Kill your darlings

As a writer, you have to learn to kill your darlings – to hit “delete” on those hard-won, witty sentences and paragraphs to which you are irrationally attached, but which also obscure the truly necessary words in meandering mediocrity. (See the preceding sentence for a good example of what I’m talking about.) It is hard to admit that the words you have slaved over may not actually be the words you need.

And now, for the analogue…

During the last few months I have enjoyed working out of my Dutch tool chest. Well, to be more precise, I’ve enjoyed working out of the top compartment of my dutch tool chest. The free-wheeling tool orgy behind the fall front of the lower compartment has vexed me to no end. The space is big enough to hold all of my tools, but only in such a way that I have difficulty getting any individual tool without causing a miniature avalanche of blades and ductile iron.

For the past month I have been considering my options and I’ve finally decided to add a hanging drawer to the compartment. The drawer will hold my hammers, gauges, coping saw and all of the miscellaneous bits and bobs that have sifted to the bottom of that compartment. The drawer will be about 3.5″ in height and leave plenty of room below for my plow plane, rabbet plane, shoulder plane, etc…

The one hang-up has been the box that I built for my router plane last year. I built the box to sit in the bottom of my previous tool chest, and although it does it’s job of protecting the router quite well, it also takes up a horking buttload of space. Such a box would be insignificant in a full sized English chest, but it makes the negotiation of space in this Dutch chest very difficult.


There she sits, secreted away in her oaken fortress


So, I’ve decided I need to kill one of my darlings. I’ve kept it around mainly because I worked so hard on it and I was invested in it, but it is clear to me that it needs to go. My plan is to buy a plane blade wallet and stow that in the drawer. There is plenty of room for the router plane next to my other joinery planes. After taking it out this morning as an experiment, everything else fell into place. It’s almost ridiculous how easy it was to find a safe spot for all the tools that will remain in that compartment below the drawer. I am only embarrassed that I couldn’t bring myself to do this before now.




10 Comments Add yours

  1. meanmna says:

    James – From the image above, I am assuming your router is the Veritas model. I have a Stanley 71, but I ordered Veritas blades for it since I acquired only a small blade when I purchased it. I went ahead and order the Veritas 3/4, spear point and 1/2 in blades for my Stanley and they fit just fine. Given I had all these blades, I decided to go the same route and acquire the plane wallet from Sterling Tool Works as well. Unfortunately, I discovered that the router plane wallet appears not be be designed to fit the Veritas blades. I can only assume they are designed to fit the Lie-Nielsen blades.

    I reached out to Jason at THWW assuming from the construction, rightly so, that it was his work to see if he would be willing to make me a custom version of this to fit the Veritas blades. Understandably, he pointed me back to Sterling. I tried the “contact us” information on the Sterling side a couple of times to ask about the issue and if it was possible to get one that would better fit the Veritas blades, but never got a reply back. I have ordered from Sterling in the past and had no issues so I could only assume my email got caught as spam or something. Perhaps you will have better luck, but I wanted to alert you just in case.

    I like the wallet and wish it fit, but with the 3/4 and spear point Veritas blades in it (I keep the 1/2 in the router plane) the wallet will not snap shut. I still use it, but the snaps do not reach.

    Hope this helps.


    1. That’s very helpful, thank you. I was studying it this morning wondering about fit.


  2. jmac406 says:

    James, Pray tell your phrase “a horking buttload” was not one of your “darlings?” 😉


    1. That’s a widely accepted technical term in our household. It’s more than a regular buttload, but slightly less than a metric s#!%-ton

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Brian says:

    What about a smaller box for your router? I can see a lot of free real estate on the bottom of your box. Perhaps a rectangular footprint would take up less space?


    1. Brian, I think I’ll build a little rectangular box for the cutters, but the router will probably roam free for now.


  4. James, I’ve got the larger Dutch tool chest. If you’d like to find a loving home for the box (I have the same router), I’m happy to take it off your hands (and pay for shipping).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jfthomas70 says:

    I bought the tool roll also, having the Veritas RP, it was not a good fit. I enquired at THWW also, even offered to make suggestions and sketches, but they declined. I like the tool role idea since it protects the blades and is easy to stow. I don’t change blades often enough to want the blades handy. However, the many little bits, e.g. washers, allen wrenches, etc that come with a lot of various tools is an issue. So far most of the ones I need to keep around fit into an old plastic 35mm film can. You can label these and store almost any where.

    I have hanging cabinets and a couple of roll-around mechanics tool chests. With only about a 1/4 of a two car garage it is hard to find room for storage and working. I used to have a 20×20 shop and lots of tools. Such is life.


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