Adam Savage’s New Leatherworking Toolbox!


Adam Savage here from tested with a
brief show-and-tell one of the things that happens in this shop obviously is
that I use a ton of different processes and materials and tools and in general
the shop is set up as a generalists paradise all the tools are kind of out
and in the open but every now and then there’s a skill that I possess like
welding that requires so much specialized equipment I devote a section
of the shop to it and I have recently added a special
section for a skill I possess and it came about when I was working on my
star-lord costume for Silicon Valley comic-con I made two versions of
star-lords belt this is version 2.0 and I’m really pleased with how this came
out I love working with leather but I was working with leather and so because
I was working with leather I was using punches and I was using various
measuring tools and cutting tools and I was pulling out a bunch of specialized
leather tools now I do enough leather work that for a long time I’ve needed a
concentration of all my leather tools in one area and this was an attempt at that
this is a pair of makeup cases I bought on Amazon and then glued together with
three pieces of acrylic and a handle so I could carry it around and I thought
this was actually a pretty good leather tool kit but it suffers from a couple of
problems first what’s great about it is it’s clear so you can see where
everything else I really dig that it’s got a coating of paint because we had a
can of spray paint explode near it it was mostly my fault okay was entirely my
fault the problems with this tool kit is this
I had this top level and I made this nice velcro thing so it lifts up and
opens but there’s a horizontal surface and one of the rules about any shop is
it a horizontal surface will soon be covered it is a universally accepted
truth that a horizontal surface will soon be covered and so I would do things
like I would take a new tool and put it there now that means all of a sudden
when I want something in there I have to move this and get this which if you know
me you know starts to really tick me off and it doesn’t make sense to have this
horizontal surface with this this should be drawers and it
just wasn’t working and I kept pulling this thing out and putting it back in
and it was like unruly and a little bigger than it should be
suffice to say last weekend after working on my star-lord belt I came into
the shop alone and without cameras present I did a one day build okay two
day build of a new leather tool kit and well you guessed it it’s sitting here
right behind me this is the form factor I chose and there are really specific
reasons for this form factor and I am really pleased with this box so welcome
to my new leather kit oh yeah if you follow me on social media you saw
several in progress shots of this box being kitted out and filled up and then
we eventually painted it now to give you a brief tour on the back we have the
leather punched surface which is a nice piece of plastic that you use that
doesn’t damage your punch blades for cutting or punching or stamping your
leather that’s a critical piece and then inside here we’ve got everything from
sundries like needles and blades and rivets and grommet setters to the
various tools the punches the setters the scythes the blades the strap cutters
brushes punches belt ends my favorite mallet yeah pair of scissors back there
a leather knife that a fan made for me that is really gorgeous and all of it
outlined in white everything has a place and everything in its place this this
makes me really happy now I want to talk a little bit about the design I went
with a tall thin design because I noticed that when I have specialized
toolboxes in this shop they often live for months at a time just stuff between
a couple of other tools and in that I needed something with a small
form-factor so it could sock away and not take up a lot of room so I solved
that by making it thin the second advantage to making it thin is that when
I open it all the way up it doesn’t take up a lot of real estate so one of the
things about leather working that I was finding
was I liked having my tools out and available to me but I didn’t want to
take up so I wanted to put this on the bench but I didn’t want to take up a ton
of bench real estate so this solves that problem too thirdly it is shallow which
means there’s very few places you can put stuff behind other stuff and lose
track of it everything you need is visible in one glance that is really
really key and lastly the design is partially inspired by chemistry sets if
you don’t know what chemistry set to her there a thing they used to sell when I
was a kid and you could buy chemicals and do stuff with him now I think the
chemistry sets come with no chemicals that’s something I read online it must
be true so yeah the old chemistry sets had this
kind of form factor of the double opening door I also will tell you I have
a special technique when I’m making a box in which the box just doesn’t just
have a lid actually part of the box will move and open and that I build the
entire box at once so I built this box like this at once and then I used the
table saw to make this cut and then I use the table saw to make this cut and
because I was using a thin blade the tolerances are just fine
I actually don’t end up with any oversized gaps or anything and because
I’ve built the box monolithically and then cut it well I know that everything
is going to fit together just perfectly this has been sitting out on the table
for the four days since I finished it it’ll will eventually find a home
somewhere stuffed into the corner of the shop but for right now I just like
looking at it because I find it very relaxing I hope you do too don’t I almost forgot there is one more
and perhaps the most important influence as to the form factor and shape of this
box yeah you know what it is it’s the studly tool box
what is the studly tool box okay maybe you want to pause this video right
now and go google Studley st UDL UI toolbox and glory in what is objectively
and unequivocally the greatest toolbox ever designed by a human being and it’s
over a hundred years old there are a book there are entire books devoted to
breakdowns of the Studley toolbox it is a magnificent woodworkers masterpiece of
a toolbox and it is in this form factor with a density of tools that’s like six
times this density but since it’s one of my favorite things in the world of
course it came into my brain as I was making this

100 thoughts on “Adam Savage’s New Leatherworking Toolbox!

  1. Well, the first thing I thought of was the Studley when you swung it open. As always you hit the nail on the head!

  2. Lost art press did a detailed book on that toolbox with fabulous pictures. He was a piano maker, thus all the strange tools.

  3. I really like the idea of it being shallow. I find fridges can be too deep and you lose things near the back for weeks at a time.

