There are some tools you just can't do a job without. My marking gauges are one of those tools for me, especially my mortise gauge. I own several and I love them all.
Recently I was doing a little rearranging and getting ready to start things back up around here. Besides getting some new equipment for shooting videos, I also needed to clean out my tool chest, move some storage around, and make my shop more functional in its current form. Oh yeah, I ripped out my old closet so I have a huge hole in one wall with a bunch of pipes, wires, and stuff coming out of it. More on that later when I do an updated shop tour.
Back to the tool chest.
While cleaning out my tools chest I realized just how much stuff I keep in it. Tool chests get a bad rap from time to time because some people feel they are not very useful and don't hold everything they think they need. I will be the first to admit that they can't hold everything. I don't keep my larger saws in the chest, nor my miter box, or axes, or froe, nor my clamps, sharpening tools, saw vise, or scorp, or even my large wooden bench mallet. But, everything else fits in my chest, and there is room to spare.
And this is what it all looks like when its piled up on my bench. It's a lot of tools for sure, but I can still work smoothly out of this tool chest without rummaging around for tools. If anything, it helps me to be more organized and to ONLY get out what tools I need.
Whenever a blogger/podcaster builds something it is only a matter of time before the questions roll in. Especially when the item built is something important in the shop like a workbench or a tool chest. Fortunately the questions fall into two categories. First are the specific questions regarding the actual build. Those are the easy questions. The second category is, "If you built this again would you do it the same way? What would you keep and what would you change?". I can't tell you how often I receive this question about my bench, my shop, my tool chest, or fill in the ______.
The hard part sometimes is I don't know. This is usually because I don't feel that I have used the item long enough to know just how I actually do feel about it. But, in the case of my tool chest, I know exactly why I built it the way I did and why I didn't build it like Chris Schwarz. Now, I don't have anything personally against the way Chris laid the tool chest out in The Anarchist's Tool Chest. The layout was what He felt was the best for Him and that's great. I just knew I needed to change some things so it would work better for me. And that is really the point to a tool chest, build it for you, don't just copy someone else's design. Well, unless you just don't really know what you need yet. Some things do take time to figure out and luckily a tool chest can be easily modified.
So Why Did I Build It That Way?
There are two major differences between my tool chest and the one from Chris's book.
The first is my vertical saw/tool rack. What this changes is the distance all three of my tills can move from front to back. I can't open all three tills at the same time. This flies in the face of the "one movement away" philosophy. The one movement away philosophy goes like this. If you have all three tills open, not only can you see and get to every tool in the tills instantly, but you can also get to any tool in the chest by just moving one of the three tills. This is really a great way to work, so why didn't I do it that way. Well...
The second difference is really conjoined to the first. Because I can't open all three tills at the same time I made the tills larger. What?? Yeah, larger. So, now I can only see in two tills at once and they fill the entire space. What did this do for me? It gave me three larger tills, which is what I wanted in the first place, but made it harder to get to things in the back of my tool chest. But, that's not a big deal for me and here is why. The 90-9-1% philosophy.
The 90-9-1% Philosophy
What is this "philosophy" exactly. I know from experience that I use some of my tools about 90% of the time, others only 9% of the time, and the rest just about 1% of the time. Since I know which of my tools fall into these categories I just arranged my tool chest to my tools.
How it all works out
First are my 90% tools. This includes my top till, the bottom 3/4 of my tool chest and the front saw rack. Specifically, it includes all of my bench planes, my joinery saws, everything I need to mark and/or measure with, and a few other items like my moving fillister, #80 scraper, my choice files, and my router plane.
Now for the 1% tools. These tools I just don't use often at all, so it isn't a big deal to have to move the tills forward to get to them. They are my molding planes. Since I am not really a period furniture maker and I just don't make moldings all that often, I really don't need to be able to get to them, or at least not quickly.
Well, that's it. I hope for those who asked the questions I have provided the answers you wanted. For those who are just curious or are contemplating building a tool chest, maybe I gave you something to think about. For everyone else, whoever you are, thanks for visiting.
Now Get out in the shop and have some fun.
Well, we have finally reached the end.
In this episode I finish up my tool chest. I go over the inside components of my tool chest including the three tills, saw storage, till guides, and the other small fine points.
The overall video is short, at about 16 min, because I didn't feel it necessary to go through the construction of each component first hand. I cover everything inside the tool chest after it has been completed. In a way, I think this is better because you can visually see everything in it's completed form as I talk about it.
So what else is coming up at Billy's Little Bench?
Well, I will be building a saw nest for my large hand saws that will hang on the wall behind my tool chest. I am going to be adding a section on my website called "The Bookshelf", which will be about woodworking books that I have read. It will be sort of a book review page and partly a short summery of what is contained in each book I review. I have many reviews already written and I can't wait to post this next section of my website.
And, if you didn't know, go to my store on the tab above and you can buy your own Billy's Little Bench appearal, mugs, and accesories from my CafePress Store.
