Paul Antony - Smart Workshop Solutions (pdf, 18022 Кб)

Paul Antony - Smart Workshop Solutions (pdf, 18022 Кб)
CRAFTS & HOBBIES
In this book, Paul Anthony has collected some of the
best ideas for shop accessories, workstations, jigs, and
storage solutions. With the help of the detailed drawings
and step-by-step instructions and photos, you can build
and install these ingenious shop additions. The result
will be a more efficient workshop and woodworking
that’s safer and easier.
CLAMP RACKS
WOOD STORAGE SOLUTIONS
D R I L L I N G S TAT I O N S
S M A RT W O R K S H O P S O LU T I O N S
The right fixtures and accessories can
mean a big difference in how well your
workshop works for you.
TA B L E S AW S TAT I O N S
R O U T E R TA B L E S
TOOL CABINETS
AND MUCH MORE . . .
About the Author
Paul Anthony has been a professional woodworker for
Visit our website at www.taunton.com.
Cover photos by: Paul Anthony
Cover design by: Howard Grossman/12E Design
The Taunton Press also publishes Fine Woodworking
magazine, the single best source of woodworking
ideas and information anywhere.
ISBN 978-1-56158-578-6
51995
FnL1 00 0000
p
P
9 781561 585786
Taunton
US $19.95
$19.95 U.S.
anthony
almost 30 years and is a past president of the Sonoma County
Woodworkers Association. He has built hundreds of projects, ranging
from furniture to turnings and musical instruments. A former editor
for American Woodworker magazine, he is also the author of Home
Storage Projects. He lives in Riegelsville, Pennsylvania.
Taunton Product #070695
S
Smart Workshop
SOLUTIONS
Building Workstations, Jigs, and Accessories to Improve Your Shop
Paul Anthony
Woodworking Links Supplied @ :
WhereWeShare.Com
Smart
WORKSHOP
solutions
Building Workstations, Jigs, and Accessories
to Improve Your Shop
PAUL ANTHONY
t
Text © 2003 by Paul Anthony
Photographs © 2003 by The Taunton Press, Inc.
Illustrations © 2003 by The Taunton Press, Inc.
All rights reserved.
p
P
The Taunton Press, Inc., 63 South Main Street, PO Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470-5506
e-mail: tp@taunton.com
E DITOR : Stefanie Ramp
C OVER DESIGN : Howard Grossman
I NTERIOR DESIGN : Lori Wendin
L AYOUT: Marta Strait
I LLUSTRATOR : Melanie Powell
P HOTOGRAPHER : Paul Anthony
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Anthony, Paul, 1954Smart workshop solutions : building workstations, jigs, and
accessories to improve your shop / Paul Anthony.
p. cm.
ISBN-13: 78-1-56158-578-6
ISBN-10: 1-56158-578-5
1. Workshops--Equipment and supplies--Design and construction. I.
Title.
TT153.A58 2003
684'.08--dc21
2003007857
Printed in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4
The following manufacturers/names appearing in Smart Workshop Solutions are trademarks: Accuride®,
Adjust-A-Bench, Delta®, Fast Trak, Makita®, Masonite®, Melamine®, Porter Cable®, Rockler®, and
Woodcraft®.
WORKING WITH WOOD IS INHERENTLY DANGEROUS. Using hand or power tools improperly
or ignoring safety practices can lead to permanent injury or even death. Don’t try to perform
operations you learn about here (or elsewhere) unless you’re certain they are safe for you. If
something about an operation doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Look for another way. We want you
to enjoy the craft, so please keep safety foremost in your mind whenever you’re in the shop.
To Mom and Dad, for all your love and support throughout the years
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
T
HANKS TO THE STAFF AT THE TAUNTON PRESS for their good work throughout the creation
of this book. I don’t know how she does it, but Executive Editor Helen Albert always manages to work
through difficulties with creativity and grace. Her editorial assistant, Jenny Peters, is as reliable as they come,
and Managing Editor Carolyn Mandarano is always a pleasure to deal with. A special debt of gratitude goes
to my editor, Stefanie Ramp, for her patience and meticulous work, as well as her humor and determination
during the incessant eleventh-hour computer glitches and crashes.
This book would not be a reality without the help of all of the woodworkers who contributed their
time and designs to it. It was a blast to visit the shops and homes of such a good-hearted, gracious bunch
of folks. Thanks to Ken Burton, Craig Bentzley, Brian Boggs, Mike Callihan, Bill Hylton, Fred Matlack,
Tony O’Malley, Andy Rae, Larry Seachrist, Walt Segl, Don Weber, and Bob Whitley. Special thanks to Ric
Hanisch, Andy, and Fred for behind-the-scenes consultation and to Craig for going the extra mile when
help was needed.
Last, but certainly not least, I couldn’t have done this without the help and encouragement of my
lovely wife, Jeanie.
CONTENTS
Introduction
Wood Racks
2
36
Smart Workshop Solutions
Table-Saw Station
4
48
Clamp Racks
Drilling Stations
16
68
Lathe Stations
Mobile Tool Cabinet
86
142
Chopsaw Cabinet with
Extension Tables
Assembly Table
100
Sources
Router Table
172
122
160
INTRODUCTION
T
IME SPENT in the
workshop is the most
enjoyable part of the day
for many woodworkers,
whether amateur or professional. In fact, many of us
have a sort of ongoing love
affair with the shop because it’s our place of creativity and refuge. It’s where we make these beautiful,
useful things that last for generations and where
we go to recharge ourselves, surrounded by wood,
projects, and tools.
If you’re a woodworker, it’s a good bet you love
tools. That’s a good reason to have your shop in
shape, as it’s the biggest tool you have. It pays to keep
it fine-tuned and operating as efficiently as your
saws and planes. An unruly shop can cause you grief
as you hunt for that bit for the third time or screw
up a cut because your quick-’n’-easy outfeed support
fell over again. A well-tuned shop allows you to glide
from one process to another, getting much more
done and enjoying it more.
Chances are that no matter how well your shop is
organized, you’ve got improvements floating around
in your head as you work. Maybe the thought of a
new lumber rack sprung to mind when you tripped
over that pile of boards last week. Perhaps that
recent back twinge from hoisting your “portable”
planer is triggering the “tool-stand design” cortex of
your woodworker brain. Or maybe you’re just finally
reaching the sad conclusion that you’re no longer the
young acrobat capable of traversing your overstuffed shop
with only minor injuries.
Whatever the case, there
is no shortage of good shopimprovement projects to
minimize your wrestling bouts
with tools and stock. To that end, this book offers
designs for shop accessories such as lumber racks,
clamp racks, outfeed and assembly tables, and toolstorage solutions. What’s more, you’ll find designs
for various shop workstations dedicated to particular
woodworking processes. Workstations are not only
the best approach to efficient production, but they
also make woodworking more enjoyable and safe.
Whether a workstation is dedicated to sharpening,
drilling, sawing, assembling, or sanding, it includes
all of the tools, supplies, and space you’ll need to
perform a particular process. For example, a sharpening station usually includes a grinder and honing
stones placed at the appropriate working height,
with a wheel dresser, water for cooling, and any
grinding and honing jigs nearby. No matter how it
is configured, a workstation that provides a readyto-go work platform with all of the necessary tools
and supplies close at hand will pay off big dividends
in efficiency and quality of work.
So have at it. I think you’ll find that the projects
in this book will make your time in the shop more
productive and enjoyable. Just don’t forget to step
outside for some sunshine once in a while.
✦ 3
Craig Bentzley’s shop is a model of compact efficiency.
Thoughtfully designed storage and carefully positioned
machines create an environment for smooth production
of woodworking projects.
SMART WORKSHOP
SOLUTIONS
W
is in
a garage, a basement, or a
warehouse, organization and
efficiency matter. And they
matter to both professionals and recreational
woodworkers alike, because a well-organized,
properly outfitted shop pays off big dividends in terms of both productivity and
enjoyment.
The whole idea of organization and efficiency is to make life in the shop easier and
more fun. Woodworking is challenging
enough without building difficulties into the
process by poorly arranging tools and using
shoddy shop fixtures and accessories. It’s
funny—I’ve spoken to hobbyist woodworkers who seem to think that efficiency
only matters to professionals who are trying
to crank work out the door. But efficiency
matters to everyone. Woodworking tends to
be labor intensive, and if you’re going to get
projects done, you can’t waste a lot of time
diddling with your machines and searching
fruitlessly for misplaced tools and supplies.
After all, if you’re going to get points for
that “honey-do” cabinet for the spouse,
you have to actually hand over the goods
sometime.
HETHER YOUR WORKSHOP
There are a number of approaches to
increasing efficiency in the shop, but the
most important involves thoughtful shop
layout and appropriate fixtures and workstations. The way your machines and other
tools are placed in relation to each other can
save a lot of wasted steps and aggravation
throughout the workday. Well-designed fixtures such as wood racks and clamp racks
can ease access to materials and tools, saving
you a lot of time during project layout and
assembly. Carefully conceived workstations
condense into one area almost everything
you need for a process, maximizing your
time and energy.
Small shops benefit especially from organization because space is at such a premium.
When every tool has its place, work goes
more smoothly. Keep in mind that an organized shop doesn’t have to be uncomfortably
neat. I’ve visited countless shops over the
years, and every one has a style of its own.
Clearly, a shop doesn’t have to be pretty to
produce beautiful work. I’ve seen plenty of
amazing work emerge from some crudelooking shops, but the more productive of
those shops were organized in their own way
and carefully tailored to the nature of the
work produced there.
✦ 5
Tool Arrangement
and Work Flow
To streamline your work, begin by taking a
close look at your work processes. Work flow
usually begins with board layout near the
wood storage area, which is best located near
the shop’s loading entrance. After boards are
laid out for initial rough cutting, they are
generally crosscut on a nearby radial-arm
saw or sliding crosscut miter (SCM) saw.
After that, the pieces usually move to the
jointer for face jointing and then to the
planer for thicknessing. Next, the work may
be routed back to the jointer for edge jointing and then to the table saw for ripping to
final width. The final cuts involve crosscutting to length at the table saw, radial-arm
saw, or SCM saw.
Because these milling processes are so
closely related, it’s important to locate the
crosscut saw, jointer, planer, and table saw in
close proximity to one another. When
arranging or rearranging a shop to maxi-
mize work flow, it’s helpful to make a scaled
drawing of the floor plan, using cutouts of
your tools to play with different scenarios
(see photo A). A tight shop space can call for
creative tool placement. Sometimes smaller
machines can be mounted directly to the
wall—perhaps above another machine (see
photos B and C).
When working on a project, you also
need staging, which simply means a place to
stack the pieces in process. There are several
approaches to this, including installing a
bench near a tool, using sawhorses, or
employing a portable cart (see photo D). If
your space is tight, it makes sense to demand
double duty from the surfaces you have. For
example, my jointer sits to the right of my
table saw, and I use the table-saw extension
tables as a staging area for holding the stock
being jointed (see photo E on p. 8).
To develop the best work flow for your
particular shop, pay close attention to areas
where snags exist. Perhaps simply adding a
strategically placed benchtop or other form
of staging will expedite matters. But some-
PHOTO A: When planning a shop layout, a scaled floor plan with separate scaled tool cutouts allow playing
with machine and shop-cabinet placement to create an efficient work flow throughout the shop.
6 ✦
SMART WORKSHOP SOLUTIONS
PHOTOS B AND C:
Space is at a premium in Fred
Matlack’s tiny shop,
so he mounted his
portable planer on a
platform fixed to the
wall above his table
saw’s side extension
table (far left photo).
His benchtop belt
sander rests on supports screwed to
wall studs behind
his jointer (near left
photo).
times the best solution is to temporarily
move a machine to an existing staging area,
rather than the other way around. Many
kinds of commercial mobile bases are available these days (see photo F on p. 8), or you
can simply add casters to a shopmade base.
Making machines mobile is one of the best
ways to build flexibility into any shop, large
or small. Speaking of mobility, don’t forget
that you’ll need a way to move large projects
in process around the shop. The simple solution for that is to employ shopmade dollies
with casters (see photo G on p. 8).
Fixtures
and Workstations
Some of the best improvements you can
make to a shop involve creating appropriate
fixtures and workstations. This is the fun stuff
that can help you glide through your workday. Fixtures include things like clamp racks,
wood racks, tool cabinets, and auxiliary
machine tables. Workstations are personal
configurations that often consist of custommade cabinets, stands, and auxiliary tables
PHOTO D: Ken Burton’s mobile parts cart is outfitted with
removable outriggers for performing double duty as an
auxiliary support when feeding sheets of plywood onto the
table saw.
SMART WORKSHOP SOLUTIONS
✦ 7
PHOTO E: Locating a jointer near a table saw makes for efficient milling and allows use of the table-saw
wing as staging for workpieces being jointed.
PHOTO F: A wide variety of mobile bases are available
for woodworking machines. Delta® makes a kit that
consists of corner brackets and a lift wheel to which
you add suitable shopmade rails.
PHOTO G: Bob Whitley keeps a shelf full
of dollies on hand for moving large workpieces in process around the shop.
8 ✦
SMART WORKSHOP SOLUTIONS
suited to a particular tool or process. A welldesigned workstation will keep all necessary
tools and accessories close at hand and will
include features like built-in adjustable stops
for quick, accurate setups of cuts.
A workstation isn’t necessarily a separate,
discrete project unto itself; it often comprises
a number of components placed in proper
relation to a particular piece of equipment. A
table-saw station, for instance, might include
extension tables with a cabinet underneath
for storing blades, wrenches, push sticks, and
table-saw jigs. In addition, several types of
auxiliary rip fences and a crosscut sled might
be part of the package. A drilling station, configured around a drill press, might feature a
custom drill-press table, as well as a cabinet
for bits, countersinks, and boring vises. A
sharpening station will include a grinder and
a water tray for honing stones, as well as a
strong inspection light (see photo H).
A workstation doesn’t have to be fancy. It
may be as simple as a base cabinet built
PHOTO H: A workstation should include everything
needed for a particular process. Andy Rae’s sharpening station consists of a grinder, a stone pond,
and a cabinet to house various sharpening jigs.
Note that the grinder is placed at a comfortable
height and is shrouded to prevent it from scattering metal particles.
PHOTO I: Workstations don’t
have to be fancy, just functional. This disk-sander cabinet with its upper shelf does
triple duty as a tool stand, a
storage cabinet, and a small
staging platform.
SMART WORKSHOP SOLUTIONS
✦ 9
TIP
It’s often wise to buy
an extra wrench,
screwdriver, or
square for use at a
specific station,
rather than crossing
the shop to dig
through your toolbox
for it. A couple of
bucks spent here can
save you a lot
of steps over the
years. For example,
an extra 4-in. machinist’s square lives by
my jointer for regular
fine-tuning of the
fence. At my bandsaw, I keep a dedicated Allen wrench for
resetting the guide
blocks after a blade
change.
specifically to accommodate a particular tool
(see photo I on p. 9). Some tools, such as the
bandsaw, don’t need a lot of storage for
accessories. Instead, you can use magnets to
keep the necessary blade-changing tools close
at hand (see photo J).
You’ll find some great workstation projects in these pages, but you may well want to
modify a design to suit your particular needs
or machine. Just remember when designing
storage for a workstation that it’s best to first
gather all of the intended contents and make
sure there’s a place for everything. Then
incorporate space for any future acquisitions.
Materials
All of the projects in this book are made
from solid wood, hardwood plywood,
and/or medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
(see photo K on facing page). Most of the
projects incorporate some hardware, ranging
from screws and hinges to drawer slides and
casters. None of the stuff is hard to find. In
fact, many projects in this book were made
from whatever materials were on hand.
In most cases, common domestic species
of wood were used for these projects. These
are shop projects, after all, and don’t need to
be very fancy. However, you may want to use
pretty woods for the occasional project to
showcase your woodworking skills for clients
and friends. Like craftsmen of old who often
represented their skills in their toolboxes,
your shop fixtures and furniture say a lot
about your work. As Craig Bentzley points
out, clients who visit his shop when he’s
between commissions can see a reflection of
his skills in his shop itself, even if there is no
project in process at the time.
Solid wood is available from lumber suppliers, mills, and home-supply centers.
Hardwood plywood can be purchased at
some home-supply centers and wood dealers. You may also be able to buy it from a
friendly commercial cabinet shop. All of the
hardware is either available at your local
hardware store or home-supply center or
through the mail-order suppliers listed in
Sources on p. 172.
PHOTO J: Magnets make
great holders for companion
tools at machines. The Allen
wrench and pliers on this
bandsaw are used whenever
a blade is changed. Notice
that magnets also provide a
way to attach a section of
metal dust-collection pipe
so that it can be quickly
disconnected.
10 ✦
SMART WORKSHOP SOLUTIONS
PHOTO K: Hardwood
plywood is available
with a variety of face
veneers, including
birch, lauan, and
oak. MDF is a dense,
stable, flat form of
particleboard suitable for applications
that require smooth,
dead-flat surfaces.
Solid wood
Solid wood is used in many of these projects
for face frames, rails, legs, and other parts.
Although these are shop projects—not furniture for the home—it’s still important to use
well-seasoned lumber that is sound and free
of cracks and checks. That said, you don’t
need the same sort of premium lumber that
you would use for furniture, and it’s not as
critical that the wood color and grain patterns be as consistent. These projects can
present a good opportunity to use up leftover
wood from previous furniture projects.
Hardwood plywood
Plywood has certain advantages over solid
wood, the primary one being that it is stable,
so you don’t have to worry about accommodating wood movement. You can fit plywood
panels snugly into frames or drawer-side
grooves without worry of them expanding
and blowing joints apart.
Hardwood plywood isn’t cheap but, on a
square-foot basis, it’s typically less expensive
than solid wood. Stay away from constructiongrade plywood, as it is often full of voids and
prone to warping and delamination. Some
plywood dealers offer “shop-grade” hardwood plywood, which is less expensive
because of its minor defects. It’s the perfect
economy material for many shop projects.
MDF
MDF is a high-grade form of particleboard.
Unlike typical particleboard, MDF is dense,
flat, smooth, and stable. It can be used in
many cases as an inexpensive alternative to
hardwood plywood. In fact, MDF is sometimes used as a substrate for high-grade
veneer panels, such as those used in the tool
cabinet in chapter 9. MDF is preferable to
plywood for applications that require
extreme flatness, such as router tabletops
and jig parts.
Like any material, MDF does have its
disadvantages. First off, it’s heavy. A typical
sheet of 3⁄4-in.-thick MDF weighs about
100 lb., so it’s no fun hoisting it onto the
table saw. It’s also prone to water damage
and doesn’t hold screws and other fasteners
well, especially in its edges.
SMART WORKSHOP SOLUTIONS
✦ 11
Hardware
Most of these projects include hardware of
some sort—ranging from screws or nails to
hinges, drawer slides, and specialty items,
like T-track for hold-downs and the like. You
can find much of the hardware at your local
home-supply store, and what you can’t find
there is available from mail-order woodworking-supply houses (see Sources on
p. 172). In the cut lists included with most
projects, I’ve listed a supplier and part number for any specialty hardware used.
I strongly recommend that you don’t
skimp on the quality of the hardware you use.
Cheap drawer slides are available, for example, but they won’t give you good service over
the years. After all, you’re putting a lot of
work into a project. Why sully it with poorly
made hinges, catches, and drawer slides that
may give you problems before long?
General Tips
and Techniques
For each project, the chapter provides stepby-step instructions particular to that piece.
However, I’ll discuss here certain general
woodworking procedures that apply to just
about every project.
Reading cut lists
The dimensions in the cut lists are presented
in order of thickness, then width, and then
length. Note that the length dimension
always follows the grain direction of lumber
or the face grain of plywood (see the drawing
“Translating Cut Lists” at left). Although finished sizes are given in the cut lists, it’s best
to take your workpiece measurement directly
from an opening or frame when appropriate,
such as when fitting backs, drawer bottoms,
or inset doors and drawer fronts.
Laying out
Translating Cut Lists
CUT-LIST DIMENSIONS are listed in order of thickness,
then width, then length. The length dimension always
follows the grain dimension of lumber or the face grain
of plywood. Although the pieces shown here are all the
same size, their cut-list dimensions read differently.
Solid wood,
1/2" x 3" x 6"
Hardwood plywood,
1/2" x 3" x 6"
12 ✦
Solid wood,
1/2" x 6" x 3"
Hardwood plywood,
1/2" x 6" x 3"
SMART WORKSHOP SOLUTIONS
The first step in any project is to lay out your
lumber and sheet goods to rough size in
preparation for milling to thickness. With
lumber, I always begin with roughsawn
boards, rather than prethicknessed stock. I
use a stick of chalk to lay out the boards a
few inches oversize in length and about 1⁄4 in.
oversize in width. I crosscut and rip the
boards to rough size, then mill them to final
size (see the sidebar “Dressing Stock with
Machines” on the facing page). I mill extra
stock for tool setups at the same time, so I
can be assured the test pieces will be the
same dimensions as the project stock.
