I don't much like lid stays. They take up too much room, look contrived, and force you to compromise the design of your chest. I've never seen one I like, or one that works well. The best lid stay in my opinion is the wall behind your (tool) chest, but what if you can't put your chest against the wall?
But before you assume my opinion has any value, I should say that I don't have any experience working from a tool chest, only building chests for home use, but my opinion about stays applies to tool chests as well, I would imagine.
So I got thinking, what about a stay that holds the lid open, but also keeps it from shutting? So, not a chain, not a wooden stop at the back of the lid, not a gas-shock-encrusted whoopty-do from Rockler, but simply a stick that engages both the lid and carcase and immobilizes the lid.
Here's what I came up with. I made it with materials and tools that anyone can get locally.
To make the stay look hand-forged, I did a little hand forgery. First I needed to drill the two holes on the ends.
The hole is 15/64", which is a tad smaller than the shaft of the 1/4" rivet.
A bit of work at the 1" belt grinder, along with some files established the shape of the end.
I decided to try my hand at some fancy file work. This is really fun stuff. A bit tricky keeping the two sides symmetrical though.
After I fancified the other end, I took a bastard file to the faces to get rid of the mill finish and make it look more "natural".
Then I whacked the steel with a hammer to mimic the look of a hand-wrought piece. Finally, I went over the whole thing with a wire wheel to blend it all in and ease any sharp edges.
I chamfered the rivets to ease their entry in the hole.
Then to make it all look hand-wrought I filed the head of the rivet and whacked it with a hammer.
Another minute on the wire wheel, followed up by a couple coats of gun blue and some wax made it look like this.
I cut the bronze bearings in half to get two per piece (they ended up about 3/8" long.) The batten for the chest lid gets drilled to accept the bearing. This keeps the stay pin from wallowing out the hole over time. I glued it in with a bit of CA.
Did the same to the carcase.