Can You Work On the Road?
I’m building a tool box as a project for Hand Tool School Semester 4. Most of the construction is done and I began to load in the tools I had designed it around. I was pleased to find everything fitting as planned with enough extra space to allow for some fasteners to hold everything in its place while the tool box is being carried. There is a fair amount of space leftover should I need to include tools for that special job. This got me thinking. As woodworkers we rarely leave our shops to do work. In fact the first couple of times I was called on to do something outside my shop I was useless. Of course this was in my power tool days so I hope that now I would fare better. However, when I think about how much I rely on my bench and the ability to grab any old plane or saw to so the job I quickly get worried about a time when I forget to bring along the right tool.Our collective woodworking history is rich with journeymen joiners, cabinetmakers, and carpenters who traveled to job sites without a problem yet we have lost touch with that heritage. The necessity just isn’t there. But I can’t help but wonder what ingenious methods of work and dirt simple techniques were created out of that need to be mobile. The Housewright continually astounds me with what they can do with a framing square and I have learned some great sharpening and complex joint layout by digging through Civil War era carpenter’s manuals. I believe there is more to learn in this area and thus my toolbox project meant not only to carry my tools but act as my mobile workbench. I have a built in cabinet and moulding job I’m doing in a few weeks and some field work (literally field work) building a gate and fence out at the Steppingstone Museum this winter. I’m hoping I can learn a little bit more about woodworking outside the shop and what day to day shortcuts might come out of those experiences.
So here I stand with a hard thought about tiny group of tools designed to handle most operations and a tool box ready to allow them to work. I feel like I should be singing some German Hunting Lieder as I head into the woods…
What jobs or tasks take you out of the shop? What tools do you bring along? What kind of temporary workspace do you set up. Please share your indispensable tool list and thoughts in the comment section below.