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Tote for Carving Tools

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Project by CatUpATree posted 08-17-2021 11:23 AM 857 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started reorganizing my workshop, but I got tired of buying stuff for storage and organization. As part of that, a tool tote was on my list of things to build.

When I started the project, I didn’t have a plan for what I’m going to keep in the tote, but I went ahead and started making it. My woodworking skills are rather basic, so any project is a chance to get better. Also, I’m going for hand tool woodworking, so a tote isn’t a complicated thing to build. Right?

I figured making a few dados, butt, lap, and rabbet joints with my hand saws and planes would stretch my skills plenty. I was right.

I decided to go simple with the finish and used boiled linseed oil followed by paste wax applied with 0000 steel wool. The wood grain and color popped nicely. (Note: I tend to use reclaimed wood, so a random mix of lighter and darker woods is a common thing for me. It also gives the project a reclaimed look, which I like.)

I eventually decided on using the tote for my woodcarving tools. I’ve keep these tools in tool boxes and in drawers of large tool chests. These haven’t been good solutions for me because the tools were never really kept organized or they weren’t portable. Racks always seemed like a good option. They tend to be portable and convenient, so I decided to build a rack that could fit in one side of the tote.

With the mish-mash of reclaimed wood I had at hand, this meant more practice at joinery to get boards that were wide enough for a rack.

Joining the top and bottom of the rack with dowel tenons seemed like a good idea (more joinery practice!) and it have me an excuse to try out my dowel cutter.

(Now I know why it’s a very good idea to make the dowel tenon by first using a dowel tenon sharpener/cutter. I don’t have one, so my dowel tenons weren’t cut symmetrically. However, I was able to get away with it on this project.)

Now that the cutting tools are organized on one side of the tote, there are also a lot of other essentials, e.g., sharpening stones, to organize in the other half. For this, I simply made a tray that fits over the well of the tote. This provides storage under the tray for stuff I don’t often need while the sharpening stones and a few other things are in the tray and easily accessible.

Here’s that side of the tote when unpacked. I made the little trays for my files, too. (Practice making miter joints!)

Now that the tote is done, I need to decide what to carve.





12 comments so far

View BB1's profile

BB1

2837 posts in 2189 days


#1 posted 08-17-2021 11:35 AM

What a great project! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the organization while working on your next project. Thanks for sharing all the background and extra pictures.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27259 posts in 4446 days


#2 posted 08-17-2021 01:34 PM

That is a great tote for all this tools! Nice work on it.

Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

20728 posts in 2479 days


#3 posted 08-17-2021 02:25 PM

Excellent work! A very good design for storing carving tools and related accessories.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

1575 posts in 2975 days


#4 posted 08-17-2021 02:52 PM

nice little project… yes building stuff , including stuff for the shops makes us better ww. That’s how the apprentices did it in the old days, they did the drudgery work, and as they got better making little things they moved up the ladder.

Curious why you said: “(Now I know why it’s a very good idea to make the dowel tenon by first using a dowel tenon sharpener/cutter. I don’t have one, so my dowel tenons weren’t cut symmetrically. However, I was able to get away with it on this project.)”

that was a tenon cutter in your hand … (not a sharpener, but it was a shaper)
Those are great little units.

-- Jeff NJ

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1648 posts in 1244 days


#5 posted 08-17-2021 03:11 PM

Congratulations on what appears to be your first post and your Daily Top 3 award. Keep it up. You have obviously put a lot of thought into the design of your tote. As you use it for carving projects it may evolve further to add new tools or essentials. One of the things you may discover is to allow spacing for how you actually reach for a sharp tool, i.e. room for your fingers to grasp a tool handle. You may find it effective to put the few tools you are using on the work surface beside your carving instead of returning each tool to the tote as you switch tools. The tote will help you adapt your approach to carving as you move forward. Good luck. Keep us informed of your progress.

-- You know, this site doesn't require woodworking skills, but you should know how to write.

View CatUpATree's profile

CatUpATree

16 posts in 1146 days


#6 posted 08-17-2021 09:17 PM

Thanks, everyone, for the kind words! The posting on Lumberjocks have been very helpful to me, so I thought it’s time for me to share, too. With this kind of reception, I’ll certainly post more projects.

