Saturday, March 14, 2015

Working from a tool chest and next projects

Besides my main Snap-On tool chest, I have numerous tool boxes spread around both shops and house. Some contain dedicated equipment like for plumbing or drywall, tiling etc. Some are my travelling tool kits such as my carving tool kit

My travelling carving tool kit. 
The spring clamps holder on top is awaiting its turn to go up on the wall.

After reading Chris's the Anarchist Tool Chest (ATC), I tried fitting into my small antique chest.

Problem has been, I cannot fit in everything I think I need. Of course the what I need is where it is the most difficult to come to grip, especially when you have so many choices :-)
So I started compiling from various sources, THE minimum tool list, from Charles Hayward to various modern woodworkers and of course from whomever published such a list on the web.

The results were interesting, although basically the same tools came up often, there was some variations in sizes, for chisels, saws etc.

Armed with this new knowledge and my own quirky ways to work, I came up with my own list of Must have (actually, quite a few revisions of it). No matter what, it would not fit into that chest.
The biggest limitation come from the length of this chest 27 in long. That means that the till interior would only accommodated small panel saws and up to a Stanley No 7 (No 8 fit but it is a pain to get in/out)

So I thought, no problem, I simply have to make up some holder to put, you guessed it, in arm length of my bench. That would contain only the most essentials used most of the time regardless of activities. Essentially layout and marking tools, a few chisels, Bevel and Mortise, 2 Mallets, 2 Backsaws, Dovetail and Crosscut, and my all time favorite Knife: German chip carving knife No 8
BTW it is not really a chip carving knife but an all around carving knife, I just find its handle shape fits my hands perfectly. Carving tools are a very personal thing, they have to feel good in your hands.

So in theory, I should be able to fit these tools in front of my bench, and returned them into my antique chest, these and a "few" more. 

By removing the need to store planes (now it their own Plane till), saws (in saws tills) and dedicated sharpening tools and equipment (sharpening station), that should leave me plenty of room and keep the cluttering to a minimum. 
A recent post from my friend Vic at the Minimalist Woodworker, gave me the impetus to give it another go. I will then give, trying to work from this chest, another go. Which means one of my next projects would be to built some sort of a more dignified stand than a Rubbermaid container, and customize the storage inside the chest. I hate to give up the uncluttered layout of my Snap On chest (said Bob with a straight face :-). My next mock up would then to figured out what height for my tool chest works for me. Bending repetitively is a back killer for me. And in the long overdue department; a dedicated sharpening station. Meanwhile, I will work up the best arrangement/holders for these dedicated tools in front of my bench.

I suppose, I could just build the bigger ATC chest and be done with it! Heh, that would probably give me the right height for my smaller tool chest ? :-)

Bob, probably over analyzing things again :-)


  1. Have fun exploring the tool chest idea and thanks for the mention.

  2. Hi Vic, yes not to worry. I'm having fun :-)
    and thanks for the inspiration, it was just what I needed to get going.

    Bob, still awaiting finish to dry, sigh!

  3. You have different tools, boxes around your shops and house. Wow, its amazing and I want to share all these details at Montanez. Many others peoples can get motivation and knowledge.