Full Chisel Blog

January 12, 2014

Storage of Pliers, pincers, shears, snips and scissors

I have a good collection of box joint pliers and use them regularly, however they were stored with their working ends down in holes in a block of wood that also holds my files and rasps, so they needed a place of their own.

Then I remembered a quote from my first father in law and mentor when it comes to old things, he said ‘don’t forget the great unused storage space in the sky’.

Using some 1/2″ thick pine I cut a length of the 11″ wide board to 18″, drilled holes in the end grain for the pivot hinges, drilled a hole in through the top of my tool cabinet and manufactured a bracket to hold the lower pivot hinge.  I used white oak for the dowels/pivots and there is a single slotted screw holding the bracket to the side of the tool cabinet.


I then laid out the pliers/ pincers on one side, they are held with 1″ fine cut headless brads with room for expansion, I already found another pair of box joint pliers to add to the collection.  Then on the other side I put my snips, shears and scissors that I use regularly.


This arrangement works nicely, everything easy to see and a place for storage out of the way.


July 13, 2010

Sea Chest

I have wanted to make one of these for some time now and at last I have an order to build one.  I may have to make two as I like the design.  The sailor’s sea chest was his seat, table, tool box, strong box, food locker and the only place on board that was uniquely his.

I will be making it from pine, dovetailed at the corners.  The top and bottom moldings will be attached with glue and nails, the hinges are simple offset strap hinges secured to the inside with rivets or clinched nails, the lock will be a double lug half mortise lock with a self escutcheon.  The box will be painted blue with Prussian blue oil based paint, not as bright as the drawing and interior decoration to be provided by the new owner(s) as will the beckets [the rope work handles].

The side handles are attached to the box with long clinch nails and the rope work ‘beckets’ will be done up through the round holes provided.  Some of these are quite simple and some are incredibly complex, occupying many hours of work during long voyages.

The chest is 31 1/2″ wide on the bottom, 28″ wide at the top; 24″ deep at the bottom, 16″ at the top and 18″ high.  These are approximate sizes, pending approval of the sailor that placed the order.  I got the design and dimensions from a photograph and it was difficult to scale, but I think I got the measurements close to the original.


August 12, 2009

Brigham Young’s Tool Chest

I went on an adventure and took a quick tour of the Beehive House, Brigham Young’s residence in downtown Salt Lake City, then ventured over the the Museum of Church History and Art with camera in hand.

This is a tool chest belonging to Brigham Young which he used when he was a carpenter in the mid nineteenth century.  After 1844 when he started leading the Mormon Church, I am fairly certain he didn’t do much carpentry work as he was a bit being busy as the Territorial Governor, Indian Agent and the President of the Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).

Young was from Vermont and while I couldn’t get close enough (yet) some of the tools may be English or European but I am sure some of them are American made.

The pad is missing from this brace, one of two, the other looks like  to be a Spafford style iron brace.  Protecting his tools many of them has his distinctive brand ‘BY’.

Here are the tools, numbering 20 pieces, although there are a couple of others in other museums.  Nine hand planes, two joiners, one smoothing, one rabbit, one plow and 4 molding planes.  One spokeshave, one marking gauge, one mortise gauge, one pair of compasses, one square, two bit stocks, one wood, one iron and two twist augers.  One awl handle and one large mallet.  The chest has 4 separate tills, some of which are missing dust lids.

I will be doing some further research into this tool box as its history is well documented.


April 1, 2009

Prototype Dovetail Saw

I have finally come up with a solution to the controversy between Western Push style Dovetail Saws and the popular Eastern Pull style Dovetail Saw.  It was brought about when one day I was cutting some dovetails with a Western style Dovetail Saw while a friend of mine was watching.

He commented ‘if that saw had a handle on the other end, he could give me a hand’.  What a thought, my mind went back to the two handle whip saws of yore and put 2 and 2 together and got 22.  Now I think I have solved the problem with whither you prefer the Western or Eastern style handsaw.

