I got a question recently on the heels of the Bare Necessities Workshop Space about a bare necessities tool kit, especially for someone who has to travel a lot and won’t have a permanent space to set up shop and leave it set up permanently. Here is the question in Caleb’s own words:
I have a special request, and please feel free to deny it, as I know you have a job, family, hobby, and blog. I am reducing my shop to one box, hopefully about the size of the Underhill chest that I hope to build too. This is not rooted in any “anarchist” desires, but because of my need to move around due to my vocation. So, In the spirit of your recent post about the Bare Necessities Workshop Space, could you do one on the bare necessities tool kit for the style of woodworking that you do? I know you cover some of the tools in your intro videos, but it would be helpful if you could give more info on the planes that you find essential for joinery and moldings. Since Schwarz uses primarily metal planes, I would like to know if you have a differing opinion. I am wanting to complete my tool kit and chest before we move out of the country again, in about 10 months, probably to India.
Excellent question and a great suggestion for a blog topic Caleb! With my traveling tool chest completed, this would be a great time to discuss the traveling tool kit that I would put in it for the kind of work that I do. Just as I did with my Bare Necessities Workshop Space post, I have to make some assumptions. So here are the assumptions I’m making, based upon Caleb’s question:
- Limited Storage Space Caleb plans to build Roy Underhill’s Mid-sized Tool Chest for Travel. So the bare necessities tool kit needs to fit in this chest. Therefore, the kit will be relatively small; even smaller than what Chris Schwarz recommends in his book.
- Small to Moderate Sized Work I build furniture, and it sounds like Caleb is interested in the same kind of work. So I’m basing my tool recommendations on doing small to moderate scale furniture work on things like small tables, small chests, and chairs. This includes the need to make moldings.
- Hand Tools Only For the traveling joiner (especially one traveling to third world countries), hand tools are the only way to go. You can never be sure if where you are in the world will have easy access to electricity. With meat powered tools, you don’t have to be. Plus, they weigh less and they take up less volume. Not to mention it’s the way I work, so it’s how my brain is wired.
With those assumptions out of the way, let’s talk tools and how to organize and store them in our traveling chest.