Tool Chest Handsaw Storage

I’m working on the interior of my “Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” and I’ve decided to slightly rearrange the storage from what’s shown in Christopher Schwarz’s book. Instead of a saw till all along the front wall at the bottom of the chest as Chris suggests, I’m attaching my two panel saws (crosscut and rip) to the underside of the lid. Four backsaws (two dovetail saws, a tenon saw and carcase saw) will go in a shorter saw till at the top left front corner. (I’ll write about the rest of the storage as I get to it.)

Today, I made “keepers” for the panel saws – and it was easy. So easy, in fact, that I had time for a little shop fun when I was done fitting the inserts on which the handles hang.

First, I surfaced my lumber to the exact thickness of the handles (the two were, naturally, different thicknesses). Then, I simply simply ran a pencil around the insides of the handles to trace the shapes onto the stock.

After cutting them out on the band saw, the spindle sander made quick work of removing the saw marks and smoothing the curves of the inserts. I’ll use a rasp, files and sandpaper to ease the top edges for a pleasing look – which to my eye means they’ll mirror the eased edges of the saw grips (plus that will make it easier to slide the handle in place once the inserts are attached to the lid). The inserts will be screwed in place, once I decide what “in place” is.

The toe end of the saw slides into a narrow U-shaped piece, before the handle is slipped over the insert. (No, I didn’t mistakenly attach it to the outside of my chest – that is simply the only clean, flat surface in my shop at home.)

So what keeps the handles from slipping off the inserts when the lid is closed? Toggles – and that was my fun for the day. Go ahead and scoff; they make me smile.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. Before cutting the tiny kitties on the band saw, I made sure the machine was running in tip-top shape (and I used a very narrow blade and lots of caution). The best book I’ve read on band saw tune-up and use is Mark Duginske’s “New Complete Guide to the Band Saw.” Would I have been better off using a scroll saw for these small bits? Possibly…but it’s in our storage room, and I couldn’t get it off the shelf and into the shop by myself.

25 thoughts on “Tool Chest Handsaw Storage

    1. Megan FitzpatrickMegan Fitzpatrick Post author

      That’s OK. I hate people who hate ca….just kidding. (I like dogs, too – does that help?)

  1. Clay Dowling

    Since my shop cats frequently inspect my work, I think a set of cat toggles would be perfect for my chest, when it gets built. Besides, people won’t trifle with a man bold enough to put kitty cat toggles in his tool chest.

  2. armerlo

    It looks like the panel saws are only supported at the handle and the tip. If so, won’t that open up the chance for the longer blades to bow downward due to gravity when the lid is closed?

    1. Megan FitzpatrickMegan Fitzpatrick Post author

      Actually, they’re not very long…I have freakishly short arms (those blades are 18″ long). But yes, that is a concern, and I’ll likely be making the U-shaped piece a little wider so that it holds the saw 1/3 of the way up from the toe toward the handle.

    1. Megan FitzpatrickMegan Fitzpatrick Post author

      I don’t know; mine’s not yet been loaded. But, Chris says that two typical folks can lift his without too much trouble (and I’ve helped him lift it once or twice, so I guess “typical” includes an average-sized woman). One person can’t safely or easily lift it alone.

      Mine will stay in my shop; I plan to build a smaller one for traveling – but I’ve not yet decided between a petite ATC and the more recent form that Chris has been investigating: (Or perhaps something completely different that I’ve not yet discovered!)

      1. villaggiowoodworks

        OHHHH…I have the perfect idea for your traveling tool chest. A heart shaped box that sits upon a Krenov like stand. Portable AND fashionable!!! 🙂

  3. gumpbelly


    I`m glad you said kitties, first glance and I thought they might be fish. Evidently I failed abstract shapes 101 🙂

  4. sharper802

    Ok the one on the left looks like a dress without the spaghetti straps and the one on the right looks like a pair of boots with a broken heel.
    Was this post meant to be a psychology experiment?

  5. psanow

    Kitties…Only because hearts make lousy toggles? Need to inlay little whiskers and cat eyes – THAT would be special.

  6. Jonathan Szczepanski

    While cats aren’t allowed in my toolchest, I think they are fantastic. It’s a way to show your personality with your passion. I hope all woodworker’s take the chance to do something like that.

Comments are closed.