Antique Tool Chest

This is by far the oldest reader’s project we’ve had submitted (more accurately, ancestor of reader’s project), but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Its longevity is a true compliment to its maker.

My great-grandfather was a finish carpenter for a company that made huge riverboats. He specialty was doing the fine trim work in the Captain’s quarters. He built this tool chest around 1870 and is 36″ x 22″ x 18″ and is made out of just six pieces of cherry. When I got it, I thought it had been painted as it was mostly black and my intention at that time was to just clean it up and repaint it. When I discovered what was underneath the dirt and the stains, I refinished it to what you now see. It is a treasured piece of furniture in our living room.

- Kent A Russell; Middletown, Indiana

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Matt Becker
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tool chest

tool chest 1

tool chest

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5 thoughts on “Antique Tool Chest

  1. What a great tool chest and the tools top it off! I’m sure you treasure this chest. We relcaimed my wife’s grandfather’s tool chest from the farm “smokehouse.” Though 18″ tall and 36″ long, it too is built of solid boards. She treasures all her family finds from the “smokehouse.” Thanks for posting this pic for the rest of us to enjoy.

  2. I have a similar chest which is currently painted black – and appears to have been painted for many years – perhaps back to when it was first made. I would prefer to have it stripped down to the wood for the appearance of it but I am wondering if there is any value to leaving it in what may have been its original painted condition.

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