During my summer vacation, I always travel to see family. Inevitably, at some point during my visit, I hear the following:
Steve, while you’re here, could you please take a look at that door/table/cabinet/potato bin? It’s sticking/broken/cracked/falling apart…
Thus, I always take a small tool kit with me when I travel. However, space in my minivan is strictly limited, so I always fret over which tools to pack into my little Craftsman tool box. I don’t want to bring any unnecessary tools, but I don’t want to leave behind something essential. Even when I ask my extended family ahead of time about anticipated repairs, they always manage to surprise me with additional tasks.
These were some of the tools I brought. In addition to the usual pliers and screwdrivers, I brought the following:
- – 3 chisels (1”, 5/8”, 3/8”)
- – 2 gouges (#7 and #9 sweep, both 1”)
- – small mallet
- – block plane
- – combination square
- – marking gauge
- – drawknife
- – spokeshave
- – coping saw
- – backsaw
- – brace and screwdriver bits
- – a half-round rasp and two half-round files
- – sharpening stones
For work-holding, I had installed a vise on my parents’ garage workbench, but I also brought along a small handscrew for smaller jobs.
With this very-limited tool kit, I was able to:
- – Carve three ladles and four spoons
- – Repair the drawer runners on a potato bin
- – Repair the drawer on an end-table
- – Make two tobacco pipes from a kit
Come to think of it, there isn’t a whole lot of basic furniture and household repair that couldn’t be done with that kit. I was, however, missing two essential tools. First, I should have brought my own eggbeater drill and bit set instead of relying on the cordless electric drills and partial bit sets that were already at the house. Secondly, I wanted a full-length hand saw for ripping out long strips of wood.
I am now in the process of designing a small, portable tool chest that will just hold my “essential travel kit” of hand tools.