Design your tool storage from the inside out.
By Adam Cherubini
I currently store my woodworking tools in a traditional cabinetmaker’s/joiner’s tool chest. In building that chest, I leaned heavily on surviving period chests as well as images dating from the period. Over the years I’ve been an advocate for these sorts of chests. But I’m not convinced of their popularity with modern woodworkers.
This year at the “Woodworking in the 18th Century” conference in Colonial Williamsburg, North Bennet Street School (NBSS) instructor Dan Faia showed images of chests made by the school’s cabinetmaking students. NBSS focuses on traditional cabinetry and many students and graduates build reproduction furniture. So I was a bit surprised to see no chests resembling mine. The students’ chests were more similar to Gerstner’s machinist’s chests than to 18th- or 19th-century-style cabinetmakers’ chests. I pondered how such chests could hold any cabinetmaker’s tools. Where would one store a half set of hollows and rounds? A ripsaw? A try plane? What are these students being taught?
It took me a minute to arrive at an answer: Most woodworkers don’t have or use any of the tools I consider absolute necessities. These boxes probably held some tools familiar to me (such as chisels and dovetail saws), but they likely also contained hex keys, screwdrivers, dial indicators, combination squares, rulers and other things either I don’t use or don’t associate with woodworking.
Blog: Read Adam’s Arts & Mysteries blog.
Video: Watch our video visit to Gerstner & Sons, in Dayton, Ohio, makers of machinist’s tool boxes.
In Our Store: “The Arts & Mysteries of Hand Tools” on CD. Read more