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Better late than never

What’s the longest it’s taken you to complete a shop task? For me, it’s about 30 years – give or take a decade.

I typically do important woodshop tasks necessary for efficient processes and daily work quickly. The key there is “daily” work: If I use or do things daily, I can’t put off the tasks necessary to getting them done. Tasks of lower importance can slide a while.

And then there are tasks of such low daily importance that I just work around them as needed. A perfect example is tool organization.

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I don’t mean tools I use daily, or even fairly often. I, and you, probably know exactly where every one of those tools is. I’m talking about those odd hand tools and accessories you need once every few years or so. A perfect example is screw extractors, which I first talked about in 2008, and then whined about again five years ago, or things like metric wrenches in odd sizes, keyhole saws, glass cutters, leather punch, tools I have more than four or five of, and the 900 or so Allen wrenches I’ve collected over the years.

I don’t have a really good place for those so I tend to use buckets and boxes. I have several, and they’re all filled with tools I don’t use often enough to organize, but are still important when needed. When I do, I grab a bucket at random and start digging.

All that’s behind me now. After years of considering one, I finally bought a dedicated tool cabinet. It’s cheap, but nicely made, and was even on sale. Assembly was straightforward, and I’m looking forward to taking a day to empty all those buckets, toss out what I don’t need, and put the rest in their new permanent home.

Oh, sure – after a few months I’ll probably start tossing things into those drawers willy-nilly, but at least I’ll know right where I’ve tossed them.

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