Tool tote travel #1: a learning travel in tools and techniques.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 10-13-2010 02:50 PM 9661 reads 6 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Tool tote travel series Part 2: glue up and details. »

Tool tote travel
a learning travel in tools and techniques.

Yes some of you will say: ‘come on Mad(s), we heard about this, and you will never get done with those dovetails’.
And I have to admit: ‘I have been a chicken when it comes to dovetails’.

The project:
The project is a tool tote or tool box (many opinions on the name), a mix of some wonderful pine wood boards from an old closet, and a branch from the forest!

Here the design I did, a simple but ‘hopefully’ long, slim and elegant tool tote.

The challenge:
The challenge for me is to make all the processes, in different ways.
This means that I will be able to test my skills, and also that I will be allowed to use some of those wonderful old planes I have bought so I can live up to my title as rhykenologist!

With both power (modern), and hand tools (old),I will compare the difference in the work with both types, and to get on a travel in learning, both for my limits (due to health), and for what I can do that I thought was not possible (due to skills).
Part of the challenge is no nails or screws, old techniques, and glue, gravity or wood pins to hold it together (I do know nails are not a new invention, but this is woodworking jungle style, in the suburbs of Copenhagen).

First step was to make a tongue and grove in the boards, since they were too narrow for the project.
For this I had the chance to use my tuned up Record no 50 planes, and they run fine and smooth along the edge on their new wooden fences, it was so easy that I had no reason to start up any power tools, the fresh smell of wood that hit my nose and the wonderful shavings, was worth all the sweat. (I need to buy spurs, these were missing).
I made the job on my Festool MFT and as you can see the clamping was easy, and since I added ballast under the table, it was completely steady, so I was happy while listening to Marvin Gaye.

Glue the tongue and grove, and make a flat clamping.
Again the table was a dream to work on, as you can see the clamping could provide pressure from all sides needed. I put some newspaper under to provide me from getting stuck on the table after…

Now I just have to get rid of the newspapers… Dahhhhh!

Finally time for some shavings again!
First I ran a tour de Stanley 4, then the 62 and ended up with a scraper.
This was where I realized I had to make the scraper set up tool…
You can see on the photos the shavings I produced with the different types, and yes – I love that 62, she is a babe (if my health would allow me, I could just stand there and make shavings for hours until the tote was all gone).

It was the first time in my life I really used a scraper seriously, and I loved it, especially the finish it leaves.

And just for pleasure a close up of the shavings.

The scraper is also excellent for removing glue.

So time for a cut with a Japanese pull saw, this saw really impressed me, I put nothing under to avoid tear out, but still there were almost none. I made a cut with a knife first on top and bottom.

The cut was clean and sharp, and it was easy to cut with.
(But these little moves go right to my nerves, and give me pain, so hand sawing is a luxury).

So time to call in the cavalry.
Festool TS55 EBQ-Plus, on the MFT table makes cutting such a easy task, it’s really like putting butter on bread. I simply love that saw, and the cuts are perfect.

Fist set up! It looks awfully high, and the planes so small… But I’ll trust my instincts.

Time for a walk in the forest.
Then home and use one of my home made knifes, a curved pocket knife, and spokeshaves that also are a new tool for me – I simply loved to run the spokeshaves up those curves, and to feel how smooth they cut after my refurbish of them. Wauuuuu!
I was lucky to find a wonderful branch, and also to be reminded of the beauty of the forest – this is after all where the travel starts, when we talk wood. The trees I mean!
(I even found one to make me a walking stick, one with a natural made handle).

And so she was stripped until completely naked! What a sight.
After it was the scraper that made her completely trimmed and shaved.

Cutting out the ends of the tool tote, here with a coping saw.
(Again this is not the best for me, but I enjoy the ride).

So we take a tour at the band saw, with a narrow blade, so I can get into the curves.

Both sides are identical.

Test set up with all four sides, it seems to be the right proportions, so I’m kind of happy.

Time to cut holes for the branch handle, I use a Forstner bit.
I know I was supposed to cut one by hand, but I had used the coping saw enough, so I took the fast road…

And another set up to determine the final proportions.
I have cut the sides roughly to size.

Sketch of the way I will attach the bottom of the tote.

Marking up the bottom.
Review of the Veritas gauge.

And the side!

Cutting the rebate, with a Stanley no. 78 rebate plane.
It’s a fine plane, even the fence are short, and therefore lack of accuracy, but the job is fast done.

Cleaning up with a Record 311. I have said this before, but to me this is the most wonderful plane I ever had in my hand.
As you can see the MFT table really do the clamping job again.

The rest of the rabbets I cut on the table saw, to spare my now tired arms.

Bottoms up!
And you can see my grease box of course was at use to smoothen the ride of my hand planes.

Grooving with a Record 43, another of my favorites, this little baby are so easy to control, and when sharp, a real pleasure to work with.

The groove. (Sounds like a funk band!).
And yes I cut to deep on that table saw – I’m really ashamed…

The groove corner close up.

Another set up!

Realizing the disaster!!!
The grove will become visible on the tool tote end. Ahhhhhhgggggg….

Sides cut to length.
Buying time to think!

The tools for dovetails (especially the pipe and the tobacco are important).
My Squarerulerbevelangelbandit can get into use.
I reviewed the little Razor saw.
And a good book to learn it all from is The complete dovetail.

