A Different Direction

The first set of mortise strips went onto the core slab without a hitch (almost).  I’m very pleased with the result, but I’m glad I did the back mortises first.  When I get to the front mortises, I’ll have perfected my technique.


I don’t think this was faster than boring and paring, but it is certainly crisper.

After all the flattening, squaring and gluing (which I promise to write more about later), I’m sick of the workbench build.  Instead, I’ll distract myself for a couple weeks with a traveling tool tote, based heavily on Christopher Schwarz’ boarded tool chest from 2015, but scaled down.  I outgrew my soft tool tote long ago.  It’s time I upgraded my traveling setup.

I like this boarded tool chest design because it’s rabbeted and nailed, rather than dovetailed.  Dovetails are great, but this is a working piece that I want to complete on a decent timeline.  And call me crazy, but I really enjoy splitting rabbets (my shop-made fillister plane is only 5/8″, after all).  I will likely follow the oak-battened lid design of the source material, also for no other reason than it’s easier than a full dust seal of a traditional floor chest (but also because this tool tote won’t be populated full-time).  The entire carcass, including the ship-lapped floor, is only seven boards.


Two sides, two ends, three floor boards, all cut to rough length.

Made almost exclusively from 1×12 common pine from the home center, the inside dimensions of the tool tote will be slightly over 26″ long x 12″ wide x 11″ high. There will be plenty of room in the floor plan for a panel saw, two back saws, a jointer plane, a smoothing plane and a router plane, plus a chisel rack on the inside wall.  A single sliding tray on oak runners will hold everything else I need for on-site work.

One final note: it’s amazing what you can find when you dig through the stacks of common pine.  In addition to a nearly knot-free carcass, there is enough clear, quarter-sawn wood to laminate a stable lid.  Plus, the quarter-sawn off-cuts from the floor boards will become the walls of the sliding tray.  All of this from only twenty-four feet of home center common pine.

I feel energized.



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