Monday, April 4, 2011

My Tool Box

I thought that it might be kind of fun to let you have a peek at, and into for that matter, my tool box.  I made this old thing out of some scrap pieces of pine that I had laying around my shop.  I build it as a prototype, but it worked so well that I have been using it ever since.  The construction is simple, all butt joints and screws, but it's durable and keeps all of my tools handy.

Inside the little drawer at the bottom I keep my strop, some honing compound, a couple of dowels for add-ons, some super glue, and a couple of pieces of sandpaper.  The drawer is shallow, but I find it quite useful.  Here's a look under the hood:

As you can see, I don't really have very many tools in my box.  It looks like I have 17 palm tools and 12 knives, a few of which I use all of the time, and some that I hardly ever use.  In fact, most of the knives that I have in the box I made as prototypes themselves to test out new blade shapes and lengths.  Actually, I only use about 4 of the knives at all.  I guess I just like to look at the others.  Of the palm tools, I probably use 9 of them all of the time, and the rest I will use every now and then.  See what I mean about not needing very many tools to produce some nice carvings?

All of the palm tools are arranged according to width and profile so that I know where each is without guessing.  All of my knives are also arranged in three rows: rough out, general carving, and detail.  I suppose that one could put some labels on each tool so that he could tell them apart, but this system works for me.

Also in the box you can see my glove and thumb guard in the lid, an assortment of small files to get into those hard to reach places, and a pencil and sharpie to draw with.  That's really all that I use to get the job done.  Here's a picture where I have removed the palm tool insert so that you can see the construction underneath.

As you can see, none of the tools edges can touch each other because of the grid that I made out of 1/4" plywood.  The only thing that I would like to change is to add some foam or some rubber at the bottom of the box so that the points of my knives are protected.  Right now, there is only a piece of cardboard, but it seems to be getting the job done.


  1. Brandant, great toolbox. The grid is a great touch. It looks like you could probably make some and sell them at shows, etc. Richard

  2. Nice job! you have some ideas there that I might in my next tool box.

    My only comment is that you did what I did, i.e., made it out of material that is too thick (read "Heavy"). I really like mine (made from 3/8 spruce plywood) but every time that I have to carry it somewhere I think that 1/4 would have been plenty good enough.

  3. Tom, I readily agree with the weight thing. If I ever make another one, I will definitely use something lighter.

  4. First time to your page awesome work, looks like you have trained under Lynn Doughty. So back on topic, that is a cool looking box it has me inspired to make one for myself. I wondered if you thought with the size that you could switch the opening to the front or on the side instead of on top. This would allow you to lay the knives in on their sides and this would help protect the blades. Course then there would be a redesign to make the palm tools fit, maybe I should just say great job and leave it at that, modifications usually take away from the ease of construction. On a side note love the knives you make, do you have a page that people can see what knives you make for sale or are they all custom.

    1. When I carve, I like to have my tools down by the side of me, so, the top-open design works best for my style. If you decide to make your own, and I hope you do, it would be simple enough to make it open sideways. It's all a matter of where you locate the hinge. Since I made this original post I have made another box which is more compact and much lighter. I really should post a few pics of it.

      If you would like to see the knives I have available, click on the "Knife Gallery" link at the top of the page. This will take you to my current inventory of knives. Check back often as they tend to move fast and I make new knives almost weekly.