30 Minutes: En Garde!



My tool cabinet needs a little reorg. It’s not in disarray, but my hand tools have grown in number and I need to rotate a few things out that I don’t use very often.

One I find myself using frequently is a drawknife. It’s an old Fulton #8 I scavenged at a garage sale. I restored the handles a few years ago (not to beauty, but to function), sharpened it, and I use it all the time. It lives in the middle of the tool cabinet, which means I have to move it to reach my bowsaws and cabinet scraper. Not ideal, but you get the picture.

The problem is that it’s viciously sharp. That thing could decapitate Godzilla. A month or so back, I reached in to get something and knocked it loose. It fell across the index finger of my right hand – a huge drop of (maybe) three-quarters of an inch, at best. And it almost laid my finger open to the bone. It’s really sharp. So no more edged tools in the cabinet without guards.

IMG_9556Today’s 30-minute exercise: Make a guard for the spokeshave that might save me a trip to Primacare. I scrounged an old leather belt, cut it to length, folded it in the middle, and punched holes around the long edge and up the side. I took a piece of black leather lacing, and sewed it together, sealing the ends of the running stitch with some hide glue. I glued a small neodymium magnet to the inside of the back, and when the epoxy set, put it on the blade with the magnet holding it in place.


From now on, I don’t have to juggle a humongous straight razor when I’m reaching into the cabinet. That’s in the good column.


  • Time: 25 minutes.
  • Cost: Old belt, leather shoelace ($0.00 USD).
  • Satisfaction: Good.

Take that last 5 minutes to empty the trash and sweep under the workbench.

Ross Henton

September 2019

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