Laying out the sides of the Dutch Tool Chest “By Hand & Eye”

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Techniques | 0 comments

Last week when I was getting ready for Old Thresher’s Reunion I made a mental note to use the shop’s miter saw to make a 30-60-90 triangle out of some scrap ply to use as a marking jig or batten to saw the sides of the chest at 30 degrees. I lost track of that note and found myself without a jig or a protractor to layout the sides.

My recent read of “By Hand & Eye” came to mind and gave me a simple, dependable method to accomplish the layout.

Measure the distance from the square bottom edge to the top of the side.


Mark a square line from the back edge at least as far as you can spread your biggest pair of dividers or compass.


Use your dividers to scribe, or your compass to mark a 90 degree arc from the line to the back edge of the tool chest.


Adjust the dividers to approximately one third of length of the arc and step it along the arc.




If you over-shoot, simply adjust the compass by about one third of the amount you over-shot. If you came up short add about a third. Re-step the dividers and adjust as necessary until your last step hits the back edge of the board. You’ve successfully divided 90 degrees into three equal parts. Go back to the line, make one step and you’ve got 30 degrees.


All you have left to do is extend a line from your first mark through the point you just found and you’ve got a 30 degree line to cut.


Enjoy your tool chest!

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