Quick Poll

For nearly 20 years, I would race to the TV on Saturday afternoons, turn on the local PBS station, and watch Norm Abram do his stuff on the New Yankee Workshop. Now that was a heck of a woodworking show. There were all sorts of projects being built in a very-well appointed shop, and Norm’s voice was just so smooth.

Norm and his tool belt

The one thing that puzzled me about Norm was that he wore a big old honkin’ tool belt while he worked in the shop. The belt held all kinds of useful stuff – his tape measure, a combination square, a pencil and some other handy tools. But, the tool belt is more of the mark of the carpenter, working away from a bench and tool storage and needing those tools at hand, instead of – say – coming down from the roof to grab them.

Today, let us know what you think about tool belts for woodworkers in their shops.  Do you use one, or are they just overkill for a woodworker?


8 thoughts on “Quick Poll”

  1. I have one for doing jobs outside the shop, but I find the tool belt too cumbersome for shop work.

    Great seeing a photo of “The King”.
    I miss Norm.

  2. I have a small cloth tool belt (pouch) cut from a Sears bib apron. It keeps my “all-was need tools” – pencil , marking knife, 6″ ruler, tape measure , eraser and 4″ Double Square.
    I do agree the carpenters belt would be a little bulky -but always having my essential tools at hand is a time saver.( It allows more time to look for all the other things I cannot find.)


  3. Tool belts are great for “on site ” work, (they’re for carpenters not cabinet makers), around the shop an apron with a pocket is best!

  4. What I found interesting about Norm’s belt was, he wore in front. I think your next question should be, How do you wear your tool belt? is this a regional thing? I find most west coast workers wear them in back and east coast in front. I too never missed Norm’s show. Loved that VCR thing.

  5. I have a tool belt for projects around the house, but I’ve never once worn it in the shop while working on a project. I tried an apron for a while and didn’t like that either. My shop isn’t huge so most things aren’t too hard to find or put my hands on when I need them.

  6. I actually wear a shop Apron, not a tool belt. I hardly ever loose my pencil or my tape measure when I’m wearing it.

  7. I have worn a tool belt on job-sites, as a Union Carpenter but never one like Norm has(d). Mine had “loose” bags that could be slid front to back and I generally wore them on the sides with the separate hammer loop centered in back. They were VERY heavy duty and generously held lotsa nails as well as tools of various types. Now as a cabinet/furniture maker I found them to be WAY too much for the shop, both in commercial shops as well as my own, but I did find a small single electrician’s pouch that I could clip my tape measure to and would hold various pencils and pens as well as a utility knife, chisel, putty knife… a few small tools depending on what I was doing at the time as well as the standard things I always needed (tape measure, pencil etc.) It also has a loop with a snap so I can unsnap it and slip it around the belt already in my pants as well as it having a “stiff” insert in a separate behind the pouch part that one could supposedly slip into their back pocket, but that was too far around to reach for me. I liked it on the side, like a gun holster, and it got to where I didn’t have to look for my tape or pencil, I just reached and there it was… Never did try an apron but have thought about it on occasion. Maybe some day…

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