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Thread: Old tool chest plan sleuthing and the holy grail

  1. #1
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    Old tool chest plan sleuthing and the holy grail

    I have gotten into my head the desire to build a large woodworking-oriented Gerstner style chest based on an old woodworking plan drawn up in the early 1980s. Yes - I know there are lots of other plans out there but they appear quite simplified and don't have the features I am looking for. And - frankly - half the fun is going to be digging up these plans like an archeologist. In the process of trying to find these plans, I've run into some roadblocks and hope that another woodworking plan sleuth has been down these roads before.

    The plan I am looking for is called "Large Craftsman Toolchest and Base #128" and was drawn by a company entitled "Morrison Originals" which was based in Detroit during the 1980s but appears to either be long defunct or has moved into some other business with another name. I can't find much about Morrison Originals other than at one point they drew up plans for furniture. At one point they had a #130 (which was a large tool cabinet) and a #128 (which was a mechanics style chest with a base). The only thing I can find other than a few blurry pictures of draftsman paper is an eBay auction (long defunct) for the #130 plan and a few photos of finished products built off the plans. I was able to find some old advertisements for these plans from the Morrison company in old copies of American Woodworker:




    The plot thickens. At one point, this exact plan was sold by a company catering to airplane builders and modelers called Aircraft Spruce which has a web presence. The Aircraft Spruce website in the united states does not list the plans any longer (for at least a year). However, their European website does list them ( https://www.aircraftspruce.eu/craftsman-wood-tool-chest-plns.htm). It does say "quantity unknown." Bingo. BUT.....they will not ship them to the United States. I can get the shipped to Iceland or Montenegro or Guam (maybe not Guam) but not to the USA. I'm assuming this has to be some sort of copyright issue but its odd since the original company appears to be defunct and Aircraft Spruce definitely sold them in the USA more than a year ago.


    So. Does anyone have any info concerning this Morrison Originals company such as some sort of a plan depository, another company selling their intellectual property and plans, or something else? I am beginning to feel like these plans are the equivalent to the holy grail - hidden in antiquity only to be found someday in a dusty attic box and resurrected.

    Any assistance would be most appreciated as I appear to be at a dead end. Or perhaps someone has a friend in Iceland who would serve as a routing stop....

    Rick
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    Last edited by Richard Link; 10-15-2020 at 4:06 PM.
    Richard Link

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  2. #2
    It is listed in the Aircraft Spruce US catalog, look at page 833 here: https://www.aircraftspruce.com/pdf/index.html

    You might call or email them. Their e-commerce site may not be completely comprehensive.

    Tim
    Last edited by Timothy Orr; 10-17-2020 at 9:17 PM.

  3. #3
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    Rick, if you can't find exactly what you are looking for and decide to draw it up yourself, I do have what appears to be the original Gerstner boxes that the plan copies, happy to help with some pics or measurements. It's a really nice machinist box, you'll love having one. Their construction technique is actually not that complicated. I think the hardest part of building one would be finding the hardware.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Rozmiarek View Post
    ... Their construction technique is actually not that complicated. ...
    Someone had a Gerstner factory tour video that show much of the construction. (Garrett-Wade, Highland, ...? I don't remember, but I bet a search would find the video.)

    It was surprisingly simple, but executed with a lot of custom fitting to keep the final project nice and tight.

  5. #5
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    old woodworking plan drawn up in the early 1980s I resent the use of "old" with the 1980s. We had two kids by 1980! At least you didn't say vintage! LOL

  6. #6
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    Thanks Tim. They are closed on Sundays but I will try to call them tomorrow. In today's age, its funny to have a company that doesn't take orders 24/7 and who has a catalog more comprehensive than their web presence but I think it makes me like them even more...

    Rick
    Richard Link

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  7. #7
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    Thanks Steve. Appreciate the offer. If the plans aren't available when I call, I may just have to start from scratch and design something from the ground up.

    Rick
    Richard Link

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  8. #8
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    Thanks David. I've seen several of those types of tours and would agree that we aren't talking about clean rooms and rocket science at all. Obviously they do a lot of the dadoing, grooving and cutting out of parts using CNC these days. I love how old school their factory seems otherwise though. My interest in plans is more about a starting point for sizes and proportions, I guess. Not really trying to reverse engineer a Gerstner box - after all I could buy an inexpensive Gerstner international version and do that. Just trying to save some time and effort and I like the idea of building something based on a "classic" drawing.
    Richard Link

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  9. #9
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    Point well taken! Of course, "Vintage" is all the rage these days...
    Richard Link

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  10. #10
    Hey Rick,

    Any luck? I've also always wanted to build a machinist chest so was interested to see if you were able to find the plans.

    Tim

  11. #11
    Rick,
    I realize you've done a lot of digging already, so I dont know if this will help. But I did a search on the address in the ad: 784 Marlborough St, Detroit , 48215-2949. It **looks like** a Glenn Morrison lives there now or lived there recently. If you havent already, maybe you could send a letter to that address just to see if he really is still there or if he left a forwarding address?

    Here's what came up:
    "Glen E Morrison Sr.
    Owner of (313) 824-4935
    Age 70s"

    Good luck in your sleuthing!
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

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