One project many woodworkers love to build is a jewelery box. You know, a little box or chest for that special someone to store those special rings, necklaces, earrings and other bits of bling. These boxes help keep them safe, organized and easily accessible. That’s important, given the cost of some of these shiny baubles.
So, then, why do many woodworkers just chuck their expensive router bits and saw blades carelessly into a drawer or store them in difficult to find locations? I mean, they are shiny, they cost a bunch, and you need to know what’s in your collection when you start out on a project. Why not treat them with the same amount of respect?
“Carbide is tough, but very brittle stuff,” said David Venditto of Infinity Cutting Tools. “If you are going to pop for a well-made router bit or saw blade, you are going to want to get as much life as possible out of it. Why would you want to shorten their lives by not storing them carefully?” A good storage system will help you by keeping your valuable cutting tools safe from banging together. It will also help you catalog what you have in your collection so you don’t forget you have it or – even worse – have to lay out extra money to buy another copy of what you already have.
There are dozens of plans out there for blade and bit storage systems, it never seems as if there is enough time or material to build them. Besides, we go to the shop to build furniture, right? Another option is to go with a purchased box or rack system to help with storage. Again, most woodworkers would rather spend money on blades, bits and wood rather than storage. But a small investment in time and/or money can really help save the day.
If you have the space, time, material and inclination, building a large display shelf to house your collection is the way to go. Many are built with plexiglass paneled doors so you can see the entire collection at a glance. After all, you never know when looking at a particular bit will inspire a design idea on your next project – which is something you will lose if you can’t see what’s available. Router bit holders can be fashioned from a simple board with appropriately-sized holes drilled into it, or with a commercially available bit rack. These will help keep your bits upright and their carbide edges safe.
Another good option for the space-challenged is to build a bit or blade storage drawer into a piece of shop equipment. Drawer construction is actually easier than you might imagine, and, with the proper drawer runner hardware, one can be added just about anywhere. In a router table. Under your workbench. Or, you could co-opt an existing drawer in a piece of shop storage you already have. Either way, you will want to still create a bit organizer. Again, this could simply be a piece of plywood or MDF with appropriately sized holes drilled into it, but you have to make sure that you have enough space between the bits while in storage. Another great option is to buy a commercial bit organizer that will help keep your bits neat and orderly.
If you bring your bits or blades with you to different job sites, portability is going to be key. In that case, you may be looking at some type of box or case to carry your precious cargo with you. Again, you can certainly build your own, or you can look to purchase a bit or blade storage box. “We’re kinda proud of our bit and blade storage boxes. They are finger-jointed southern yellow pine with secure locking latches. They are a great value. Plus, hey, you get our contact information on the lid!”