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I spent much of most of last Saturday afternoon rough wiring my Father-in-Law’s kitchen. For that job I brought most of my electric hand tools and several parachute bags of fittings and small parts. For a job like that I would generally bring my open tote, my shoulder pouch, my tool box, and the fittings bags. I also usually bring the tote with my carpentry tools. It’s a nice, Stanley FatMax tote which is large enough for a good amount of tools and also has straps for levels and saws, and also includes a saw pouch mounted on the side. I didn’t bring that particular tote with me because I know that my Father-in-Law has a large set of tools already. So when it came time to use a saw and a chisel it took us quite a while to find them. While my Father-in-Law keeps his basement clean and neat, the area where he keeps his tools is not very well organized. I also noticed, for the first time in more than thirteen years, that there are some very good tools floating around in that basement.
Among the tools I saw were Stanley Sweetheart chisels, Buck Brothers screwdrivers (all wooden handles), a Stanley brace and a full set of Jennings augers still in the box, and to my horror, four Disston handsaws, along with several other high quality saws, laying across some pipes. My Father-in-Law explained to me that many of the tools had belonged to his grandfather, who had passed them down to his son, and so on. I didn’t want to insult him by saying that he wasn’t taking good enough care of them, but I did mention to him that the tools were some good ones. So for the past week I’ve been thinking about those tools and how they could and should be stored better. So with Father’s day approaching I decided to make a simple saw/chisel/screwdriver rack for my Father-in-Law’s tools.
Because it was still hot and humid today, and because I didn’t want to open the garage door unless I had to do it, I decided to make the bulk of this project with hand tools. I started with a 1×6 piece of pine I had left over. First thing I did was saw off one end. To do that by hand I did the same thing I would do when sawing dovetails: I used a marking gauge to scribe a cut line and used a chisel to define the cut wall. After that it was quite easy to saw cleanly through. For that job I used a bench hook, a holdfast, and a carcass saw. I then turned to sawing the board in half. Since I don’t have a traditional striking knife, I used my electrician’s cable splicing knife and a speed square to define my cut wall. With the board sawn roughly in half I sawed four dividers using scrap 1/2″ thick Poplar stock. I pre-drilled some holes, but before doing any nailing and glue up I ran the smooth plane over the front board just to clean it up. I then glued the dividers to the back board, spaced evenly (by eye) and attached the top. The top was glued to the dividers as well and everything was held in place with cut nails, which also added a decorative touch.
While everything was drying I did a little cleaning up and layed out the holes for the Shaker pegs to be installed on the front of the rack. I had four left from a prior saw rack build, and coincidentally there were four dividers, so the holes were layed out over the dividers. In keeping with the spirit of the day, I used a brace and bit to make the holes. It had been the first time I had used one in a little while so of course I went a hair too deep on the first hole. Still, I had every thing drilled and installed rather quickly. I then sawed off each end to clean them up and used my Hock Block plane to add a slight chamfer to the rack. Last thing I did involved the table saw. I ripped the piece to final width, taking about 3/8 of an inch off the bottom of the rack. I probably could have done that with the jointer plane but the table saw did just fine. I thought about a few coats of linseed oil but like I was saying, I didn’t want to open the garage door, so I may wait until next week to do that, or I may just leave it natural.
Overall it felt good to get back into the garage and do a little woodworking. The whole build time was less than two hours including clean up, but it was a good two hours. I plan on giving the rack to my Father-in-Law as a Father’s Day gift. Hopefully he uses it as a place to keep his nice saws, screwdrivers, and chisels. I also hope it keeps me in his good graces, afterall, I did steal his daughter.