Ultimate Dovetail Saw

The Eastern end is traditional with a tang and bamboo wrapped handle.  The Western end is a typical riveted handle that is octagonal and tapered.  This will surely set to rest the problem about deciding which to choose.  Just choose this one.


October 24, 2008

Dealing with my Chisel Problem, Part III

Filed under: Of Interest,Proper Tools,Tool Cabinets & Tool Boxes,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 8:38 am

Well I re-made the first chisel rack and am pleased with the results.  I went about it in a methodical way, although it is difficult to tell from how I botched things up.  I had all four racks cut out (with an additional length available should I need it, which I did) and only did one at a time, well I did two but the second one was acceptable as it holds the chisels by their tapered sockets, so with the luck of geometry and physics, I dodged that bullet

Chisel Rack re-make

By not doing them all at one time, I avoided having to re-make them all.  The gouge and carving tool racks are both very functional and I can now see all my chisels and gouges.

This has also freed up some space in my tool cabinet, after I removed the old three tiered rack.  I moved in the block with assorted tools and the rest of the boring bits into the vacant space.  I also have a bit of free space on the inside back side to hang up stuff I need at hand. 

With that problem largely out of the way, I started to organize my layout tools in the upper cabinet, I had already partially re-done my saw till (is still needs work), so it is time for to square away my squares.

I will soon be opening up an online Store here on my blog to offer items for sale.  Items for sale will be old tools, artifacts, shop art and Woodworker’s Note Cards.  I have permission from Clinton Whiting to reproduce and offer for sale his pen and ink drawing of the ‘Cabinet Shop’, just getting packaging material together.  The Woodworker’s Note Cards are pen and ink drawings of Traditional Tools from the eighteenth and nineteenth century.  Each card comes with an envelop and each card has a description of the tool and it date on the back.  There are about 40 images to choose from including saws, planes, braces, workbenches, &c.


October 23, 2008

Dealing with my Chisel Problem, Part II

Filed under: Of Interest,Proper Tools,Tool Cabinets & Tool Boxes,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 9:30 am

Well the first go round went off with only 50% failure rate.  The lower chisel rack with the sockets is fine, but I think I will re-do it a bit.  The upper one was a complete failure.  The slots don’t work.  I lightly kicked the door when it was closed and heard a shower of chisels, so until I make a new one I scabbed on a piece of wood to retain them.

Chisel Rack Repair

So I took the suggestions from M.Mike and Mitchell and decided to drill holes and add a few slots.  The hole in conjunction with the slot holds the tools much more securely than just the slot.

Gouge Rack

I will probably add some leather keepers on the slots if it proves necessary.  The only problem I have now is if, no when I get more chisels and gouges.  I suppose I will deal with that at the time.  There are an extra hole for a small gouge or chisel on this one and it is possible to add new holes.

While the arrangement looks compact and I will need to be careful when removing tools from the lower racks, I may put a flap of leather or some other safeguard if I should bleed just once.

I have looked at other racks and the hanging kind or the drawer solution are the best as there is little chance of damage to the sharp ends.  Racks that hold the chisels or gouges by them resting on their cutting edges is a bad idea.  Even if a soft padding of cork, soft wood or leather can still get stuff on it that can damage the cutting edges.

So, I will re-make the upper chisel rack and post a final post, with the Chisel problem solved.


October 21, 2008

Dealing with my Chisel Problem

Filed under: Of Interest,Proper Tools,Tool Cabinets & Tool Boxes,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 11:16 am

When I first built this Tool Cabinet, I built a three tier rack that held all of my chisels at the time.  Well I have sold a couple and picked up several, so there was a need for a change.  My chisel rack is full (he he).

Chisel Rack before

Besides I could not see what tools were what as all of my chisel handles match.  The original design was to alleviate the sharp ends of the chisels and gouges from cutting me.  Well it is a bad design and was in need of a remake.