There seems to be two things that has killed my mood to make things:

1) Tools that are stored nicely, but completely inaccessible. While the tools are organized, they weren’t handy.
2) Having to put away all my tools in the middle of a project.

This project helped address these issues. It inspired me to carve for the first time in a while!

I’ll post the carving when I’m done.

View CatUpATree's profile

CatUpATree

16 posts in 1146 days


#7 posted 08-17-2021 09:32 PM

The tricky part about using the dowel cutter is starting the cut. First, I removed the edges from the wood before cutting the tenon. The ones I removed along the length of the wood were to prevent tear out. I also beveled the edges at the end of the wood to better center the cutter on the wood. However, I simply did this with a knife. This worked okay, but it lacked precision so the dowels clearly weren’t straight.

A dowel sharpener (I’ve also seen it called a dowel pointer) would cut a shallow, concentric bevel around the end of the wood—think pencil sharpener. This allows me to more precisely center the dowel cutter before making the tenon.

Hope this makes sense.


nice little project… yes building stuff , including stuff for the shops makes us better ww. That s how the apprentices did it in the old days, they did the drudgery work, and as they got better making little things they moved up the ladder.

Curious why you said: “(Now I know why it’s a very good idea to make the dowel tenon by first using a dowel tenon sharpener/cutter. I don’t have one, so my dowel tenons weren’t cut symmetrically. However, I was able to get away with it on this project.)”

that was a tenon cutter in your hand … (not a sharpener, but it was a shaper)
Those are great little units.

- woodchuckerNJ


View CatUpATree's profile

CatUpATree

16 posts in 1146 days


#8 posted 08-17-2021 09:42 PM

I agree with your comments and had similar thoughts when I was designing this project. There is some wiggle room to add more tools. Hopefully I can modify the design to accommodate new additions without doing something too barbaric.

I also share your sentiment about laying out the tools on the table while in the middle of a project. I makes total sense for staying in the flow of a project versus micro-organizing while trying to make something. Plus all the gouge handles look the same, so grabbing the gouge with the right profile is much easier when it’s on the table.


Congratulations on what appears to be your first post and your Daily Top 3 award. Keep it up. You have obviously put a lot of thought into the design of your tote. As you use it for carving projects it may evolve further to add new tools or essentials. One of the things you may discover is to allow spacing for how you actually reach for a sharp tool, i.e. room for your fingers to grasp a tool handle. You may find it effective to put the few tools you are using on the work surface beside your carving instead of returning each tool to the tote as you switch tools. The tote will help you adapt your approach to carving as you move forward. Good luck. Keep us informed of your progress.

- Phil32


View swirt's profile

swirt

7141 posts in 4313 days


#9 posted 08-18-2021 01:12 AM

A very nice tote, and a good collection of carving tools. Well done.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View ClaudeF's profile

ClaudeF

1441 posts in 3048 days


#10 posted 08-18-2021 04:23 PM



...
I also share your sentiment about laying out the tools on the table while in the middle of a project. I makes total sense for staying in the flow of a project versus micro-organizing while trying to make something. Plus all the gouge handles look the same, so grabbing the gouge with the right profile is much easier when it s on the table.
...

One way to know which gouge is which would be to put the sweep/width on the wood handle of the gouge – like ”#3/6mm” or more simply “3/6” or “12/8”, etc. Nice work on the tote – well organized!

Claude

-- https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

9527 posts in 3606 days


#11 posted 08-18-2021 10:07 PM

What a great idea.

View CatUpATree's profile

CatUpATree

16 posts in 1146 days


#12 posted 08-19-2021 05:52 AM

That’s a very good suggestion. I was thinking I’d imprint something into the hole where I’m keeping each gouge, but your suggestion is much better. Thanks!

...
I also share your sentiment about laying out the tools on the table while in the middle of a project. I makes total sense for staying in the flow of a project versus micro-organizing while trying to make something. Plus all the gouge handles look the same, so grabbing the gouge with the right profile is much easier when it s on the table.
...

One way to know which gouge is which would be to put the sweep/width on the wood handle of the gouge – like ”#3/6mm” or more simply “3/6” or “12/8”, etc. Nice work on the tote – well organized!

Claude

- ClaudeF


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