Friday, April 17, 2009


Custom Made Tool Chests

If you're a frequent visitor here you've already seen some shots of my new tool chest design, if however you found me by searching the internet, welcome! I suspect you were either searching for a tool box building plan or a tool chest for sale. Either way you're in luck. Due to the high web traffic, e-mails and comments on my new toolbox design, I've decided to set aside some time and offer these tool chests for sale. They're made from solid, local hardwoods and feature hand cut joinery and a few unique design features as well. They have a dovetailed tool till inside and hold a surprising amount of hand tools!
If you're interested in purchasing one, Please don't hesitate to contact me at
prices start at $650.00 usd.
Custom features and different wood species are also available.

If you're in the category of someone that wants to build your own and were looking for a tool chest design or building plan, then this one will be available in my new book, Made by Hand-Furniture Projects from the Unplugged Wood shop.
It's just at the editing stages and will be released through Popular Woodworking Books this November. Pre-orders will be available here and anyone purchasing a tool chest will get a free, signed copy.
The tool chests will also be numbered, signed and dated as well.
With that, the following pics show some of the design features I mentioned. Perfect for 'on-site' work holding applications.

First off is the detachable shooting board on the lid, very handy indeed.

Next are a series of 3/4" holes that can be used with dowels or what I use is a Surface Clamp. Lee Valley carries this clamp and you'll never regret purchasing one.
With the three holes, a surface clamp and a small dowel, you can hold down a workpiece on the toolbox lid, use the front clamp holes for jointing edges, or cut some dovetails in the vertical position which is easy to do thanks to the small 'shelf' at the bottom. Line up the edge of the workpiece with the side of the shelf and you know your piece is plumb.
The back of the chest has a small shelf for laying those screws and nails in when on site as well as the option of more tool storage. I keep two back saws, two cam-clamps (used on site to hold the chest down to a flat surface while working)a small level and an engineers square. On the inside, between the tool till and large bottom section I can carry my 'must-have' workshop essential tools. You'll see specifically what that includes on my new DVD, A Beginners Guide to Workshop Essentials, which is included free with every book order! If I sound like I should be wearing a plaid suit and matching belt and shoes...I apologise. I'm just very pleased with this new tool chest design and am looking forward to sharing it with you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More on Shop Made Tools

From the Unplugged Woodshop

In my last post I featured the new Large Spokeshave from Veritas tools here in Canada. The fact that I had an idea for a tool very similar in design to this makes me pleased that a company like Veritas is now manufacturing it. It's on my short list of tools to buy. Thinking on this shop made tool line I decided to look back through my shop notebooks over the past two years and found about a dozen different design ideas I've come up with. Nothing in there that'll solve Global Warming; who am I kidding, it wouldn't even draw a parade of rats behind me! Oh well...what is in there are some pretty cool ideas for some work shop aids and bench top appliances. A couple of neat new tool ideas and a few more new designs. I tend to write allot while I'm still waking up at 4:30 a.m. when I usually start my day, so I can sometimes forget what the hell I wrote from one day to the next! Things get forgotten about and later found and fresh again. That said, it'll be interesting to follow through on some of these ideas and build myself some prototypes. I'll keep you posted when I get around to it...put it on the 'long-list' so to speak.
Making tools is a ton of fun and it really helps you understand the angles, bevels and reasons why some planes can chatter and others can run on so smoothly. Why one saw cuts and the other tears. What makes a mallet feel good in your hand? One of the first tools I made in recent years was the Lee Valley spokeshave kit; a Christmas gift from my wife it really covered allot of good workshop techniques. From dimensioning wood to super accurate lay-out. Understanding angles and final shaping and finishing. From there I made a couple of hand planes and some sanding planes,
(readers of Fine Woodworking magazine may remember my Tip of the Month a few issues ago-the sanding planes pictured above.) a mallet and hammer and a little bow-saw my father in law cracked in half last year while limbing an old apple tree! My point is this: Try out new things in your shop whenever you can and time permits. Making your own tools and workshop aids is a great learning exercise for any woodworker at any level.
Try the link on the side bar for
you'll find lots of tool making inspiration there.
Another wealth of tool making information is:

Speaking of tool making and workshop appliances, due to all of the feedback, traffic and e-mails I get about wooden tool boxes, I'm going to offer a few for sale. I'll probably only have time to build six or'll be first come first serve. In my next blog I'll feature some of the design elements and show some of the tool chests unique features.
A Cabinetmakers Toolchest.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

From Tool to Toolbox

New Tool from Veritas

Have you ever been working on a project and wished you had a certain tool to make your job easier or more efficient? More specifically a tool you already know does not yet exist? The 'inventor' side of most wood workers I know have this happen to them all of the time; some wish they had a certain hand tool while others take the lead and go about building their own. I like you am no different and have designed and invented new and wonderful tool ideas here in my shop~ at least on paper that is...I'm really going to try to make up a few prototypes of some ideas I have rolling around the 'ol book shelf in my brain and will keep you posted when I do. One early morning last year I had one of these 'moments of clarity' and came up with what I thought would be a great extension of a common wooden bodied spokeshave. I thought about combining the mechanical advantages of a spokeshave set-up with the width of a draw knife. I thought that having a wider handle set up on a spokeshave and the ability to get a 'rowing' style grip would be beneficial to the piece I was shaping at the time.
Well needless to say I thought about the idea but never did get around to making one. Fast forward eight months and it seems that someone over at Veritas tools had a similar idea. ( ahh, just when I was getting ready to conquer the hand tool market! )
The new Veritas Large Spokeshave has just been introduced and I'd love to hear from you if you have one, used one or just your thoughts on the tool itself. I'm curious to see if it will indeed feel like a draw knife, having the extra weight and size but the luxury of fine tuning the iron for final smoothing as well as rough work.
Send me your thoughts...