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Tool Chest Refurb #21: An Update on Relevance...

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 02-02-2015 06:35 AM 1745 reads 0 times favorited 47 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 20: A Piece of the Puzzle Arrives Part 21 of Tool Chest Refurb series no next part

Okay, time for an honest assesment of where I am with this tool chest. It’s been about 18 months from completion. Pretty much every time I’m in the shop the chest is opened and at least one tool is used for an in-work project. I’ve added various tools that were particularly suited to it as well, such as the #50 plough and knock-down framing square, all making me believe it was becoming more complete, more of a key to my hobbywork. Well, I’m here to tell you it hasn’t happened yet.

I gathered materials with the intent of building a small box to hold a couple of special glasses as a gift.

And I wanted to use the tools in the chest only as the ones that would build the box. All was well when the #7 jointer plane came out and edged all the stock.

The #50 made a quick entrance as well, and didn’t disappoint.

I cut the pieces to length with one of the full-sized panel saws from the sliding till with success, and used the 9” square as well. But as I was working through marking and measuring, there was frustration. I didn’t have my users in the chest. Didn’t have a sharp backsaw inside for dovetailing, either. Or my regular marking knife. And using the the acme folding mitrebox that I had in the chest was a real joke (yeah, it’s been inside, but not anymore). The clincher, though, was not having my full set of chisels in the chest. Long story short, I had to abandon the project and start over with tools from the Roubo Cabinet and not-wall-hung so it’d get done right.

So I’ve bumped (again) into the realization that the chest is not my go-to location for all primary users; those are scattered between three locations and not one.

It was disappointing to know I couldn’t do a basic project with the stuff I’d been assembling for over a year. No more tools buys in the name of the tool chest; time to refine the contents with my users. Especially for the basics. And commit to sharpening the saws and chisels, and cull things from the chest that aren’t truly user tools.

So this is truly a blog entry. It’ll be interesting to see if things change over the next few months. And as always, thanks for looking.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --



47 comments so far

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1375 posts in 1599 days


#1 posted 02-02-2015 07:20 AM

But, you’ve got all the very nice tools you need to craft beautiful work, just not in the chest, And you have the moxy to go to them for you satisfaction of a project.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@outlook.com

View Buckethead's profile

Buckethead

3140 posts in 1336 days


#2 posted 02-02-2015 11:26 AM

Smitty, you’re organized enough that you’ll manage a chest. I remember when you got this beauty, and all the work you put into it. Will we ever have our tools properly organized and each tool exactly where we want it, when we need it? For me that’s doubtful, but you just might achieve tool nirvana!

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Brit's profile

Brit

6735 posts in 2310 days


#3 posted 02-02-2015 12:30 PM

It still looks pretty cool though sitting there beside your bench Smitty.

I don’t think I will ever find myself in your predicament, because although I’ve never tried it, I know for a fact that working out of a tool chest would frustrate the hell out of me so I’m not even going to try it. :o)

-- Andy -- "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." (Michelangelo)

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

6922 posts in 1597 days


#4 posted 02-02-2015 02:05 PM

Amen to that, Andy. I think it’s cool you’re sticking it out Smitty, but my shop experience brings enough frustration to my life – I don’t need to add this to it.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View terryR's profile

terryR

6323 posts in 1776 days


#5 posted 02-02-2015 03:10 PM

Great thoughts, Smitty! Thanks for sharing your shop…I just love to see the hardwood, and gorgeous tools!

Was reading Paul Sellers’ Blog yesterday morn…the ultra minimalist…saw his STACK of toolchests.

I don’t like unlabeled drawers, but multiple toolchests idea may take over my shop. Just not enough space in ONE. :(

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2085 days


#6 posted 02-02-2015 03:58 PM

And if reaching inside one cabinet or another vs. a toolchest is my biggest issue, I’ve really got it bad, right? :-)

Sounds like everyone has a pretty good idea whether or not a traditional english chest would work for them or not. I didn’t think it would be all that for me, but once I had the opportunity to create one I began to think otherwise.

So this blog entry is a continuation of thoughts vetted before on my dance with the form: Committing is not easy at all if you’re not willing to go all-in with daily users. And this blog may be a worthwhile read for those considering building one. My biggest problem with that is the fact I made the Roubo Cabinet and really love it. The drawers are wide, and deep, and organized the way I like them; there’s more stuff in them than the chest would hold, even if I’d take all the planes out of the chest. And if I’d do that (get them all in the chest), I wouldn’t be able to get at each of the tools very quickly; there’d be lots of stacking…

The dull-saw issue is an obvious fix. My #198 and #199 rosewood marking gauges aren’t moving from the bench, so I’ll have to consider a tite-mark for the chest if nothing else will do (I have a strong preference for wheels). The chisel ‘issue’ is interesting, and I don’t have a solution in mind just yet. Likely because everything I’m thinking leads to selling a set of chisels (not easy).

