Home > Woodworking > 10-Drawer Small Tool Chest – Build Redux – Part 3

10-Drawer Small Tool Chest – Build Redux – Part 3

Things were pretty mellow in the shop over this last weekend. Saturday was spent getting all 10 drawers working smoothly. In that vein, I was successful for 9 o of the 10. During that time I also had another chip break off where the drawer dado meets the face. I’m not exactly sure if this is one that I had glued earlier in the process but it might have been. Anyway I glued it back on and I hopeful that this time the fix will last. Having had my fill of relieving edges and smoothing drawer operation, I moved on to running the upper and lower beads on the drawer fronts. You might recall that last time I made the mistake of attaching pulls prior to this operation, so I learned to route first. Everything went very smoothly only my bench top router table is so small the drawers tended to tip off the edge unless I was very careful to hold them steady for the entire length of the face. It made for a couple of imperfections but the overall effect turned out nicely and way better than my last effort.

After beading it was on to making and attaching the drawer pulls.

And this is where my judgment just might have been clouded a bit. You see I have this tree that I collected from my neighborhood in Melrose (Turtle Cove). The tree had been taken down and the wood cut into logs and folks were basically invited to take wood so I did. Upon cutting the wood up on my band saw I found it had an interesting spalting. So I figured that I would use this spalted wood to make plugs and pulls to accent the oak. The more conservative approach would have been to use the oak dowels I had already purchased at the big box store. They would have looked nice and it would have been much quicker than making my own plugs, etc. So anyway, I had already made the plugs from this spalted wood so I endeavored to make the pulls from it. My fears were however, founded in that the wood was very spongy and “unpredictable”. Having started down the path, I continued.

Pull made from 1/2" spalted wood.

Pull made from 1/2″ spalted wood. Very rough and spongy.


Installed pulls prior to adding the superglue.

Installed pulls prior to adding the superglue.

I used my 1/2″ plug cutter and freed the pieces at the band saw. The plugs were basically impossible to sand effectively and they were almost the consistency of cork. I came up with the idea of applying some thin superglue to see if that would strengthen them a bit. I emptied one of those small tubes into a cup and added a few drops of acetone until the mixture was watery enough to brush on. I started with a disposable pipette but the liquid was very thin and ran everywhere so I opted to brush on the mixture with an acid brush. I was able to be a bit more precise using the brush.

After applying the superglue. Improvement?

After applying the superglue. Improvement? Maybe, at least a bit sturdier.

Well at least the pulls were given a bit of extra strength although they are still pretty very ugly. Perhaps I shall call them “rustic” rather than “ugly”.

Sunday was a pretty easy day. I sanded the carcass and drawers and applied the first coat of poly which I thinned with mineral spirits to wipe on.

Semi-gloss poly, thinned and brushed on then the excess was wiped off.

Semi-gloss poly, thinned and brushed on then the excess was wiped off.

On this build I decided to put one coat inside the carcass and drawers.

On this build I decided to put one coat inside the carcass and drawers.


The chest is coming along. I’ll add a couple more coats of poly to the outside and see what I can do about that one problematic drawer then call it done.

While spending a moment with Susan yesterday I asked her if she wanted to help me paint Alexandra’s book-case. You’ll recall from a previous post that I had made book boxes for Erin (they share a room) and I thought it a brilliant idea to fix and paint the remaining book shelf with the left over paint. Alex was on board with this because wanted a place to display her fossils. Somewhere in the back of my mind it occurred to me that it would be neat to make a display case for Alex’s treasures. Susan suggested that a chest like the one I’m building would be ideal to store and preserve them. Hummmm…. I could build another one….. or I could give her this one which is what I’ve decided to do. Now I have built something for each of my three girls. The only question remaining is what to do about a base for it. I could take the easy way out but I’m thinking I should build something from oak to make a matched set.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

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