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Speaking of Toolchests…

Speaking of toolchests,  I’m putting the finishing touches on the one I’ve been working on lately and still have some videos to edit when I can. I’ll try to get the next one posted later this week.

Classes have been insanely busy lately and now, some new commissions to go along with them!

It never rains until it pours….(I’m not complaining)

All that combined with the everyday life-things that are keeping me out of the wood shop lately, it’s been a juggling act to say the least and oh- did I mention I received the final proofs for the new book last week?!!? ; D
I’m super excited to say the least and have been burning the midnight oil to get the proof reading done! It’s going to be hard waiting until September to keep the lid on this thing. I’m really happy with the edits and the art direction and can’t wait until you see it.

The folks at The Taunton Press have been absolutely amazing to work with, keeping me up-to-date along the way and allowing me full say in what we keep and what we cut. The book was originally supposed to be 196 pages and we just cut it back to somewhere in the 240-ish range.?

Lots of hand tool information ( stuffed ) with some great projects I think you’re really going to enjoy building in your own shops. And back to the point of this post-

I was extremely happy to receive a letter from Craig Paxton down in San Fransisco this past week and thought I’d share it here. Craig made a toolchest for his daughters 18th birthday and sent me some images. I’ll let him explain the details but wanted to say that this is such a great idea. A gift for your children that keeps on giving. Thanks for sharing this Craig and great job on the toolchest!




When my daughters turn 18, I give them a tool box with some starter tools.  The tools themselves are a collection of those I’ve inherited, as well as some picked up on Craigslist.  Most of the tools are of North American or European manufacture – the goal was for lifetime quality.

 For my youngest daughter, I went searching for something different, and came across your design.  It is brilliant.

 I used a variety of woods, as I made use of scrap and leftovers to the greatest extent possible.  I also made a small number of design changes.

 A couple of things to note –

-my daughter did not want me to drill the two holes on the side for the hold-down.  I hope she’ll change her mind in the future.

– Rather than put the support on the bottom edge of the box, I extended the feet and made a shoe that serves the same function.

– I kind of went mad for laminations, but I did have quite a stack of left-overs that I couldn’t bring myself to put in the kindling pile.  Hope it is not too much of a color riot.

– Feel free to use any of the photos – I’d be honored if you choose to do so.

Thanks again, Craig

Readers Toolchest

Toolchest front view












Side view showing laminated handle














Interior view















Rear panel view with custom tool holders




  1. Posted by Chris P. on Mar 13th, 2013

    Siked to hear updates on the book, can’t wait for September!

  2. Posted by Gavin Villa on Mar 13th, 2013

    September can’t come any sooner! I’ll be camping outside (LV?) to make sure I get a copy first day its out!

  3. Posted by tom on Mar 13th, 2013

    Chris and Gavin, thanks for the comments. I think I’m just as excited as you are! (and yes, safe to bet that Lee Valley will be carrying it)
    Cheers guys~; )

  4. Posted by Tim on Apr 22nd, 2013

    Tom, it’s great to hear things are staying busy. Getting to make a living doing what you enjoy is a blessing. If your classes are booking up so fast you should probably raise your prices. $100 for three hours of one on one instruction is crazy cheap. I think that’s a going rate for a larger group class. You could mix in some group classes and have one on one classes be at a higher rate. It should free up more time for you but still allow you to be teaching. If you really wanted to be generous or were worried about charging too much, you could offer a negotiated rate if someone was willing to show you tax returns or something to verify their income is low. Crafts people in general are often too shy about charging what they are worth.

  5. Posted by tom on Apr 23rd, 2013

    thanks for sharing those thoughts Tim-; )
    Funny, I was recently discussing this with a few people and will be changing the class lengths come September.
    A two hour session will be $100. instead of the current three hour times. I looked into music classes for our kids ( 7 and 8 years old ) and they all started at $35. for a half hour! ?
    all the best-


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