Underbench Cabinet: drawers #5, 6 and 7


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Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

Established Member
2 Mar 2005
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Perth, Australia
Drawer #5: french fitted sliding bevels (Shinwa, Stanley and Chris Vesper) ...


Drawer #6:
This one is about the tools ... just because I think that they are beautiful, and I love using them. They give me joy.

All the tools in this cabinet have a story, or a connection. This is one of the reasons I keep them, even though I do not "need" them as I have others. All get used. In the case of the chisels in this drawer, they are my go-to for dovetails and close-up detail work. Mainly because they are all fully bevelled at the sides and have minimal lands. In spite of the absence of hoops, all may be used with mallet. The condition here being that the mallet head is UHMW. This is firm for feedback but yielding to avoid damage.

This is another skeleton drawer. The top tray are home to Veritas PM-V11 chisels. Most here are aware that I have road-tested tools for Lee Valley (Veritas) for many years. Not only are these just superb chisels, but I like the way they feel in the hand, particularly the smaller sizes. For dovetails, these run 1/8" upwards to 1".


The five on the left have custom Ebony handles (they are also round and not shaped with flats). The far right is a fishtail I made from a spare (pre-production) 3/8" chisel. I am sure that Veritas will have fishtails for sale at some stage. This is my design, not theirs (I have no idea what they have in mind).

The lower tray house Blue Spruce dovetail/detail chisels. This was the first set of premium chisels I purchased. Dave Jeske had just begun making them, and I was one of the first to order. In fact, the 3/4" (which is the largest size here) was the first made. I asked Dave for a 3/4". He had made 2, one for another order, and sent me the spare. I sent it back. His idea at the time was to make the steel thicker as the chisels became wider, and the one he sent was 3/16" thick. It felt heavy and clumsy. I requested 1/8", and that is what che then made for me.

My one concern about the chisels, prior to purchase, was that they are A2 steel, and that, for paring, a 30 degree bevel might not be ideal. Then it dawned on me that all the Japanese chisels I had were 30 degrees ... These blades get very sharp. They do not hold an edge as long as PM-V11, and need to be honed more frequently. But that does not detract from the absolute pleasure in using them.


These are light blades in beautiful African Blackwood handles. Sized 1/8", 3/16" and up to 3/4". There are two 1/4" skew chisels. I nagged Dave to make a fishtail, but he was skeptical there was an advantage over the skews (there is indeed a big advantage when cleaning out socket corners). Later he did make them, and I chanced on a sale of tools at a deceased estate in Oz. They had not been used, which brought me some sadness for the previous owner.

Drawer #7. Here is another drawer holding cutting and marking gauges.

This is a drawer intended to be dedicated to wooden mortice and cutting gauges, but does have two wheel gauges that could not be fitted elsewhere.

The mortices gauges fall into these three types ...


Veritas Dual Marking Gauge, Kinshiro, and one of my designs.

The Kinshiro is my absolute favourite, and I was gifted one several years ago (thanks Wiley!). Found another about a year back. They are no longer made by Kinshiro, and no longer available. I have made a number of single-blade cutting gauges in a similar manner to these double-blade gauges. The Kinshiro may be used as single blade gauges as well, plus one can set up a reversed blade as well, which is useful when paring shallow mortice walls, such as here!

The shopmade mortice gauge is in the style of Kinshiro, but uses a cassette to house double-sided blades to match a range of mortice and tenon widths ...


Here is the drawer ...


Bottom right is a cutting gauge from Colen Clenton. This was a prize in an Australian tool making competition in 2009.

The holders are made from Hard Maple ...



Regards from Perth