A Dutch Tool Chest

During the days at the Batavia Shipyard it became clear to me that I want two new toolboxes, destined for the re-enactment events.

The reason is that some of my tools are simply too dear to me to expose them to the risks of the road (like my Nooitgedagt chisels) and being handled by the public (at their own risk). But also because they are not all that period-correct.

Last reason is that getting everything together every time becomes somewhat of a drag. A ready-to-roll tool chest is much more practical.

Why would you make two chests?

Because my re-enactment activities cover two time periods: the late middle ages/renaissance and early middle ages/viking age. Also the activities in both periods are quite different. For t renaissance I need a specialized tools for a luthier. For the viking age this is much more general. Also the shape of tools in both time frames is different. And last but not least; a viking with a renaissance tool chest looks like Adolf Hitler with an Iphone. It’s just a weird sight.

What to make?

For the viking age I want to make a slightly smaller version of the  “Mastermyr-Chest”. A bit like the viking chests I made for the Dorestad museum.


For the renaissance chest I have got a couple of options, but the so-called “Dutch Tool Chest” is most practical.

The Dutch Tool Chest

I first came across this type of chest on Christopher Schwartz’s Lost Art Press-blog and in his article for Popular Woodworking. Only none of the articles clearly states what is so typically “Dutch” about them. Perhaps because they are cheaper to make than English or “Anarchist” tool chests?

As all my re-enactment materials these chests will be made on a budget, from left-over materials and in  spare time.

It started with a design: what tools do I need to fit in the box, and at what size is it still transportable. Because of lack of a drivers license, I travel to a lot of events by bus and train. So it needs to fit on a lorry, along with a selection of lutes and guitars.

The result is this small table top version of the chest.


The chest will be filled with home-grown reconstructions of historical tools. Check it out at one of the medieval and renaissance re-enactment events we will attend…

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This entry was posted in Projects, Re-enactment, Tools, Uncategorized, Woodworking, Workshop and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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