There is something appealing about a chest that has French-fitted compartments for each tool. Protecting it. Cradling it. Showing it off.
In my first tool chest I built the top of the till with a bunch of French-fitted compartments for chisels, block planes, a shoulder plane and drill bits. And for the first year I was well pleased. All the tools were in the right place and easy to get.
But then I realized that flexibility was more important than permanence. It wasn’t that my tool kit changed, but the projects I was building required a different set of tools. Sometimes I needed my grandfather’s carving tools handy. Bench-building requires lots of boring operations. Dovetailing needs quick access to chisels, saws and marking & measuring tools.
But not every project has dovetails.
With the chest I built in late 2010 I decided to skip the French-fitted dividers and live with open and flexible tool storage until I concluded that a certain tool needed – deserved – a permanent holder, such as a saw till.
I now have all my tools loaded up into my chest at home – the 48 tools in my core set plus a few that are on my list of “good-to-have tools.” This short video shows what the chest looks like with all the tools in place. There’s room for everything, plus then some.
And I’m sure I will eventually put in a few wooden dividers in the sliding tray to cordon things off, but they will be added sparingly, like dog holes in a workbench.
Printing update: The pressroom made up the plates for the book on Friday and we are now on schedule to have the books shipped to us on May 23. So if you want to order “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” with free domestic shipping, be sure to do that before May 23.
You can order the book with free domestic shipping here.
— Christopher Schwarz