Monday, August 15, 2011

It's not...

It's not the clothes that make the man, it's the tools. 

Well, I'm a firm believer in this as you can tell from my quote above.  I'm sort of a renaissance man in some ways  or Jack of all trades, master of none, take your pick.  Let's think about this for a minute.  I'm a homeowner and I like to be relatively self-sufficient in terms of maintaining my home and my yard.  There are certain things I don't work on - for example gas fittings, the furnace and hot water heater, but otherwise, I'm happy to work on most other things that are part of the home and the yard.  So, we've got the yard tools and machinery to cut grass and move snow.  Plus, you have to have the tools to maintain them.  I like to cook, so we've got a fairly well equipped kitchen.  I like to build furniture, so I've got hand and power tools that are geared towards that.  As a boat-builder, I've got some tools that are specific for doing that.  Because I have been trying other boat-building methods, I find that I need to either buy or build tools that are specific to the build type including 'glassing tools, lap clamps and hot knives for skin-on-frame building.


The "but" is that I've had a problem.  Many of my tools and some of my tool storage are hand-me-downs or "finds".  I have a rugged wooden tool chest that belonged to my Grandfather and a very tired Gerstener-style tool chest that I've used for quite some time.  I also have a bunch of plastic totes that I store some of my "homeowner" tools that are specific to a job, like plumbing, sheet-rock and plaster work, electrical work, etc.   Because I carry tools back and forth to the school where I teach and take classes, I have some Nantucket Diddy Bagg(s) which I like a lot.  I've got a canvas one and a poly one, both of which I highly recommend.   I tried a gate-mouth bag, which I didn't care much for and a bucket-boss which was OK.  I also use a plastic crate and a wooden crate to store and transport some of my tools.

However, I've been trying to organize my shop and have better tool storage than the multiple bags, buckets and crates for the lion's share of my tools.  For a long time, I've wanted a "roll-away" style tool chest to store all my tools in.  This weekend, I finally took the plunge.

I've looked at a variety of tool chests and in particular liked some stainless-steel tool chests at the Big Orange Box for some time.   As you can see below, it is now in use.  It consists of a top chest and a bottom cabinet.  Amazingly (I guess...)  It is already full.    It is not a top-of-the line tool chest, but it is of decent construction including full extension drawers with ball-bearing slides, a lock, gas-shock lifts on the lid, a power strip (really) and locking casters.  I'm a bit suspicious of the "stainless steel" part - I don't know if you can see it in the picture, but there are two relatively large magnets (one for fixturing, the other a magnetic bowl for small parts.) stuck to the side.  N.B. - 300 series stainless steel shouldn't be magnetic, 400 series (which will oxidize...) is.

The two parts of this chest were heavy. DW and DD helped me get the two halves into the basement - Empty, they each weighed about 150 pounds.  We had all we could do to manage to put the awkward top on the base.

It is getting better in the shop space, but I still feel that I've got a long way to go.  It is a start, however.  Perhaps a second roll away is in order?

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