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Forum topic by Ethan Sincox posted 01-03-2007 07:04 AM 1801 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2839 days


01-03-2007 07:04 AM

I hate making New Year resolutions… so this isn’t one of them. But I desperately need to come up with some way of organizing my smaller woodworking tools, from 6” rules to marking knives to my smaller planes, like my bull nose plane and my block plane, to my palm carving chisels.

For the most part, the tools I’m using on a project end up on the right side of my bench, which is against a wall, so I was thinking something about 24” to 30” wide and maybe 15” or so tall, probably all drawers. I don’t mind if it takes up a bit of space at that end of the bench; it is always cluttered with those tools, anyway.

I was wondering if anyone had any ideas…

Ok, that’s not totally true. I obviously have an idea of what I want, don’t I? I think an hour or two at my drawing pad would produce a pretty good design of what I want.

But I thought I might try to get a concensus. Do I spend the time, effort, and lumber to make something out of solid wood and really work on the joinery to make it a worth while project? Or do I use plywood, glues, and screws and make something useable (and quite a bit faster)?

The artisan in me screams for the former; my shop is crying out for the latter…

Incidently, the OCD part of me doesn’t care what I do, as long as I get to line all of the drawers with protective felt and make small dividers for each drawer and spend much more time than I should laying all the tools in just the right order… damn OCD. It’s a love/hate relationship.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com


24 replies so far

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2976 days


#1 posted 01-03-2007 07:47 AM

I’m not sure what to suggest. Personally, if I had a son/daughter that may someday continue woodworking, I would build it out of solid wood with dovetails or finger joints. Something that would be treasured by them, left by their father, a part of myself that can continue to inspire their woodworking and serve them for many years or maybe even the grandchildren. Otherwise, build it out of 3/4 plywood…simple construction…utilitarian style…get the storage out of the way and get back to building something more pleasing to you.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2965 days


#2 posted 01-03-2007 02:29 PM

I think whatever way you build it, I’m sure your children would appreciate it.

Sometimes I think my workbench should be smaller, so there wouldn’t be enough room to pile my tools.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1996 posts in 3071 days


#3 posted 01-03-2007 04:12 PM

I must confess, when I build something for my shop like you are needing, I do it as fast as I can, make it completely functional, and use scrap material from MDF to walnut. Even the hinges aren’t always a match, nor the type of screws I use, nor do I fill the nail holes. I do feel there will come a day when I will have the time to make something to leave behind for my kids to use, when I am finished with it. I really hate to leave them a tool box made of MDF.

I saw a wonderful tool cabinet built by Marc Adams for his class room at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking south of Indianapolis. I will try to find a photo of it and post it here. It was fairly simple, yet beautiful, and sounds like it would hold all of the things you described.

thanks for your question,
Mark

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View Don's profile

Don

2600 posts in 2842 days


#4 posted 01-04-2007 02:32 AM

Ethan, there are free plans available for a great wall cabinet (I think it would be easy to adapt to a free standing cabinet) on the Taunton’s Fine Woodworking web site. This is a subscription based site, but well worth the money to serious woodworkers. Come to think of it you may already be a subscriber.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2980 days


#5 posted 01-04-2007 02:57 AM

Do both…My bench is a prefinished fake maple box, real maple face with a 3/8 roundover. I was taught that form follows function. My Grandfathers shop had all the OCD details but he never used it. It was his retreat. (everything in its place) I’d save the handcut dovetails for a handmedown but still do a nice job for my bench. In my case I also need to remember I’m often at my bench for 8 hours, so it should be a pleasant space.

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2839 days


#6 posted 01-04-2007 03:32 AM

Oh, the bench is already there and not really anything I’d call “heirloom” quality. I might even leave it in the place when we move – I did size it to fit in a “niche” by the entrance to the condo that would not affect parking in the garage in any way. That will give me the perfect excuse to build a new bench geared more towards woodworking when I’m in my new shop (wherever and whenever that may be…).

I’m not one to quickly call things coincidence… I believe more in karma and fate.

FOR EXAMPLE

Today in the mail, I received a trial issue of Woodsmith magazine. I’m not sure if I’ll actually subscribe to it (I already get Fine Woodworking and one or two others – I can almost hear the wife now… “Another woodworking magazine?”), but I’ll be dang-diddly-danged if I didn’t open it up to the Table of Contents and see a picture of a “Fine Tool Chest” made out of oak and maple on page 42. Anyone else who got that issue can look and you’ll see pretty much exactly what I’d pictured in my mind’s eye.

It is designed to sit on top of the larger tool chest project on an earlier page. It is almost the exact dimensions of what I mentioned in my first post, and seeing it laid out that way is very appealing to me! The dimensions are 29 3/8” long by 9 3/8” high by 14 1/6” deep.

It has two full-length drawers on the bottom and then three smaller 1/3 length drawers on the top level. I might design in another drawer (a new bottom drawer) and add another 5” to the height (the combined height of the two full-length drawers).

It is all 1/2” oak, except for the drawer sides and back, which are 1/2” maple, and the drawer bottoms, which are 1/4” oak ply. I think I might just have some oak for this project… :) Believe it or not, I actually don’t think I have the maple in my shop, but I’ll just hit up my wood pimp for a board or two when I have him plane down some of my reclaimed white oak from the old farm house. I won’t need much.

I’ll draw up some dimensional designs and see how the proportions look on it before I decide to go with the additional drawer, but I think it would look good.

Nothing like a little bit of good fortune to put a spring in your step!

