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.