When laying out plywood, I inspect it first
for flaws using a strong, glancing sidelight in
a darkened shop (see photos L and M on the
facing page). I sweep the light both along
and across the grain. Remember that plywood often varies in thickness from piece to
piece. Thus, dado joints and rabbet joints
will fit better if all of the parts that slip into
those joints are cut from the same piece of
plywood.
DRESSING STOCK WITH MACHINES
To ensure accurate joinery and straight lines
in your furniture, it’s necessary to dress your
stock flat, straight, and square. It’s best to
begin with oversize, roughsawn lumber because it’s already done most of its warping
during the drying process. Therefore, you’ll
be able to plane and joint it to final thickness
and width with minimal warping. If you begin
with warped premilled lumber, you can’t flatten it without losing thickness. Here’s a quick
overview of proper stock dressing using
machinery. You can also flatten and thickness
stock with handplanes following the same
for feeding against the rip fence. Allow a couple of extra inches in length and 1⁄4 in. extra in
width for each piece.
2. Flatten one face on the jointer. For stability,
feed the stock with the concave face down. Cut
with the slope of the grain to minimize tearout.
3. Plane the stock to final thickness, feeding it
through a thickness planer, with the previously
flattened side on the planer table. Cut with the
slope of the grain.
4. Joint one edge of the thicknessed board
square. Feed with the concave edge down.
basic sequence.
5. Rip the piece to width on the table saw.
1. If your roughsawn stock is fairly bowed or
cupped, begin by ripping and crosscutting it
into smaller pieces. For safe ripping on the
table saw, joint one edge of the stock straight
6. Crosscut one end square, measure for
length, and then crosscut the opposite end
to length.
PHOTOS L AND M:
Before laying out
plywood, inspect it
for flaws using a
strong, glancing
sidelight in a darkened shop. The scar
circled in the left
photo is barely visible in normal light,
but under a sidelight
(right photo), it’s
immediately
apparent.
SMART WORKSHOP SOLUTIONS
✦ 13
The Triangle Marking System
USING TRIANGLES TO ORIENT YOUR WORKPIECES provides a quick
reference for machining and assembly. As you can see here, a triangle
immediately identifies the top, bottom, left, and right sides of an assembly.
Frames
Panels or drawer fronts
For orienting individual parts, I use the
triangle marking system, which tells me at a
glance how a part relates to its mates (see
the drawing “The Triangle Marking System”
above).
Assembly Tips
✦
Always do a dry clamp-up to rehearse your
clamping procedures. While a cabinet is
dry-clamped, fit its back snugly into its
rabbets so you’ll be able to insert it
unglued to hold the case square while the
glue cures.
✦ I typically apply glue to both mating surfaces, except when applying solid-wood
14 ✦
SMART WORKSHOP SOLUTIONS
Legs
Aprons or drawer boxes
edging to plywood. For that, I just apply a
thick coat to the plywood edge. An ink
roller works well for spreading a thin, even
coat of glue. For brushing glue onto
tenons, tongues, and into mortises, I use a
solder flux brush. A small artist’s brush is
good for getting into small holes and
grooves.
✦ When gluing up, work on a flat surface. If
a piece isn’t lying flat, you won’t be able to
accurately check it for square.
✦ Use contact cement to attach thick leather
pads to pipe-clamp jaws to prevent damage
to workpieces.
✦
Use cauls to distribute clamping pressure,
centering them over the joint. To span long
joints, use crowned cauls (see the drawing
“Clamping Cauls” below). On smaller
pieces, it’s easier to use cauls that almost
cover the entire piece being clamped.
✦ If a piece isn’t square under clamping
pressure, try shifting the angle of the clamps
on the joints to bring the piece into square.
✦
To clean up excess glue, use a clean rag and
clean water, replenishing the water as necessary to prevent wiping diluted glue into
wood grain and jeopardizing the finish.
Alternatively, wait until the glue has cured
to a rubbery consistency, then pare it away
with a sharp chisel.
Clamping Cauls
CAULS DISTRIBUTE CLAMPING PRESSURE across joints. Make
long cauls from thick hardwood. Cutting the ends squarely will
aid in assembly when standing the cauls on end on the bench.
For small items, use thick cauls
slightly smaller than case side.
Plane crown on edge of
long caul to apply pressure
across span (crown
exaggerated for clarity).
Center caul
over joint.
SMART WORKSHOP SOLUTIONS
✦ 15
A clamp rack should keep
all of your various clamps
organized, visible, and
accessible without wasting
a lot of shop space.
CLAMP RACKS
I
F THERE’S ONE THING that most woodworkers
can’t get enough of it’s clamps. (Well, wood too.
OK, and machines and jigs . . .) Unfortunately,
clamps—particularly pipe and bar clamps—can take
up a lot of space, and they need to be stored in some
kind of organized fashion so you can quickly select
the right clamps for the job at hand. Clamps
dumped in boxes can be as aggravating to pick
through as a jumble of wire coat hangers.
A clamp rack of some sort is usually the best solution, but it has to be strong; metal clamps are heavy.
Racks can be designed as wall-hung, standing, or
mobile units. The type of rack that will suit you best
depends on your particular existing and future
inventory of clamps. If your shop is small or if you
have a single dedicated assembly area, wall-hung or
standing racks might be fine. Just make sure that a
standing unit either has a large enough footprint to
prevent it from tipping or can be screwed to a wall.
If, on the other hand, you tend to assemble projects
in various areas of a larger shop, a mobile unit
would probably be your best bet. In this chapter,
we’ll take a look at all of these options.
✦ 17
WALL RACK FOR PIPE AND
BAR CLAMPS
Laying Out the Parts
1. If you’ll be mounting to a wood-frame
wall, begin by locating the appropriate wall
studs. They will most likely be spaced 16 in.
on center.
2. Determine the length of the rack by measuring from center to center between the
outermost wall studs to which the rack will
be attached. Add at least 2 in. to that length.
3. Lay out the backboard. Mark it with the
locations of the wall-stud centerlines.
4. Lay out the dadoes to accept the brackets,
staying at least 1 in. away from your stud
centerlines for drill access later. To determine
the spacing for each pair of brackets, I calculate the distance necessary to accommodate
the pipes or bars, then add 3⁄16 in. The spacing
between the pairs is determined by the depth
of your clamp jaws and the wall studs. If you
want to be able to hang clamps with deeper
jaws, space the pairs farther apart.
5. Using cardboard or scrap plywood, make
a pattern of the bracket shape (see the drawing “Bracket Layout” on p. 20).
H
ere’s a simple rack you can make
from plywood or particleboard. This
stacking type of rack significantly
reduces the amount of wall space needed for
hanging clamps. The small “nose” of the
gusset-shape brackets makes inserting clamps
easier than if the brackets were square.
I made this particular rack from scraps of
3
⁄4-in.-thick hardwood plywood and MDF.
You could use construction plywood, but it
often has voids that are liable to compromise
strength in this situation. For joinery, shallow
dadoes cut in the backboard align the pieces
for assembly and provide a bit more glue surface to the joint. Once it’s glued and screwed
together, this rack is incredibly strong.
I painted it so it wouldn’t look scrappy.
18 ✦
WALL RACK FOR PIPE AND BAR CLAMPS
Cutting the Parts
and Joints
1. Rip the backboard to width. Using the
same rip-fence setting, rip enough lengths of
material to make the necessary number of
brackets. Crosscut the backboard to length.
2. Using your pattern, lay out the brackets.
To make the most economical use of your
plywood, place angled edges adjacent to each
other as shown in the drawing.
3. Saw the brackets to shape. After making
your square crosscuts, you can cut the angled
edge with a bandsaw or jigsaw and then
clean up the cut with a belt or disk sander.
Alternatively, you can outfit a table-saw
Wall Rack for Pipe and Bar Clamps
Screw,
#8 x 21/2"
Backboard
Space dadoes
to suit pipe or
bar width.
TIP
It’s best to mount
any hanging clamp
rack so that its
ends terminate
near wall studs.
Otherwise, the
weight of the
clamps can pull
the unsupported
section away from
the wall.
Dado,
1/8" x 3/4"
Bracket
PHOTO A: To get
a straight, clean
cut on the bracket’s angled edge,
you can outfit a
table-saw crosscut
sled with two
fences set at
90 degrees to
each other and at
45 degrees to the
line of cut.
WALL RACK FOR PIPE AND BAR CLAMPS
✦ 19
TIP
When attaching
pieces with both
glue and screws,
I first drill any pilot
holes or clearance
holes with the
pieces dry-clamped
together. Drilling
after applying
glue can gum up
your bit.
crosscut sled with two fences set at
45 degrees to the blade path (see photo
on p. 19).
4. Saw or rout the 1⁄8-in.-deep dadoes,
pilot hole to prevent splitting the brackets.
Also drill a screw-clearance hole through the
backboard to allow the pieces to pull tightly
together.
aiming for a snug fit to accept the brackets.
2. Apply a liberal amount of glue to the rear
Assembling and
Mounting the Rack
1. Temporarily clamp the brackets into their
dadoes and predrill (no more than 3 in.
apart) for 21⁄2-in.-long drywall screws. Drill a
edge of each bracket and to the dado. Screw
the brackets firmly in place.
3. After the glue dries, paint the rack if you
like, then mount it to the wall using long
screws. If mounting to a concrete or brick
wall, use self-tapping concrete screws or lag
screws and anchors.
Bracket Layout
A RACK FOR F-STYLE
BAR CLAMPS
Small, quick-set bar clamps, also referred to
10"
as F-style clamps, are best hung on a rack
similar to Tony O’Malley’s unit shown here.
2"
The rack consists of two parallel boards set
into case sides that angle outward toward
the bottom. The clamp head hooks on the
10"
upper board, while the lower board keeps
the clamp body from swinging. The slope of
the unit tends to keep the clamp’s bar
pressed against both boards. A screw cleat
that attaches to the case sides in back
allows fastening the unit to the wall.
20 ✦
WALL RACK FOR PIPE AND BAR CLAMPS
2"
W A L L R A C K F O R PA R A L L E L - J A W
CLAMPS
M
ORE AND MORE woodworkers
these days are discovering paralleljaw clamps. The boxlike jaws on
these heavy-duty clamps are deep, and they
close parallel to each other, making them
useful for assembly work. If you’re a fan of
these clamps, as is woodworker Walt Segl,
you may want to build this rack that he
designed specifically to provide compact,
accessible storage for his collection. The rack
is simple to make. Its construction is similar
to the previous wall rack for pipe and bar
clamps, except this one is made entirely from
3
⁄4-in.-thick solid wood. Segl used cherry, but
any hardwood will do.
Making the Rack
1. Determine the length of the backboard. If
you’ll be mounting the rack on a woodframe wall, make sure the ends of the rack
terminate over wall studs, as explained in the
previous wall-rack project.
W A L L R A C K F O R PA R A L L E L - J A W C L A M P S
✦ 21
2. Mill the stock for the backboard and the
Wall Rack for Parallel-Jaw Clamps
Backboard
brackets, ripping it into strips about
31⁄4 in. wide.
3. Mark the stud spacing on the backboard.
5/8"
Lay out the 3⁄8-in.-deep dadoes, spacing them
⁄8 in. apart. Make sure no dado lies on a studcenter location. Rather than laying out all the
dadoes, you can simply calculate the locations of the first and last slot and then saw
the dadoes as described in step 5.
5
4. Crosscut the brackets from the length of
15˚
Dado,
x 3/4"
Bracket
3/8"
21/4"
31/4"
stock you prepared. To avoid constant resetting, it’s easier to use two saws: one for making the square cut and one set to 15 degrees
for making the angled cut (see the drawing
“Wall Rack for Parallel-Jaw Clamps” at left).
A table saw and a chopsaw work well in
tandem for this.
5. Rout or saw the dadoes in the backboard.
If you have a good dado head, the easiest
approach is to cut them on the table saw
using an indexing pin on a miter-gauge auxiliary fence (see the drawing “Cutting the
Bracket
11/4"
Cutting the Backboard Dadoes
A QUICK WAY TO CUT A SERIES OF EVENLY SPACED DADOES is to use an indexing
pin set into an auxiliary miter-gauge fence. After cutting the first dado without the auxiliary fence and pin, clamp or screw the fence to the miter gauge and adjust it so the pin
is 5⁄8'' away from the blade, then cut the dadoes as shown.
Backboard
Attach indexing pin
to notch in bottom
edge of fence.
Auxiliary
fence
5/8"
Cut first dado
without
indexing pin.
Register each
previously cut
dado on indexing pin.
22 ✦
W A L L R A C K F O R PA R A L L E L - J A W C L A M P S
Edge of
cut-line
Dado head
Table-saw
miter gauge
A CHIN-UP BAR FOR CLAMPS
Mike Callihan cobbled together
this simple rack to carry his
parallel-jaw and F-style bar
clamps. He simply attached several brackets to a cleat board,
then slipped a long pipe through
holes drilled in the cleats. The
clamp handles slip over the metal
pipe, which is able to carry the
considerable weight of all these
clamps. For strength, he used
bolts rather than screws to fasten
the rack to his wall.
Backboard Dadoes” on facing page). This
allows you to quickly cut slot after slot without measuring. Aim for a snug fit with the
brackets.
Beveled Clamping Caul
6. Dry-assemble the brackets into their slots
Caul
to make sure everything fits well. To make
clamping easier, bevel-rip a 2x4 at 15 degrees
for use as a clamping caul (see the drawing
“Beveled Clamping” at right).
15˚
7. Apply a thick coat of glue to the rear edge
of each bracket and a thinner coat into each
dado. Make sure that the top edges of all the
parts are lined up well. Clamp the brackets
into their dadoes.
8. Mount the rack on the wall using long
Bracket
Backboard
screws.
W A L L R A C K F O R PA R A L L E L - J A W C L A M P S
✦ 23
CLAMP CABINET
C
raig Bentzley has a lot of different
types of clamps, and he decided to
build a clamp cabinet to accommodate them all. The cabinet is built from inexpensive pine boards, wooden closet pole
rods, and commonly available hardware.
Bentzley dressed up the cabinet with simple
moldings, a few corbels, and gave the whole
unit a coat of paint. Too nice for a clamp
cabinet? “Hey, I’m going to have to look at it
for a long time,” he says with no regrets.
This particular cabinet is the perfect size
for Bentzley’s needs. Yours, of course, will
probably be different. No matter. Simply
adjust the height and width to suit your shop
space and clamp collection (see the drawings
“Clamp Cabinet” on facing page and “Shelf
and Dowel Spacing”on p. 26). However,
you’ll probably want to keep the depth of the
cabinet similar for clamp accessibility.
This cabinet includes shelves to store belt
clamps, pipe connectors, extra pipe-clamp
heads, etc. (see photo B on p. 27). Wooden
rails and an aluminum angle fastened to
the wall at the rear provide purchase for
spring clamps of different sizes. The top
of Bentzley’s cabinet is home to a bevy of
handscrews.
Making the cabinet is a simple matter of
sawing the parts to size, cutting a few joints,
and assembling the pieces with glue, nails,
and screws. After assembling the case, you’ll
fit the shelves and dowel rods into place.
24 ✦
CLAMP CABINET
Clamp Cabinet
THIS CABINET, CONSTRUCTED OF SOLID PINE, is put together with simple joints. The bottom
is nailed and glued into a rabbet in each side. The dividers sit in dadoes in the bottom, and the top
is screwed to the vertical members. The corbels are attached with glue and biscuits, and the bottom
rail and molding is simply nailed in place.
Top
Upper cleat
Clamp
rail
Corbel
Aluminum
angle
#20 biscuit
Clamp
rail
Dowel rod,
1'' dia.
Shelf
Side
Shelf
support
Divider
Lower
cleat
Cleat
notch
Bottom
Rabbet,
1/4" x 3/4"
Kick rail
Dado,
1/4" x 3/4"
Trim molding
CLAMP CABINET
✦ 25
Shelf and Dowel Spacing
FOR YOUR REFERENCE, this drawing shows the overall dimensions, compartment sizes,
and dowel spacing that worked for the designer. You may want to adjust the spacing to suit
your own clamp collection.
6"
8"
16"
24"
38"
21"
40"
34"
58"
79"
18"
18"
57"
26 ✦
CLAMP CABINET
18"
CUT
LIST FOR
CABINET
CUT-LIST
FORCLAMP
ROLLING
PIN
4
Sides and dividers
3
⁄4" x 71⁄4 " x 79"
Solid wood or plywood
1
Top
3
⁄4" x 111⁄4" x 57"
1
Bottom
3
Solid wood or plywood
1
Upper cleat
3
⁄4" x 6 ⁄2" x 56"
Solid wood or plywood
1
Lower cleat
3
⁄4" x 5 ⁄2" x 57"
Solid wood
4
Corbels
3
⁄4" x 4 ⁄2" x 57"
Solid wood
1
Kick rail
3
⁄4" x 3 ⁄2" x 4 ⁄4"
Solid wood
1
Trim molding
3
⁄4" x 3 ⁄2" x 57"
Solid wood
2
Shelves
3
⁄8" x 1 ⁄8" x 57"
Solid wood
4
Shelf supports
3
⁄4" x 8 ⁄2" x 18"
Solid wood or plywood
1
Clamp rail
3
⁄4" x 1 ⁄2" x 7 ⁄4"
Solid wood
2
Clamp rails
1
⁄4" x 1 ⁄2" x 18"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 2 ⁄2" x 18"
Solid wood
2
Dowel rods
1" dia. x 19 ⁄2"
5
Dowel rods
1" dia. x 177⁄8"
1
Aluminum angle
11⁄4" x 11⁄4"
1
1
1
1
3
1
3
1
1
1
1
1
TIP
Manila file folders
make great pattern
material. The stiff
paper cuts easily
but is thick enough
to serve as a pencil
guide for tracing
outlines.
1
Making the Parts
1. Begin by making a pattern of the corbel
from cardboard or stiff paper (see the drawing “Corbel Pattern” on p. 28).
2. Rip and crosscut all of the parts to size.
Rip the shelves to width (front to back), but
leave them slightly oversize in length for
now. You’ll cut them to fit snugly between
the dividers after assembly.
3. Prepare a single 31⁄2-in.-wide board that’s
long enough for all of the corbels, but don’t
crosscut it into individual corbel blanks yet.
It’s much easier to cut biscuit slots in a long
board than in short pieces.
PHOTO B: Various commercial
brackets are available for
hanging dowel rods. Shelves
provide a resting place for
items like pipe connectors
and belt clamps that are
difficult to hang.
CLAMP CABINET
✦ 27
4. Lay out the corbels on the board. Mark
6. If you like, rout a decorative edge on the
and cut two #20 biscuit slots in each corbel.
Crosscut the individual corbel blanks from
the board, and cut the mating slots for each
one in the cabinet sides and dividers.
trim molding. Bentzley used a scrap piece of
ogee molding he had lying around.
5. Cut the corbels to shape using a scrollsaw
or jigsaw. A bandsaw will work, but the saw
marks will be difficult to clean up in the
stepped areas. Set the shaped corbels aside
for now.
TIP
If you’re not going
to paint the cabinet
and prefer that the
cleat ends don’t
show, forgo cutting
the notches.
Instead, cut the
cleats to butt
against the inside
faces of the sides.
You can nail or
screw through the
sides and into the
ends of the cleats
during assembly.
28 ✦
CLAMP CABINET
Cutting the Joints
1. Cut the rabbets in the lower ends of the
sides. You can either rout these or cut them
on the table saw using a dado head (see
photo C on facing page).
Corbel Pattern
PHOTO C: One way to easily cut rabbets in the ends of long boards is to use a cross-
cut sled to feed the workpiece across a dado head on the table saw.
2. Cut the dadoes in the bottom to accept
2. Dry-assemble the whole case to make
the dividers. Again, you can rout these or cut
them with a dado head on the table saw.
sure that all the joints fit well and that all of
the pieces line up properly. Using a square,
mark the location of the dividers across the
back face of the upper cleat. Glue and screw
the bottom to the dividers.
3. Lay out and cut the notches in the ends
of the sides and dividers to accept the upper
and lower cleats. Remember that the lower
notches on the dividers will be 1⁄2 in. shorter
than those on the sides because of the
dadoes in the cabinet bottom.
Assembling the Case
The case is easy to assemble because only the
corbels have to be clamped in place. The rest
of the joints are held with nails or screws.
1. Using biscuits, glue the corbels to the
sides and dividers (see photo D on p. 30).
After the glue dries, sand the joint flush.
3. In preparation for attaching the sides and
cleats, lay the assembly face down on the
floor, straddling a couple of 4x4s to protect
the corbels. Use glue and finish nails to
attach the sides to the bottom. Make sure the
bottom is pulled up snugly into its rabbet.
TIP
When ripping plywood into pieces,
plan your cut
sequence so that
all factory edges
are cut away in the
process, leaving
clean-cut edges.
4. Square up the case by comparing its diagonal measurements. Glue and screw the
upper cleat into its notches. Use the marks
you made on the back of the cleat to line up
the dividers. Attach the lower cleat.
