Boxed in

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Few things are as iconic of woodworking and carpentry as a toolbox. Oddly, although I’ve been woodworking for decades, I don’t have one.

Actually, that’s not true. I have two. One is very small, less than 12” long, and I keep all my black-powder and musket-cleaning stuff in it. The other is a big, honkin’ Sears toolbox someone gifted me years ago. I have it stashed away somewhere unknown, undoubtedly filled with stuff unknown that I had no immediate use for but still didn’t want to toss out. In that sense it’s little more than a fancy cardboard box suitable for attic exile, albeit it’s bright yellow with a Craftsman logo on the side.

I do have two plastic tool totes with a compartment on each side that make it easier to carry a few tools and hardware items around the house or yard as needed, but neither has anything stored in it when not in use. But a well-stocked and organized toolbox just isn’t something I use. Might be different if I were a contractor or did a lot of site work, but I’m not and I don’t.

What brings this all to mind is an article I’m writing on tool storage, and as part of my research I’m finding a lot of really nice toolboxes. These new ones have multiple little lidded bins for small parts, drawers on the front, and all manner of lift-out trays and accessories. And for some reason, as I’m looking at all these I’m thinking I want one.

Why? I’m thinking that some of these are really small cabinets. The bins and drawers make most of the contents available without opening a lid. One of them might work well on the end of my utility bench, and would be the perfect repository for smaller items I need frequently. And if I ever need to move it, it’ll have a handle. Essentially, then, it really is a portable cabinet and not a toolbox.

Looked at from that perspective, I’m not sure how I can live without one.

Till next time,


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