Hey – It’s a Shop!

BenchChest

Now to do something about that phone panel…

Were I strictly a hand-tool woodworker, I could call my shop done.* I finally made the tills for and attached the wheels to the chest I built in December 2012/January 2013. The tool rack on the front chest wall has been done for three years, so I’ve been using it to store chisels and backsaws, and my planes have long been stored on the chest floor. But my measuring and marking tools, and all the other stuff that should go in tills? Those have been stored in various boxes, on countertops, in drawers, in pockets…in other words, I’ve had a heck of a time finding what I’ve needed over the last year.

So I did something about it.

With the wheels added, the chest no longer fits in the back of my Subaru. But I can't lift the chest anyway, so it doesn't really matter.

With the wheels added, the chest no longer fits in the back of my Subaru. But unless it’s empty, I can’t lift the chest anyway, so that doesn’t really matter.

After flipping the empty chest on its top to attach the wheels, I flipped it back, leaned against it and promptly fell on my backside. The wheels work. Now I have to get used to them.

The three white pine tills are dovetailed at the corners…and some of those joints even look good! (I have Raynaud’s and it’s been acting up lately…I blame the bats. That’s made it difficult to grip a saw or do anything else that requires fine finger control. It’s also an excellent excuse when necessary for cutting crap dovetails.) While The Plan calls for oak till bottoms, I used walnut for the top and middle ones. Because that’s what I had.

emptytills

Instead of fitting the tills tight to the chest walls as Christopher Schwarz directs in “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” (I really don’t think I could have done that easily with no feeling in several fingers) I used a trick he mentioned in a blog well after the book was published – the tills are a bit undersized from left to right (particularly the middle one; my stop slipped), but the bottoms are snug (thank you shooting plane).

My woodworking tools are now out of boxes/bins/bags/tubs/pockets/etc. and in the chest where they should be. My construction (and destruction) tools are all on shelves. And the tools I rarely use (Grandpa’s 1″ gouge, for example) are still in boxes, but I know which box and where it is.

Now that I can find everything at a glance (except for my favorite birdcage awl…no idea where that is!) I’m wholly out of excuses to not finish the front stairs. Well, except that I can’t grip a hammer at the moment. But as soon as it warms up and stays warm, that will pass. Then I’ll probably come up with a new excuse.

Those filled up fast. I think I have more than the "50 or so tools you need" (from the gospel according to Chris)./

Those filled up fast. I think I have more than the “50 or so tools you need” (from the gospel according to Chris).

— Megan

* I’m not strictly a hand-tool woodworker, so I still have some machinery to set up…and some I still need to buy.

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About fitz

Editor & content director for Popular Woodworking, ABD PhD focused on early modern drama, freelance content and copy editor/writer, ailurophile
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26 Responses to Hey – It’s a Shop!

  1. tombuhl says:

    Ahhhh, nice to have a functional space to work/play in. Certainly is a plus to know where the tools are and a luxury to have them accessible. Luxury in this case means necessity. Looking forward to more posts from the shop.

  2. Brian Clites says:

    Love it! And your Instagram post of the tool rack really inspired me yesterday — I already removed my old rack and started milling up the double-wide variant so I can put my joinery saws in there too! Thanks again 🙂

  3. jmwagle86 says:

    Sorry to hear about your hand. But when it comes to excuses to avoid work! I’m an expert and will help you write one ; just give me a call.

  4. JC says:

    Congrats on the coagulation of your hand tools. Mine are still not in a single place other than “the shop” which is a close as they get to cohabitation just yet. Someday, I will settle on a final resting place for them all. If I don’t end up in one first!

    • JC says:

      I understand the Renaud’s as I have to deal with some carpal and a neck that likes to up the ante sometimes. I really hate dropping razor sharp tools over my feet. Yikes!

      • fitz says:

        At least my feet don’t tend to chip the blades…but the concrete floor is unkind 🙂 But yeah…no sandals in the shop…for now 🙂

  5. Congrats. It’s always nice to have natural light. I’m still in the process of building my shop, so all of my hand tools are still in storage. 😦

  6. miathet says:

    Good for you! For me its’ always good to have the shop organized I can try something to relieve the stress of the day. Currently I am practicing double blind dovetails and making boxes I don’t need.

  7. Kevin Thomas says:

    I can relate to the hands. I have RA and on a good day they are just crooked. On a bad day they swell, don’t close and hurt like the dickens. I hate rainy and cold weather.

  8. Paul says:

    Very nice looking tool chest and bench. I wish I had a dry basement rather than the wet one we have. The shop is in the garage.
    PaUL

    • fitz says:

      The garage is where all the stuff that was in my basement now lives 🙂 The dry basement with high ceilings is what sold me on the place.

  9. wadeholloway says:

    Sweet looking bench and chest. I like the gray better than the black. Glad your are getting everything set up. Raynauds is really tough, they do make some medication to help during the cold weather.

    • fitz says:

      Thanks! (The hand thing isn’t that big a deal…but stress exacerbates it more than cold for me. Once the bats are gone – mitigation begins next week – I expect I’ll be less always-stressed!)

  10. Nice work Megan, I like the drywall screw on the saw handle turn button 🙂

  11. Looking good Megan. Which bench is that? Is the Le Petite Roubo?

    And I’m truly surprised there aren’t more bats in the belfry comments on your recent posts.

    • fitz says:

      Thanks! Yep – that’s the one I call the petite Roubo (basically the same as the 18th-century bench from the August 2010 issue, but w/ a Benchcrafted Glide for the leg vise).

  12. Bob Jones says:

    Despite looking rather dungeon like, that’s a nice setup 🙂

    • fitz says:

      Les dungeon-like than the old place, though! I need to reparge then paint the walls. And install some better lighting.

  13. Al Breit says:

    Megan Is that a second vice that is under your bench with the 2 wheels on? Great job on your 2 projects.

  14. Sorry to hear about the Raynaud’s, but I can sort of relate – I was diagnosed with the condition about 10 years ago (but I still don’t think that’s actually what I have). It rarely interferes with my woodworking, but after a day of heavy hammering or other high-vibration activities, my entire right arm will go to sleep in the middle of the night. It’s ridiculously uncomfortable and keeps me awake for hours on end. Once I get up for day and become active, it goes away. Comes and goes over the years, and I never know when it will act up again. From the comments, it looks like there are plenty of woodworkers who suffer from similar problems (RA, CT, etc.)

    Anyway, it’s nice to see that you finally have the shop set up again! That tool chest is wonderfully organized. I need to build a bigger one myself.

  15. neitsdelf says:

    >…and some I still need to buy.

    I can’t believe this was said unironically.

    Andy.

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