Here we are in dovetail heaven, my first dovetails ever, provoked by my brother Div, and I needed to drink a big cup of espresso to gather the nerves.

First dovetails ever!
Yes they can be improved, but I was happy, and only the visible grove still haunted me.

This marking was fantastic… I think I had a meltdown, or perhaps I just had too much espresso…

But at the end I succeeded, not only with the dovetails, but also to solve my head ache with a mitered corner. So I was back on the happy branch again.

The solution to my prayers!

Oh yes, and I almost blew it, by cutting of the wrong part! You can see the chisel mark…

And here that I cut the hole dovetail, before I realized the solution.

So now it was just to repeat, and when I made a million they will be perfect.
My Hansen mallet was just perfect, but I will have to try and make a smaller one of brass, to make it more handy.

Here it is, after assembly with no glue.
Almost ready for the road!

I’ll split the blog up here, so it does not become too long for a ISDN connection…
In the next part I will make the glue up and finish.

Hope this little travel can be to inspiration, or in best case a tool tote

Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

16 comments so far

View patron's profile


13648 posts in 3705 days

#1 posted 10-13-2010 03:11 PM

great save on the mitered corner

very well done

and looks GREAT !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View mafe's profile


11979 posts in 3453 days

#2 posted 10-13-2010 04:21 PM

Thank you Patron, you make my day!

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View littlecope's profile


3072 posts in 3866 days

#3 posted 10-13-2010 04:24 PM

You tell a Great Story, Mads!!
An Epic Adventure, filled with things learned and affirmed, and Treasure gleaned from thin air… and heart’s desire…
I love your work, my Friend… it’s plain to see the love that you put into the making…
Bravo!! :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3423 days

#4 posted 10-13-2010 04:29 PM

Pretty cool tote you have there. I’ve never seen anyone cut dovetails into the long grain side of a board like you have done. You usually only see them cut into the end grain of a board. They look like they have been cut and fit very nicely. Well done.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View mafe's profile


11979 posts in 3453 days

#5 posted 10-13-2010 07:05 PM

Doc, what should I have done? Used the wood I had. But I should have made the end grain tails big, and the others small, that would have been clever… I learn!
Mike, ‘The Epic dove tail adventure’ that could have been quite a tite. I smile all over my face by your words, they are as large as mine…
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Praki's profile


201 posts in 4360 days

#6 posted 10-13-2010 07:27 PM

Nicely done! I have been thinking of building a tool toe for some time and now I am motivated.

-- Praki, Aspiring Woodworker

View swirt's profile


3879 posts in 3336 days

#7 posted 10-13-2010 08:39 PM

”But I should have made the end grain tails big, and the others small, ...”

Other way around. End grain pins narrow, long grain tails wide.

Is that a price tag I see hanging from the handle in the last photo? ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 3298 days

#8 posted 10-13-2010 10:24 PM

Mafe: You have beautifull handtools I dream off. I am pretty sure they are useless without the master holding them.

Where is that table saw? I have never seen it in any of the pictures you posted.
great work.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View mafe's profile


11979 posts in 3453 days

#9 posted 10-14-2010 11:54 AM

Ian, I try my best, but really I’m a beginner in this. It’s a Festool saw, a 55plunge on a CMS unit (I love it), you can see it in two of my posts, one where I gave it wheels, and one where I made a mitre sled.
Swirt, no no price tag, a name tag, I do not sell ‘yet’.

This is what I mean Swirt.
Praki, thats wonderful.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View swirt's profile


3879 posts in 3336 days

#10 posted 10-14-2010 02:57 PM

Great drawing. Yep that’s what I meant too :) And swapping the pins for the tails like you did in the drawing is good too because I think it avoids the single plane of weakness created by having the tails be on the long grain like you did in the actual box. So this drawing is even a better improvement than I suggested. Well done.

-- Galootish log blog,

View mafe's profile


11979 posts in 3453 days

#11 posted 10-14-2010 03:37 PM

I might end up almost clever one day!
(I love to make this sort of drawings).
Thank you,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View swirt's profile


3879 posts in 3336 days

#12 posted 10-14-2010 04:45 PM

Clever one day? Your modesty makes me laugh and smile. You continued cleverness inspires me and many others on a daily basis.

-- Galootish log blog,

View rdlaurance's profile


367 posts in 3710 days

#13 posted 10-14-2010 05:55 PM

I echo patron’s words… Great Save on the miter.

Another good save would have been to inlay a small piece of dark wood in those holes and then make additional inlays across the bottom ends (between the other inlays) to make it all look intentional, except we already saw your drawings…ha ha

Great Blog Mads.

-- Rick, south Sweden

View DaddyT's profile


267 posts in 3874 days

#14 posted 01-10-2011 09:30 PM

What a great read. I love the tote, and plane on making my own. You are also a very good photographer. And I love that nice Hawkbill knife, havent seen one of those in a long time.

Best regards Jimi

-- Jimi _ Measure twice, cut [email protected]#%#[email protected]!!!......measure twice, cut....

View B13's profile


463 posts in 3057 days

#15 posted 01-10-2011 11:18 PM

I like the handle the best the sketch also looks great! I love It when a plan comes together great! job Mafe

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