Monday, April 16, 2012

Housing shortage

Sprig bit.


No, no, it's not an odd symptom of Tourettes causing me to type random words. That's the other name given for a bradawl that I posed the question about last week; a sprig bit. Makes sense, a sprig being a headless brad-like thing. I like it. If I can remember to be sufficiently archaic (not usually difficult) I shall use it more often.

Meanwhile I managed to snatch some w'shop time. No! I hear you cry in disbelief. Yes! I reply, also in some disbelief. Behold!

Waddayoumean, "What is it?" Clearly it's a prototype lolly stick dispenser, allowing Bertie to choose his preferred colour scheme for destruction:

No? Not buying it? Thought not. I know what gave it away; Bertie would inevitably destroy the dispenser first.

Anyway... I've been mulling over the question of tool storage for some time now. Okay, yes, some years. Genius cannot be rushed.

In this case, neither can indecision.

And what with one thing and another, chisels are on my mind. Also a little project I want to do that'll require some housings (or dados if you're 'Murrican or accustomed to more Normite thinking) that suggested that some practice of same would be no bad thing. Put the two together, and wadda you got?

Well first you've got the unhappy discovery that your hitherto unimpeachable canvas tool rolls have somehow got damp while in hitherto unimpeachable drawers and thus your chisels are, in places and to varying degrees, impeached. Not to say orange. Even unto being crusty on one of them. The new ones, naturally, because new tool steel is like one whacking great big rust magnet.

Seriously, I've spent more time removing rust off those Ashley Iles chisels than I have using them. No joke.

So dashing the tears of unhappiness from the chisel-fantic cheek, I removed the rust, threw the tool rolls to the far distant corners of the w'shop in disgust, and generally thought that some experimentation in chisel storage was clearly overdue.

Now I've done the holes-inna-shelf system until I'm blue in the face, but I have to say I'm not sure about it. Either I've ended up with only being able to see the handles, which is not always helpful if you have half a dozen chisels with identical handles (obviously not the case here).

or else with the cutty-pointy bits waving about ready to bite the unwary hand (very much the case here).

So I reckoned I was overdue the hold'em-by-the-blade option. And eleven housings later, I was pretty good at them, I can tell you.

Not convinced I've cracked the design, but it's a valuable exploration of the option, and meantime it'll keep the chisels safe, handy, and visible so I can (hopefully) spot any rust (hopefully not) before it gets a hold.


  1. I've pondered a variant of the 'pointy bits waving about' option, albeit with a board mounted to keep hands and sharp things duly safe. I think Admiral Schwartz made one last year that he attributed to the French.

    Of course, that would mean using a French design to hold good, upstanding English tools... Maybe not.

    I've also considered the 'pointy bits waving about behind the back side of the bench' variety, too.

    But, to date, keeping everything housed in wooden drawers with silicone dessicant bags has kept everything bright and shiny for years, even here by the side of the Merrimack river.

  2. Silica Gel dessicant packs will keep tools in a drawer dry. Other than that your new rack looks good.

  3. Sorry Alf, but I see a slight flaw in your design. Your chisels will now have to be stored according to the specific width of their blade because they each will have a custom made housing. No more casually storing them in shared slots or in common holders sized to match their common ferrules. I confidently predict you'll abandon the whole idea within a week!


  4. Can I make a suggestion?
    If you angled the chisel rack forward by about 15 degrees you would be able to get them in out out more easily and you would have space above for another rack. You DO have more chisels than that don't you....


    Andy P


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