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Before the era of mass production, an apprentice woodworker was required to build a tool chest as part of his advanced training. This meticulously constructed chest not only protected valuable tools -- the source of his livelihood -- but testified to the builder's skill as a woodworker.

This do-it-yourself version combines that tradition of craftsmanship with the convenience of a mechanic's-style tool chest. The project features 13 felt-lined drawers topped by a large storage compartment, providing plenty of room to keep tools organized, protected and within easy reach. Details such as rubber feet and brass hardware add to its durability and enhance the chest's classic appeal.

Even if you're not a master craftsman, the project is inexpensive and easy to build. It requires just two sheets of plywood, a small piece of standard lumber, brass hardware, felt, rubber feet, nails, glue and finish.

Although the chest requires precise measurements and cuts in order for the drawers to fit properly, actual construction is simple.

To build, lay out and cut out the pieces, assemble the drawers, assemble the chest and add hardware and finish of choice.

The completed tool chest measures 24 inches long by 20 inches tall by 12 inches deep.

The Precision Tool Chest plan, No. 788, is $9.95 and includes step-by-step instructions with photos, construction diagrams and a complete shopping list and cutting schedule.

Create a companion piece for the precision tool chest with a woodworking bench plan, No. 866, for $9.95. A catalog picturing hundreds of do-it-yourself projects is $2. Include $3 for postage and handling (except catalog-only orders) and allow about two weeks for delivery.

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