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A Wonderful and Free Tool Cabinet Plan!

Taunton Press has been kind enough to give a superb  Fine Woodworking cabinet design away!

 

I think it is great!  Inexpensive, pretty, and able to hold a large collection of tools.   It has great tool visibility and uses a minimum of hardware to make.   Jan Zoltowski has done a brilliant job of refining the basic tool cabinet design.

While I am not a purist, I am a predominantly hand tool user and this is a hand tool cabinet, so I see this  from a hand tool users perspective.   If you look through my blog you will find more than one tool storage design.  You will also see where I have critiqued my own designs fairly severely.   I am apparently never satisfied with my own tool storage.   So don’t take my snarking on this cabinet as a deal breaker.  It is still a great design and with a bit of modification would be a near perfect design.

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Tool Rack with a French Cleat

In my pursuit of better tool storage, so far I have ignored my worst woodworking flaw.  I will grab a tool, use it, and then place it on the nearest convenient surface when I am through with it.  Eventually the mess takes over, finding tools is unbearable and tables full of sharp tools can become rather dangerous.

I am rather satisfied with my current portable tool container designs but I have ignored tool management that would be more convenient for a shop.  So now my attention is on better tool containers for the workshop.

I have ignored the large carpenters box and the wall mounted tool rack.  My back problems are nearly gone, thanks to tai chi, but I still fear the large floor box.  Too much leaning over, and too heavy to carry.  The thought of a tool rack built kind of like a grandfathers clock crossed with a dolly seems a lot more convenient, but I will put that idea away for a while.   The wall mounted tool rack is one of the most lovely things a woodworker can have, but it is in one place, and either it is almost a peg board in a box, or it is a bit hard to add more tools to.  Often it has been adapted for a particular set of tools, and changing one out is going to throw off everything.

However, the wall mounted tool rack has several huge advantages.  The tool is right there by your worktable and you can see it.  That is a huge advantage.  It is more efficient for space than a pegboard and a lot prettier.  If it is well designed, you can reach and replace tools with ease.   If all of your tools can be reached easily and replaced easily on a tool rack that is close by and where you need it, then it is possible to develop much better work habits that I currently have.

So here are my tool rack ideals.  Large enough to hold a set of tools for a specific purpose and able to be placed right where it is needed.   Small and light enough to be able to be carried.  All tools must be visible, the sharp end hard to contact, but where you can see the sharp end.   All tools must be able to be removed with ease and replaced with ease.  The tool rack should be reasonably attractive and still easy enough to update or replace when things change.  Ideally since I work outside, the box should be water resistant if not waterproof.

Here are a pair of my new tool racks. The one on the left is for putting by a lathe, the one on the right is a set of my most commonly used tools.

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Vagabond Tool Rack

I have finally finished my portable tool rack design.  It is a tool roll, rack and box, all in one.  Maybe not really a box, but then it may be better.  Read along, and you can be the judge.

Before I let the cat out of the bag and show you the vagabond tool rack,

let me give you the background on this project.

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Leatherworkers Tool Holster

One thing I have not seen, apart from a tool roll, is a leatherworkers holder for tools, made from leather.  Kind of hard to find in a search, since leatherworkers make aprons, rolls, holsters, belts and pouches for everyone else.

In western woodworking, one of the common rites of passage is the manufacture of a tool box.  It is certainly a good test and demonstration of skill.   It is also a nice way to showcase your skills.

Because of these things, my fascination with tool containers, and my desperate need to organize my tools, I decided to make a leatherworker’s tool holder.    Of course I decided to try to be a bit artistic and to make the holder have a timeless sort of quality.

Tool Holster

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Making a Head Knife

Here is my endless  loop.  I make stuff to make stuff to make stuff.  Seriously.  I have a theory that a leather tool box might be ideal.  In any case I want to experiment.  One thing that I need for this is a few leather tools.  A lot I have bought, but one of [...]