Friday, August 15, 2014

Enzian Blue

Gentiana acaulis
The Frau and I thoroughly enjoy hiking in the German Alps.  Every once in a while, we are presented with a treat:  wild Gentian, or Enzian, as the locals call them.  Last year we hit the jackpot, and found so many on the hikes we did, I tired of taking photos of them.  Usually, they are a fairly rare sight.

Does this have anything to do with woodworking?  No.  Not really.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about an upcoming cooperative chair build (more on this later), and during my downtime in the shop, I became a bad anarchist, and started buying chair making tools like crazy.

Since I am travelling to make the chair, I need a travelling tool chest to keep them in.

I needed something lightweight, and quick to build.  The quick to build requirement reminded me of the chest that Richard McGuire from the English Woodworker.  He was in the same need when he designed his.  Since he went through the bother of designing it, that saves me a bit of time, too!

I happened to have some nice wide bits of laminated, wrapped in plastic paulownia (Paulownia tomentosa) boards.  This, I have determined, is the ultimate quick and dirty project wood.

Paulownia isn't the strongest of woods, but it is indeed wood, so automatically it is better than MDF in my book.  One huge advantage for this wood in a travelling tool chest is that it is only about half the weight of pine!

Enough blabber, here are some photos of my new chest:

Waiting for the paint to dry.
I think it turned out OK.

I have very little experience with clinched nails.  I found them fun!
My neighbors less so, I'm sure.
I just winged the dimensions.  This chest is about 24" wide, 15" deep, and about 12" tall.  No glue, only nails.  But, I suspect these clinched nails will hold up better than the paulownia.

This is a great project to do with a limited tool kit, such as my Beginner's Tool Kit.  If you'd like to see Richard's video on how to build this chest, go here.

If you are wondering, I painted the chest with some off the rack 2 in 1 paint from the local Borg.  2 in 1 paint is great, because it covers in one coat, and needs no primer.  I might try it on my ATC, which is still waiting for me to decide to paint it.

The color:  Enzian Blue.


  1. Brian,
    The chest looks great. Will it get handles or wheels for transport?

    1. Hi Dyami,

      The thought for both has crossed my mind. I hope that it doesn't fill up with so many tools that I'll need wheels on it. Plus, that might make it harder to get in my hatchback. Handles might be a good idea, but I thought without might motivate me to carry it by the bottom, which might make me feel better with the nailed on bottom.

  2. Cool looking chest, I can't wait to see it in real life, filled to the brim with chair building tools.

  3. Those flowers are so beautiful. The color is eye-catching. painting your tool chest the same color is good thinking! How are you doing, son? Haven't heard from you in ages. Miss you lots. Call us one of these days. Love you.

    1. I've tried to call several times. I keep getting the state in which you just left!