Wooden Tote as a Birthday Gift

Wooden Tote Yellow-Poplar

While still working on surfacing materials for a shaker side table (hopefully an update soon, you can see dimensioned leg stock in background), I had a small side project to make a present for one of my children. It is a small tote designed to fit the painting set that was given as the gift. The tote is made from yellow-poplar, ¾” material for bottom and ends with ½” for the sides. Bottom and ends are screwed together with #8 screws and headless brad cut nails fastened the sides. Finished with Danish oil. The dimension were dictated by the sizes of the paint bottles. Turned out pretty nicely I thought.

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Visiting the Woodwright’s School

Woodwright's School

In August I had the pleasure of visiting Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, NC. It was a great escape for me and a beautiful drive through the heart of the central Appalachian mountains of WV, NC, and VI, passing enough oak trees to even satisfy a forester and woodworker. Pittsboro is an intriguing town lying somewhere between rural NC and the influence of the Raleigh/Durham metro area.

Given I started watching Roy’s show the Woodwright’s Shop in the early 80’s as a boy and have seen 100s of his PBS episodes, it was a surreal experience to arrive in the classroom on that Sunday morning. As an homage to my previous self, a hangover added to the storyline. My trip was much anticipated and it turned out to exceed my exceptions. He and co-instructor Bill Anderson make quite a team, are great instructors with amazing body of woodworking knowledge, and are two remarkable men. I feel privileged to have met them. The experience left its mark on me and I took much home with me to aid in my woodworking and perhaps even in the wider breadth of my life. I hope I can make a return trip for their week long class, Bench Week. The visit to the tool store upstairs owned by Ed Lebetkin was also worth the trip. Returned home with a refurbished, pre-civil war moving fillister plane.

The world would be a different place if all weekends for all people followed such a narrative.

Me at Woodwright's School

An Auger Bit Roll Tests My Sewing Skills

In my travels to a number of antique stores in search of usable tools, I have nearly gathered a complete set of Irwin auger bits. They are a bit cumbersome to store without a tool roll. While some of the auger bit rolls I have seen for sale are quite remarkable in terms of craftsmanship (i.e., Texas Heritage Woodworks), I thought it would be a good project to sew my own. We have a heavy duty Singer machine and I bought some brown duck cloth and red denim thread; I thought it would be an easy evening project. It turned out to be quite a challenge of my sewing machine skills and patience. Two rolls of thread later and plenty of practice with the seam ripper I was able to finish the roll.

Auger Bit Roll

I laid out the auger bit pockets with my framing square and marked the seam lines with a disappearing fabric pen. The piece is usable and I think will be quite durable. I made the bit pockets 1” wide for the small bits, 2” for the wider ones, and 3” for the 16 and 20 bits. I would recommend sticking with 2” wide pockets for bits sizes between 7 and 20 (note: these are sizes in 16ths of an inch, e.g., size 8 is 1/2” diameter). I plan a future sewing project to make a roll to hold my assorted Stanley 45 cutters.