5. Glue and screw the 1⁄4-in.-thick clamp rails
to the underside of the upper cleat. Screw the
top to the case.
CLAMP CABINET
✦ 29
PHOTO D: After cutting the biscuit joints, clamp the corbels in place using clamps
with soft jaw pads.
6. Screw the shelf supports in place. Don’t
glue them, in case you want to move them
at some point. Trim the shelves for a snug fit
in their openings, and nail them to their
supports.
7. Glue and nail the kick rail in place. Tack
on the trim molding.
8. All that’s left to do is to install the various
dowel rods and clamp rails. Check your local
home- and building-supply outlets for rod
brackets and aluminum angles. To hold his
spring clamps, Bentzley attached the aluminum angle and clamp rail to the wall studs
30 ✦
CLAMP CABINET
(see the photo on p. 16). If that doesn’t work
for you, however, you can attach the pieces
by fastening the ends to the case sides.
Finishing Up
If you’re going to paint the unit, it’s usually
easiest to do so before installing it. Afterward, mount it to the wall, screwing through
the upper and lower cleats into the wall
studs.
MOBILE CLAMP RACK
I
F YOU FIND THAT you’re often lugging a
lot of clamps to various assembly areas, a
mobile clamp rack might be just the thing
for you. Bill Hylton designed this portable
unit for use at his various assembly stations.
The rack, made from plywood and some
solid-wood strips, is strong enough to carry
hundreds of pounds of clamps. It’s also stable because of its wide footprint and its
A-frame shape, which prevent the rack from
being top heavy.
The rack will accommodate all sorts of
clamps. Of course, you can adjust the
dimensions of the rack to suit your clamp
collection and shop space. One nice feature
of this unit is the handscrew compartment,
which includes a ramp to keep handscrews
from vibrating off the rack. A short 2x4
post between the jaws keeps the clamps
aligned on top of each other. Both faces of
the rack are constructed in the same fashion,
although the spacing varies to accommodate
different clamps (see drawing “Elevations”
on p. 34).
Making the Parts
1. Begin by crosscutting a sheet of 48-in.wide plywood to 52 in. long. You can do this
accurately with a portable circular saw and
guide (see photo E on p. 33). Lay out and cut
the sheet into halves as shown in step 1 of
the drawing “Cutting the Sides and Dividers”
on page 35.
2. Saw or rout a dado and rabbet into each
half as shown in step 2 of the drawing. To
cut the dado, register the router fence or
rip fence against the long, straight edge of
the panel.
3. Lay out a divider on each half, as
shown in step 3 of the drawing. Saw off the
divider, again using a portable circular saw
and guide.
MOBILE CLAMP RACK
✦ 31
Mobile Clamp Rack
THIS RACK IS MADE FROM 3⁄4''-thick hardwood plywood, glued and screwed together. The
solid-wood clamp support rails are screwed to the divider and case sides. Twin rails help
keep longer clamps from swinging freely. Space the rails to suit your collection of clamps.
A ramped shelf and center post keep handscrews from wandering around.
Center
panel
Rail
Side
Clamp
post
Ramp
Divider
Caster
32 ✦
MOBILE CLAMP RACK
Bottom
Ramp
support
PHOTO E: This guide
for cutting sheet
goods is made from
two pieces of
straight-edged plywood. The lower
piece is attached
oversize, then
trimmed off by the
saw running against
the upper fence
piece. The resulting
cut edge can then
be clamped directly
against the cut line.
4. Trim off the rabbet from the end of each
divider piece. The sides and dividers are now
complete.
5. Saw the bottom and center panel to size.
6. Mill the rails but leave them slightly oversize in length for now, as you’ll want to fit
them snugly between the sides after assembling the case.
7. Saw the ramp and supports. The wedgeshaped supports can be safely cut to shape
using a bandsaw or jigsaw. Cut the clamp
post to size.
Assembling the Rack
1. Lightly mark a vertical centerline on the
outside face of each side and on the underside of the bottom.
2. Using a 9⁄64-in.-dia. bit, drill the screwclearance holes in the sides and bottom to
allow the pieces to pull together tightly.
Counterbore the holes in the sides if you
plan to plug the holes as Hylton did.
3. Clamping across the top and bottom of
the case, dry-assemble the center panel, sides,
CUT CUT-LIST
LIST FORFOR
MOBILE
CLAMP
RACK
ROLLING
PIN
1
Panel for sides
and dividers
3
1
Center panel
3
1
Bottom
3
1
Ramp
3
3
Ramp supports
3
2
Rails
3
3
Rails
3
2
Rails
3
1
Rail
1
Clamp post
TIP
⁄4" x 48" x 52"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 35" x 511⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 24" x 35"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 81⁄2" x 177⁄8"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 2" x 81⁄2"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 21⁄2" x 341⁄2"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 2" x 341⁄2"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 1" x 185⁄8"
Solid wood
3
⁄4" x 1" x 12"
Solid wood
11⁄2" x 31⁄2" x 12"
Solid wood
To prevent
tearout when
crosscutting
plywood, deeply
score the cut line
with a sharp
knife before
sawing.
MOBILE CLAMP RACK
✦ 33
and bottom together to make sure all the
parts line up well and to rehearse your
clamp-up procedures.
hold the dividers in place for attachment
(see photo G on facing page).
4. Remove the bottom clamp and the rack
the ramp and clamp support post.
bottom. Temporarily attach the sides to the
center panel using one screw through each
side near the bottom. Apply a thick bead of
glue to the bottom edge of the center panel
and attach the bottom, screwing it to the
center panel with 2-in.-long drywall screws
(see photo F on facing page).
8. Trim the rails for a snug fit between the
7. Screw the ramp supports in place. Attach
5. Remove the sides. Glue and screw them to
sides, and screw them into place. Don’t
glue them, in case you decide at some point
to rearrange their spacing. Attach the rails to
the dividers first, then to the sides. Spacer
blocks clamped to the sides will help hold
the ends of the rails in position for
attachment.
the bottom and center panel.
9. Attach heavy-duty casters, as they will
6. Glue and screw the dividers in place.
have to carry a lot of weight.
Spacers placed against each side will help
Elevations
End view
(with side removed)
36"
11/2"
41/2"
1"
2"
21/2"
121/2"
52"
2"
111/4"
18"
21/2"
177/8"
2"
2"
34 ✦
MOBILE CLAMP RACK
Cutting the Sides and Dividers
207/8"
145/8"
27"
Dado
52"
Rabbet
207/8"
27"
3/4"
3/4"
27"
48"
1. Cut plywood as shown (each half
will yield one rack side and one divider).
2. In each half, saw or rout
1
⁄4'' x 3⁄4'' dado and rabbet.
9"
Rack
side
Divider
PHOTO F: After temporarily
attaching the sides to the
center panel with one screw
each, glue the bottom panel
to the center panel.
Rack
side
Rack
divider
24"
3. Cut a divider from each rack side.
4. Trim rabbet from divider.
Finishing Up
1. If you counterbored holes in the side,
make plugs and glue them into their holes.
After the glue dries, pare and sand the plugs
flush to the plywood.
2. Using 150-grit sandpaper, slightly round
all of the edges.
3. If you like, you can apply a couple of
PHOTO G: When attaching the
dividers, use spacers to temporarily hold them in position
for screwing.
coats of finish after a light sanding.
MOBILE CLAMP RACK
✦ 35
Well-designed lumber racks are sturdy and provide
easy access for picking through your stash of boards
and hard-to-throw-away offcuts.
WOOD RACKS
O
F ALL THE ITEMS IN A SHOP, wood is
among the most space hungry. Lumber
and sheet goods range in size from long boards and
full sheets to diminutive offcuts of exotic wood too
precious to pitch. It all needs a place to live where
you can get to it easily when you need it.
It can be backbreaking work to sort through the
boards lying on the floor, and it subjects them to
moisture. Standing boards on end against a wall
requires a tall ceiling. The most practical solution for
most shops is storing boards on racks where they can
be organized into accessible piles by species.
Although racks can be any size, a good rule of thumb
is that any lumber rack should minimally accommodate 8-ft.-long boards. Ideally, you’ll also want storage for boards up to16 ft., which aren’t uncommon.
(You don’t want to crosscut long boards just to store
them because leaving them long allows you to maximize stock when laying out a project.)
A typical lumber rack incorporates cantilevered
arms, which allow easy access to boards. For strength,
use hardwood or thick construction lumber for long
arms that will support a lot of boards. When determining the vertical spacing of the arms, you’ll need to
strike a balance between storage capacity and accessibility. Spacing them farther apart provides greater
capacity but hinders access to the bottom boards,
while closer spacing (and more arms) costs room
overall but increases accessibility. It’s important that
boards lie flat and straight. Therefore, rows of arms
must be installed along the same plane, and freestanding racks may need leveling on uneven floors.
As for sheet goods, unless you have a production
cabinet shop, you probably don’t keep a large inventory
of plywood, particleboard, and other man-made boards.
You may need only enough space to store a dozen or so
full-size sheets as well as their inevitable offcuts. In this
chapter, you’ll find several solutions to suit your needs.
✦ 37
WALL-MOUNTED LUMBER RACK
W
HEN BILL HYLTON designed his
lumber racks, he decided that he
wanted lots of storage for long
boards as well as usable offcuts (see the
photo on p. 36). His wall-mounted system
incorporates columns with cantilevered arms
for the long boards, and a lower section for
piles of offcuts up to 2 ft. long.
The columns that make up the rack consist of recycled 2x4 construction lumber
sandwiched between lengths of 3⁄4-in. by
3-in.-thick pine. The cantilevered arms are
bolted to the columns and bolstered by
3
⁄4-in.-thick plywood gussets, which add
bearing strength. Most of the arms are 16 in.
long. The uppermost arms are 24 in. long to
provide easier access to the top row. Screw
blocks placed intermittently in the column
allow attachment to wall studs. The columns
are spaced 32 in. apart horizontally—
lag-screwed to every other wall stud. The top
end of each column is fastened above to a
shimmed-out floor joist to reduce strain
on the wall. (If your floor joists run perpendicular to the wall, you can attach a board to
them in front of the columns for reinforcement.)
The lower section of each column assembly consists of a 24-in.-high by 24-in.-deep
frame. The frame rails are the same thickness
as the arms and are sandwiched between
the column members and the front legs.
Plywood nailed to the top of each frame
helps keep the rails solidly in place.
Making the Parts
1. Calculate how many columns you’ll need
to suit your available space, then decide how
many arms you’ll want. Make a cut list of all
the parts you’ll need. The sizes of the individual parts are listed on the drawing “WallMounted Lumber Rack” on the facing page.
38 ✦
WALL-MOUNTED LUMBER RACK
Wall-Mounted Lumber Rack
EACH COLUMN ASSEMBLY consists of arms, rails, and
screw blocks sandwiched between the column uprights
and legs. Plywood gussets add bearing strength to the
arms. A plywood platform sits atop the upper rails to
create storage area underneath for short pieces of stock.
TIP
Lumber racks provide the perfect
opportunity to use
recycled construction lumber. A few
passes through the
planer will clean it
up nicely. Just make
sure to first scrutinize boards for nails
and other hardware.
Column upright,
3/4" x 3"
Bolt
Gusset
Gusset Template
Arm,
1 1/4" x 31/4"
x 16"–24"
Screw
Block,
11/4" x 3" x 6"
Rail
Platform
Lag
screw
Leg,
3/4"
x 2" x 24"
Leg
Rail,
11/4" x 31/4" x 24"
2. Cut the pieces to size. For the most secure
3. Drill a 3⁄4-in.-dia. by 1-in.-deep counter-
fit, plane all of the arms, the screw blocks,
and the rails to the same thickness. Shape the
gussets and arms on the bandsaw (see the
drawing “Gusset Template” above right). For
the sake of efficiency, gang-saw the gussets
(see photo A on p. 40).
bore in the center of each screw block. Drill a
⁄8-in.-dia. hole through the block. This is best
done on the drill press.
3
WALL-MOUNTED LUMBER RACK
✦ 39
Assembling and
Installing the Columns
1. Lay the column pieces side by side on the
floor, and use a square to mark the location
of the top edge of each row of arms, as well
as the location of each upper rail.
2. Screw the columns together, sandwiching
the screw blocks and rails between the vertical members. Screw the front legs to the ends
of the rails.
3. Attach the column assemblies to the wall
studs through the screw blocks using 3⁄8-in. by
4-in. lag screws with washers.
4. Glue and screw the gussets to the arms.
Make sure that the rear edges of each pair of
gussets are 3 in. from the end of the arm and
parallel to each other.
5. Install the arms. Line up each arm to its
PHOTO A: When making the gussets, it’s efficient to
tape a stack of blanks together and gang-saw them
on the bandsaw.
mark, holding the gussets firmly against the
column. Drill a 3⁄8-in.-dia. hole completely
through the column and arm. Install a 3⁄8-in.
by 31⁄2-in. bolt with washer and nut to hold
the arm in place.
FLOOR-TO-CEILING LUMBER RACKS
When Mike Callihan built his new shop, he
dedicated a full room to lumber storage,
running the lumber-rack posts from floor
to ceiling. Each post is built up from five
2x6s of construction lumber, with the rack’s
arms sandwiched in between the pieces
and projecting from both sides of the post.
He connected the tops of each post to a
2x6 that spans the ceiling joists. The bottom
of each post was likewise nailed to a length
of 2x6 that is attached to the floor using
concrete nails. These bottom 2x6s also
serve as support for lumber to keep it off
the concrete floor.
40 ✦
WALL-MOUNTED LUMBER RACK
M O D U L A R F R E E S TA N D I N G R A C K S
I
DESIGNED THESE modular freestanding
racks to hold both lumber and plywood.
You can place the racks anywhere without
tying them into your shop structure. Because
the racks are modular, you can make as
many as you like to hold whatever lengths of
lumber you commonly use. The 71⁄2-in.-wide
center section accommodates sheet goods.
I made each of these separate modules
about 6 ft. high, with the arms on each module spaced 2 ft. apart. I then spaced the
modules 2 ft. from each other. You can store
lumber on both sides of the rack. Even if one
side is placed against a wall, you can still put
long boards on that side, sliding them in
and out from the end. To provide a platform
for smooth insertion of boards onto the back
arms, simply tack a length of 1⁄4-in.-thick plywood across the arms.
The arms on these racks extend 12 in.,
although you could make them longer if you
like. Using hardwood plywood for the arms
is economical, and it’s amazing how much
weight they hold when glued and screwed to
their posts. I made the posts from 6/4 poplar.
If you decide to use construction-grade 2x4s
instead, make sure they’re straight and dry or
your racks may eventually tweak out of
shape as an earlier set of mine did.
Although you could simply shim under
the feet of the modules to level them on an
uneven floor, I installed lag screws in the
feet, which allows for perfect adjustment.
If you have scrap plywood lying around,
this is a good use for it. If you’re using full
sheets of plywood, the sizes given in the cut
list will maximize the use of each sheet. For
example, the 1⁄8-in.-wide saw kerf added to
the width of a 37⁄8-in. arm makes 4 in.—an
even increment across the width of a 48-in.wide sheet.
M O D U L A R F R E E S TA N D I N G R A C K S
✦ 41
Modular Freestanding Racks
THIS MODULE IS MADE ALMOST ENTIRELY from hardwood plywood, with the exception of the
posts and foot blocks. The end panels, arms, and feet are glued and screwed to the posts. The side
panels are simply screwed on. Lag screws in the foot blocks allow for leveling the racks.
Side panel
End panel
Arm
9"
23/4"
Post
9"
9"
9"
Side panel
Foot
Foot block
CUT-LIST
FOR
ROLLINGRACKS
PIN
CUT
LIST FOR
MODULAR
(FORRacks
TWO
MODULES)
Cut List for Modular
(for two
modules)
8
Posts
1 ⁄2" x 3 ⁄2" x 72"
Solid wood
40
Arms
3
⁄4" x 3 ⁄8" x 15 ⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
4
Side panels
3
⁄4" x 7 ⁄4" x 23 ⁄8"
Hardwood plywood
4
Side panels
3
⁄4" x 77⁄8" x 223⁄8"
Hardwood plywood
4
End panels
3
⁄4" x 71⁄4" x 141⁄2"
Hardwood plywood
4
Feet
3
⁄4" x 77⁄8" x 40"
Hardwood plywood
8
Foot blocks
1" x 5" x 7"
Solid wood
42 ✦
1
1
7
1
3
7
M O D U L A R F R E E S TA N D I N G R A C K S
Lag screw
Making the Parts
1. Make the posts. If you’re using construction lumber, it’s good to plane, joint, or sand
the outer faces to ensure a good glue bond
with the arms.
2. Cut out the panels, the feet, and the
blanks for the arms.
3. Shape the arms with a bandsaw or jigsaw.
The cutaway on the underside allows more
stacking room.
STORING VENEER AND DOWELS
In addition to boards, wood also comes in
came up with a nice solution for dealing with
the form of dowels and veneer, of course.
both of these problems. Taking advantage of
Veneer must be stored flat because it will
the light weight of veneer and dowels, he
buckle if stored on edge. Dowels are prob-
made racks to hang these materials from his
lematic thanks to their tendency to roll off
shop ceiling, where they’re accessible but out
shelves or lumber-rack arms. Craig Bentzley
of the way.
Assembling the Racks
1. Lay the posts side by side and mark out
5. Cut the sloped edge with the bandsaw or
jigsaw. Glue and screw the blocks to the feet.
the arm spacing using a framing square.
6. Drill pilot holes for the 1⁄2-in. by 31⁄2-in. lag
2. Build the end assemblies, gluing and
screws. To keep the holes square to the bottom of the feet, I used a jig that I predrilled
on the drill press (see photo B). The flat on
the top edge of the block allows you to clamp
the jig to the foot.
screwing the end panel and foot to each pair
of posts.
3. Screw the side panels to the end assemblies. I don’t glue these because I’ve occasionally needed to detach the end assemblies
for moving or temporary storage.
7. Level the racks and load ’em up.
4. If your floor isn’t flat (mine sure isn’t),
make foot blocks to accept lag screws for leveling. Place each block in its position, and
trace the slope of the plywood foot onto it.
PHOTO B: A simple drilling jig clamped
to the foot keeps the lag-screw holes
square to the block.
M O D U L A R F R E E S TA N D I N G R A C K S
✦ 43
T H R E E A LT E R N AT I V E S F O R S H E E T- G O O D S S T O R A G E
Ideally, sheet goods should be stored flat to
you want to wheel a lot of sheets to the table
keep them that way, but many small shops
saw. Larry Seachrist used construction lumber
can’t afford the space. The best alternative is
to cobble together an A-frame rack that
to stand the sheets up against a wall or in a
includes interior storage for long boards (see
rack. If you’ve got ceilings that are high
the photo below center).
enough, standing the sheets on their 4-ft.
If you’re really pressed for shop space, con-
edge will save you some floor space. Ken
sider attaching a plywood cabinet to the out-
Burton’s vertical sheet-goods rack, built from
side of your shop building, as Fred Matlack
construction lumber, includes interior compart-
did. Constructing the cabinet at waist height
ments for small panels and offcuts. The bottom
makes grabbing the plywood so easy that
consists of 2x4s on edge that provide a plat-
even your teenage son or daughter won’t
form to keep the sheets off the floor (see the
mind helping you carry it into the shop
photo below left).
(see the photo below right).
A mobile plywood rack can be a good solution for a cramped shop or for situations where
44 ✦
M O D U L A R F R E E S TA N D I N G R A C K S
P LY W O O D R A C K
B
ill Hylton’s plywood rack stores a raft
of panels and panel offcuts. Because
the rack holds the panels at waist
height, they’re easier to lift and carry to the
saw than panels resting on the floor. The top
section of the rack leans back a bit to prevent
panels from falling. The area behind is great
for storing panel offcuts, and long, narrow
pieces can be placed on top. The space
underneath is ideal for lumber shorts or even
for temporary housing of rolling carts. The
unit—made from construction lumber and
plywood—is relatively inexpensive to build.
To create better joints, flatter surfaces, and a
cleaner look, Hylton planed, jointed, and
ripped his 2x4 lumber down to 11⁄4 in. by
31⁄4 in. You can skip this step if you like, but
remember to adjust the lengths of the stiles
and rails accordingly.
Making the Parts
1. Make the stiles and rails for the frames.
Glue and screw the pieces together to make
the four bottom frames. Make sure the
frames are square.
2. Saw the uprights and beams to size. Glue
and screw the uprights to the frames, making
sure they’re square to each other and that
each upright sits 4 in. from the bottom of the
frame as shown in the drawing “Plywood
Rack (End View)” on p. 47.
3. Screw each beam between its pair of
uprights, making sure they’re square to
each other.
4. Cut the braces. The easiest and most economical way to do this is to lay out the
braces on a 327⁄8-in. by 551⁄4-in. sheet of 3⁄4-in.thick plywood, as shown in the drawing
“Brace Layout” on p. 47. Using a portable
circular saw guided by a long, straight-edged
piece of wood, trim off the first brace (see
photo C on p. 47). The next brace can be
ripped off using the table saw. Follow the
same sequence to cut the rest.
