The Design Process

After you've decided on the type of toolbox that would best suit your specific needs and shop situation, begin the design process by thinking about the work you will be doing in proximity to the proposed storage unit. This will tell you what tools you probably should store there. Now make a list of the tools that seem most appropriate to store in the unit. Consider that some tools may not store well (bulky and heavy power tools like plunge routers or circular saws in a wall-hung cabinet for instance), and that some of the tools (such as screwdrivers and hammers) may be equally necessary in other parts of the shop. These might best be placed on a rolling cart or in a station box. Since I do a fair bit of hand-tool woodworking, I place most of my layout tools and hand planes in a wall box located by the vise end of my workbench.

Jim Tolpin Shop

This divided drawer in Jim Tolpin's rolling tool cart has a sliding tray. Photo by Craig Wester.

Once you have your tool list, think about the placement of each tool within the box. To prevent back strain when lifting them out, I locate heavy tools toward the bottom of the unit, with the heaviest placed at just below elbow height. I place a wide assortment of lightweight tools on the doors of the unit—they're easy to see and get at here, and they don't stress the door. Tools with pierced handles (such as spokeshaves, saws, files, and wrenches) go on pegs; other small hand tools (such as screwdrivers) fit easily into clips, brackets or pockets. You can slide planes into small pigeonholes in the interior of the box, but remember that you can't see their lengths this way, so you'll have to memorize where each plane goes. Another option is to set the pianes on pegs or narrow shelves, or to pierce their bases with a hole (collectors will shudder) and hang them. Small tools, especially cutting tools like router and drill bits, are best placed in drawers or pull-out bins.

In a rolling cart, I like to use drawers for most, if not all, of the storage area. As the cart is trundled over the uneven floor of my shop, I want the drawers to provide good protection for my tools-more than they might have if they are hung on pegs or set on shelves. Closely conf ined between the dividers set within the trays, the tools can't roll about and damage themselves or one another. Notice in the photo above that I have added a divided tray to the drawer. Sliding back and forth on ledges over the divided compartments below, the tray maximizes the use of the space within the drawer, yet barely interferes with

David Powell Tool Chest

David Powell's tool cabinet features a French-fitted tray. Photo by Vincent Laurence.

accessibility. You could also add French-fitted compartments to some of the drawer bottoms to help keep tools from rolling about (see the photo above).

Try to avoid creating non-dedicated spaces for tool storage, such as an open well or a length of undivided shelving. This design option theoretically offers you options, but in reality it just gives you a spot to pile junk. Likewise, while adjustable shelving might seem like a good idea, it rarely is. Once you commit tools to their spaces there's no need to tinker with the shelves, and the adjustable feature becomes a liability, increasing the likelihood that a shelf will tilt and dump its contents on your feet.

Even worse than a whacked foot for a woodworker (who is used to such abuse) is losing a favorite tool. To avoid this disheartening experience, 1 try not to squee/.e too many tools into my toolboxes. If I do, I sooner or later end up hiding a smaller tool behind a larger one. If it is a tool I don't use very often (but it is, of course, the only tool worth using for a certain job), I invariably forget where I stored it. Eventually, it is forgotten entirely.

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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