Next week is my Traveling Tool Chest class at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, and given that it’s a 37-hour drive and a boat ride or two away from Cincinnati, I’m getting on a plane instead and checking my tools. As a result, I’ve had to winnow my kit down to (below) the bare minimum – which always makes me terribly anxious. Typically, I just throw everything I could possibly need (and lots I couldn’t possibly need) into the back of my car and take off. (My running joke when there’s something we need in the Lost Art Press shop: “Wait – I might have that in my car!” And I often do.) I can’t do that here – and my borrowed Pelican Case is a small one.
While the school does, of course, have a goodly set of tools and machines, I like working with my own familiar hand tools whenever possible.
To help organize my mind and my classes, I always make a list – then revise it at least five times – by writing bullet-point lessons plans for every day, and noting the necessary tools for each operation. Said plans not only help me pack in the instances when I can’t haul the kitchen sink, but keep me on track/help me not make a complete ass of myself while teaching. Note that the list doesn’t include all the tools one might wish to build a chest; it includes only the tools for which I’ve a perhaps unhealthy attachment.
Still I’m sure that despite my best efforts I will have left out something over which I will wail…but whatever it turns out to be, it wouldn’t have fit anyway. And as I write this, I’m only on revision number three; there will no doubt be additions/deletions/substitutions as I try to squeeze everything in. But the ones in bold? They’re my absolute musts. I’ll borrow a hammer, sharpening stones and the like…but I do so love my planes and dovetail saw. (Clothes and toiletries I’ll worry about late Friday night – those are easier!)
Coping saw & blades
1/2″ & 3/8″ chisels
Pinch sticks (maybe)
Straight rabbet OR shoulder plane
Small bevel square
Honing guide (maybe)
No. 48 (maybe)
12′ tape measure
Cut nails (Because I’m pretty sure I forgot to ask PTSW to order some…)
And yes, I realize all the “maybes” are lightweight items that take up little space, thankyouverymuch.