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The bottomost till in my chest carries the heavy stuff that isn’t on the floor of the chest, and stuff that doesn’t fit in the top two tills and has migrated downward.

Three of my essential planes are here, as are some of my most important measuring equipment. When you keep most of your tools in one chest, little is non-essential material. Let’s begin on the left side of the till.

Measuring, Marking & Scraping
Here you’ll find my Brown and Sharpe dial caliper. It’s nice, but I’m not crazy in love with it. For woodworking, almost any dial caliper will do because it’s wood, not nuclear material. I don’t, however, cotton to the plastic ones. Get a metal one.

Up against the wall there is my scraper wallet, a leather do-hickey from Robert Larson that stores all the weird scrapers I make. I regularly grind scrapers to shape to scoop chair seats or clean up mouldings. The wallet keeps them in one place.

My Veritas Mortise Gauge is there. Best mortise gauge ever. If you buy one, definitely get the shaft clamp. It should be standard equipment because it is so useful.

Hidden under the dial caliper are the extra irons for my Veritas Combination Plane.

The Middle Section
In the middle of the till you can see my pinch rods off to the left. There are some commercial versions, but I’ve not found any better than my homemade ones. They are two sticks of wood that slide into some steel square channel from the home center. The position of the rods is locked with a thumbscrew.

On the other side of the till are my winding sticks. And my vintage Millers Falls hand drill. I use that hand drill every day. I definitely recommend vintage ones, or ones that have been restored. I haven’t found a new one that is worth doodly squat.

I also have my French curves stashed there, my old Vise-Grips and a few tools for adjusting this or that.

The Specialty Planes
The right side of the till holds the specialty planes that I frequently use. The Lie-Nielsen No. 48 and 49 are there. I use those on almost every project that has a back or a bottom. I’ve used and owned vintage examples. No surprise: Lie-Nielsen’s version eclipse the Stanley versions.

Also hanging out there is my Veritas Edge-trimming Plane. Mine is the one in the stainless version that the company no longer makes. I resisted owning this plane for a long time, but I have found it to be too useful to disregard. Anything that has to be dead 90° goes under this plane. I might then tweak the edge with a second plane to create a spring joint, for example. But this plane gets me to a good place.

Hey – we’re done with the tills. Next we’ll explore the floor of the chest and the sawtill.

— Christopher Schwarz

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