HTT009 – Hand Tool Storage

On today’s show, I discuss period finishes, the chisels that I find most useful in the shop, must have hand tool appliances, and hand tool storage options.

From the Shop

  • Work continues on the four joinery saws I started a couple of weeks ago.
  • I’ve decided to discontinue the weekly email newsletter.

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No new Patrons this week. Thanks to William Elliott, Arkadiusz Cwikowski, Bill Warnock, Krister K., Lawrence Pylinski, and Jeff Skiles for your continued support on Patreon.


  • No feedback this week.

The Mailbox

  • Thomas wants to know about period finishes.
  • George wants to know what chisels are the most useful in a hand tool shop after the bench chisels.  I referenced this video:
  • Patrick wants to know about essential hand tool appliances.  I referenced this video:

Main Topic

Today’s main topic is hand tool storage options.

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  1. Great discussion this month Bob.
    You need to do a class on building the Dutch tool chest.
    I have a combination of a tool board, tool rack, solid wood dresser, wooden machinists chest and small joiners chest for storage.
    I would love to build the Dutch tool chest with the base unit as well.
    While out on tour in September and October I’m going to see if I can carve out enough time to build the chest and maybe this winter the base.
    I always look forward to your posts.

    • Thanks! I’m always open to class suggestions. However, in this case, at least at this point, I would be breaking one of my own rules, which is to never teach a class on something you haven’t already built before yourself. But if there was enough interest (i.e. we could guarantee at least 4 people would take the class), and it was OK with Christopher (since the design is kind of his intellectual property), I’d build one or two ahead of time. So if anyone else is interested in such a class, let me know and I’ll reach out to the necessary people. I need to guarantee at least 4 people will enroll though as this would have to be a multi-day class.

  2. Thanks for the podcast. Glad to see you back. Since you mentioned you needed more questions I thought I’d ask one. You mentioned working out of 1 or two tool chests. I think this is a great idea and you had great insight into working out of unheated spaces. I work out of 1 half of a 2 car garage in Florida. Hot, Humid, rust! So my question is, if you have to thin out your saw heard so they fit in your chest, which saws make the cut. Do you only have one long rip and one long crosscut panel saws? One tenon and one dovetail? What did they do from a historical perspective. Also where do you keep all your saw sharpening gear to keep it safe. Do I build 3 or 4 tool chests, ( I’m leaning that way and have started ripping down the second hand kitchen cabinets. Stuff just rusts in there or is just hard to find. I was planning on wall hanging until you made the great point about rust in an un-climate controlled space. ) Thanks in advance for your answer and thanks for all your great work teaching us the “arts and mysteries” 😉 .

    • Thanks for the question! For an historical perspective, you can take a look at a book like Peter Nicholson’s Mechanic’s Companion, or, just read the series I wrote about hand saws for the blog here 🙂 :

      1. Making Sense of Hand Saws
      2. Joinery Saws
      3. Saws for Curves
      4. What Hand Saws Do You Need?
      5. Choosing Hand Saws

      Not counting my big 4′ resaw frame saw, I only use 6 saws. One rip saw (5 1/2 PPI), one crosscut saw (10 PPI), one tenon saw (rip), one sash saw (crosscut), one dovetail saw (rip), and a turning saw. That’s it. I have not found any task that these saws are not adequate for, and they all fit in my full sized tool chest. I’m in advocate of using fewer saws and becoming very familiar with them and keeping them sharp. There’s really no need for a giant wall hanging till with two dozen saws in it. Unless you’re teaching classes to a half dozen students.

      As for saw sharpening gear, it lives in a wall hanging cupboard up above my sharpening bench. I don’t have much believe it or not, even though I run a sharpening side business. A couple boxes of files, a handful of file handles, a Veritas file holder and a saw set. The Grammercy saw vise lives below the sharpening bench. Unfortunately it’s a bit rusty from being stored on the shelf. I haven’t found a good solution for that yet.

      For the most part, I fit all of my tools in the single full sized chest. There are a few odds and ends that are stored elsewhere (wall cabinet above the sharpening bench, chimney cupboard I built for a PWM article several years ago, or travel tool chest). That’s about it. Unless you are collecting tools just for the sake of collecting them (not that there’s anything wrong with that), you shouldn’t need more than one full sized tool chest for your primary tools.

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