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 2992 days


#7 posted 01-04-2007 04:32 AM

That is a nice looking toolbox. I picked up the issue myself. Not sure If I’ll make the same toolbox, soon, but perhaps someday I would like a nice home for my “good” hand tools. Partly for storage, partly for heirloom, but mostly to keep them out of sight when I’m looking for something to pry open a can, dig out a nail, or something equally inappropriate.

I’m with Dennis and Mark, Make something Nice when you can, but also nothing wrong with cobbling things together out of scraps and leftover bits of ply or whatever.

I have “counters” (for lack of a better word) made out of half doors, and a 4 sided rolling cabinet made out of reclaimed ply. Isn’t hideous, and it gets the job done. I also had a behemouth work bench, that would have stayed with the house if/when we move so I can make a proper one, but I dismantled it to make a couple smaller work tables. The good thing about the quick and dirty approach is that there is no prob with adding on, or scrapping and starting over when needs change.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Don's profile

Don

2600 posts in 2842 days


#8 posted 01-04-2007 04:37 AM

I have an old accordion case mounted on a wall in my shop in which I keep my routers.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

View Philip Edwards's profile

Philip Edwards

244 posts in 3104 days


#9 posted 01-04-2007 08:48 AM

Ethan
Make a “good” one! You only have to make it once and you’ll have it for ever.
I’ve been agonizing over my tool storage and have built (well, i’m 2/3 of the way through) a stacking tool case from solid walnut. It looks good and I’ll look after it. It also gives a good feeling every time I go for a tool.
My tool chest is here.
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/205
and my saw till here..
http://www.philsville.co.uk/saw_till.htm

Hope this helps
Phil

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2839 days


#10 posted 01-04-2007 03:42 PM

Phil,

Thanks for the good, sound advice! I’d ask what your cutting list was, but… I’m afraid it would come back to me in metric! ha! I think I can come up with my own dimensions, though…

I guess you’d posted your tool chest just a few weeks before I’d joined and I’ve so far not had the time to go back through all of the posted projects, so… that’s probably why I’d missed it.

I think you’re right. Spend the effort to make it right the first time and I won’t have to make another one.

Funny – that’s the philosophy I use with tool purchases (buy the one you need/the better quality/whatever the first time and you won’t have to repeat the purchase, which usually seems to cost more in time and money in the long run…). Why don’t I always apply that to my woodworking projects?

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2839 days


#11 posted 01-08-2007 09:43 PM

Hey, Scott, I just realized something. The Woodsmith magazine I received in the mail was not the most recent issue! I was on the Shopnotes website and linked over to Woodsmith where it showed a picture of the current issue. That is a totally different Craftsman Tool Chest! So after work I’m going to go pick up that issue, as well…

Incidently, the plans for the fine tool chest shown in the issue I received (it isn’t dated or numbered, so maybe this issue is one created specifically as the “trial” issue?) are available at plansnow.com.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2826 days


#12 posted 01-08-2007 09:52 PM

devil’s advocate: weren’t you fighting against the ol’ “good ENOUGH” vs “that’s good” quality?
Or does that only go for projects outside of the shop?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2839 days


#13 posted 01-08-2007 10:14 PM

That very topic was under discussion by the committee (those little voices carrying on the argument in my head) by about the third or fourth comment to this thread.

Initially, I’d separated the two. Why waste precious shop time on something as plain as a shop jig or storage device? And then after the suggestions to build one right the first time, I started thinking back to some of the “show and tell” projects woodworkers brought in to our monthly guild meetings. Some jigs were well-made, to the point of being sanded, having the corners knocked off, and even a finish applied to protect them. These jigs seemed sturdy and stable and like they would last many years. Other jigs and fixtures were made with less care and attention to detail. They often felt like they were barely adequate to even perform their function as a jig once, much less time after time, the way a jig should.

One thing I noticed is that the shop jigs and fixtures made by the woodworkers I want to emulate are just as well thought out and crafted as the pieces they make for gifts and for sale.

When I see shop jigs that are poorly made (or at least given very little attention), the people who made these jigs often paid just as little attention to detail on their finished projects.

So this whole discussion has changed my views on that topic, Debbie. I’ve reached a turning point and will forever try to achieve a quality finished project every time, whether it is a piece for the shop or a piece for someone else.

If I’m going to do it, I’m going to take the time to do it the best I can.

Thanks for playing the DA, though. I hadn’t mentioned that decision yet and probably wouldn’t have thought of it had you not said something.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2965 days


#14 posted 01-08-2007 10:34 PM

I use a bucket buddy a lot, you know the kind that fits in a 5 gallon bucket. I’m always carrying different tools back, & forth to the lake. I put them away in the winter though, sometimes.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 2992 days


#15 posted 01-11-2007 07:14 AM

I just recieved that Trial issue (again?) as well… and having seen that, I was wondering if that was the toolbox you were talking about… Perhaps we should make both, and stack them.

I think there was an article or interview in Woodwork a few issues back, where the woodworker made much of his shop storage, sawhorses, etc… with good materials, and with care going into their assembly, that way he could more easily show potential clients the difference between certain joints and so on. Having raised panel, shaker, victorian and other style doors on a cabinet may make for a distracting piece, but if it helps a customer to visualize something, then the value of the piece is at least two-fold. (without the need to give up shop space to samples).

I guess I’m on the fence, and could be argued either way (and back again). Currently most of my shop storage seems hodge-podge and thrown together. I’d like to have nicer things, and I imagine that overtime (as needs evolve, and I pick up skills) that the quality of my surroundings will grow to reflect the quality of my work. (or at least the livable areas of my house will!)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

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