How to make old woodworking tools

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Many of the strong opinions and hard-and-fast rules in our craft are formed out of intellectual laziness, in my opinion.
Before I lay these out, I ask that you be intellectually honest with yourself when you evaluate the way you store your tools. After working in lots of shops with a wide variety of arrangements, I have concluded that an optimal and realistic set-up is to have every tool – at most – one hand motion away from your eyeballs. For me, I have concluded that a floor chest is as close to the surgeon’s set-up as is possible.
So wipe down your tools with an oily rag (any oil will do) and put them in a place where the dust and humidity can’t get them – a box of some sort. I’ve seen a lot of tool chests that can take only panel saws – shorter saws that were more commonly used by furniture-makers. When I design a tool chest or cabinet for me or a customer, I stick with 34” long as the minimum dimension. I was very surprised to realise that I had seen such a box (almost identical) to the one I recently had handed down to me that must be very old. Mine is to be found on the lumberjocks forum under bigalscorpio if you would like to see it.


Secondly, the reason it’s important to me to have my tools out and visible is that it gives me a better chance of picking the right tool for the job. Adrian, You can get tool bit racks for American or metric from woodworking stores-Sears or Pro Auto Tool Trucks. I use a tool rack which is mostly a series of horizontal shelves on the wall behind my workbench. As an additional thought: since it is dust that faciliates rust, it seems like metal tools with horizontal surfaces would be the main victims. But I haven’t written much about the core principles of tool storage – chests, cabinets totes and racks. Other approaches that work equally well: Wall racks or open shelving that does not allow you to pile everything on top of or in front of other tools.
If you make your tool-holding thingy less than 24” long then you will have trouble storing a jointer plane, the longest of the traditional handplanes. 7 jointer plane is 22” long, which is the bare minimum interior dimension I would ever consider for a chest or cabinet. Adam Savage wrote about his modelmaking tool kit and how he created a tool box where he could reach everything without having to move any other thing.


However I have found using a small chest and a wall cabinet protects my tools from rust and the damage from banging against each other. If you are off to repair the International Space Station, then your level of tool protection should be fairly insane.
When I started studying traditional tool chests, I was amused at how many of them were almost the same size: 24” high, 24” deep and 38” long. After studying traditional tool storage, I found that the length – about 35” to 38” in most cases – was the most critical dimension. Searching for a tool irritates me and I prefer to spend the time standing back and gloating. Without that dimension you can’t store a common handsaw that has a 26”-long blade and a 5”-long handle.
Panel saws – vintage or new – are always more expensive than the ubiquitous handsaw with a 26”-long blade.



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04.12.2013 | Author: admin



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