Part 7: Filling the guts of your Dutch Tool Chest-Spacer and drawers

The last few items to deck out the tool chest are optional. And fortunately, they aren’t nearly as difficult to position and dimension.

Top-section Fixture: pencil holder/spacer
The plane divider lattice for the jointer includes a large gap in front of it. So to fill this space, and to keep the plane from sliding back and forth like a dinner bowl in the galley of a ship in high seas, I made a spacer. But rather than simply cutting a piece of ½” thick stock for it, and wasting the space, I decided to make a holder for pens, tweezers brushes and such.


I used left over ½” poplar stock put together with butt joints, screws and glue.

Middle-section drawers
There’s just too much stuff to pitch into the chest with any hope of it being even a smidgeon organized. So I decided to add three drawers.


I used poplar for the sides except for the ends of the small drawer on the lower left. For that I used some reclaimed oak for the front and back. All the boxes are joined with dovetails and have a plywood bottom. Each is 10 ½” deep so as not to interfere with the fall front locks nor battens. The finger holes are 7/8” in diameter and allow me to retrieve each drawer without relying on hardware that would get in the way.

The top drawer is for auger bits, drill bits, my brace and a few other sundry items. It measures 25 3/8” wide x 10 ½” deep 2 ½” high. For drawer slides, I used two ¾” x ¾” hardwood pieces 10 1/8” long. They need to be that short so as not to interfere with the fall front catches.


The top drawer includes an auger bit holder accessory.


Coming up with spacing and dimensions was very time consuming. So to give you a time-saving starting place, here are the plans I settled on.


It allows for compact storage while giving me sufficient space between bits for my fingers to grasp and retrieve each one.

The bit storage holder measures 12 7/8” wide x 6 ½” deep x ¼” thick. After laying out a centerline, I cut 3/8 holes at each spacing interval. Then I ripped the piece in half to get mirrored pieces. I ended up putting in my prototype. It uses butt joints reinforced with glue and screws. When I go back to create a permanent one, I’ll join the pieces with tiny dovetails.

The lower-left drawer is intended to house layout tools. So when I need to lay out a project I can remove only it. It measures 5 ¾” wide x 10 ½” deep by 2 ½” high.


The lower-middle drawer is for other items like hammers, files and such. It measures 14 1/8” wide x 10 ½” deep x 2 ½” high.


I left the configuration of the lower bottom section open to accommodate the rest of the tools I’ll need on the road.


I may add dividers at some point to separate joinery planes, but I want to use the chest for a while to see if this is even necessary. Florida, here we come!


I hope that my Dutch tool chest series helps you slash the time it takes you to finish yours. I also hope that you’ve gotten some good ideas about how you want to configure it.

There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Just the way that works for you. So with that in mind, I invite you to share pictures of how you decked out your own Dutch tool chest.

© 2014, Brad Chittim, all rights reserved.


About The Write Biz

By day, I'm a mild-mannered copywriter who harnesses frontal-lobe creativity (right brain) to help B2B marketers generate leads and sales. By night I pick up hand tools to create wooden masterpieces...and give my black lab Bella the "red dot" laser to chase after.
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4 Responses to Part 7: Filling the guts of your Dutch Tool Chest-Spacer and drawers

  1. forbeskm says:

    I like the drill bit holder as mine are without a box and that is just not right.

  2. I like segregating the bits to make them easier to access. Alternatively, I would want a bit roll. But to get one at a decent price that fits the bits, I’ll have to enlist the sowing skills of a neighbor

  3. Peter Zimmer says:

    Brad, thank you for this series! It’s extremely helpful, due to the clarity of description and rational.

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