P LY W O O D R A C K
✦ 45
Plywood Rack
THIS RACK IS MADE OF construction lumber and plywood. After gluing and screwing together
the individual sections, they're connected by attaching the trough and top.
Top
Beam
Upright
Stop strip
Brace
Trough
Rail
Stile
Rail
Assembling the Rack
1. Using a 12-in.-wide scrap of plywood as a
stand-in spacer for the trough, glue and
screw the braces to the upper frame rails and
then screw them to the beams.
2. Saw the plywood pieces for the trough
and the top. You can use thicker plywood
for the trough walls, if you like, but it will
slightly reduce your storage area.
46 ✦
P LY W O O D R A C K
3. Screw the trough bottom to the frames.
You can temporarily tack braces across
the frames to hold them up while you’re
doing this.
4. Finish up by attaching the top and screwing the trough walls to the braces and
uprights. Make the stop strip and tack it
in place to prevent items from slipping off
the top.
CUT
LIST FOR
CUT-LIST
FORPLYWOOD
ROLLING RACK
PIN
8
Stiles
11⁄4" x 31⁄4" x 24"
Solid wood
8
Stiles
1 ⁄4" x 3 ⁄4" x 19 ⁄2"
Solid wood
4
Rails
1 ⁄4" x 3 ⁄4" x 36"
Solid wood
4
Rails
1 ⁄4" x 3 ⁄4" x 29 ⁄2"
Solid wood
4
Rails
1 ⁄4" x 1 ⁄4" x 36"
Solid wood
8
Uprights
3
⁄4" x 2" x 72 ⁄2"
Solid wood
8
Braces
3
⁄4" x 5 ⁄2" x 55 ⁄4"
Plywood
4
Beams
1 ⁄4" x 2 ⁄2" x 16 ⁄4"
Solid wood
1
Top
3
⁄4" x 16 ⁄4" x 96"
Plywood
1
Trough bottom
3
⁄4" x 12" x 94 ⁄2"
Plywood
2
Trough walls
1
⁄4” x 12" x 941⁄2"
Plywood
1
Stop strip
3
⁄4" x 2 ⁄2" x 96"
Plywood
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
PHOTO C: Saw the angled braces with a portable
circular saw guided by a plywood straight edge.
Plywood Rack
(End View)
Brace Layout
51/2"
161/4"
21/2"
21/4"
551/4"
12"
50"
72"
551/4"
763/4"
51/2"
24"
191/2"
291/2"
4"
36"
327/8"
P LY W O O D R A C K
✦ 47
A properly equipped table-saw workstation provides quick access to all of
the blades, tools, and accessories you’ll
need when using the saw. It can also
do double or triple duty as an assembly
station or router table.
Table-Saw Station
T
HE TABLE SAW IS ARGUABLY the most
important machine in a typical woodshop.
Because it is so central to the shop, it makes sense to
outfit it as a primary workstation. As such, it should
include the types of projects you’ll find in this
chapter: a good outfeed table, a crosscut sled, and
storage for your table-saw tools and accessories.
These projects are important for efficiency, accuracy, and safety. Extension tables, for example, provide support for workpieces throughout the entirety
of the cut, which results in more accurate cuts while
preventing workpieces from falling after leaving the
saw table or tipping off the table during the cut and
possibly placing you in an awkward position over a
spinning blade. Extension tables can also serve as
assembly tables or staging platforms for workpieces
in process.
A good crosscut sled is important because the
small miter gauge supplied with the saw is woefully
inadequate for feeding large workpieces through the
blade. A crosscut sled allows you to accurately and
safely feed long boards and wide panels across the
saw tabletop. A sled can also be outfitted with stop
blocks for quick repetitive sawing of multiples.
Storage for table-saw tools and accessories is critical for organization as well as protection of the tools.
At the very least, you need safe storage for your
blades and other cutters, which can represent a serious investment. You don’t want them strewn about
the shop, chipping their teeth on other metal tools or
work surfaces. But for maximum efficiency, it’s best
that your table-saw workstation includes storage for
all of those items attendant to a table saw, including
blades, dado heads, saw wrenches, miter gauges,
throat plates, featherboards, etc. Otherwise, you waste
time traipsing all over the shop gathering these things
as you need them.
Whatever sort of storage solutions you choose, it’s
helpful to gather together all the items you want to
include, then design your storage units to accommodate them—as well as probable future acquisitions.
✦ 49
BLADE CABINET
S
AWBLADES GENERALLY represent a
considerable investment in tooling; a
set of premium carbide blades can easily add up to hundreds of dollars. To protect
your blades, they need to be kept sharp and
rust free. Beware of hanging bunches of
blades together on a nail, as the brittle carbide teeth can be easily damaged from hitting each other. It’s much safer to keep blades
separated in a box or cabinet.
This blade cabinet not only protects my
blades, it provides easy access as well. Each
50 ✦
BLADE CABINET
blade rests on a pullout panel made of
1
⁄4-in.-thick Peg-Board, which slides in slots
cut into plywood inserts that are tacked to
the cabinet sides. The Peg-Board holes allow
any ambient moisture in the cabinet to be
absorbed by desiccant packages placed in the
bottom compartment. The inset door keeps
the cabinet relatively airtight. Thick, solidwood edging dresses up the cabinet, while
providing good screw purchase for
the hinges.
Blade Cabinet
THE CASE SIDES ARE JOINED to the top and bottom with rabbet-and-dado joints. The back is inset
into a rabbet that’s cut after the case is assembled. the plywood edges on the case front and door are
covered with solid-wood edging. The inserts are dadoed and then tacked to the cabinet sides.
Top
Back
Case
edging
Side
Insert
Door
edging
Door
panel
Shelf
Slide
I made the cabinet from shop-grade
⁄4-in.-thick birch plywood, along with a bit
of solid birch for edging. The door is hung
on butt hinges and is latched with a brass
slide bolt. The cabinet can easily be upsized
to accommodate more blades or largerdiameter blades; if you currently have only a
small collection, allow enough space for
future acquisitions.
3
Making the Parts and
Cutting the Joints
1. Lay out your plywood and saw the sides,
top, bottom, inserts, and door panel to size.
Cut the back a bit oversize for right now.
Make sure to rip away the plywood factory
edges to leave clean ones for attaching the
solid-wood edging.
BLADE CABINET
✦ 51
2. Saw or rout the 1⁄4-in. by 1⁄4-in. dadoes in
Front View Elevation
the case sides.
3. Cut a rabbet on each end of the top and
bottom to create the 1⁄4-in. by 1⁄4-in. tongue.
Aim for a snug fit in the dadoes.
1/4"
4. Dry-clamp the sides to the top and bottom
11/2"
1/4"
to check the joint fits. With the unit clamped
up, rout a 1⁄2-in.-deep by 3⁄8-in.-wide rabbet in
the rear edges to accept the case back. Trim
the back for a snug fit in the rabbets.
11/16"
Hinge
193/4"
Cutting the Hinge
Mortises and
Assembling the Case
1/2"
1. Lay out, rout, and chisel the hinge mor-
5/16"
tises in the case sides (see the drawing “Front
View Elevation” at left). It’s important to do
this now, as the assembled case impedes
router access.
2. Glue the sides to the top and bottom,
making sure the rabbeted edge at the rear is
flush. Insert the unglued back into its rabbets
to hold the case square while the glue dries.
111/16"
131/2"
CUT LIST FOR BLADE CABINET
TIP
When fitting and
gluing the edging to
a case, align the
inner edges closely,
leaving most of the
overhang on the
exterior where it’s
easier to trim flush
to the case.
2
Sides
3
⁄4" x 111⁄2" x 193⁄4"
2
Tops/bottoms
3
Hardwood plywood
2
Inserts
1
⁄4" x 11 ⁄2" x 12 ⁄2"
Hardwood plywood
1
Back
1
⁄2" x 11" x 18 ⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
1
Door panel
3
⁄2" x 12 ⁄4" x 19"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 11 ⁄2" x 17 ⁄8"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 10 ⁄8" x 11 ⁄16"
Peg-Board
⁄4" x ⁄4" x 19 ⁄4"
Solid wood
⁄4" x ⁄4" x 13 ⁄2"
Solid wood
⁄2" x ⁄4" x 12"
Solid wood
⁄2" x ⁄4" x 18 ⁄4"
Solid wood
17 Shelves
1
2
Case edgings
3
2
Case edgings
3
2
Door edgings
1
2
Door edgings
1
1
1
3
1
3
3
7
3
1
3
3
2
Butt hinges
2” x 13⁄8”
1
Slide bolt
5
BLADE CABINET
3
7
Hardware
52 ✦
1
⁄8” x 2”
1
Making and Applying
the Edging and Inserts
1. Mill the 1⁄2-in.-thick case edging, making
it about 1⁄32 in. wider than the 3⁄4-in.-thick
plywood so you can trim it flush after attaching it (bottom photo on p. 127 and the photo
on p. 128).
2. Fit the edging pieces. I mitered the corners although you could butt them together
instead. Glue the edging to the case, clamping or nailing it in place.
3. Mill and fit the edging pieces to the door
panel. Again, make the edging a bit fatter than
the door panel. Glue the pieces on in opposing
pairs in two steps, using the unglued set to
align the pair that you glue on first.
4. Using a flush-trim router bit, trim the
case and door edging flush to the plywood
(see the top left photo on p. 109). Plane,
scrape, or sand afterward to smooth the
joints.
5. Lay out and cut the dadoes in the inserts.
I sawed them using a dado head on the table
saw, but you could rout them instead, guiding the router with a straight edge. Using
1-in. nails, tack the inserts to the case sides.
TIP
Brass screw
heads can snap
off during installation, even in
pilot holes. To
prevent this, first
prethread the
screw holes using
a steel screw.
Installing the Door,
Hardware, and Shelves
1. Trim the door so it’s 1⁄16 in. smaller than its
opening. Install the hinges into their mortises
in the case side. Set the door on 1⁄16-in.-thick
PHOTO A: After trimming the inset door enough to slip it in its opening, press its
edge against the hinge that’s installed in the case mortise. Lay a sharp knife blade
against the hinge leaf, and press the blade into the door edge to transfer the hingemortise location to the door.
BLADE CABINET
✦ 53
shims in its opening, and press it against the
hinges. Use a knife to transfer the location to
the edge of the door (see photo A on p. 53).
edges if necessary to achieve a 1⁄16-in. gap all
around. When you’re happy with the fit,
install the hinges using all their screws.
2. Remove the hinges from the case, align
4. Finish up by cutting the Peg-Board
them to your knife marks, and trace their
outlines onto the door edge using a sharp
knife. Rout and chisel the door mortises.
shelves and fitting them into the dadoes.
Install a slide-bolt catch and you’re done.
If you like, you can give the unit a quick
sanding and an exterior coat of oil.
3. Install the door using only one screw per
hinge leaf, and check the fit. Plane the door
A R O U T E R - TA B L E E X T E N S I O N
A
table saw can do double duty as a
table-saw side table abuts a wall, preventing
router table by mounting a router under a
access to the end of the side table (see the
side table or outfeed table. If mounted in a
photo on p. 48) The only disadvantage to a
side table, you can use your table-saw rip
router mounted in an outfeed table is that the
fence as a router fence, as shown in the
fence and projecting bit can prevent ripping
photo below. You can also mount a router
of long boards.
in an outfeed table if, for example, your
54 ✦
BLADE CABINET
O U T F E E D TA B L E
H
ERE’S A SIMPLE BUT STRONG
outfeed table that will do more than
just support workpieces as they’re
sawn. Because this table has a flat, glueresistant top and adjustable leveling feet, it
serves as a great assembly table. Another feature of this freestanding unit is that it can be
pulled away from the saw for initial crosscutting of large sheet goods. With the table sitting a foot or so from the table saw, a
portable circular saw can travel safely across
the gap with the sheet fully supported on the
table and saw (see the photo on p. 33). No
more cutting sheets on 2x4s lying on the
floor or setting up four sawhorses to prevent
large offcuts from pinching the kerf or crashing to the floor.
I made this table from oak, but any hardwood will do. Mortise-and-tenon apron
joints provide plenty of strength without
O U T F E E D TA B L E
✦ 55
requiring lower stretchers, which would prevent rolling a compressor or other tool
underneath for storage. Lag screws installed
in the legs allow easy leveling for wavy shop
floors (as though there is any other type).
I made the top with a piece of Melamine®coated particleboard (MCP), but you could
cover a sheet of MDF with plastic laminate
instead. Plywood works, too, but it may not
stay as flat. I attached the top with pocket
screws to hold it flat to the aprons and
center rail.
I calculated the length of this top so that
the far end would be 50 in. from the trailing
CUT LIST FOR OUTFEED TABLE
4
Legs
2" x 2" x 323⁄4"
Solid wood
2
Side rails
1" x 3 ⁄2" x 39 ⁄8"
Solid wood
2
End rails
1" x 3 ⁄2" x 43 ⁄8"
Solid wood
1
Center rail
1" x 3 ⁄2" x 38"
Solid wood
2
Side edgings
1
⁄4" x ⁄4" x 44"
Solid wood
2
End edgings
1
⁄4" x ⁄4" x 49 ⁄4"
Solid wood
1
Top panel
3
⁄4" x 44" x 48 ⁄4"
MCP or MDF
1
3
1
7
1
3
3
1
3
Hardware
4
Lag screws
⁄8" x 3"
3
Outfeed Table
THE BASE, CONSISTING OF THE LEGS AND RAILS, is made of straight-grained, quartersawn stock
to prevent warpage. The side and end rails join to the legs with mortise-and-tenon joints. The
center rail is biscuited in place, although you could use screws. The top is made from high-quality
particleboard—like MDF or MCP—for flatness, and it is simply screwed to the rails.
Miter-gauge
slots
Top
panel
Side
edging
Screw
pocket
Center
rail
End
edging
Biscuits
1/2"
Side
rail
End
rail
Lag
screw
Leg
56 ✦
O U T F E E D TA B L E
end of my table-saw blade, to prevent an
8-ft.-long sheet from tipping after a fulllength ripcut. The table overhang provides a
wide clamping ledge. To determine the proper length of the legs for your table, subtract
13⁄4 in. from the height of your table saw—
3
⁄4 in. for the thickness of the top and 1 in. of
space for leveling with the lag screws.
Mortise and Tenon Detail
Top view
1/4"
Building the Base
Apron
1. Plane, joint, rip, and crosscut the legs and
rails to size. Leave the center rail a bit oversize in length for now. Also mill an extra
couple of inches worth of leg stock for use as
a drilling jig later. Because an extension/
assembly table needs to be flat, it’s important
to mill the stock straight, flat, and square. To
prevent warp, use straight-grained riftsawn
or quartersawn stock.
17/16"
1/2"
11/2"
Front view
2. Cut the 1⁄2-in. by 11⁄2-in. by 23⁄4-in. mortises
in the legs (see the drawing “Mortise and
Tenon Detail” at right). It’s easiest to rout
them using a router edge guide, but you
could drill and chop them out instead (see
photo B on p. 58).
1/2"
23/4"
3. Saw the apron tenons to fit snugly in
their mortises.
4. Dry-assemble the aprons and legs to
make sure the joints are all snug and that the
aprons line up to the tops of the legs. Trim
the top edges of the tenons if necessary to
get them to line up. Lay the center rail across
the aprons, mark it to final length, and cut it.
1/4"
Leg
5. Disassemble the parts, and lay out and
cut the biscuit slots for joining the center rail
to the aprons. If you don’t have a biscuit
joiner, you could screw through the end rail
into the center rail instead during assembly.
6. Drill the screw pocket holes for attaching
the top later. If you don’t have a pocket-hole
jig, you could attach wooden cleats to the
aprons and rails through which you could
drive screws to attach the top later.
7. Glue and clamp the legs to the end rails,
making sure that the parts are square to each
other under clamp pressure and that the tops
of the rails and legs line up. Align the clamp
screws with the centerline of the rail to prevent cocking the legs out of square. Let the
glue dry thoroughly.
O U T F E E D TA B L E
✦ 57
PHOTO B: Rout the
leg mortises using a
plunge router outfitted with an upcut
spiral bit and an edge
guide. Plunge to full
depth at both ends of
the mortise, and
remove the rest of
the material by making successive shallow
passes.
TIP
To clean up excess
glue during assembly, wipe it off
immediately with a
clean rag and clean
water. When the
water gets cloudy,
replace it to prevent
wiping diluted glue
into the wood pores
and causing finishing
problems. Alternatively, you can
wait until the drying
glue gets rubbery
and then trim it off
with a sharp chisel.
8. Glue and clamp the end assemblies to the
10. Install the lag screws, and sand the base
center rail and side rails, again making sure
that the top edges align with the tops of the
legs. If you are attaching the center rail with
screws instead of biscuits, do that now. To
hide the screws, counterbore the holes and
fill them with wooden plugs trimmed flush
to the surface.
to remove sharp corners and edges.
9. Cut at least a 1-in.-long section from the
excess leg stock that you milled. Using the
drill press, bore a hole through the axis of
the block to guide the drill bit that you’ll use
for installing the lag-screw levelers. Clamp
the block to the bottom of each leg and drill
the lag-screw holes.
58 ✦
O U T F E E D TA B L E
Making the Top
1. Cut the top panel to size. Make sure to
trim away any factory edges in the process to
create a clean, square edge for attaching the
solid-wood edging.
2. Mill the edging strips, making them just a
hair oversize in length and just a bit wider
than the thickness of the top panel.
3. Glue on the side edging. I clamped it in
place using pipe clamps and thick cauls, but
you could tack it on with brads instead. After
the glue dries, trim the ends flush with the
panel edges and attach the end edging. Finish
the edging by trimming it flush to the panel
faces using a router or scraper. Give it a light
sanding.
your miter gauge and any crosscut sleds or
other jigs that use the slots. I made my slots
1 in. wide and just a bit deeper than my
saw’s slots.
4. Screw the top to the rails, keeping the
6. Rout the slots using a straight board to
overhang equal on all edges.
guide your router.
5. Place the table against your table saw, and
7. I finished up by applying one coat of wip-
level it so it’s about 1⁄16 in. below your saw
table. Mark out the miter-gauge slots. They
should be long enough to allow full travel of
ing varnish. (It ain’t no piano.)
TA B L E - S A W K I L L S W I T C H E S
For general safety and convenience when
at a moment’s notice. Fortunately, it’s not dif-
operating a table saw, consider outfitting it
ficult to make and install a shopmade mech-
with a foot or knee kill switch. A stock table-
anism that allows you to shut off your saw
saw switch is not often accessible, which can
quickly. The design of the mechanism will
be dangerous if you need to shut the saw off
depend on the type of switch you have.
Andy Rae hinged to the switch box a length
of wood that presses against the off switch
when pushed with his foot (see the photo at
left). Walt Segl’s knee switch is accessible
from any position in front of the saw body
(see the photo below).
O U T F E E D TA B L E
✦ 59
CROSSCUT SLED
PHOTO C: A crosscut sled runs in the saw’s miter-gauge slots and provides a long fence and base for
carrying large workpieces safely and accurately through the blade.
T
HE STOCK MITER GAUGE that
comes with a table saw is too small
for crosscutting panels and long
workpieces. To make the most of your table
saw’s crosscutting capabilities, you need a
way to feed large, long stock safely and accurately through the blade. A crosscut sled fits
the bill nicely. The sled rides in the saw’s
miter-gauge slots and provides solid support
and backup for big workpieces (see photo
C). It’s not difficult to make a crosscut sled,
but it needs to be constructed in a certain
order, as follows. (Note: Make sure your sawblade is precisely aligned to its miter-gauge
slots before proceeding. If you align it afterward, you’ll have to readjust the sled fence
for square cuts.)
60 ✦
CROSSCUT SLED
Making the Pieces
1. Saw the panel from a piece of flat 1⁄2-in.thick hardwood plywood. You can make the
sled any size you like. (The one shown here is
sized to handle typical 24-in.-deep cabinet
case pieces.) Just make sure that your finished sled will overhang the left side of your
saw tabletop by at least 1 in.
2. Mill and shape the fence and brace from a
stable hardwood like mahogany. It’s critical
that the fence be absolutely straight and that
its bottom edge is square to its inner face. To
reduce weight, the ends of the brace and
fence are stepped down. The left end of the
fence is higher to accommodate a stop-block
extension bar. Edges are rounded for comfort. A 1⁄8-in. by 1⁄8-in. rabbet in the fence provides clearance for sawdust buildup.
CROSSCUT SLED
THE PANEL IS MADE of 1/2"-thick hardwood plywood. The
fence and brace are straight-grained hardwood. The runners
can be made of hardwood, plastic, or metal. The stop block
butts against a similar block mounted on the edge of the
saw table and prevents the sled from traveling past the
blade at top dead center.
