An Odd Antique Tool Chest

I spent a little time in a local antique store the other day, a couple of molding planes followed me home, and a plow plane (Finally!!) But that is a story for another day.

The Antique Mall has three floors in a huge building in downtown LaCrosse, and the first and second floors see the most action. The basement level is full of antiques as well but when you are down there it is quieter and you see less people following through. Off in a corner of the basement I found this awesome old custom made tool chest.

Apologies for the pics not being up to my usual quality but I found myself with only my cell phone to snap some shots.

The brass work and the decorative nail head accents are incredible. It's obvious someone put a lot of time and love into creating this shrine for their tools.

There is a machinists precision to the construction here. I'm a little in awe of it.

I pulled a #5 off a nearby shelf to set on top of the chest to give a little size perspective. It's a much smaller chest compared to my full sized tool chest but its a good size for a traveling chest.

In the end what I think drew me to this chest was how the nail work reminded me of a several medieval chests I've seen in the many books and pictures I've studied. Chests like this one.

The inside the chest was made up very specialized. I'm not sure where the tools are. The specimens in the booth didn't seem like they had come from the chest. It kind of makes me sad to think that this shrine had been separated from it's children.

 Custom sized strapping, I'm thinking for chisels, screwdrivers and the like.

Another interesting feature is the trays that slide to side. To save space (I assume) the dividers were formed from sheet metal.

 Three sliding trays total, and a sliding section of wood smaller than the trays, I assume to act as a shelf or cover.

I carefully pulled out the trays as I investigated my my into the chest. Very fascinating. I'm not looking for an excuse to build another chest, I'm happy with the one I have going, but going through the process of building my own has given me a big appreciation for the work that went into this one.

Ratione et Passionis


  1. Just curious, if you don't mind, and no problem if you do, but what were they asking for an item like that?

    1. They were asking $1200 for it.... I'm undecided how I feel about that price, but it's incredibly interesting.

  2. In view of the construction, I wonder if it housed tools for one of the metalworking trades.

    1. That is very close to my first gut feeling. I was thinking something like a pattern maker's tool chest.


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