Machinist Chest with Tools, American, c. 1880

Made in 1/8th scale by Wm. R. Robertson, 2012

 

I’ve been fascinated by machinist’s chests since the first time I saw one. Wonderful, warm, wooden chests of drawers filled with strange, precise, and unusually-shaped, finely-made tools. I chose a larger scale, that of 1/8th opposed to the more common scale of 1/12th, for the size of this miniature.  That way I could capture the fine details such as the engraved lines on the rules.  

 

The six chests were made of mopane, an African wood that looks like a miniature version of mahogany, or cherry. Pear wood was used as the secondary wood on the interior and ebony for the moldings. Hinges, handles and knobs are made in a shield shaped pattern. The lock works and is made from brass and steel. Inside the lid I pasted a scaled down version of a trade card from the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, a decimal equivalents chart and photos of loved ones. That is a photo of my teenaged grandmother and aunt—two girls who would never expect to have their image on the inside of a tool chest.

 

The chest is filled with miniature tools copied from originals I have collected. They’re listed in the captions below, often shown next to the full sized original.

 

Someday I hope to copy in miniature the wonderful Eastlake-style chest I use on my workbench.

Looking down into the chest with 2 sliding trays and the drawer open

This chest is only 2 5/8" wide

Two chests, mopane and cherry sitting on machinist's rules or scales

Escutcheon plates are shield shaped and the chest, drawers and trays are dovetailed

Chest with set of tools

6 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale, 2

Tools fitted into place

8 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Viewing from an angle

10 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

The tools shown on stamp for comparison of size

11

Inside and outside calipers, note the ogee curve on each leg

12 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Drill gauge with engraved fractions

13 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Wire gauge with engraved eagle and sizes

14 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

The smallest slots are .002"

15 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Screwdriver with octagon shaped ebony handle and onion dome ferrule

16

Machinist's scraper

17 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Set of 3 graduated screwdrivers with hexagon shaped handles

18

Files mounted in handles

19

Brass hack saw

20

Square shaft blade adjuster and wing nut, blade has 100+ teeth to the inch

21 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Machinist's squares with riveted handles

22 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Brown & Sharpe sliding protractor

23

Stamping numbers on a greatly enlarged magnesium plate for engraving

24

Engraving the protractor graduations on a reducing pantograph, a Deckel model GO made in 1928

25

These are then sawn out with a jewelers saw

22 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Finished protractors, the knurled knots have 0.7 mm threads

27 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Rules are engraved the same way

28 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Rules laying on a mirror, both sides are engraved and line up

29 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Forged scribes with twisted hand grips

30 Making 1_8th scale Machinist Chest

Brass and steel depth gauge

31

Milled brass depth gauge bodies being drilled and tapped for 0.6 mm thread

32 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Marking gauge

33

Surface gauge

34 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Cold and Cape chisels, center punches and a pin punch

35

Riveting and brass "no-dent" hammers

36 1880 Machinist's Chest, 1_8th scale,

Notice the flame pattern in the wood grain and how it shows on the hammer handle

37

Machinist's Jacks