Panel,
1/2" x 26" x 40"
Brace
15/8"
Fence,
1" x 41/4" x 40"
PHOTO D: A scraper blade
Grain
Rabbet,
x 1/8"
1/8"
Stop
block
Runner
Blade-guard block
3. Mill hardwood runners to fit in the miter-
CUT LIST FOR CROSSCUT SLED
gauge slots. They should fit the slots snugly
from side to side, but they should be slightly
shallower than the slots so the runners don’t
rub on the bottom.
1
1
4. Make and shape the blade-guard block,
1
orienting the grain vertically for a long-grainto-long-grain glue joint with the fence (see the
drawing “Crosscut Sled” above)..
Assembling and
Fitting the Sled
1. Attach the brace to the panel with countersunk screws, avoiding the blade’s path.
2. Place the runners in their slots, and lay
the panel on top of them. Set the rip fence
to ensure that when the panel is placed
against it, the left edge overhangs the saw by
about 1 in.
works great for trimming the
sled runners for an easy,
sliding fit in the saw’s mitergauge slots. Shave a bit at
a time from any area that
shows glossy rub spots
from travel in the slots.
2
1
⁄2" x 26" x 40"
Hardwood plywood
Brace
1" x 4 ⁄4" x 40"
Solid wood
Fence
1" x 41⁄4" x 40"
Solid wood
⁄16" x ⁄4" x 26"
Solid wood
1 ⁄4" x 4" x 3 ⁄4"
Solid wood
Panel
Runners
Blade guard
1
1
5
3
3
3
3. With the panel against the fence, drive
brads through the panel into the runners.
Leave the brad heads proud for easy removal
later. Flip the sled upside down, and attach
the runners from underneath with countersunk flathead screws.
4. Place the sled back into its slots, and trim
the edges of the runners as necessary to create an easy, sliding fit with no side-to-side
play. A rabbet plane or scraper is the best
CROSSCUT SLED
✦ 61
panel, stopping a couple of inches shy of its
front edge.
2. Using an accurate square, adjust the fence
until it’s perpendicular to the kerf you just
cut in the panel. Then tightly clamp the left
end of the fence to the panel (see photo E).
3. Make a test crosscut using a scrap of
wood that has absolutely parallel edges. After
making the cut, flip one of the halves upside
down, and butt the sawn ends together with
the long edges against the fence. If the ends
don’t meet perfectly, readjust the angle of the
fence a bit and try again. When you get a
square cut, screw the fence to the panel.
PHOTO E: With
the fence attached
with one screw at
the far right end,
square it to the
blade and then
clamp the left end
of the fence to the
panel. Make test
cuts, adjusting the
angle of the fence
as necessary,
before screwing it
to the panel.
tool for the job (see photo D on p. 61) but
you can also use a sanding block or scrape
the runners with the tip of a sharp chisel. Go
easy, working a bit at a time, while checking
the runners for rub marks.
5. Attach the fence (with one screw only)
at the far right end. Inset the fence about
⁄4 in. from the front edge of the panel.
Clamp the left end to the panel.
3
Adjusting the Rear Fence
1. Raise the sawblade about 2 in. above the
table, and cut most of the way across the
A M O B I L E TA B L E - S A W C A B I N E T
The space under the side extension table is the
ideal spot for a storage cabinet for blades, throat
plates, squares, and other indispensable table-saw
accoutrements. If the access door on your saw
opens into that space, you can outfit the cabinet
with wheels for easy removal when you need to get
into the saw body. Walt Segl’s cabinet shown here
includes brackets on the top, for holding his aftermarket miter gauge, and slotted blocks on the
front, to hold his blade wrenches.
62 ✦
CROSSCUT SLED
Finishing Up
1. For safety, the sled should stop when the
top of the blade reaches the inside face of the
fence. To stop the sled, you can screw a stop
block to its underside and bolt a mating stop
block to the edge of the saw table at the
proper location. If using an outfeed table,
simply make its miter-gauge slots short
enough to stop the sled’s travel at the proper
distance.
2. Glue the blade-guard block to the fence,
and finish up by waxing the runners for easy
travel in their slots.
TA B L E - S A W
ACCESSORIES CABINET
O
NE OF THE BEST WAYS to make
use of the area under your side
extension table is to build a cabinet
that suits the space. A cabinet can provide
stout support for the table, as well as offer
housing to help manage your tools and supplies. You can customize a cabinet with all
sorts of compartments for specific tools and
accessories, but a simple drawer cabinet provides plenty of flexibility. Andy Rae built this
cabinet with a bank of drawers in front and
a bank in the rear for easy access and lots
of storage.
Rae used hardwood plywood for the case
and for the base on which it sits. A central
divider biscuited to the sides keeps the cabinet strong and square. He used maple for the
edging and drawers. The drawer fronts are
joined to the sides with sliding dovetails, a
strong joint that can withstand a lot of
tugging and abuse. The drawers are mounted
using commercial, full-extension slides,
and the 4-in.-tall base allows plenty of
broom clearance for sweeping up sawdust
beneath. You may need to adjust the height
of the base to suit the height of your extension table.
Making the Case
Make the case first so you can fit the drawers
to it. If you don’t have a biscuit joiner for
attaching the divider, you can dado the case
sides instead, adjusting the width of the
divider accordingly.
1. Lay out and saw the sides, top, and
bottom to size. At the same time, make
the pieces for the base, remembering to
adjust its height if necessary to suit your
extension table.
2. Saw or rout the 3⁄8-in. by 3⁄4-in. rabbets in
the top and bottom edges of the sides to
accept the top and bottom panels. Because
TA B L E - S A W A C C E S S O R I E S C A B I N E T
✦ 63
Table-Saw Accessories Cabinet
THE CASE IS MADE OF HARDWOOD PLYWOOD, with a center divider biscuited between the sides to
hold the cabinet square. The base is made separately and then screwed on. The plywood edges are
covered with solid wood. The drawers—made with sliding dovetails and dado joints—are mounted on
commercial slides.
Top
Edging
Divider
Biscuit
Side
1/4"
1/2"
Bottom
Base
5/8"
hardwood plywood is seldom its stated thickness, it’s important to make sure that the
thickness of the tongue is 3⁄8 in. rather than
measuring the depth of the rabbet, which
can lead to inaccurate cabinet width.
3. Dry-clamp the sides to the top and bottom. Take exact measurements for the
divider, and cut it to size.
4. Lay out and cut the biscuit slots in the
divider as well as their mating slots in the
case sides (see photo F on p. 66). Dryassemble the case to check the fit of the
joints.
1/2"
5. Glue and clamp the case together, keeping
the clamp screws centered over the edges of
the top and bottom to prevent bowing in the
sides. Alternatively, you could either glue and
nail or screw the parts together, filling the
holes later if you choose. Assemble the base
now, too.
6. Mill strips for the edging, leaving it a bit
fatter in width than the thickness of the plywood. Fit the pieces to the front and back,
mitering them at the corners. Glue and
clamp or nail the edging in place. After the
glue dries, rout the edging flush using a
flush-trim router bit.
7. Screw the base to the case.
64 ✦
TA B L E - S A W A C C E S S O R I E S C A B I N E T
CUT LIST FOR TABLE-SAW
ACCESSORIES CABINET
Case
2
Tops/Bottoms
3
⁄4" x 191⁄4" x 341⁄4"
2
Sides
3
Hardwood plywood
1
Divider
3
⁄4" x 34 ⁄4" x 27"
Hardwood plywood
2
Bases
3
⁄4" x 18 ⁄2" x 25 ⁄2"
Hardwood plywood
2
Bases
3
⁄4" x 4" x 12 ⁄2"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 4" x 29 ⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 51⁄4" x 181⁄2"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 7 ⁄2" x 18 ⁄2"
Solid wood
⁄2" x 5 ⁄4" x 16 ⁄2"
Solid wood
⁄2" x 7 ⁄2" x 16 ⁄2"
Solid wood
⁄2" x 4 ⁄2" x 17"
Solid wood
⁄2" x 6 ⁄4" x 17"
Solid wood
⁄2" x 15 ⁄8" x 17"
Hardwood plywood
1
1
1
1
3
Drawers
4
Fronts
3
4
Fronts
3
8
Sides
1
8
Sides
1
4
Backs
1
4
Backs
1
8
Bottoms
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
3
5
Elevations
Front/back view
Side view (with side removed)
353/4"
341/4"
20"
1/4"
51/4"
1/4"
1/2"
1/2"
51/4"
251/2"
27"
71/2"
3"
121/2"
163/4"
71/2"
Edging
4"
163/4"
3"
293/4"
TA B L E - S A W A C C E S S O R I E S C A B I N E T
✦ 65
PHOTO F: After marking out the divider location, clamp it adjacent to its layout line. Cut the slots in
the case side registering the biscuit-joiner base against the divider. Afterward, cut the slots in the end of
the divider.
Making the Drawers
TIP
Don’t overlook
good overhead
lighting for your
saw. Fluorescent
fixtures broadcast good
ambient light,
but to really see
what you’re
doing, it’s best
to augment that
with incandescent
lighting aimed at
the area around
the blade.
The drawer box must be exactly 1 in. less
than the width of the case opening to accommodate the drawer slides.
1. Joint, plane, and rip the stock for the
drawer parts. Make some extra stock for
setting up cuts later. Saw the pieces to length,
crosscutting the fronts close to their final
length. If the drawer fronts are too long,
the dovetail slots will be too far apart, splaying the drawer sides outward near the drawer
opening and binding the operation of the
drawer slides.
2. Carefully lay out the dovetail slots on one
of the drawer fronts, working from the center
outward.
3. Set up your router table with a 1⁄4-in.-dia.
straight bit for wasting most of the dovetail
slot. Set the bit to cut a hair less than 1⁄2 in.
deep. Use your marked-out drawer front to
set the fence the proper distance from the
bit. Make a test cut in a piece of scrap, and
compare it to the layout lines on your
drawer front. Adjust the fence as necessary,
and rout these starter slots in all of your
drawer fronts.
4. Install a 1⁄2-in. dovetail bit in your table
router, and adjust it for a 1⁄2-in.-deep cut.
Rout your dovetail slots, carefully holding
the workpiece against the fence while backing it up with a square piece of stock to support it and minimize exit tearout (see photo
G on facing page).
5. Without changing the height of the bit,
adjust the fence for shaping the tails on the
drawer sides. Make test cuts in scrap, stand-
66 ✦
TA B L E - S A W A C C E S S O R I E S C A B I N E T
ing the scrap upright and first routing one
side and then the other (see photo H). Test
the fit in your slots. If the tail is too tight, tap
the fence away from the bit, but remember
that you only want to move it half the
amount of the error, as you’ll be routing
both sides again. Once you’ve got the fit
right, rout the tails on all of the drawer sides.
6. Rout or saw the 1⁄4-in. by 1⁄2-in. dadoes in
the drawer sides to accept the drawer backs.
While you’re at it, cut the 1⁄4-in. drawer-bottom
grooves in the front and sides, and rabbet the
drawer bottoms to fit the grooves. A dado
head on the table saw makes quick work of
all this.
7. Dry-assemble the drawers and fit the bottoms. Glue up the drawers, inserting each
bottom dry to hold the drawer square while
the glue cures.
PHOTO G: After routing a groove with a straight bit to remove
most of the waste, finish up the dovetail slot by routing it with
a 1⁄2-in. dovetail bit. Hold the workpiece firmly against the
fence while backing it up with a square piece of stock to support it and minimize exit tearout.
8. After the glue cures, set each drawer in
turn on a flat surface and check for rock. If
necessary, handplane opposing corners of the
bottom until the drawer sits flat. Then plane
the top edges parallel to the bottom edges.
9. Install the drawer bottoms, gluing them
into the grooves of the drawer box for extra
strength.
Installing the Drawers
To achieve the best fit, install the drawers one
by one, fitting each and trimming its front to
fit before moving on to the next drawer.
1. Beginning with a bottom drawer, install
the case-half of each slide, making sure it’s
square to the case front. Set the front end of
the slide 11⁄4 in. back from the case edges to
recess the drawers 1⁄2 in., as shown in the
drawing “Elevations” on p. 65.
PHOTO H: Rout the mating tails by burying the bit the proper
distance in the fence and feeding the drawer sides on end. Rout
both faces, test the fit, and readjust the fence as necessary.
2. Install the mating half of each slide onto
the drawer, and mount the drawer in the
case. If necessary, mark the edges of the
drawer front to create a small, even gap adjacent to the case. Plane the drawer to your
marks, and reinstall it to check the gaps.
3. Using the installed bottom drawer as a
reference, install the next drawer up in the
same fashion. Repeat the process for all
remaining drawers. If the drawers don’t
move smoothly, check the gap between the
drawer and case sides. To reduce the gap,
shim out the case slides; to increase it, sand
or scrape the drawer sides.
4. Install the pulls, give the unit a light sanding, and apply a coat of finish if you like.
TA B L E - S A W A C C E S S O R I E S C A B I N E T
✦ 67
A well-thought-out drilling station
includes a drill press with a versatile
table, such as Craig Bentzley’s shopmade
table shown here with its adjustable
fence, sliding stops, and hold-downs. Bit
storage nearby is crucial to efficiency, as
is a staging table or bench for holding
workpieces.
DRILLING STATIONS
N
EXT TO SAWING, drilling is one of the
most common operations performed in
the woodshop. It is crucial when preparing parts for
assembly with screws and other hardware. Workpieces often must be drilled for screw pilot and
clearance holes as well as countersinks and counterbores. Parts joined with dowels or round tenons
must be accurately bored as well, usually at a specific
angle. Parts can also be partially shaped by drilling—
for example, when cutting the radiused sections of
ogee bracket feet or other scrollwork with arcs.
A drilling workstation can expedite all of these
processes. The heart of the workstation is the drill
press, but a station also serves as a dedicated space
to store and organize your various portable drills
and accessories. In this chapter, we’ll look at auxiliary drill-press tables that will greatly expand the
capabilities of your drill press. You’ll also find some
great ideas for storing your drills, bits, and accessories.
A drill press is a virtual necessity in a woodshop,
but the typical drill-press table is inadequate in a
number of ways. For one, the table is too small and
doesn’t provide an easy way to register workpieces.
For another, the metal table can ruin a bit if your
depth stop slips or if you forget to set it.
To make the most of a drill press, you’ll want a
well-designed auxiliary table like one of those in this
chapter. You’ll find that a good auxiliary table and
fence can be outfitted to perform all kinds of accurate, repetitive operations. For example, a fence saves
time and ensures accuracy when drilling a row of
holes parallel to the edge of a workpiece. Incorporating
flip stops on the fence makes repeatability even more
versatile, and T-tracks installed in the table will
accept hold-down and other small fixtures. The
tilting-table project in this chapter makes drilling
angled holes a snap, and the slip-on table may be
just the thing you need for quick conversions back
to the stock metal table.
✦ 69
DRILL RACK
T
O KEEP MY PORTABLE DRILLS at
the ready, I designed and made this
wall-mounted rack that accommodates
my seven drills, with space for an addition
down the line. The unit includes an upper
shelf to hold a right-angle drill and a battery
charger. The drill board angles outward to
present the handles for an easy grab. Each drill
chuck fits easily, but not too loosely, in its
custom-size hole. The unit is screwed together
without glue so you can disassemble it later, if
necessary, to add or enlarge holes for new drills.
This rack is easy to make but may involve
a bit of customization to accommodate your
particular drills, especially if they’re large.
The dimensions of this rack should work
for most drills, but check to make sure
that it suits all of yours. I’ve included suggestions here on how to lay out the rack for
your drills.
70 ✦
DRILL RACK
Making the Rack
1. As with any wall-hung unit, mark the
wall-stud spacing in the area you want to
hang the unit. Make sure the rack will overlay at least two studs.
2. Check the width of battery chargers or
any other tools or accessories that you want
the shelf to hold. If your charger is much
wider than 4 in., you’ll need to increase the
depth of both the shelf and the drill board.
If your charger is very wide, you could build
a short shelf at one end or else omit the
shelf entirely. To play with the size of the
design, draw a full-scale profile as a reference,
and lay each of your drills over the drawing
(see the drawing “Drill Rack” End View at
right).
3. Cut the pieces to size. When ripping the
drill board, begin by making it about 1⁄4 in.
CUT LIST FOR DRILL RACK
1
Backboard
3
1
Drill board
11⁄4" x 51⁄4" x 30"
1
Shelf
3
1
Stop strip
1
Drill Rack
⁄4" x 71⁄4" x 30"
⁄4" x 31⁄4" x 30"
Shelf
Backboard
Stop
strip
⁄4" x 13⁄4" x 30"
oversize in width. Saw the bevel on the rear
edge of the drill board. Save the offcut.
4. Mark the chuck-hole centerline on the
drill board 13⁄4 in. from the outside edge, and
dry-clamp the drill board and shelf to the
backboard. Use the bevel-ripped offcut to
create parallel faces for clamping the angled
drill board (see photo A on p. 72). Space the
chuck-hole centerlines by standing your
drills in pairs next to each other with the
cords wrapped around the bodies. Allow
enough room to comfortably get your hand
around each drill.
Drill
board
End View
1/4"
5. Determine the size of the holes you’ll
need for the drill board. I used a caliper to
measure the widest section of each drill
chuck, and bored a bunch of test holes in
thick scrap to check the fit of each chuck in
its hole. The chuck should slide in easily but
not too loosely. On the drill board, I marked
the appropriate diameter next to the hole
location allotted to a specific drill.
31/4"
3/4"
13/4"
6. Disassemble the unit, and drill the chuck
holes on the drill press. I used multispur bits
for drilling, but hole saws or spade bits
would work, too.
71/4"
7. Screw the shelf and drill board to the
backboard using #8 by 21⁄2-in. drywall screws.
When drilling the pilot hole for the drillboard screws, favor the bottom edge of the
backboard to prevent breaking out the top
edge of the drill board (see the End View in
the drawing “Drill Rack” at right). Ease sharp
edges and corners with 100-grit sandpaper.
8. The rack is now ready to hang. I wiped a
coat of oil on it first because, well, why not?
51/4"
13/4"
20˚
11/4"
Chuck-hole
centerline
DRILL RACK
✦ 71
PHOTO A: To determine how
far apart to space your drill
chuck holes, dry-clamp the
unit together, and stand your
cord-wrapped drills next to
each other, allowing enough
grab space between drills.
Use a block drilled with test
holes to determine the size of
the hole needed for each
individual drill.
S T O R I N G P O R TA B L E D R I L L S
Portable hand drills can present a storage
(see the bottom photo at left). For a touch of
challenge. Although most cordless drills will
the Wild West, you can make leather holsters
stand upright, corded drills can be a prob-
for your drills, as Bob Whitley did (see the
lem. If you store them on a shelf or in a
bottom photo at right).
drawer, they tend to pile on each other and
the cords inevitably end up in an ugly
wrestling match. It’s best if each drill has its
own space while remaining immediately
accessible for a quick draw.
One approach is to store drills in individual
compartments, as Tony O’Malley does. He
constructed wall-hung boxes with removable
dividers that can be adjusted to accommodate various drills, nail guns, and other tools
72 ✦
DRILL RACK
T I LT I N G D R I L L - P R E S S TA B L E
M
IKE CALLIHAN GOT tired of having to make jigs to hold workpieces
for angled boring because his stock
drill-press table isn’t adjustable for angles. To
solve the problem, he designed this auxiliary
drill-press table that tilts to any angle up to
45 degrees. The table is hinged to a base and
employs slotted brackets, bolts, and wing
nuts for setting the angle. A sacrificial insert
plate minimizes exit tearout on a workpiece.
Callihan uses an inclinometer (a carpenter’s tool available at building-supply stores)
to set the angle (see photo B on p. 75). You
could also use a bevel gauge to set the angle.
After determining an angle, a specifically
sized support block can be made for quick
setup in the future. The dowel on the underside of the table provides single-point contact for accurate repeatability.
T I LT I N G D R I L L - P R E S S TA B L E
✦ 73
Tilting Drill-Press Table
THE TABLE IS CONSTRUCTED of three separate assemblies connected together. The top assembly
consists of the top, sub-top, and brackets. The base is comprised of the sides, rails, and bottom panel.
The fence is simply two boards connected at right angles. The top assembly is hinged to the base
assembly, and the fence is connected to the top with carriage bolts in slots that allow for adjustment.
Suit cutout to
drill-press column.
Insert
plate
Table
1"
Carriage
bolt
21/2"
Dowel
Subtop
Bracket
1/4"-dia.
hanger bolt
Continuous
hinge
Notch,
x 3/4" x 5"
3/4"
Rear
rail
Base
side
Front
rail
Suit slots to
metal drillpress table.
Hex
bolt
The arc-shaped cutout on the fence
approximately matches the diameter of the
drill-press column. Placing the fence so that
the cutout nestles around the column allows
maximum distance between the fence and
74 ✦
T I LT I N G D R I L L - P R E S S TA B L E
Bottom
panel
chuck. Orienting the fence with the cutout
upward, as in the drawing “Tilting DrillPress Table” above provides chuck clearance
for drilling near the edge of a workpiece
using short bits.
