Tool Organization – The Router Plane

So as I start doing more woodworking it’s becoming abundantly clear that while my workbench is huge – it’s not big enough to both work on as well as store tools. I’ve known for a long time that I needed to spend some time building tool storage but I’ve always put it off as something that I would do once I had an actual workshop. As that hasn’t happened yet – Im going to just start here and make things I think can be used elsewhere.

My original two storage units are French cleat based wall hangers and I think that system will work well going forward so I’m going to keep building with that system in mind. As the router plane is top of mind for me right now I’m going to start there. After looking around at what others had done I found the follow examples that I’d like to try and build mine based off of…

Wood Whisperer tool holders

Who I believe possible got the idea from…

WoodCity Workshop

In any case, Im not sure about the actual tool holder at this point since I have multiple router planes I want to store but I like the idea of the hanging bit holder so we’re going to start there.

As I want the tool holder to all be built out of the same material, and since I have a lot of scrap hard maple, Im going to start building out of that. I found a strip of maple for the bit holder piece and took some measurements of the bits…

I like measuring using calipers when possible especially when Im just prototyping

Now that I know how big the spacing has to be, I can mark some cuts on the strip of maple which I planed down…

The knife lines for the holder lines

So the first thing I want to do is figure out how to cut the stopped groove for the bit to actually slide into. Note that at this point Im just prototyping – AKA figuring out and recording what sizes I need for each cut and groove. The above cut wont actually span the entire strip but at this phase of the game it’s easier to just mark all the way across. Next I mark out several different depths for the groove to see which one I like the most…

I started with 17 mm off the back but marked others so I could keep going if I wanted to

I initially thought I’d use a fret saw to cut the sidewalls of the groove but then realized that I had a rip saw laying on the bench already so I just used that (lazy). As a side note – for the real deal I’ll use something with a smaller tooth like my dovetail saw. Once I cut the gap I chiseled out the piece of wood and then pared the sides down with a chisel. Hard to see here, but that didn’t turn out great. I ended up slanting the cut – I’ll have to find a better way to hold the wood while working on it for the final product as I was having a hard time seeing it when I was paring.

The height groove so the bit actually fits

So the groove in the actual bit that slides into the router plane height adjuster is too narrow for the strip of wood but I don’t really like the idea of making the strip more narrow so for each bit I’m going to thin the groove out to allow the bit to slide into it. A great place to use the router plane! I sharpened one of the smaller bits and got to work with the new Veritas router plane after marking the edges with a chisel line. The first cut wasn’t working well – but I think I trying to take too much off. Once I got the hang of adjusting the height for cuts it cut like butter. Just look at it peel the wood int he above picture. Perfection!

Also note that once again here Im going all the way across – not sure if I’ll do that in the final piece but it’s once again easier to do in prototyping. In the end I had something that looked like this…

A good fit – but slightly too wide

Since the bits for the Veritas sit at an angle in the holder of the plane itself – putting them in a straight groove like this will cause them to sit slightly canted. I think I actually like that so Im going to go with it. The height groove came out slightly too wide – but now that I know that I’ll actually measure and mark the lines accordingly. Im going to do one more test cut with actual measurements and see how it turns out before I start on the real deal. So far so good!

As a side note – and because Im now praising the Veritas Router plane (well mostly its larger selection of bits) there was one other weird thing I ran into that I wasn’t crazy about…

The height adjust stop is… well.. different

The height adjust stop on the LN is simple and straight forward. It locks on the cutter and doesn’t let it go down past the body at a given height. Without even thinking when trying to use it on the Veritas I did the same thing. Then I was surprised when it didn’t work. The Veritas you need to lock the stop nut at the top. In other words, I had to flip the plane upside down, let the height stop adjuster fall against the top nut, and then lock it down. Im not saying it’s awful, but it is different. Im wondering if perhaps its actually more accurate than the LN height stop lock but it’s hard to say at this point. Im hoping that I don’t start seeing marring on the adjustment screw from the stop set screw though. That’s still a concern for me but I guess only time will tell.

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