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Tool Chest Challenge proposal

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Alf

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As things have been a little quiet round here, and the wax thread is getting out of hand already, I thought I'd share a not yet fully-formed idea with you:

I've been pondering on my long-considered plan of working out of the tool chest instead of from various drawers, racks, shelves etc. i.e. All the hand tools I commonly use gathered in one place, the chest, and see if I can rationalise the tools I actually need from the ones I just think I do. Also I want to see what the real-life practicalities are of working from a tool chest. They always look great, but does it really work or d'you end up unpacking half the stuff and cluttering up the workbench?

One problem has been hampering me though; I can't decide what to put in it. :oops:

So I got to thinking (always unwise) and I was wondering, would there be any interest in stocking the tool chest by consensus? I've, erm, got quite a wide selection of tools to choose from* and we all might learn a bit about the various types and how diferent woodworkers (i.e. Us) rate their usefullness/essentialness (almost certainly not a real word). I'd banish all other hand tools to sealed cupboards and drawers and just use what we'd decided to put in the chest for at least one project, reporting on what was or wasn't a good idea as I go along, natch. Crying over the burfl I'm not allowed to use as well, probably... :cry:

What d'you think? Obviously a few details need ironing out, there may be the odd pause for reviews and so forth and I could have thought better of it by tomorrow, but worth having a go? Or should I go away and leave you to the leg wax? :D

Cheers, Alf

* For a moment I feared this might be considered just a way to gloat, but as there's no way in the world I can out-gloat Philly or Chris I think it's pretty safe. It's certainly not my intention. No really. Honest. Don't believe me then. :p
 

Chris Knight

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Alf,

An interesting idea. A trifle masochistic in my view - at least for someone who has a workshop. I think tool chests were primarily aimed at two things - itinerant craftsmen/tradesmen and workers in shops where security was an issue.

All the chests I have seen at auction have looked fairly sad (that is to say the tools in them), even when they (are said to) have been used by working pros. I have never seen one within a couple of thousand light years of this one http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmu ... tudley.htm
which is what a nice workshop layout can start to approach - given lots of patience.

I think you will end up with tools all over the bench or nearby surfaces in no time flat!
 

Alf

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waterhead37":3jqpy96z said:
I think you will end up with tools all over the bench or nearby surfaces in no time flat!
I already do that with shelves and racks just handy. :oops: Trying working from the chest is going to happen anyway, just to satisfy my own curiosity. And yes, it probably is masochistic, but that shouldn't come as a surprise! :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

Noel

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What happened the "build off" with the tool chests a few months ago? Was it Gepetto and somebody else?

Noel
 

Philly

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Alf
I'm intrigued! I certainly have had similar thoughts as to paring down the tools to a "user only" set. This is pretty much where I am today (honest!).
Do you have "The Best of Fine Woodworking-Bench Tools"? The first chapter is Frank Klausz-his workbench, utility table and tool box. He was writing about his "work space" and included a floor plan showing how he likes his bench in relation to his tool chest and low table for assembly. I'll photocopy it if your interested....
Anyway-i'm in.
Philly :D
 

Aragorn

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Hi Alf
Nice idea!
Since I work a mixture of workshop and site (i.e. people's homes) then I tend to work mostly from my toolbox. I've gotten quite disciplined over the years at putting things back where they go, and, of course, everything has it's specific place!
When the tools come into the workshop, they are only supplimented by a few "shelf and rack" handtools - would be lovely to afford to double up on everything, but there we go.
So, in the workshop I'm working out of the box and I find it works well!
 

frank

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my computer screen and the key board are awash with coffee, alf and philly both saying they have to many tools .i must go and lay down in a dark room .
 

DaveL

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trevtheturner":no49nfnc said:
:shock: So is there a big Cornwall/Dorset sale coming up? :roll:

Trev.
Send the post codes, I will fire up the GPS 8) no need to pack anything for posting. :shock: :roll:
 

Noel

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Shall I call Christies? Or Bonhams?

Noel

PS Put me down for a catalogue...
 

Pete W

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I doubt I'll be offering any advice* but I'd certainly be interested in the debate and following report.




* Oh, alright... you need at least one marking gauge.
 
A

Anonymous

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I think its a great idea, but with one addition: it has to be a complex project that is to be completed using only the tools from the chest.

Anyone could build a cuttingboard with 3-4 tools, maybe even 1, so that wouldn't be a challenge, but dovetails, moulding, and some inlay perhaps, now that would be a bit more interesting! :lol:
 

Midnight

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awwwwwww now c'mon Regan, play fair... how the heck do I get a table saw t fit in a tool cabinet...?????

:wink:
 

Philly

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Ha, ha, you lot!
O.k.-so it might turn out to be a tool caravan instead of a tool chest.........
Philly :D
 

Alf

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Right. Well obviously we need to firm up a few guidelines here or you'll leave me ripping everything with a D8, and neither I nor the timber would enjoy that experience... Here are my thoughts:

The Aim
To get a reasonably comprehensive tool kit together suitable for cabinetwork in hardwoods. Not a limited, you-can-make-do list, but one that you'd expect a reasonably well-equipped furnituremaker to have available. We can highlight which tools we think are the essentials for the beginner as we go along maybe? This is for a neander/normite hybrid, which is what most of us are, so rough stock prep doesn't have to be catered for. The planer/thicknesser (planer & jointer, 'Murrican folks) is allowed as is the neaderbuddy, aka bandsaw. But really only for ripping and re-sawing. Cross-cuts, joints etc to be done by hand. The drill press I'm 50/50 on at the moment. I thought about making it totally neander but it's a bit pointless 'cos I'm not, so I'd end up with an erroneous idea of what tools I need. And backache.