For the plywood parts of his table,
Callihan used 5⁄8-in.-thick Baltic birch plywood, but you could use 3⁄4-in.-thick material instead. Obviously, you can make the
table larger or smaller to suit your own
needs. Just make sure that the brackets will
be able to swing down past the metal drillpress table. You’ll need to suit certain dimensions and spacings—such as the location of
the insert plate and the bottom panel slots—
to fit your own drill press.
CUT LIST FOR TILTING
DRILL-PRESS
TABLE PIN
CUT-LIST
FOR ROLLING
1
Fence board
5
⁄8" x 21⁄2" x 291⁄2"
1
Fence board
5
1
Table
5
1
Subtop
5
1
Insert plate
5
1
Dowel
3
2
Brackets
5
2
Solid wood or
hardwood plywood
⁄8" x 3" x 291⁄2"
Solid wood or
hardwood plywood
⁄8" x 16" x 30"
Hardwood plywood
⁄8" x 14" x 21"
Hardwood plywood
⁄8" x 5" x 5"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" dia. x 20"
Wood
⁄8" x 8 ⁄4" x 10"
Hardwood plywood
Base sides
1 ⁄2" x 3 ⁄4" x 16"
Solid wood
1
Rear rail
3
⁄4" x 1 ⁄4" x 19 ⁄2"
Solid wood
2. Center the bottom panel side to side
1
Front rail
3
⁄4" x 5" x 19 ⁄2"
Solid wood
under the table with their front edges
aligned, then center both pieces side to side
on the metal table with the table pressed
against the drill-press column. On the table,
mark the location of your drill-press chuck.
On the bottom panel, mark the locations of
the bolts necessary to attach the bottom
panel to your metal drill-press table.
1
Bottom panel
5
⁄8" x 16" x 21"
Hardwood plywood
Making the Table
1. Cut the table, subtop, and bottom panel
to size. Use a square to draw a centerline
front to back on all of the pieces.
3. Lay out and cut the opening in the table
for the sacrificial insert. Callihan roughed
out the opening with a jigsaw, and trimmed
the edges straight with a router. For accuracy,
he first made an insert plate, located it on the
table, and then used hot-melt glue to attach
blocks to the table against the edges of the
insert. The blocks served as guides for a
straight router bit with a top-mounted bearing (see photo C on p. 76).
1
1
1
1
1
1
Hardware
2
Carriage bolts
1
Continuous
hinge
⁄8-16 x 2 (with washer and wing nut)
3
11⁄2” x 30”
2
Hanger bolts
5
⁄16” x 2” (with washer and wing nut)
4
Hex bolt and
nuts
Size for connection to metal
drill-press table
4. Cut the base sides and rails to size, and
notch the base sides to accept the rails. The
notches are 3⁄4 in. deep, extending halfway
into the sides. Either glue and nail or screw
the rails to the sides.
5. Align the rear edge of the subtop with the
rear ends of the sides, then center the table
PHOTO B: Set the table angle using an
inclinometer (shown here) or a bevel
gauge. For quick future setups at that
angle, make a support block that rests
on the rail.
T I LT I N G D R I L L - P R E S S TA B L E
✦ 75
PHOTO C: After sawing the
opening for the insert slightly
undersize, place the insert over
the hole and surround it tightly
with blocks affixed to the table
using hot-melt glue. Then use a
pattern-cutting bit guided by the
blocks to finish the cut.
to allow the square section under the bolt
head to slide easily but narrow enough to
prevent its spinning. The slots should begin
about 1 in. from the rear edge and extend
about 1 in. shy of the center of the insert
cutout.
Bracket
Hinge
point
7. Using the table saw, cut a 5⁄16-in.-deep
10"
11/4"
21/2"
Underside
of sub-top
83/4"
3/8"
81/4"
1/2"
V-groove on the underside of the table, 1 in.
back from the front edge, to accept the
dowel. Make sure that when the dowel is sitting in the groove it will not project beyond
the underside of the subtop. Screw the dowel
into the groove.
8. Lay out the brackets on a piece of plywood
(see the drawing “Bracket” at left). Before
cutting them to shape, rout the 3⁄8-in.-wide
curved slots using a trammel to guide your
router (see photo D on facing page). For the
table to operate correctly, the trammel point
will need to line up with the hinge barrel
when assembling the table. Therefore, make
sure that the pivot point extends down from
the top edge of the bracket at a distance equal
to the thickness of your subtop material.
9. Cut the brackets to shape, and screw them
side to side on the subtop, aligning the front
edge of the table with the front edge of the
front rail. Trace around the insert opening
onto the subtop, and lay out lines about 1⁄2 in.
in from those lines. Use a jigsaw to cut to the
inner lines to create the opening in the subtop.
6. Rout the slots in the table for the fence
carriage bolts. Make the slots wide enough
76 ✦
T I LT I N G D R I L L - P R E S S TA B L E
to the edge of the subtop, making sure that
the rear edges all align.
10. Screw the subtop to the table from
underneath, and hinge the subtop to the
rear rail.
11. Cut slots in the bottom panel to attach it
to your metal drill-press table. Screw the bottom panel to the base sides.
12. Install the hanger bolts in the base sides
at the top end of the bracket slots. Make your
pilot holes large enough to allow easy insertion of these headless bolts.
13. Make the fence. It’s a good idea to use
quartersawn wood to minimize warping.
When drilling the bolt holes in both pieces,
use the drill press to ensure that the holes are
perpendicular to the fence faces for easy
adjustment. Make the diameter of the cutout
slightly larger than the diameter of your
drill-press column.
14. Attach the fence with carriage bolts,
washers, and wing nuts, and mount the completed table to your drill press. When mounting the table, it’s important to position the
rear edge of the top far enough from the
drill-press column to prevent binding when
pivoting.
TIP
Temporarily threading a cap nut onto a
hanger bolt will provide purchase for a
wrench to screw the
bolt in.
PHOTO D: After
laying out the
brackets, use a
trammel to cut
the curved slot
before sawing
the brackets to
final shape.
T I LT I N G D R I L L - P R E S S TA B L E
✦ 77
STORAGE FOR BITS AND ACCESSORIES
Tool manufacturers make a lot of items that
provides a machine stand, tool storage,
slip into a drill chuck. If you’ve been wood-
and mobility all in one (see the bottom
working for any length of time, you’ve prob-
photo at left).
ably accumulated a collection of twist drill
bits, Forstner bits, multispur bits, spade bits,
hole saws, countersinks, drum sanders, etc.
All of these small items need some kind of
organized storage. For a collection of large
bits, a simple, shallow cabinet will do the
trick (see the top photo at right). For more
versatile storage, a wall cabinet with compartments and drawers will make your tool
searches easier (see the bottom photo at
right). A cabinet that’s outfitted with casters
78 ✦
T I LT I N G D R I L L - P R E S S TA B L E
SLIP-ON
A U X I L I A R Y D R I L L - P R E S S TA B L E
S
OMETIMES IT’S GOOD to have an
auxiliary drill-press table that removes
easily so you can outfit your metal
drill-press table for operations that require
other setups, such as attaching a drill-press
vise. Brian Boggs designed his table for just
such easy removal. The table fits snugly onto
his metal drill-press table without need for
any fasteners to hold it in place. The 24-in.
by 271⁄2-in. auxiliary table provides plenty of
support for large workpieces. It should even
fit over a round table, as the cutout for the
column at the rear of the table will keep it
from rotating.
Boggs made his table entirely from
3
⁄4-in.-thick birch plywood. Obviously, the
table design will have to be modified to suit
your particular drill press. However, the
drawing “Slip-On Auxiliary Drill-Press
Table”on p. 80 shows the basic construction.
Just suit the dimensions to your drill press.
The following is the basic construction
sequence along with a few tips for fitting.
Making the Table
1. Cut the top to whatever size suits you,
and notch out its rear edge at the center to
slip snugly around your drill-press column.
2. Determine the width of the sides by holding a plywood panel up against the underside
of your metal drill-press table and measuring
up to the underside of your auxiliary top.
Add about 1⁄32 in. to that dimension, and cut
the sides to width and length. The sides will
be 3⁄4 in. less in length than the top to account
for the thickness of the front board.
3. Make the bottom panel. To determine its
width, measure the width of your metal drillpress table and add 19⁄16 in. This accounts for
the two 3⁄4-in.-thick sides plus 1⁄16 in. for
S L I P - O N A U X I L I A R Y D R I L L - P R E S S TA B L E
✦ 79
Slip-On Auxiliary Drill-Press Table
3/4"
Suit cutout
to drill-press
column.
plywood top
Side
Lever guide
block
Front
board
Bottom
panel
Dowel bracket,
31/2" x 4"
Table-Lift Mechanism
2"
Dowel,
3/4" dia.
Bracket support
blocks, 3/4" x 31/2" sq.
side-to-side clearance. Make any necessary
cutouts in the panel to accommodate
projecting parts on the underside of the
metal table.
4. If you want to make an insert plate for
2"
10˚
Drill-press
column, diameter + 3/4"
the table, put the top in position, centering it
on the metal table, and mark the location of
the drill chuck. Using a jigsaw, make the
cutout for the insert plate. Then make an
insert plate that fits snugly in the cutout.
5. Cut the front board to size, and assemble
the table using a few strategically placed
screws. Slide the table in place to test the fit,
make any adjustments, and install the rest of
the screws.
Spacer
Rack
Lever, 3/4" x 11/2"
Making the Table-Lift
Mechanism
10˚
10˚
Wall
cleat
Handle
80 ✦
S L I P - O N A U X I L I A R Y D R I L L - P R E S S TA B L E
Boggs also devised a clever mechanism for
easily raising and lowering his drill-press
table. His drill press doesn’t include a rack
and crank for adjusting the table height, so
he attached a lever assembly to the underside
of his auxiliary table to allow easier height
adjustment. The far end of the free-floating
PHOTO E: This shop-
lever assembly rests in notches on racks that
are mounted to the wall behind the drill
press (see photo E). Pulling upward on the
lever causes it to contact the drill-press table
mount. The lever then carries the weight
of the table while raising or lowering it.
(The metal table should be locked to the
column once it has been adjusted.) When
not in use, the lever can be removed or left to
rest on the dowel mounted to the underside
of the table.
The mechanism consists of three basic
components: the wall-mounted racks, the lever
assembly, and the dowel/bracket assembly
attached to the underside of the table. They
will probably have to be tailored to your specific drill press. Just follow the basic construction shown in the drawing “Slip-On Auxiliary
Drill-Press Table” on the facing page.
Making the racks
and lever assembly
1. Make the twin racks that mount to the
wall. Boggs made his racks about 22 in. tall.
Each rack is made from a 2-in.-wide piece
of 3⁄4-in.-thick hardwood plywood, notched
with a bandsaw or jigsaw to create a series of
10-degree steps (see the drawing “Table-Lift
Mechanism” on the facing page).
2. Measure the diameter of your drill-press
column, and add 3⁄4 in. to that to determine
the width of the spacer. Make the spacer. Its
length isn’t critical; about 10 in. should be
fine. Bevel both edges at 10 degrees.
3. Make the two levers from 3⁄4-in. by 11⁄2-in.
stock, beveling the bottom edge of each at
10 degrees so they’ll make full contact with
the bottoms of the notches on the racks. The
levers should extend from the wall to about
1 in. shy of the front of your drill-press table.
4. Screw the levers to the spacer. Locate the
made lever-and-rack
mechanism works
great for drill presses
with no table-height
crank. When the lever
assembly is inserted
into the rack on the
wall and lifted, it supports the weight of
the table as it’s raised
or lowered on the
drill-press column.
spacer to best suit the metal table mount on
your particular drill press. Boggs places his
spacer so that the round plate on the underside of his drill-press table is cradled between
the two levers when they’re lifted (see the
photo on p. 75). If necessary, modify your
lever assembly to make good contact with
your table mount. Last, attach the lever
assembly handle.
Making the lever-guide assembly
and mounting the racks
The lever-guide assembly attached to the
underside of the table consists of brackets, a
dowel, and two guide blocks. The dowel provides a rest for the lever assembly, and the lever
guide blocks keep the lever assembly centered.
S L I P - O N A U X I L I A R Y D R I L L - P R E S S TA B L E
✦ 81
1. Make the lever-guide assembly based on
the drawing “Slip-On Auxiliary Drill-Press
Table” on p. 80. On Boggs’s table, the dowel
brackets are mounted to either side of the
large cutout, with the lever guide blocks
extending inward. If the bottom panel of
your table doesn’t have a wide cutout, you
can omit the guide blocks, letting the dowel
brackets serve as guides.
2. Mount a couple of horizontal cleats on
the wall, screwing them to the wall studs that
COMMERCIAL DRILLP R E S S TA B L E S
A
variety of drill-press tables are
available commercially, should you
decide to buy one rather than make
one yourself. Better models, like
this FasTTrak table, come with a
fence that accepts flip stops for
repeatable drilling (see the top
photo at right).
The fence separates at the center
to provide greater chuck clearance
when using small bits. It attaches to
the T-tracks in the table, which also
accept hold-downs (not shown)
for securing workpieces to the table.
If your drill press has a heightadjustment crank, make a notched
subbase to allow for crank clearance
(see the bottom photo at right).
82 ✦
S L I P - O N A U X I L I A R Y D R I L L - P R E S S TA B L E
flank the area behind your drill press. To prevent impeding the levers, mount the upper
cleat near the highest likely position of your
drill-press table, and mount the lower cleat
near the bottom ends of the racks.
3. Screw the racks to the cleats. To position
the racks, use the inserted lever assembly as a
guide, spacing the racks far enough apart to
ensure full contact with the undersides of
both levers.
T- T R A C K D R I L L - P R E S S TA B L E
F
OR A DRILL-PRESS TABLE to be truly
useful for woodworking, it needs an
adjustable fence and various methods
of securing workpieces for drilling. For example, a fence outfitted with stops ensures
accurate repeatability when drilling multiple
workpieces. And when using a large-diameter
bit, a hold-down of some sort is often needed
to keep the workpiece from spinning out of
control.
Craig Bentzley designed and built this
full-featured drill-press table that incorporates T-tracks in both the fence and table.
The tracks in the fence accept sliding stops
and hold-downs when needed. The tracks in
the table also accept hold-downs and provide
maximum sliding capacity for the fence.
Bentzley incorporated a cutout in the table
to accept sacrificial inserts, which minimize
exit tearout. An insert can be replaced by
pushing it out through the holes in the drillpress table and subtop.
Bentzley built the unit from Baltic birch
plywood, plastic laminate, and commercially
available hardware. In this section, I’ve listed
the particulars for the parts he used, but similar parts, as well as ready-made commercial
fences, are also available from a number of
sources (see Sources on p. 172). This table
can be customized to suit your needs. If
your drill press has a crank that adjusts the
table height, you may need to notch out
the rear edge of the subtop to allow for the
crank swing (see the photo in the sidebar
“Commercial Drill-Press Tables” on the facing page). Also, if your metal drill-press table
doesn’t have a hole in the center, you can
either drill one or drill half holes at the edge
of the insert cutout to provide finger access
(see the drawing “T-Track Drill-Press Table”
on p. 84).
T- T R A C K D R I L L - P R E S S T A B L E
✦ 83
T-Track Drill-Press Table
THE TABLE AND FENCE are each made from two pieces of 3/4" hardwood plywood. The subtop stiffens
the top and serves as the attachment to the metal drill-press table. After slipping the carriage bolts through the
subtop, it's attached to the top and then bolted to the metal table.
Adjustable
handle
Flat
washer
Rear fence
board, 1/2" T
T-track
Front fence
board, 3/4" T
Fender
washer
Insert
Aluminum
angle
Top
Hex-head
cap screw
Finger-access hole
T-track
Carriage bolt,
5/16"-18
Subtop
Insert
Metal drill-press table
Half-hole for
finger access
If metal table has no hole,
half holes can be drilled
at edge of insert cutout
for finger access.
Making the Table
and Subtop
1. Saw the top and subtop to size. Bentzley’s
12-in., front-to-back table depth suits his
drill press, but to maximize throat capacity
on yours, its depth should extend from the
front of your metal table almost to the
machine’s column. Round the corners of
both pieces.
84 ✦
T- T R A C K D R I L L - P R E S S T A B L E
2. Center the subtop side to side on your
metal table, and mark for the finger-access
hole. Also mark the bolt holes for attachment
to the metal tabletop, making sure they avoid
any ribs in the metal table.
3. Drill the 1-in.-dia. finger-access hole, and
use a Forstner or multispur bit to counterbore the table-attachment bolt holes. Clamp
the subtop to the metal table, and drill holes
through the subtop and metal table for the
attachment bolts.
CUT LIST FOR T-TRACK DRILL-PRESS TABLE
1
Top
3
1
Base
3
⁄4" x 12" x 24"
Hardwood plywood
1
Insert
3
⁄4" x 12" x 16"
Hardwood plywood
1
Fence board
3
⁄4" x 3 ⁄2" x 3 ⁄2"
MDF
1
Fence board
1
⁄4" x 2 ⁄4" x 24"
Hardwood plywood
⁄2" x 2 ⁄4" x 24"
Hardwood plywood
12" long
From Hartville; part #60706
24" long
From Hartville; part #60716
1
1
1
1
Hardware
2
T-tracks
1
T-track
1
Aluminum angle
2
Adjustable handles
1
Hex-head
cap screw
⁄8" T x 1 ⁄4" sq. x 24"
1
1
From Reid; item #KHA-8
1/4-20 x 3⁄4"
PHOTO F: After
4. Apply plastic laminate to the top, and
rout it flush to the edges of the plywood
using a flush-trim router bit.
5. Lay the subtop on the top, and trace
around the finger-access hole. Mark and cut
out the insert opening using a jigsaw. Alternatively, you could rout the cutout using an
edge guide. Square up the corners so you
won’t have to round the corners of your
inserts.
6. Cut the dadoes in the top to accept the
T-tracks. You can either rout these with a
carbide router bit or saw them using a carbide sawblade.
7. Insert the bolts into holes in the subtop,
and screw the subtop to the top, making sure
to avoid the T-tracks. Paint the edges if you
like, and install the whole unit to your metal
table. Drill and countersink holes in the Ttracks for #6 flathead screws, and install
them into their dadoes (see photo F).
8. Make and install the insert. Better yet,
make a bunch of them at once. You’ll go
through them more quickly than you
might think.
Making the Fence
1. Make the two fence boards, cutting them
slightly oversize in width and length.
Glue them together, and saw the fence to
final size.
2. Apply plastic laminate to the top, front,
and back, trimming it flush to the plywood.
You can also apply laminate to the ends, or
simply paint the ends to match the laminate.
drilling the screwclearance holes in the
T-track, use a 9⁄32-in.dia. twist drill bit to
countersink them for
#6 flathead screws.
3. Rout or saw the rabbet in the 3⁄4-in.-thick
front fence piece, to accept the T-track.
Install the track using #6 flathead screws.
4. Cut the aluminum angle to length using a
carbide blade. Drill the holes that will attach
it to the fence with round-head screws.
5. Lay out the holes for the handle, carefully
TIP
centering them over the slots in the T-track.
When building
projects using
commercial hardware and fittings,
order the parts first
to ensure proper
fitting and sizing.
6. Drill the handle holes, and round over
sharp corners of the angle with a file.
7. Screw the angle to the fence. Aluminum
angles aren’t always dead square, so check
yours. If necessary, shim between the fence
and the angle to square the fence to the table.
8. Install the fence to the table with the handles, using cap screws inside the T-tracks and
washers between the handle and the aluminum angle. Use thick washers to ease
movement and to prevent the cap screw
from bottoming out in the handle. If you
like, you can attach a self-adhesive measuring tape to the top edge of the T-track,
as Bentzley did.
T- T R A C K D R I L L - P R E S S T A B L E
✦ 85
This serious (but smiling) turner has everything he
needs within reach. Mike Callihan’s lathe-tool cabinet
accommodates all of his turning tools as well as
chucks, calipers, tool rests, and other accessories.
LATHE STATIONS
I
F THERE’S ONE workstation where woodworkers
tend to spend concerted blocks of time, it’s at the
lathe. Whereas you might flit from chopsaw to planer
to jointer to table saw, time at the lathe is often spent
in long sessions. Because of this, it’s important that
your lathe workstation be comfortable and organized.
Lathe workstations aren’t typically complicated.
Aside from the lathe itself, needs are fairly minimal.
Basically, you’ll want an accessible rack for your turning tools and storage for your faceplates, calipers, and
other accessories. Good lighting is crucial, and a
comfortable floor mat is a necessity to minimize leg
fatigue and to protect against damage to dropped
tools. A grinder for sharpening is the last indispensable item, although it’s also handy to have a small
table or bench nearby as a staging platform for sandpaper, drills, and other items.
