What’s Next?

The end of every project is a great time to take a look around the bench and spend some time cleaning, sharpening and reflecting. since I am not earning a living from woodworking I have the luxury of time. Sweeping up, it’s amazing where all of the shavings and dust accumulate. I have three projects in mind and they follow from the coffee table just completed.

20130908-142341.jpgThe tool box is the next project in Paul Sellers Masterclass series. It sits upon the cabinet in the photo. It includes panel construction, dovetails and as in all of Pauls’s projects, great skill building. I work out of a tool chest based upon The Anarchist Tool Chest and I love it. The design works well for storage and accessibility.

However, I want to make more of an effort to get tools off of my bench as I work. When I was at woodworking class we had benches with a tool tray in the center. This was brilliant and it kept tools below the table top and within easy reach. If I ever build a new bench there will be a center tool tray. Many people have criticized the use of a tool tray as a collector of dust. It is  a great safety feature that allowed me to keep tools at hand, but below working level where I could accidentally catch a sharp edge. The bench I am currently using is adequate and until I have a shop worthy of a new bench, I will not have a tool tray.20130908-142212.jpg

Since there will be no tool tray in the near future I’m also remembering  a small apron on the bench that allowed us to keep the tools off to the side. I really liked this and was teased by my fellow classmates for how clean it was kept. (Yes gentlemen, I have not forgotten) If they had really been paying attention, it would be clear that I was storing tools in use in the center tray

20130908-141859.jpgand upon completion of a part, sharpening and returning tools to the side tray. The tray worked well in the classroom, however I would like to utilize the small tool chest to keep tools accessible. I think setting it adjacent to my bench will serve as tool tray. Paul Seller’s Tool Chest definitely in the future!

Clamp Storage is a topic that comes up for all woodworkers. There are many articles in the magazines and blogs that throw out many great plans. Clamps have always been stored under the shelves above my bench. This has been effective. There are a couple of problems…..sometimes I end up pulling out all of the clamps to get to the one on the bottom which is usually the one I want. My fingers are tired of being pinched between the many clamps jumbled up. With the additional clamps I purchased for the coffee table project I need a new system. Anyone have thoughts on what works well or what to avoid?

The last project that I have in mind is a matching side table to the coffee table. There are many lessons that I learned during the project and I would like to put them to good use. I think a smaller table that is square and matches the coffee table would look nice.

As if these three are not enough there is a blanket chest to be made, another desk and so forth. No I’m not ignoring these at all, I think in my skill development the tool chest will give me the panel skills that these projects require.


  1. October 11, 2013 at 5:17 am

    Have you any wall space available? If so nail some horizontal pieces of wood to it and hang the clamps from that. Or it you have no wall space, maybe a A-frame roll around clamp cart?

    • October 12, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      You brought up a good point and almost tempted me into a cart. I shuffled some things around and found a little wall space. Thanks for the ideas

  2. October 11, 2013 at 6:59 am

    I am a big fan of a workbench with a tool tray, and when I make my next benchtop it will have one incorporated. I can’t understand the backlash against having one as firstly it is traditional, and so many seem to base everything off tradition, and secondly, like you were saying, nothing works better to keep your tools directly at hand while at the same time keeping them out of harms way. I think that many of those who for whatever reasons hate tool trays have never actually used one.

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