Limitations
They've all got to fit in the tool chest
I've got to already own them or a very close equivalent!
Anything else?

Non-negotiable stuff I'm allowed
The P/T and the bandsaw! :p
Three tools of my choice just in case you take it into your heads to turn it into "I'm a neanderthal, get me outta here" and deny me the LN chisels or something. :shock:
Erm, possibly something else I haven't thought of yet, depending on how creative you get... :wink:

Don't worry about...
Sharpening gear
Lathe-related tools
Finishing supplies and equipment

Project
Regan has a good point. I have a possible small project in mind, but if anyone has any suggestions then I'm all ears. Not too complicated or I'll never even start it :oops: , and not too big 'cos of timber supplies being limited. Something that will stretch the kit a bit. No good adding in a mortise chisel and then having nothing to mortise, f'rinstance. Bear in mind this will probably be taking me a bit deeper into neanderthal territory than I usually go, so don't expect Queen Anne tallboys. Do expect "drat and blast, how did that go wrong?" posts. :oops:

Comments, raspberries, etcs welcomed. One other thing; is there any point in including old woodies in the options? I'm inclined to think it's a more helpful list if it's just a choice from readily available, modern, types of plane, but perhaps not? Thoughts?

Mike, the tool chest builders are Alberto and Simon and they were/are going to build Gerstner-type chests. I think they were trying to play down the "build off" aspect 'cos Alberto already orded the timber while Si was still debating drawer depths. :D

Cheers, Alf

P.S. There is likely to be a big sell-off if this experiment proves successful as it happens. :p
 

Aragorn

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Well, I like all your thoughts.
Regarding the project, I think you should choose that. Only you know what stock you have available, and it may as well be something that you'd like to keep at the end of it!

So, what's next?
Do you want us to just start posting lists of tools? That might quickly become tedious (and silly).
How about you come up with a de rigueur list based on what you think is necessary/standard/available, and we could add or subtract depending on how sadistic we're feeling at the time!?

Just my thoughts...
 

Alf

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Aragorn":1fsb61ny said:
Regarding the project, I think you should choose that. Only you know what stock you have available, and it may as well be something that you'd like to keep at the end of it!
Hmm, s'pose so. Any ideas or "I stumbled across this plan and wondered...." stuff will be welcome though.

Aragorn":1fsb61ny said:
So, what's next?
Do you want us to just start posting lists of tools? That might quickly become tedious (and silly).
How about you come up with a de rigueur list based on what you think is necessary/standard/available, and we could add or subtract depending on how sadistic we're feeling at the time!?

Just my thoughts...
Well, unless we want to end up with some pretty unwieldy lists, it might help if we broke it down in to sections first of all. Maybe something like this:
Layout tools; rules, squares, dividers, bevels, gauges etc etc
Saws
Chisels; bench, mortise, paring, gouges etc
Planes; might have to sub-divide that one!
Scrapers; scrapers, scratchstocks etc
Boring tools
Pulling, prying, twisting and hitting tools; pincers, screwdrivers, hammers, mallets etc. All the unlovely but useful stuff!
Shaping tools; drawknives, shaves, rasps, files
Bet I've forgotten something, but you get the idea.

Then it gets tricky and may well make the whole a no-go. Making a list myself has been the stumbling block from the first, so that's no good. You could all give a list of your own favourite layout tools (for instance) and we could see which appear most often. Or I could take a picture of all my available tools of each sort (all the square varieties for instance) and see if we can come to consensus that way. At the very least I'd at least end up with a tool inventory, which'd be no bad thing. :roll:

I dunno really; thoughts on this step very welcome. :) I did warn you it was a not yet fully-formed idea!

Cheers, Alf
 
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Philly":lifag7xe said:
Alf
I'm intrigued! I certainly have had similar thoughts as to paring down the tools to a "user only" set. This is pretty much where I am today (honest!).Philly :D
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
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Alf

I likle it!

However, my reservation is my own experience over the past 20 years of using tools in the garage. Basically i have oscillated between tool chests (bought and made at various times) and shelves or drawers so many times I can't count. Both appear better when you have chosen one and you get fed up with either pretty soon.


In a tool chest as you describe, I would go for the obvious :D

Block plane, jack plane, shoulder plane, shave

Set of chisels (LN naturally :wink: ) + waterstone?
Back saw for tenons, panel saw, coping saw (dovetails) and dovetail saw

Decent screwdrivers, large and medium flat blade + no1 and no2 pozidrive

Drill (hand type for galoots or battteryf or me) + set of bits
Brace and bits

Combination set + engineers square, ruler (12"), protractor, marking knife, pencil

I recon that will do it for most hand crafted pieces :wink:
 

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