In this chapter, you’ll find plans for two wall-hung
lathe-tool racks. The racks were designed to hold a
lot of tools but can easily be modified to suit your
own particular arsenal of gouges, skews, and parting
tools. In addition, the sidebars in this chapter show
some ideas for making smaller racks, as well as a
freestanding combination tool rack/grinder stand. If
you like, you can combine any of these ideas to
design your own custom solutions. Just remember
when designing any sort of workshop project that it’s
best to first gather all of the intended contents and
make sure there’s a place for everything. Then incorporate space for future acquisitions.
One last piece of advice, which is offered by many
turners, is to make sure you have enough electrical
outlets nearby to power your task lights, hand drills,
and sanders. Extension cords can trip you up at the
lathe and are subject to damage from fumbled tools.
If you install new wall outlets, place them about 4 ft.
high for better access and use with short tool cords.
✦ 87
C A L L I H A N L AT H E TOOL CABINET
M
IKE CALLIHAN HAS acquired
quite a few turning tools over the
years. When building his new shop,
he took the opportunity to make the perfect
cabinet for them. The cabinet incorporates
several two-piece racks, which each consist
of a top piece that is notched to cradle the
tool ferrule or shank and a base that’s drilled
out to accept the butts of the tools. The rack
tops are set back from the bases, allowing
88 ✦
C A L L I H A N L AT H E - T O O L C A B I N E T
the standing tools to lean backward about
10 degrees.
Callihan turns most of his own tool handles, making them the same length and
shape. As a result, he was able to position a
single notched rack to neatly cradle most of
the ferrules in a row. But that’s not necessary.
If your tool handles are all of differing
lengths, the tool shank can rest in the notch
just as well. To accommodate widely differing
Callihan Lathe-Tool Cabinet
NOTCHED RACKS support the top ends of tools, and drilled racks hold the butts of the tools.
Tools of similar length can be cradled in full-length notched racks supported by cleats on the cabinet
sides. To accommodate tools of different lengths in the same cabinet section, shorter runs of notched
rack are attached to the cabinet back and side. Cabinet compartments with doors hold lathe chucks
and other small accessories.
Top
Bracket
Divider
Back
Side
Rack
top
Rack
cleat
Rack
base
Shelf
Compartment
divider
Door
Bottom
Bracket
handle lengths in the same cabinet section,
the notched racks can be mounted in shorter
sections at different heights, as seen in the
right side of this cabinet.
The 1⁄2-in.-thick back provides enough
material for screwing on custom brackets
and holders for tool rests, calipers, and other
items. The compartments at the lower right
house small chucks and other accessories
behind hinged doors that flip downward.
As a finishing touch, holes drilled at a slight
upward angle into the front edges of the
cabinet hold pencils and chuck keys.
Using the drawing “Callihan Lathe-Tool
Cabinet” above as a reference, you can resize
the cabinet to suit your needs. You can easily
C A L L I H A N L AT H E - T O O L C A B I N E T
✦ 89
CUT LIST FOR CALLIHAN LATHETOOL CABINET
2 Sides
3
⁄4" x 6" x 421⁄2"
2 Tops/bottoms
3
Solid wood
1 Divider
3
⁄4" x 6" x 61 ⁄2"
Solid wood
1 Shelf
3
⁄4" x 5 ⁄2" x 41 ⁄4"
Solid wood
1 Back
1
⁄4" x 5 ⁄2" x 30 ⁄8"
Solid wood
⁄2" x 60 ⁄4" x 41 ⁄4"
Hardwood
plywood
1 Compartment top
3
⁄4" x 51⁄2" x 303⁄8"
2 Compartment
dividers
3
Solid wood
⁄4" x 5 ⁄2" x 6 ⁄8"
Solid wood
3 Rack tops
3
⁄4" x 3" x 295⁄8"
Solid wood
3 Rack bases
3
⁄4" x 51⁄2" x 295⁄8"
Solid wood
6 Rack-side cleats
3
⁄4" x 1" x 33⁄16"
3 Doors
3
Solid wood
⁄4" x 6 ⁄8" x 9 ⁄8"
Hardwood
plywood
1
1
3
1
3
3
1
3
7
alter the height and width, but keep the
depth the same. See the sidebar “Modifying
the Cabinets” below for suggestions on how
to customize this cabinet for your tools.
Callihan decided that joining the corners was
a good opportunity to practice his hand-cut
dovetail skills, but you could join your corners instead with rabbet-and-dado joints,
biscuits, screws, or some other joint.
Making the Pieces and
Cutting the Joints
1. Lay out and saw the sides, top, bottom,
5
7
dividers, and shelves to size. If you’re using a
corner joint other than dovetails, remember
to adjust the length of the case top and bottom to suit the joint.
2. Lay out and cut whatever type of corner
joints you’ve chosen to use. Callihan cut a
four-pin dovetail joint at each corner of his
cabinet.
3. If you’re going to smooth the interior
parts and surfaces by sanding or handplaning, do it now. After assembly, the interior
MODIFYING THE CABINETS
Making a lathe-tool cabinet like either one
in this chapter offers a great exercise in
design modification. Although you could
make the projects exactly as shown, you
may want to alter them to suit your particular needs. It’s not difficult if you follow just a
few simple steps.
1. Measure the available wall area for the
cabinet, making sure that the unit will span
at least two wall studs.
2. On a piece of plywood, apply masking
tape to frame an area approximately the
size of your allotted wall space.
90 ✦
C A L L I H A N L AT H E - T O O L C A B I N E T
3. Lay out your turning tools and lathe accessories within the space. Group tools by common length. Allowing a certain amount of
space for future acquisitions, play with the
groupings. Remember that you can mount
brackets on the sides and bottom of a cabinet
to hold a single tool or several tools.
4. Once you’ve determined the size and configuration of the cabinet, make a sketch that
includes the measurements and joints. From
that, make a cut list of the pieces you’ll need.
For the cabinet back, use material thick
enough to accept nails, pegs, and screws for
brackets.
surfaces will be more difficult to sand and
virtually impossible to plane. In any case,
don’t plane or sand the unassembled pieces
after cutting the dadoes, or you’ll end up
with sloppy joint fits.
4. Lay out the 3⁄4-in.-wide dadoes in the sides
to accept the shelves. Also, lay out the dadoes
for the main divider and compartment
dividers.
5. Cut the dadoes to a depth of 3⁄8 in. You
can rout them or saw them on the table saw
using a dado head. Guide the workpieces
over the dado head using either a crosscut
sled or a miter gauge with a long auxiliary
fence (see photo A).
6. Saw or rout the 3⁄8-in. by 1⁄2-in. rabbet in
the rear edges of the sides, top, and bottom
to accept the cabinet back (see the drawing
“Callihan Cabinet” at right). Remember to
stop short of cutting through corner dovetail
joints.
PHOTO A: You can cut the dadoes for the shelves and divider
using a dado head on the table saw. Guide the workpieces using
a crosscut sled or a miter gauge with a long auxiliary fence.
Callihan Cabinet
Side View (with side removed)
Assembling the Case
For the nicest look, glue and clamp the case.
If you’re going to paint the cabinet, or if
you’re going for that strictly utilitarian look,
you could more quickly glue and nail or
screw it together instead.
1"
10˚
1. Dry-assemble the pieces to ensure that
the joints fit and to rehearse your assembly
procedures. Dry-clamp the sides to the top
and bottom, and make the back, fitting it
snugly into its rabbets.
Suit to
tool length.
1/4"
TIP
When working from
plans, don’t worry
about duplicating
the exact spacing
and angles of dovetails. Vary them as
you like. If you
haven’t cut dovetails before, you
can find instructions for making
the joint in a
hundred different
magazine articles
and books.
2. Glue the divider to the top and bottom.
Although you can use clamps, this is a good
application for screws because you’ll probably never see them anyway. You can insert
the back unglued into its rabbets to hold the
case square while the glue cures.
Toolhandle
hole
Back
3/4"-thick
Rack
top
3. Assemble the compartment by first
inserting the dividers into their dadoes in the
case bottom. Then attach the compartment
top. There’s no harm in screwing the compartment top to the dividers because the
screws will be covered by the rack base later.
Rack
cleat
Rack
bottom
3/8"
4. Attach the sides and shelves. Again, insert
the back unglued to hold the assembly
square while the glue cures.
1/2"
C A L L I H A N L AT H E - T O O L C A B I N E T
✦ 91
A S I M P L E WA L L
RACK
If you don’t have a lot of
turning tools, a small wall
rack may suit your needs.
Fred Matlack devised one
that consists of nothing more
than a couple of notched
boards glued to a piece of
plywood.
5. After the glue cures, nail the back into its
TIP
rabbets.
For lighting at the
lathe, many turners
prefer a mix of fluorescent and incandescent light.
Fluorescent lights
are best for ambient
lighting, while incandescents serve better for dedicated
task lighting aimed
at the workpiece.
5. Cut the notches in the rack tops by first
Making the Racks
10-degree bevel on the rear edge of the rack
tops (see the drawing “Callihan Cabinet Side
View” on p. 91). While you’re at it, make the
cleats for mounting the rack tops to the case.
Note that the rear end of each cleat is crosscut at 10 degrees.
drilling the holes, then sawing inward from
the front edge of the piece tangent to the
hole diameters. You can make the sawcuts
with a jigsaw, with a bandsaw, or by feeding
the workpiece on edge over the table-saw
blade set to the proper height (see photo B
on the facing page). Afterward, ease all sharp
corners and edges with sandpaper or rout
them with a small roundover bit.
2. Mark each rack base for the holes that
6. Screw the rack cleats to the case, and nail
1. Cut the pieces for each rack, and saw a
will accept the butts of the tools. The diameters of the holes can vary to suit handles of
different sizes, but keep the front of each
hole about 1⁄4 in. from the front of the base.
Allow enough space between holes to easily
grab the handle.
3. Extend the hole centerlines from each
base blank onto its upper mate, and lay out
the notches. Callihan found that a 1-in.-wide
notch accommodated most of his tools, but
some had to be made larger.
4. Drill the holes in the rack bases. A
Forstner or multispur bit will give you the
cleanest cut. Afterward, rout the top edge of
92 ✦
the hole with a 1⁄4-in. roundover bit to ease
insertion of the handles.
C A L L I H A N L AT H E - T O O L C A B I N E T
or screw the rack tops to the cleats. Install
each rack base with a couple of finish nails.
7. Make the doors from 3⁄4-in.-thick hardwood plywood, and rout a 3⁄8-in.-wide rabbet
around the edges. Install the doors using
half-overlay hinges.
8. Make any other special mounts or
brackets that you need, and attach them to
the case.
9. You can finish up by giving everything a
light sanding and a coat or two of oil to protect it from grime.
PHOTO B: To cut
the notches in the
rack top, first drill
the proper-size
hole, then saw
inward from the
edge of the workpiece. The table
saw will give you
the quickest,
straightest cut.
A B E D R A C K A N D TA S K - L I G H T B A S E
Even if you have a lot of lathe
tools, you’re often using only a
few at a time. You can keep
them right at hand on a minirack
that rides on the lathe bed.
Craig Bentzley’s bed rack
includes a guide board and
magnets attached to the bottom
to hold the rack in place (see
the top photo). A similarly
configured base for a swing-arm
lamp allows for versatile task
lighting (see the bottom photo).
C A L L I H A N L AT H E - T O O L C A B I N E T
✦ 93
B E N T Z L E Y L AT H E - T O O L
CABINET
C
RAIG BENTZLEY is known for his
finely crafted shop as well as his
finely crafted furniture. His woodworking skills are reflected in his shop cabinets, fixtures, and racks—all of which are
masterfully designed to be both functional
and attractive.
This lathe-tool cabinet is a good example
of his design approach. At its core, the unit is
basically an open cabinet with a shelf. But
check out the details. For starters, the coves
at the bottoms of the sides provide a lovely
transitional element back to the wall. The
frame-and-panel back provides a wide, thick
frame for attaching the pegs and corbels. The
ogee routed on the front edge of the rack
bases complements the cabinet’s moldings,
and the crown molding adds a touch of distinction. Although the corbels provide a bit
of support, they’re primarily decorative and
are meant to visually play off of the curves at
the bottoms of the sides. A two-tone paint
job highlights the back panels, moldings, and
bases. For a trick touch, Bentzley added a
steel strip to the front edge of the shelf
before painting the cabinet, resulting in a
“wood” shelf that holds magnets for posting
notes (see photo C on p. 97).
Bentzley made his cabinet from inexpensive pine boards and some scrap plywood.
The pegs and moldings were leftovers from
previous jobs. You can easily modify the
height and width of the cabinet to suit your
needs (see the sidebar “Modifying the
Cabinets” on p. 90).
94 ✦
B E N T Z L E Y L AT H E - T O O L C A B I N E T
Bentzley Lathe-Tool Cabinet
THE CASE IS ASSEMBLED with simple dado joints, which are nailed and glued. The extended sides
and filler board at the top provide backing for the crown molding, which is supported by backer blocks.
The frame-and-panel back is constructed with tongue-and-groove joinery and is glued into rabbets
cut in the rear edges of the cabinet sides.
Filler
board
Side
Crown
molding
Support
wedge
Top
Plywood
panel
Shelf
Corbel
Dado,
3/8" x 3/4"
Dado,
x 3/4"
3/8"
Rack
base
Rabbet
3/8" x 3/4"
Bottom
Peg
B E N T Z L E Y L AT H E - T O O L C A B I N E T
✦ 95
Making the Case Parts
CUT LIST FOR BENTZLEY
LATHE-TOOL CABINET
1
Top
3
2
Shelves/bottoms
3
2
Sides
3
1
Filler board
3
2
1. Cut the sides, top, bottom, shelf, and rack
bases to size. Lay out the coves at the bottom
of the sides (see the drawing “Cove” below).
⁄4" x 61⁄2" x 453⁄4"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 53⁄4" x 453⁄4"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 6 ⁄2" x 52"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 45" x (*see note)
Solid wood
Rack bases
11⁄8" x 31⁄2" x 45"
Solid wood
2
Corbels
3
⁄4" x 4 ⁄2" x 4 ⁄2"
Solid wood
2
Stiles
3
⁄4" x 5 ⁄8" x 49"
Solid wood
1
Top rail**
3
⁄4" x 111⁄4" x 36"
Solid wood
1
Center rail **
3
⁄4" x 11" x 36"
Solid wood
edges of the sides, and use a jigsaw to cut the
curves on the bottom edges of the sides (see
photo D on p. 98).
1
Bottom rail**
3
⁄4" x 9 ⁄2" x 36"
Solid wood
4. Drill holes in the front edges of the shelf
1
Top panel
1
⁄4" x 36" x 6 ⁄4"
Plywood
1
Bottom panel
1
⁄4" x 36" x 13"
Plywood
Moldings
To suit
and case bottom to accommodate current
tools and future acquisitions. Bentzley varied
the diameters of his holes from 5⁄8 in. to 11⁄8 in.
Pegs
To suit
1
1
1
3
1
1
*Suit to match height of chosen crown molding.
** Length of rails includes tongues.
Cove
2. Lay out and rout or saw the 3⁄8-in. by 3⁄4-in.
dadoes in the sides. Locate the upper dadoes
by determining the installed height of your
chosen crown molding, which should be
even with the top ends of the sides.
3. Cut the 3⁄8-in. by 3⁄4-in. rabbets in the rear
5. Lay out the holes in the rack bases to
accept your turning tools’ handles. Bentzley
spaced his 11⁄4-in.-dia. holes about 1⁄2 in. apart.
Strike a line at the rear edge of the base to
mark the midpoint between holes. You’ll use
these lines later as a reference when laying
out the peg holes on the back.
Making the Back and
Drilling the Rack Holes
1. Cut to size the rails and stiles for the
back. Saw or rout a 1⁄4-in.-wide by 1⁄2-in.-deep
groove into the edges of the pieces as shown
in the drawing “Frame-and-Panel Back” on
the facing page.
2. On the ends of each rail, saw two opposing rabbets to create a centered tongue that
fits snugly into the grooves in the stiles.
3. Saw the 1⁄4-in.-thick plywood panels
to size. Dry-assemble the whole back to
ensure that the tongue-and-groove joints
fit well and that the plywood panels are the
proper size.
4. Strike a horizontal line along each rail to
locate the intended row of pegs.
PHOTO C: Wooden pegs keep
TIP
the standing tool shanks separated while different-size
holes drilled through the
front of the shelves accommodate turning tools as well
as drive centers and other
accessories. Magnets curiously stick to the front of the
shelf, which includes an
attached metal strip under
its painted surface.
To prevent assemblies from buckling
under clamp pressure, make sure that
the clamp screws
are centered across
the thickness of
the stock.
Frame-and-Panel Back
Groove,
1/4" x 1/2" thick
Plywood
Pine rail, 3/4" thick
Plywood panel, 1/4" thick
5. Center each rack base in position on the
6. Disassemble the back and drill the peg
holes, using a drill press to ensure that they
are square to the face of the back. Alternatively, you could drill the holes using a
portable drill guide or a squarely drilled
block clamped to the rail.
Stile
Pine rail, 3/4" thick
Stile
dry-assembled back, and transfer the midpoint marks you made earlier onto the frame
rails. Use a framing square to transfer the
location of each mark upward to the horizontal line at the peg-row location. Also, lay
out your chosen peg-hole spacing across the
bottom rail.
Plywood panel, 1/4" thick
Pine rail, 3/4" thick
7. Using a Forstner or multispur bit, drill
the holes in the rack bases, stopping short of
the bottom by 1⁄8 in. (see photo E on p. 98).
Pine, 3/4" thick
Pine
B E N T Z L E Y L AT H E - T O O L C A B I N E T
✦ 97
Assembling the Cabinet
1. Glue up the back, making sure that the
assembly is flat and square under clamp
pressure. After the glue cures, sand or plane
the joints flush.
2. Dry-clamp the case together. Trim the
edges of the frame-and-panel assembly as
necessary to fit snugly between the rabbets at
the rear edges of the sides.
3. Glue and nail the sides to the top, bottom, and shelf, and glue and nail the back
into its rabbets. Screw down through the
cabinet top into the upper back rail.
4. Glue the pegs into their holes.
5. Make and attach the corbels, screwing
them in place through the cabinet back.
6. Fit the crown molding to the top of the
cabinet, tacking it in place with brads. Cut a
few wedges as shown in the drawing
“Bentzley Lathe-Tool Cabinet” on p. 95 and
glue them into place behind the molding to
help support it.
7. Putty any nail holes, give everything a
PHOTO D: Cut the curves on the bottom edges of the sides
after sawing the dadoes for the bottom shelf and the rabbet
for the back.
light sanding, and paint the cabinet. At the
same time, paint the rack bases and the
moldings that will cover the screws after
installation.
8. Attach the rack bases, tacking them
in place through the bottom of a couple
of holes.
9. Hang the cabinet, and install the moldings that hide the screws. Job well done.
PHOTO E: Use a Forstner or multispur bit to drill flat-bottom
holes in the rack bases, stopping short of the bottom by 1⁄8 in.
98 ✦
B E N T Z L E Y L AT H E - T O O L C A B I N E T
A T O O L R A C K / G R I N D E R S TA N D
Walt Segl decided to consolidate his tool
Stepped holes in the top accept a variety of turn-
rack and grinder stand into one package.
ing tools while turned pegs inset into the sides of
He designed and built a cabinet with a
the top allow hanging of calipers (see the bottom
rotating top to serve his purposes. The
photo at right). The top rotates around its center
base cabinet stores lathe tool accessories,
bolt while gliding on thin strips of polyethylene
while the top carries his grinder and turn-
plastic tape attached to the cabinet top.
ing tools (see the bottom photo at left).
B E N T Z L E Y L AT H E - T O O L C A B I N E T
✦ 99
The author’s chopsaw cabinet is deep enough
to house lumber and panel offcuts and
includes extension tables with flip stops for
accurate, repetitive cutting.
100 ✦
CHOPSAW CABINET
CHOPSAW CABINET WITH
EXTENSION TABLES
T
HE POWER MITER SAW, also called a chop
saw, has become a real mainstay in the woodshop over the last 20 years or so—particularly the sliding compound miter (SCM) saw, which rides on a rail
or rails, allowing wider crosscuts, miters, and bevels
than a standard miter saw. Because of its length of
travel, an SCM saw requires a fairly deep (front-toback) surface to sit on. Therefore, it makes sense to
build a deep cabinet that will support the saw well and
also provide storage for large shop supplies.
A deep cabinet also provides the perfect opportunity to house panel offcuts and lumber shorts that
otherwise litter a shop. I designed this cabinet with
narrow end sections for those uses and a bank of
large drawers down the center to store coffee cans
full of hardware. The top is a 6-ft. length of secondhand wooden countertop. The 16-in.-wide overhang
on the left provides a space for a shop vacuum. I
used birch plywood for the case and maple for the
face frame and drawer fronts. The drawer boxes
are poplar.
To provide support at the sides of the saw, you can
use simple riser blocks or even an adjacent work surface (see the sidebar “Neighboring Workpiece
Support” on p. 103). However, extension tables with
an integral fence are a much better approach. Simple
boxed forms can sometimes fit the bill (see the photo
in the sidebar “Basic Extension Tables” on p. 117).
