You’ll need a place to keep your tools in some kind of order, and you’ll have to decide what works best for you given your space and resources, and that will likely change over time. You could keep your tools in a chest adjacent to your bench, and provided that those tools are readily accessible as some chest designs will permit, this can work out fine. This type of chest has proven versatile for me over the years.
Earlier in my career I needed to keep mobile, so a chest was a useful project to undertake. I had inherited a short plank stool from my great-grandfather that was just the right size to hold a chest at the left end of my bench; so I set out to find a design. The price of the lumber wasn’t too bad, but the hardware added up, and is something to consider when you plan your own project. I remember being quite surprised by the cost of the flush mount ring-pulls for the tills…at any rate, always have your hardware in hand when beginning a project; lumber of some sort may usually be found but certain hardware may need some tracking down, especially if you’re trying to save money.
Even though my chest would be built around the tools that it would contain, I wanted a well proportioned tool chest, like a cabinet maker would have had back in the day, with sliding tills. So, around 1993 I bought some very nice pine and built my first proper tool chest, based on a plan from an agricultural manual my brother had lent me: “Farm Shop Work” by Brace and Mayne (the plan used is at the top of this page). The photos that follow show the result of my undertaking, a chest that has lived through many adventures as a faithful companion.
I have considered offering this traditional tool chest as a one-on-one class. The project includes a number of useful techniques; dovetailing, mortise and tenon, fitting hinges, locks and handles, layout and design around specific tools…so Contact me if you are interested and we can discuss the idea.