The drawers at the end of my bench, the ones directly adjacent to my vise, are really tills. Tills are narrow drawers for we woodworkers. They are handier than drawers for some things and we like them because they can be lifted to the bench top, looked into, kept there or put back. My chisels, some are my more special chisels, are kept there. In another till I keep my vintage wooden spokeshaves. About ten or so of them. These are quite special too, you know. History kept as the better of all the ages. They’re better in my view than any ever made in the last hundred years. How can that be? Why? Well, once you use one you understand, once you master one I mean. Sharp, refined, light, effective. No one has improved on them. People talk to me of this maker or that, or a new one here and another there, but they don’t really know. The nice thing is that eBay seems to have three or four for sale each day cycling through.
The middle till drawer is where I keep my stash of old fourfold rulers safe and a few more besides together with more of my old chisels. I also keep my collection of old made-in-Sheffield, Sheffield-steel scissors here too. You know, the ones people can’t be bothered sharpening because the Chinese ones come in plastic packs of three for £3 and when they go dull you just toss them and buy more. The old ones sell for 50 pence a pair here and with a saw file you can sharpen them in under a minute usually. There’s a video here to show you how too. I did that one with John last year. What I like about them is how fine they feel and lovely in the hand. My mother was a seamstress and used the same pair of scissors throughout her life making wedding dresses. About 50 years.
In the long well on the farside of my benchtop I keep all of my tape measures in a small dovetails box. The tapes start in the box and get pulled out as I work around the shop. I take one to the bandsaw and leave it there forgetfully so I pull out another and leave it one of my carts nearby. Then I leave one inside a drawer I am making and before i know it I’ve lost them all. I clean up and pick up and at the end of the day they are all back safely in their box. All except one that is. This one I find in my pocket when I get home.
Next to the end of the well is a box of beeswax filler sticks which I use to fill flaws, gaps and nail heads as needed. Beside this tray is a tray of boxwood-handled bevelled-edge chisels. 1/8”, 3/16”, 1/4”, 3/8”, 7/16”, 1/2”, 5/8”, 3/4”, 7/8” and 1 1/4”. A second chisel tray holds more chisels, two by Aldi, some Wards and an I Sorby. These last two are 1 1/4” bevelled-edge chisels that are hard steel that retain their edge better than any I know of. Not so common as my old Boxwood handled Marples. I keep a cup of pencils ready and sharp. Ticonderoga #2s. The keeps them handy and I have a couple of steel rules and pens and other bits to work with. At the far end of the trough are my gauges. Mixed ones but usually they are either combination gauges or marking gauges. About centre to the length of the bench I have a row of oval handled screwdrivers with boxwood handles. These and the gauges poke through holes in the bottom of the well.