I don’t know why, but I didn’t like the idea of a saw till on the floor of my tool chest full across the front, walled off from the rest of the floor space (like what Christopher Schwarz installed in his “Anarchist’s Tool Chest“). Instead, I put my panel saws on the underside of my lid (with custom toggles to hold them in place) – then spent weeks fussing with where to put my backsaws.
Initially, I made a rack that hung off the front wall of the chest, but I want to be able to store four backsaws in the chest, so a rack large enough to accommodate that juts far into the air space and severely limits the travel of the three sliding tills.
I know that if it’s inconvenient to access stuff in the two lower tills, I’ll get frustrated, and things will end up all over my shop (as they are now) instead of neatly stored. Plus, having a saw rack on one side of the (yet-to-be-bought-and-installed) lock would limit how long of a tool rack I could install for chisels, drivers and the like. (Not to mention the lack of symmetry would bug me.)
And besides, when I was installing that hanging rack, I dropped one of the two parts and a finger snapped off. Clearly, it wasn’t meant to be. (And that’s why there’s but one part of it shown in the picture; I tossed the broken one in a fit of pique.)
Following that failed experiment, I thought about building a rack like the one at the back of my workbench – slots into which the saws could slip. But I couldn’t fit four saws on one side of the lock, and again, I’d be limiting the length of my tool rack. (And again, there’s be that pesky lack of symmetry.) So, I experimented with a sawtill that sits on the chest floor. Because my panel saws don’t have to fit, it could be smaller than what Chris shows in his book, and take up less space. But I didn’t like it. (Had I gone with this arrangement, I’d have installed a wall to protect the saws from the other tools on the chest floor.)
So I finally decided to build saw slots all along the front (with room for the lock in the middle, as denoted by blue tape), and attach a tool rack to the front of the slots, all the way across. The symmetry pleases me.There are six saw slots, but adjustable squares fit nicely into the extra spaces, and I’ve 29 holes in the tool rack. The slot spacers are 5/8″ thick x 2″ wide, and the front wall of the slot rack is 3/8″ thick x 2″ wide. The tool rack is 7/8″ thick x 1-1/8″ wide). So, the entire assembly, which was glued together flush at the top before installation, juts into airspace only 1-7/8″, and holds a lot of tools.
To attach it to the chest wall, I drilled countersunk holes at either end through the entire assembly, and in the middle to either side of where the lock will go through just the wider sawtill/spacer assembly. Then I simply screwed the assembly to the chest.
Now on to the three sliding tills – about which there will be no indecisiveness; the runners are already installed, so there’s no room for second-guessing. And no time – I’m ready to be done…so that I can build storage for the tools that I keep in the PWM shop.
p.s. In most cases in our blog posts, you can click on the pictures to make them larger, should you wish to see more details.
• Looking for storage ideas for your own home or shop? In addition to “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” check out “The 100 Best Shelving & Storage Projects” from Popular Woodworking Magazine and Woodworking Magazine, a CD chock-full of great projects in a variety of styles, sizes and skill levels.