  4. Just an idea: Maybe put a leather strap on the back to secure the plastic punch surface in place? This way when you’re traveling or if it gets knocked off of a table it doesn’t slide out, etc. and you can show off a bit of your supreme leather working skills 😉

  5. Adam, thank you so much for giving the Studley tool chest reference. What a thing of beauty it is, as an architect I love when things prove the adage that firm follows function and this is an example that I can use to inspire and guide those embarking into my profession or other design disciplines. I have always believed that knowing how much crafts and trades persons can teach designers through their work is vital in understanding the processes in designing functional objects that draw their beauty from that function. The images of this tool chest now sit in my mind alongside such diverse references as the courtyard gardens of Kyoto to a Spitfire fighter as expressions of a functional form being elevated to an expression of beauty.
    The one downside is that isn't not helping my insomnia as I'm now thinking busily and have been since I watched your video at 4.15am (UK timezone) and am trying very hard not to head to either my shed or model making work shop for an organisation spree, and no doubt annoyed neighborhood from early morning clattering from my property.

  6. WOW! I did Google the H.O. Studley tool box. And spent The last 2 hours looking at youtube videos of the darn thing. Absolutely amazing!

  7. Just spent half an hour watching an in depth video about a tool box. Thanks Adam! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2Eg-fR-4oI

  8. I would tend to think that with your anal retentiveness in regards to aesthetics you would have made some nice P-Touch labels or better yet, those routed out pieces of multicolored sign material, like the nameplates that used to be mounted on doors or desks, with a pair of nice brass finishing nails or even a Velcro mounting system that allowed easy updating/customization seeing the way you change things up and around. Aside from the look of handwritten paint marker I could only see going that avenue if one didn’t care at all how it came out, didn’t have the cash to do it properly or just needed some filler content and threw something together which I doubt is the case. Overall I love your projects, especially when they come to tool storage and making items that take the least amount of room yet provide the best flexibility. I am like I am with my tools & storage solutions today thanks to you Adam and I just wanted to add My Three Cents.

    On a side note, I think we’ll have to go back to the archives and legally change Mr. Whipple to Mr. Nipple.

  9. The only downside is that we didn't get to see you making this awesome toolbox … I'm just getting into leather working myself and I'm totally jealous of the setup you made.

  10. A week before you got to grab a tool and tip it over!
    I'd imagine you would do that on purpose so you could reorganise it!!

  11. I found the Studly tool box when i was in high school. In the liabrary That was 40 years ago. I checked that book out SO many time. He was the step beyond craftsman, he was a artist. I now have a picture of it hanging.

  12. I really am releuctant to sound to much like a safety nerd, but those exposed cutter blades on the bottom of the box give me the jitters. Some sort of cover, or the box will be red for a different reason!

  13. It's a lot like the H. O. Studly tool chest. Even the proportions are similar, though it was several times larger and meant to hang on a wall when opened up.

  14. Adam should put a leather trim (since it's a leather tool box) on the seams like the studley. A bit of dust proofing the inside from being in the garage.

  15. Crazy dude!

    you're on imagure, right? I've been thinking of getting into typing and letterpressing. Youre a pretty #change ing person and I'd appreciate some helpe here because I'm really trying.

    Find me on the twit machine!

    -AJ

  16. Transgender is Coming along great Adam … But better if you shave off the beard and buy a bra ya nipples are protruding dear

  17. Awesome job on the box Adam. Very elegant solution for those tools. I love it. Thank you as well for making me google the Studley tool box. What an amazing object. I can't believe how many tools he managed to fit in that thing. It blew me away.

  18. I have one concern. there doesn't seem to anything to prevent the doors on the box from flying open. I could be wrong, but if I am not, shouldn't you add a toggle-latch onto the box?

  19. That is awesome tool box Adam, Studley Tool Box was the first thing I thought of when seeing it… However that Studley Adam leather box inspired me on what to do with my Leather tools… (You did not patten this yet?? did you? LOL! ) I am totally going to build this… Great inspiration.

  20. Can we get a list of tools and sources? I'm dying over the corner punches and have no idea where to get them.

  21. Can we please leave 4 cameras in the shop that are infront of all Adam's work benches so all he has to do is hit "record"? Yes, the camera angles may be boring, but atleast we will be able to watch him work.

  22. my tool kits evolve over time. "This store bought tool works great for most use, but I made this for other instances." etc. it frustrates me to have to revamp a tool chest or the like, or have 12 things that won't fit in or open 3 job specific kits to use the tools/supplies for other jobs.

  23. Adam, thank you so much for this build design. I myself am a leathworker and I travel constantly between medieval, pirate, and convention events. I've needed something like this. Now to find someone who can build this for me

  24. Yes to using vertical space! This is so important for anyone who is a maker of any kind. I'm also seeing a great way to repurpose old drawers here. :o)

  25. i these day tend to get toolboxes with drawers and cnc router foam inlays .. it means less tools in my boxes.. but so pleasing to work with… no more rummiging in my toolboxes

  26. I had not realized that making a box and THEN cutting it was uncommon. I watched a couple one day builds where you used this technique. The one that comes to mind is your custom hat box. I have and probably always will build my boxes like this

  27. How do you keep the front doors from opening if the box should be tilted when carrying it to various locations? Looks like the whole thing would split open and spill all the contents if those doors swing open at the wrong time…

  28. You should see some of the workboxes that touring carpenters bring with them on the road when working with bands or touring musical theater. You can buy some pretty nice pre-built ones from companies like Anvil Case or R & R Cases, but there's a lot of custom builts floating around on the road that are real beauts as well.

  29. Should probably have named that the 'Savage Leather Mallet'? OHMYGOD just googled Studley Toolbox what a work of art!

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