Enough rambling for now, and thanks for the comments!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View terryR's profile

terryR

6323 posts in 1776 days


#7 posted 02-02-2015 04:20 PM

Ahhh…these ramblings are the stuff shops are made of!

How we store these glorious vintage tools is more important than how we store kitchen utensils IMO! LOL. Just don’t tell my wife I said that…

I can already see that all my users won’t EVER fit in one container. I sort of rely on a cart next to the bench with misc tools all over it…cannot break that habit! :(

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View AnthonyReed's profile

AnthonyReed

8743 posts in 1907 days


#8 posted 02-02-2015 05:14 PM

Love reading the thought process. Thank you Smitty.

-- ~Tony

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2085 days


#9 posted 02-02-2015 06:12 PM

Terry, that pic of Sellers’ stack is interesting. Top chest is kinda dutch-like, but with a couple drawers vs. open lower bay. Makes a lot of sense to me. And the middle case is just like my Roubo Cabinet.

Thanks, Tony!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

8131 posts in 1918 days


#10 posted 02-02-2015 07:10 PM

Smitty, my Dutch chest and its basic contents seem to be the minimum tools required (by me) to do a majority of my work; whether traveling or home. I think it will morph into my primary chest and the English chest will hold the less frequently used tools. Up till now everything I used came out of the big chest, when I went to class i’d pile what I needed into a tool bag. Tools were getting dinged and dulled., so I built the Dutch chest with travel in mind. As i’m filling the Dutch I realized it will be my go to tool source and be open most of the time. There are no other tool cabinets, and the tools on the peg board wall are mostly waiting for refurb/restore. So I still see myself primarily working out of a chest. I do have one big advantage over most LJ’s on this thread( relative to choosing tool storage ideas), I started out using a chest. There is no legacy of family workshops in my family so my woodworking habits were acquired by watching you folks, reading magazines, reading blogs and taking classes.

Just my noob two cents worth

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2085 days


#11 posted 02-02-2015 07:58 PM



I do have one big advantage over most LJ s on this thread( relative to choosing tool storage ideas), I started out using a chest. There is no legacy of family workshops in my family so my woodworking habits were acquired by watching you folks, reading magazines, reading blogs and taking classes.

- theoldfart

That’s great insight right there.

Nowhere in the known family history is there a tool chest. I can only see back three generations from myself, mind you, but it’s only been ‘workshops’ or sheds or benches on my dad’s side. So I was not versed in the form until reading ATC. Yeah, Roy has one and talked about them, but even the examples I’ve seen at auctions are barn finds, filled with metal working detrius from farm/shop operations. As in chains, cold chisels, greasy parts, pliers, wrenches and the like.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

8131 posts in 1918 days


#12 posted 02-02-2015 08:09 PM

Smitty, a couple of English style chests have shown up on CL around here and both had woodies in them.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2085 days


#13 posted 02-02-2015 08:23 PM

My part of the country (Southern Illinois) didn’t get much in the way of ‘settlements’ until the mid-1800s, and by the time there was sufficient population to support such crafts as furniture making, the industrial revolution kicked in and mass-produced items were the order of the day. That, to me, explains the lack of woodworking handtools in general in the rural areas around here.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

8131 posts in 1918 days


#14 posted 02-02-2015 08:28 PM

Iv’e heard that the folks from Tool Barn/Liberty like to rust hunt here in MA because of all the pattern makers. Patrick Leach also is from here and I assume does a little local hunting as well.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1643 posts in 1739 days


#15 posted 02-03-2015 08:09 PM

Smitty,
As always, news from your corner of the world is interesting, enlightening and entertaining.
If you were to load this chest into your buckboard, or pick-up, and travel to a work-site 5-7 days a week, that in it’s self would be the incentive to get just the ‘users’ organized and fit into this chest, or chests, which ever the case might be.
Personally, I find working from a single chest in the shop at least, a little more than cumbersome.
(i.e. Band-Aids on 3 fingers and the thumb of my right hand, but still doable.) ;-)

I realize that is not what your challenge was all about. Kudos to your fortitude and thanks for taking us along and keeping us posted on your Journey.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

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