Chris Schwarz's Blog

Buy it Now: Blue Spruce Tool Roll

I dislike using other people’s
tools when I travel. And I dislike it when all my tools fall tips-first
into the concrete. Oh, and I also dislike all of the tool rolls I’ve
encountered.

I’ve bought flimsy, poorly designed, ill-stitched
tool rolls all my life. None really worked and so I have just taken to
wrapping up each tool in a socks and traveling with a suitcase of
tool-filled socks. The TSA does not like me.

Yesterday I received the medium-sized tool roll I ordered from Blue Spruce Toolworks,
and I am now ready for my brutal travel schedule in 2011. This fine
piece of canvas work is everything you need to store all your
sharp-edged friends.

• It has 24 pockets, which is enough to
store all the edge tools I need to travel with – a set of bevel-edge
chisels, a set of mortising chisels, plus specialty chisels for paring
and dovetailing.

• The tool roll has two protective flaps that
fold over your sharp edges. Without flaps like these, tool rolls are
just suicide machines for your chisels. The slightest nudge will send
several of the tools to the floor.

• The pockets are snug. I put a
variety of standard chisels in mine without any problems. The medium
tool roll won’t fit the largest English mortising chisels, but few rolls
will.

• The canvas material is sturdy but rolls easily. I’ve had
tool rolls that were so beefy that you could hardly roll them.
Likewise, I have some lightweight rolls that frayed after a couple
years.

And if all that’s not enough to convince you, here’s the
other cool part about these. They are being made by Dave Jeske’s
daughter Hannah to help pay for her class trip to Washington, D.C. Dave
reports that Hannah is off school now and hard at work on these chisel
rolls in a sewing machine in his basement.

And one last thing:
This is a limited production run (Hannah does need to finish school), so
get your order in now. The rolls are reasonable, $30 to $35 depending
on the size: small, medium or large. For details, visit this page on the
Blue Spruce Toolworks site.

— Christopher Schwarz

8 thoughts on “Buy it Now: Blue Spruce Tool Roll

  1. skirincich

    Hi Chris,
    Did you ever get any feedback from Dave Jeske on how many people ordered the tool rolls and perhaps how influential were your December 2010 blog entries?

    Steve

  2. Rich Daugherty

    Looks like a nice roll! One thing… I have the roll from Joel Moskowitz at Tools for Working Wood (wonderful resource!) which is also high quality. I did almost have a catastrophe with that roll in that one of my precious Blue Spruce paring chisels slipped out the side and hit the concrete floor of my shop in one of the places I didn’t have a rubber mat. Fortunately it hit handle first (what are the odds?!) and the edge escaped damage. Just about gave me a heart attack! These are the best chisels I’ve ever had, bar none. After that incident, I roll the roll up from each end toward the middle and tie it closed. I noticed that Hannah’s version has end flaps, one large and one small. Would this prevent such an accident?

    I’m very tempted to buy one of Hannah’s rolls even though I don’t really need one right now.

    Cheers!

    Rich

  3. Bob Demers

    I have been using a custom made 22 pockets canvas roll for over 20 years now, and it is still going strong.
    It was made of standard issues military green canvas, the stuff is really though :-)

    It house my collection of Swiss made carving tools, and I stored them cutting edge out, for two main reasons:
    I want to see quickly the profile of the gouges, and to me its the only way to securely hold them in such a roll: by their handles.

    Thats the way I was taught, and thas the way I still do it. Never loss a tool out of it, and their precious cutting edges are well protected.

    Highly reccomend such a tool rool, that Blue Spruce design is a winner and a real inexpensive way to protect our precious metals.

    Bob

  4. DW

    Joel also sells a good tool roll. I realize what the purpose of the tool roll thing is here lately, but the implication is that there are no good tool rolls anywhere else. However, the tool roll Joel sells also keeps the tools in the roll and is well made.

    (i too have lost chisels on the floor when picking up a not-so-well designed tool roll filled with extremely hard and brittle japanese dovetail chisels. The result was predictable, the three chisels that came out hit the floor what seemed like edge first – all of them. All needed to be reground, which is not something you can only do by hand with a triangular cross section delicate edged white steel chisel).

  5. www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmfMxarUhnhpC0yAuLhFnccVXKNzLDK3_4

    I’ve been making my own tool rolls for my chisels and files and such – I prefer several smaller ones to one large one, but that’s a personal choice. I can grab just the tools I need for a job out of the shop, and usually keep them in the shop set up in small "kits"; several chisels that I’m apt to use in concert, and then rolls for paring, mortising, etc. One for my rasp, one for brass working files, one for steel working files.

    After making a few rolls, I have to say if these are as good as they look, they are well worth the price. Obviously, just making a few at a time like I’ve been doing makes the process more expensive time-wise, as I haven’t nailed streamlining the process; but even when you’ve perfected it, more work goes into these than it looks. It seems like a fun easy sewing job (and it is if you’ve got a bit of experience) but the binding and heavy fabric make things a little difficult. It’s amazing they can sell these for the price they do.

    I’m curious about your choice to put the tools point out – even with flaps; I prefer to have my edge ends face down. Of course, most of my chisels are marked on the handle end.

    I make mine with the pocket "bottoms" a folded edge, with two layers of fabric, rather than a seam, at the bottom of the pocket to stand up to the cutting edge. ( I often stick a lightly oiled wad of cloth down there as well. ) This stands up better with the ones I’ve made, although that could just be an artifact of my quality of stitchery. I can’t quite tell how these are made from the photos, but I’m certain if Chris gives ‘em a thumbs up, (not to mention that they’re being sold by Blue Spruce) they’re good stuff.

    I guess this is a little rambling and pointless! I think the point I was trying to make was tool rolls are great. I throw mine in the toolchest, and the combination of the two helps prevent corrosion problems I deal with with unprotected tools in my occasionally overly damp shop.

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