So I decided to utilize the unused space behind the doors to the base of my Tool Cabinet.  I decided to put the chisels on the left side and I will put the gouges and carving chisels on the right hand door.  I cut up some pine, planed it and did a layout of the chisels.  I drilled holes for the screws with a gouge bit and cut the slots with a cross cut hand saw.

New Chisel Rack

This is the first iteration and the lower rack for the large chisels was mounted too high, so it had to be repositioned down an inch and a half. (I still need to replace that hooped chisel handle, as soon as I figure out how to remove it without damaging the handle, I give all my replaced handles to a friend).

The lower rack works fine and holds the chisels by their sockets, the three narrower chisels are in holes in the base and the others are in slots.  I will probably add leather tabs, similar to a Billiards Stick Rack, to hold them in place.

The top rack has a problem.  I was worried about a chisel falling from the rack when the door is open, and sure enough one of my chisels landed on the floor point first.  I am going to re-do the top rack with holes instead of slots as all of the tools have narrow enough blades to fit into a hole and be removed easily and will prevent the tools from falling out if the door is opened too quickly or slammed shut.

After I figure out all the problems I will tackle the gouges and carving tools.


June 12, 2008

Tool Cabinet, redesign

Filed under: Tool Cabinets & Tool Boxes,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 7:39 am

This diatribe on drilling and boring has inspired me to redesign the tool cabinet that took me 30 years to build.

Tool Cabinet

Now of course it took me a week to build this cabinet but it took 30 years to decide on a design.  The cabinet has a drawer in the base, two doors, with a shelve for storage of tools not in common use.  I redesigned the right side of the center section of this cabinet.

Tool Cabinet Detail

Tool Cabinet Detail

My drill bits are all in one place and the braces are no longer hanging off the pediment of the cabinet but have a place inside.  Having all the bits in one place is a good idea and they are lower now so it is easier to see the size of the bit I need.  I think this is a good design, but I thought the previous iteration was good too, but it wasn’t, experience changes everything.

When making a tool cabinet it is important to make sure you can change things over time, adding more tools, getting rid of tools you don’t use.  Attach things with screws so you can move and change things as needed.

Now I need to redo the screwdriver holder, that will be simple.  Maybe I should post something about chisels to inspire me to redesign/redo my chisel rack, too small but a good design as there are no sharp blades exposed, it is just not big enough.


April 17, 2008

Early Tool Box

Filed under: Tool Cabinets & Tool Boxes,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 7:20 pm

This is the diminutive tool box that I picked up at the local swap meet.  I had purchased some tools, then noticed the box.  The lid was broken at the hinges and the modern red devices didn’t seem to work, nor did the 11 modern finish nails, nor did the bit of modern glue used to ‘repair’ the damage actually do anything but keep all of the parts together.

Lid repair

I took out the nails, cleaned out the glue, (was fairly easy, they didn’t use clamps) glued and clamped the splits, which extended almost completely across the back.  When the glue dried, I cleaned off the excess and drilled out the old screw holes to 3/8″ and replaced them with 3/8″ bungs of poplar, matching the original species.

Most of the joints are butt joints, held with cut nails, the reinforcing bars on the top and bottom are mitered at the corners.  The corners are also reinforced with brass or copper held on with iron screws.  The bottom is inset, held on with nails and it was in the slight gap in the front edge was where the P.S. Stubs blade was found.

Tool Box with till

The till is also nailed together.  All surfaces are hand planed.  The lock is missing but the striker plate is in tact.  It also appears that the top was screwed down, perhaps for shipping, I left those holes.  There is also evidence of labels held with tacks on each end of the box.  It was probably made around the time of the Civil War.

Tool Box, original green paint

It also has much of its original green paint.  I actually think that I could lift this tool box, even if it was full of tools.  I have a couple of other tool boxes that can hardly be moved by two people, if it is full of tools.

There is no evidence of a stay to prevent the lid from damaging the screws in the hinges (which did happen).  I will add one to insure that further damage doesn’t happen again.


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