In this episode I continue the building of my tool chest. I talk about and install my hinges, lid chain, and mortise lock.
As the build progresses I think more and more about what I will be putting in this tool chest. Because many people might be interested too, I am going to have two more tool chest videos. The next video will be the completion of the inside parts of the tools chest, ie. the tills, plane storage, molding plane storage, and saw till. After I finish the build I will have one episode dedicated to the tools that I am putting in my tool chest. The episode will ONLY cover the tools going into my tool chest and will not cover all the tools I use. Why? Well not everything can fit in the tool chest and not all of my hand tools are actually going into the tool chest. Some of my hand tools are just to big (miter saw, hatches, froe etc..) to go in a chest and for that matter I am not even putting my full size hand saws into the tool chest either. My hand saws will be put in a saw till that will be above my tool chest on the back wall. More on this later. Then maybe after that I will get the shop tour posted with both video and pics.
Well I hope you enjoy the video and like always if you have any comments or questions please don't hesitate to ask me or let me know what you are thinking.
Thanks for visiting my site.
The outside of the tool chest is finally complete. After I sanded down the red paint, I finished the box with a couple coats of Semi-Gloss Black. The paint I used for the chest is RustOleum Painters Touch. I used their primer, the country red, and finished with the semi-gloss black. Now, for those that are interested in this paint there are a few things you should know.
First, never buy the 2x coverage version of this paint. It is really thick and you are almost guaranteed to have brush strokes in you final finish. I have never liked paints that promise coverage on the first coat. Why? Because they are always supper thick, which is OK for painting the outside of a house, but not good for painting furniture.
Second, it is really cheap and goes on well. I really like this paint for projects that require a painted finish.
After giving the paint 12hrs (it really only needs 4) to dry, I applied a coat of wax. For wax I like to use Trewax Paste Wax Clear. It contains Brazilian Carnauba wax, also known as just carnauba wax or palm wax. It is great for hardwood floors because when it dries it is very hard and durable. So, I guess it is really nice for tool chest too. Actually, I like to use it on any painted project for protection and water resistance. This is also the wax I use on all of my power and hand tools. Just make sure you have one can for furniture and one for your tools. The one for tools will undoutably get contaminated with oil from your machines.
Both the wax and the paint can be found at your local big box stores. I actually buy mine locally, but I am special.
So now that the painting and waxing is done I can finally start affixing the hardware and work on the three drawers, saw till, and other miscellaneous parts that make up the inside of the tool chest.
Stay tuned for future videos covering all of these processes.
Well, even though the voting for the color was mostly in favor of the red (2/3 in favor), I just couldn't take it. Even more reason for me to never ask questions like that, I always end up doing whatever I want anyways. Thanks for all those that voted, its just a personal choice to go with the satin black.
When I sanded the red paint down I did go through to the primer here and there. This was intentional. My main reason for the red paint is to have a color change when the black starts to wear through in areas over time. I didn't want a build up of many coats of paint. So, now that the chest has been sanded down and cleaned I will start the process of putting two coats of black on before I install my hardware.
Stay tuned for information on my hardware. It did arrive the other day from Horton Brass. They were a little delayed in my shipment because the mortise lock had to come from England. But, the hardware is well worth the little extra money and the wait. Never chince out on hardware, that's just stupid.
More updates this weekend.
In this second installment of the Anarchist's Tool Chest Build, I build the lid for the tool chest and trim it to fit.
And if you want to, please vote for the final color of the tool chest below, in yesterdays blog posting. The colors choices are Red or Black.
Thanks for watching. You can also find me on Facebook, YouTube, BlipTv, and Lumberjocks.
Ok. So, I usually don't ask for peoples opinions while I am working on a project but I just can't decide on this one. I am painting my tool chest. I started with primer then a couple coats of Red. The idea originally was to paint the final color Black, so that as the paint wore you would see the red peak through and then the primer last. At that point I could touch up that area with some more black.
But, when I put the Red on I suddenly thought. Well, maybe the red looks really good and I don't want it black??? So, here are a few pics of the current paint. All you have to do is vote to keep the red or to finish the job off with some good old satin black.
By the way the chest will have dark hardware installed on it ie.. hinges, mortise lock and key escutcheon, and some red wood drawer pulls for the three tills. If that helps with the decision making.
I have been waiting a while to start this project and now it is finally time to knock it out. The Anarchist’s Tool Chest is a book written by Chris Scwarz, just in case you have been living in a cave. Though most of the book talks about building a basic tool set, that will allow you to build most any piece of furniture by hand, it is also about building a tool chest to store all of those tools in.
In this video series I will go over the building of my version of the tool chest. Though I have not changed a lot in the design, some things will be a little different. I hope that you enjoy the series.
Once I am finished with the tool chest I will have a video going over the tools that I am putting in my tool chest.
Well , at least my current tools that I am putting in my tool chest.
Thanks for watching.
BLBench on Instagram
Show Support by using these Affiliate Links