and the tray lid is attached. The lid fits with about 1/8” of play inside of the chest and has two brads nailed into it from either end. These act as the hinge and allow it to open freely. 

Next steps: build the chisel and molding plane racks, build the lid and saw cleats, and then paint it! 

For more updates on the chest, and to see construction happening live, check out our Facebook Live videos held every Saturday at

As always, I would normally invite everyone to come visit us in the Millwright Shop, but it’s currently closed due to COVID-19. We will be continuing to post here on the blog, and we’ll be doing more Facebook Live videos, so be sure to follow us on Facebook. Stay safe and check back here next week!

If you’d like to take the next step and get involved in the shop once this has all calmed, please contact us at:


      Find us on Instagram @newlingristmill1704

      Look for us on Facebook @newlingristmill



[1] Gaynor, James M., Hagedorn, Nancy I., “Thomas and Warren Nixon Tools,” in Tools: Working Wood in Eighteenth-century America, Williamsburg, Virginia, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1993, Page: 30

[2] Ibid. Page: 32



Gaynor, James M., Hagedorn, Nancy I., Tools: Working Wood in Eighteenth-century America, Williamsburg, Virginia, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1993, Google E-book, Accessed July 30, 2020,


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