Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits

This tool chest business is pretty much making me unbearable at home. Thanks, Chris….just what I needed.

tool chest finished I guess


I spend my days fooling around in the workshop, essentially playing. My wife is home, chasing the two six-year olds around; trying to keep the hearth & home intact. And I come in, telling the kids to get their crayons organized, “you should put them back in the box when you’re done…” “then you’ll have more room..” so on.

Then I turn on the kitchen – “these measuring cups should be sorted & organized…” or “how can you find anything in here?”  “Why do you keep this in here???”

a big hit.  Right.

Mark Twain said “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits”

carving tools in trays within trays

I made removable trays for my carving tools, so I can bring the small trays to the workbench. they sit in the sliding trays inside the chest, then can easily come out to carve with.  It’s taking some getting used to, but it seems like it might be a smooth move…

removable trays

at the bench:

tray at the workbench

In theory, I can then shift different tools into the sliding trays if & when I need to work from a different set of tools…but I don’t see me w/o carving tools as my primary gig.

Here’s a few carvings I worked on today.

today's carvings


One is a box front.

box front

and some stiles for a joined chest.

detail stile's carving

The other day, I did the center panel for this joined chest I have underway.

chest front detail

If you want to tackle some of these carvings, get up to Lie-Nielsen later this month; the weekend of May 19/20 I’ll be teaching a class in carving a number of this sort of design… here’s the link.  _ 
there’ll be good birds in Maine by then…but I promise to make it to the shop on time… If you can’t make it, the DVDs cover similar material

While waiting for the warblers to get up here to New England, I shot a couple of swallows the other day – 
a tree swallow

tree swallow

 and a barn swallow

these guys rarely sit still, so I was lucky to find them.



14 thoughts on “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits

  1. I enjoy your take on the tool chest. Also love your points about how favorably received the orderly mind is by 6yr olds… (and their mothers…)

  2. Looking forward to seeing the new (carved) traveling chest in Warren – no more scruffy tool rolls I imagine.

    • Mark Atchison is the blacksmith I work with at Plimoth…he made these. I knew from the beginning I wanted strap hinges, so designed the lid to be flat inside & out to accommodate the straps…I’m very pleased with them.

  3. Spotted a nesting pair of osprey yesterday and thought of you. When you’re birding, do you have to know what it is when you see it for it to count or can you see it and look it up later? You can organize my kitchen anytime, but it won’t stick. Take care.

    • Hi Jill – I say you don’t have to know what it is, but if you figure it out later, then it’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys…when I was just down south, I saw some warblers that were new to me high in some pines & sycamores. When I looked them up in a bird book I had with me, I sussed out that they were yellow-throated warblers – then the book said they liked to feed high in pines & sycamores. so there. Hi to all, see you around.

  4. Nice chest! Our barn swallows got back a week ago. I always wonder if they are the same families. If you get a chance, could you post some more detailed pictures of the tool you are turning bowls with?

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