However, I decided to outfit my fences with slotted
aluminum track that accepts flip stops for efficient
production (see the sidebar “Flip Stops” on p. 117).
The fences bolt to the tables through fender-washer
shims, creating a 1⁄8-in.-wide chute for dust and chips.
The table overhang at the front serves as a clamping
ledge when necessary.
My shop doesn’t allow room for long, fixed
extension tables, so I designed a telescoping arm that
rides inside the left-hand table (see the drawing
“Extension Table with Telescoping Arm” on p. 115).
When the arm is extended 2 ft., I have 6 ft. to the left
of the blade, meaning I can load 12-ft.-long boards
without them tipping. When not in use, the arm is
tucked away, preserving precious wall space.
✦ 101
CHOPSAW CABINET
THE HARDWOOD PLYWOOD CASE is constructed with dado joints and rabbet joints. The top and
bottom are glued and screwed to the dividers. The sides are glued and nailed to the top and bottom.
The face frame is joined with loose tenons, then glued and nailed to the plywood case. The kick plate
extends up to the case bottom to provide extra support for heavy loads.
Back
Divider
Top
Side
Bottom
Outer
stile
Inner
stile
Kick plate
Rail
Loose tenon,
5/16" x 11/8" x 17/8"
T
HE BIRCH PLYWOOD cabinet is
built using standard face-frame construction. The 1⁄2-in.-thick back provides better rigidity than a 1⁄4-in.-thick back
and won’t crack if you slam stored plywood
offcuts against it. Note that the drawer boxes
are installed in the case before attaching the
case to the wall. The drawer fronts are
attached afterward.
102 ✦
CHOPSAW CABINET
Building the Case
Cutting the parts and joints
1. Lay out the plywood pieces and saw them
to size. Leave the shelves slightly oversize in
width for now. It’s best to fit them snugly
between the shelf clips after case assembly.
2. Mark the edges of the pieces for orientation. I use the triangle marking system (see
the drawing on p. 14).
3. Saw or rout the dadoes in the sides to
accept the bottom (see the sidebar “Fitting
Dado Joints in Plywood”on p. 104). Because
nominal 3⁄4-in.-thick hardwood plywood is
really less than 3⁄4 in. thick, lay out the joint so
its upper edge is 53⁄4 in. from the bottom edge
of the side (see the drawing “Elevations” on
p. 104). I cut the joints on the table saw,
registering the ends of the panels against the
rip fence.
4. Lay out and cut the dadoes in the top and
bottom to accept the sides. If handling panels
this large on the table saw feels awkward,
rout the joints using a straight edge instead.
Assembling the plywood case
CUT LIST FOR CHOPSAW CABINET
2
Sides
3
⁄4" x 271⁄4" x 341⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
2
Dividers
3
⁄4" x 263⁄4" x 281⁄2"
Hardwood plywood
2
Tops/
bottoms
3
⁄4" x 263⁄4" x 531⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
1
Back
1
⁄2" x 291⁄4" x 531⁄4"
2
Stiles
3
Hardwood plywood
2
Stiles
3
⁄4" x 1 ⁄4" x 30 ⁄4"
Solid wood
2
Rails
3
⁄4" x 1 ⁄4" x 26 ⁄4"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 1 ⁄4" x 50 ⁄2"
Solid wood
1
Top
1 ⁄4" x 25" x 72"
Solid wood
3
Shelves
3
⁄4" x 26 ⁄2" x 13 ⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
1
Kick plate
3
⁄4" x 4" x 54"
Solid wood
Drawers
fits and to rehearse your assembly procedures. Using a square and light pencil
lines, lay out the nail and screw paths for
the joints.
3
Fronts
3
6
Sides
5
6
Fronts/
backs
5
dividers.
3
Bottoms
1
3. Use glue and #6 finish nails to attach the
Hardware
sides to the top and bottom (see photo A on
p. 105). If your case pieces vary somewhat in
width, align the back edges because the back
rabbets impede plane travel, which prevents
planing or sanding the joints flush after
assembly. Dry-clamp the back in place to
hold the case square while the glue cures.
3 pairs Drawer
slides
1
3
3
3
1
3
1. Dry-assemble the case to check the joint
2. Glue and screw the top and bottom to the
3
1
1
⁄4" x 87⁄8" x 24"
Solid wood
⁄8" x 7 ⁄8" x 25 ⁄16"
Solid wood
⁄8" x 7 ⁄8" x 23"
Solid wood
⁄2" x 251⁄2" x 221⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
26" full extension
Woodworker’s
Hardware,
7
5
7
item # KV8417 B26
NEIGHBORING
W O R K P I E C E S U P P O RT
Walt Segl’s portable chopsaw cart does
not accommodate extension tables.
Instead, when he needs to crosscut long
boards, he rolls the cart next to his workbench for support. A panel resting under
the board on the workbench raises the
workpiece to the saw-table height.
CHOPSAW CABINET
✦ 103
Elevations
291/2"
72"
25"
Loose tenon
271/4"
16"
1/4"
263/4"
36"
301/4"
2113/16"
4"
77/8"
CL
1215/16"
87/8"
3/4"
CL
111/2"
Back
Bottom
23"
87/8"
341/4"
2"
(Section through drawer)
13/4"
24"
41/16"
13/4"
241/4"
3/8"
CL
1"
53/4"
54"
F I T T I N G D A D O J O I N T S I N P LY W O O D
Cutting dadoes to join plywood panels can
the head to create a dado that’s about
be a bit tricky. Even good-quality hardwood
0.002-in. wider than the thinnest edge.
plywood can vary in thickness across the
To fit each panel into its dado, I thin down
sheet, resulting in erratic fits along the length
the fat sections using a belt sander fitted with
of a joint. However, I like my dadoes to fit
a 120-grit belt. Rather than risking sand-
snugly to prevent joint gaps and to help hold
through on one face, I split the loss, sanding a
the case together during dry-fitting. Here’s
bit off of both faces. When sanding, take care
how I approach it.
to keep the sander platen flat on the work,
Using dial calipers or a finely graduated
ruler, I measure the thickness of the panel
particularly as you partially suspend it off the
end of the panel.
edges to be inserted in the joints. I set up a
I’ll admit that some of my woodworking
dado head on my table saw to the width of
pals consider this fussy. Like them, you may
the thinnest area. Test-cutting in scrap, I shim
be perfectly happy with slightly gapped joints
that are quicker to make.
104 ✦
CHOPSAW CABINET
PHOTO A: Pipe clamps are used to pull
the case top against its rabbet shoulder
while gluing and nailing the sides to
the top and bottom. The clamps are
removed immediately after nailing.
D U A L - L E V E L S AW S
Bob Whitley cantilevered his chopsaw out over
his radial-arm saw table, conserving shop space
and consolidating his crosscutting capabilities
into a compact area.
Making and attaching
the face frame
I used loose tenons for the face-frame joinery, but you could use mortise-and-tenon
joints, pocket screws, dowels, or biscuits.
1. Make the rails and stiles, but rip the outer
stiles about 1⁄32 in. oversize in width. You’ll
trim the resulting overhang flush to the sides
after attaching the face frame to the plywood
case. While you’re at it, make extra stock for
tool setup.
2. Using the divider spacing for reference,
lay out the inner-stile joints, marking the
intersection of each stile edge fully across the
edge of each rail. Position each stile so that
its innermost edge will slightly overhang its
divider.
3. Rout the 5⁄8-in.-wide by 11⁄4-in.-long by
1-in.-deep mortises for all the joints. I use a
shopmade jig for this (see the sidebar
“Router Mortising Jig” on pp. 106–7).
CHOPSAW CABINET
✦ 105
R O U T E R M O RT I S I N G J I G
In a typical “loose tenon” joint, a mortise is
routed into the edge of one member (in this
case the stile) and a mating mortise is routed
into the end of the other member (here, the
rail). A separately made tenon is then glued
into the mortises to create a very strong joint.
Edge mortises are easy to rout using a
standard router edge guide. However, end
mortises require a jig to hold the workpiece
vertical and provide router support. The mortising jig shown here allows the routing of
edge mortises and end mortises with the
same edge-guide setting. Router-travel stops
ensure mortises of matching length. The vertical fence can be installed at an angle for
routing mortises in the ends of mitered
pieces. Here’s how the jig works to cut face
frame joints:
2. Install an upcut spiral bit of the proper
diameter in your router.
REAR VIEW
Rout 1/2'' x 1'' x 2'' wells
for clamp-head access
before attaching rail.
Rail, 3/4'' x 21/2'' x 20''
Fence
screw
Design stops to
suit edge guide.
2''
Clamp slot,
1'' x 41/2''
3/4''
Fence,
x 11/2'' x 8''
3/4''
106 ✦
Panel,
x 10'' x 20''
Biscuit the vise-clamping
tongue to panel.
CHOPSAW CABINET
1. Mark the rail spacing on the inner edges of
your face-frame stiles. Then lay out one stile
mortise.
3. Clamp the stile to the jig with the stile’s
inner edge aligned with the top edge of the
jig. (Important: To ensure flush joints, always
place the inner face of a workpiece against
the face of the jig.) Align the rail position
mark (or end of the stile when appropriate)
with a line drawn upward from the jig’s fence
(see the photo above).
4. Adjust your router edge guide to locate the
bit over the marked-out mortise. Position the
bit at one end of the mortise, and clamp a
stop against the appropriate side of the
router base. Slide the router to the opposite
end of the mortise, and clamp the other stop
in place.
PHOTO B: To safely crosscut multiple short pieces like these
5. Rout the mortise in successive passes,
pushing the router away from you with the
edge guide to your right. Maintain firm
downward pressure on the half of the router
that rides on the jig.
6. Rout all other stile mortises of the same
length in the same manner.
7. To set up to rout the mating mortises,
clamp a rail in place against the jig’s fence,
and flush to the top of the jig (see the
photo above). Without changing the position of the stops, rout the mortise. Repeat
for all other rail mortises of the same
length.
8. To rout mortises of a different length,
simply adjust the position of the right-hand
stop, then rout the matching stile and rail
mortises in the same manner as above.
This process reads more complicated than
it is. Once you’ve completed one set of
joints using this jig, you’ll find the process
very efficient.
loose tenons, set the cutup using a spacer placed against the
stop block. Remove the spacer before making each cut.
4. Mill a length of 5⁄16-in.-thick by 11⁄8-in.wide loose tenon stock. Rout, sand, or plane
a bullnose profile on the edges of the stock,
and cut the pieces to 17⁄8 in. long. You can do
this safely on the chopsaw using a spacer
block (see photo B).
5. Glue up the face frame making sure it’s
flat and square under clamp pressure (see
photos C and D on p. 108).
6. Plane or sand the face-frame joints flush
on both faces. Also, sand or plane the plywood case joints flush if necessary.
7. With the case lying on its back, compare
TIP
When gluing up, I
use a clean, damp
rag to quickly wipe
glue squeeze-out
from each joint as I
pull it together. Glue
wipes away much
easier when it’s fresh
and wet. Refresh
your cleanup water
regularly to prevent
wiping diluted glue
into the wood pores.
the diagonal corner measurements to make
sure everything is square. Sight across the
cabinet’s front edges to make sure the case is
flat; shim the corners if necessary. Attach the
face frame using glue and nails.
8. After the glue cures, trim any frame overlaps flush to the plywood. I use a flush-trim
bit in a laminate trimmer (see photo E
on p. 109).
9. Mark and cut out the kick-plate notch in
each case side using a jigsaw.
CHOPSAW CABINET
✦ 107
PHOTO C: After performing a dry-assembly, glue up the face frame on a flat surface. Lay every-
thing out in an orderly fashion, with all preset clamps close at hand.
PHOTO D: To prevent buckling under clamp pressure, use 3⁄4-in.-dia. dowels to center the pres-
sure against the edges of the 3⁄4-in.-thick stock. Sight down each clamp to make sure it’s centered across the width of the workpiece.
108 ✦
CHOPSAW CABINET
PHOTO E: Rout
the face-frame
overlap using a
flush-trim bit.
10. Make and fit the kick plate. It extends
5 in. up to provide support against the case
bottom, so you’ll need to notch it at the ends
(see the drawing “Chopsaw Cabinet” on
p. 102). Cut it close to the exact length, as
any overlap will have to be planed or sanded
flush to the case side. Glue and nail the kick
plate to the sides.
PHOTO F: When puttying nail holes, load just a dab of putty on
the corner of the knife to minimize the spreading of the putty
into adjacent wood pores.
11. Putty the nail holes, applying the putty
judiciously (see photo F). Finish-sand the
cabinet.
12. Drill shelf-pin holes in the end sections
(see photo G).
13. At this point, I suggest applying a coat
of wiping varnish to the cabinet so the finish
can dry while you work on the drawers.
Apply the second coat later.
Making and
Installing the Drawers
These large drawers need to be strong, so I
joined them with 1⁄2-in. half-blind dovetails
that I cut on a commercial jig. However, you
could use a routed drawer lock joint instead
(see the sidebar “Routed Drawer Lock Joint”
PHOTO G: A plywood template is used to establish the shelf-
pin spacing. A dowel on the drill bit serves as a depth stop.
CHOPSAW CABINET
✦ 109
Drawer
LARGE DRAWERS need strong joints. These drawers were joined at the corners with jig-cut half-blind
dovetails. The 1/2"-thick plywood bottom is rabbeted on the underside to slip into its 1/4" x 1/4"
grooves. To prevent exposing the grooves, they should run through the tails and sockets as shown,
rather than through the pins.
Back
Groove,
1/4" x 1/4"
Side
Box
front
Tail
socket
Bottom
1/2"
dovetails
Cut rabbet
to fit groove.
Groove runs
through tail
and tail socket.
Front
on pp. 154–55). Whatever kind of joint you
use, remember that the finished drawer
needs to be 1 in. narrower than the case
opening to accommodate the commercial
drawer slides.
Building the boxes
1. If you’re using a different kind of joint
than 1⁄2-in. half-blind dovetails, make a cut list
of the necessary parts.
2. Make the parts for the boxes. Accurate
sawing here makes a big difference in the fit
and installation of the drawers, so work carefully. You can make the drawer fronts now,
too, but leave them at least 1⁄4 in. oversize in
110 ✦
CHOPSAW CABINET
width and length for now. You’ll trim them
to fit later.
3. Mark the parts for orientation, and cut
the joints. Notice that the drawer-bottom
groove runs through the tails, not the pins
(see the drawing “Drawer” above). If it ran
through the pins, the groove would expose
itself at the drawer sides.
4. Dry-clamp to make sure all the parts fit
well, then glue up the drawer boxes on a flat
surface. I just spot-glue the bottoms, applying a couple of dabs of glue in each groove.
5. After the glue cures, plane or sand the
joints flush.
PHOTO H: After
determining the
drawer-slide spacing, you can make
plywood spacers
for easy, accurate
installation of the
slides.
Installing the drawer boxes
Commercial drawer slides typically consist of
two parts: one part that attaches to the case
and another part that attaches to the drawer
box. With the slides that I used, you mount
the sliding-rail assembly on the case and a
quick-disconnect rail on the drawer box. If
you use a different style of slide, refer to its
installation instructions.
1. Mark the intended location of each
sliding-rail assembly on the case dividers.
Calculate the spacing so that the rails will be
centered on the drawer-box sides (see the
drawing “Elevations” on p. 104). Make the
plywood spacers.
2. Screw the lowermost slides to their case
dividers. An appropriately sized spacer will
ensure that the slides are parallel to the case
bottom, thus square to the face frame.
3. Use appropriately sized spacers for
installing the center drawer slides (see photo
H). You can use the same spacers to install
the top slides.
4. Screw the rails to the drawer boxes,
centering them halfway up the drawer side
(see photo I). For now, install each rail with
just two screws through the vertical slots.
PHOTO I: After centering one drawer-half of a slide
on a drawer, make a spacer for installing the slides
on all of the drawers.
CHOPSAW CABINET
✦ 111
5. Install the drawer boxes, and adjust the
D U S T C O N TA I N M E N T
A
shop vacuum captures only some of the dust
that a chopsaw throws. Andy Rae constructed
walls at the sides of his saw to prevent showering
nearby tools with dust.
rail position on the drawers as necessary to
bring the entire front of each drawer box
flush with the rear face of the face frame.
When everything is aligned properly, install
the rest of the screws in the drawer rail holes.
Installing the Case
1. Lay the cabinet on its front on the floor,
and sight across the ends to make sure the
rear edges are in the same plane. If necessary,
shim the corners. Glue and nail the cabinet
back into its rabbets.
2. Fit the cabinet in place, and check it for
level. If the floor is tilted or seriously uneven,
you need to either shim the cabinet or else
scribe and trim its bottom edges to accommodate floor irregularities.
3. Install the cabinet by screwing it to the
wall studs through the 1⁄2-in.-thick plywood
back. If the wall isn’t flat, shim the studs as
necessary to keep the entire front of the cabinet in the same plane.
Attaching the
Drawer Fronts
1. Begin with the front for the bottom
drawer, ripping it to 87⁄8 in. wide. Before
crosscutting it to length, check the square
of your case opening. If it’s perfectly square,
crosscut the drawer front to be 1⁄16 in. less
than the opening. If the opening is not
square, crosscut the drawer front so it touches
both stiles.
2. Place 1⁄16-in. shims on the case bottom,
and clamp the drawer front to its box. Mark
for trimming the ends (see photo J on facing
page). Aim for a gap of 3⁄64 in. on each side.
Use a sharp block plane to trim the end grain.
3. Reclamp the trimmed drawer front to the
box. Remove the box, and drill four countersunk holes through the box to attach the
front. Install two screws, remove the clamps,
and recheck the fit in the case. If the alignment is fine, install the other screws. If the
112 ✦
CHOPSAW CABINET
PHOTO J: To fit the drawer fronts, shim them for proper spacing and then mark the
ends near the corners for a consistent gap, making sure they’re parallel with the
adjacent stiles. Connect the marks with a fine pencil line run against a straightedge,
and plane to the line.
alignment is off, remove the installed screws,
adjust the position of the front, and install
the other two screws. When everything is
aligned, drive home all four screws.
4. Install the center drawer front in the same
manner, using shims placed on the top edge
of the bottom drawer.
5. To install the top drawer, which doesn’t
provide clamp access, begin by drilling four 1⁄8in.-dia. holes through the box front near the
corners. Drive a couple of #6 drywall screws
through the bottom holes until the screws
project about 1⁄8 in. Install the drawer box, and
press the shimmed, centered drawer front
firmly against the screw tips. Put the drawer
on a bench and align the front by locating the
screw tips in their depressions (enlarging the
depressions with an awl can help).
6. After all the fronts are installed, use a
sharp block plane to do any final edge trimming. Ease the sharp edges and corners with
220-grit sandpaper.
7. Finish-sand the fronts, apply finish, and
install pulls.
TIP
I often install a
cabinet before
attaching its drawer
fronts. If you install
the fronts first,
you run the risk of
tweaking them out
of alignment if the
case isn’t installed
perfectly square.
CHOPSAW CABINET
✦ 113
E X T E N S I O N TA B L E
WITH TELESCOPING ARM
I
t’s important to use a strong, stable hardwood like maple for the telescoping arm.
To ensure an enduring fit between the arm
and the extension table, use the same wood
for the rails and the table front and back so
they’ll expand and contract at the same rate.
If you don’t plan to install a telescoping arm,
you can simply use plywood for the table
fronts and backs.
I’ve provided the cut list for my extension
tables, which suit my 72-in.-long cabinet top
and my 10-in. Makita® LS1013 saw, with its
43⁄8-in.-high table. But unless you have that
saw, you’ll need to modify the sizes to suit
your particular saw and cabinet top, as I’ll
discuss along the way. The best approach for
this particular project is to stick-build the
units, sizing the parts one at a time as you go
along, as I’ll discuss here.
Making the
Extension Tables
Making the parts
1. Begin by attaching your saw to the cabinet top using lag screws. (Important: If your
saw has flexible feet, remove them.) Make certain the chopsaw fence is parallel to the front
edge of the cabinet top and that the fully
retracted saw carriage rails don’t hit the wall.
The blade on my saw sits 44 in. from the lefthand end of the table, leaving 28 in. to the
right. I favor making the left-hand table
longer because that’s the side I generally load
boards on. Plus, a longer table allows a
longer telescoping arm, which will effectively
extend the length of its extension table by
two-thirds.
2. Rip the 1⁄2-in.-thick by 103⁄4-in.-wide plywood pieces for the bases. To determine the
length of each piece, measure away from the
114 ✦
E X T E N S I O N TA B L E W I T H T E L E S C O P I N G A R M
Extension Table with Telescoping Arm
THE TELESCOPING ARM rides inside the extension table. The lock knob draws its bolt against the T-track
in the rail to lock the arm at any desired projection. The main fence bolts to the main extension table through
slots to allow adjustment for accurately setting the measuring tape in relation to the sawblade.
SAW EXTENSION TABLE
Tape
rule
Half-track
Lag
screw
Main
top
Main
fence
TELESCOPING ARM
Arm
fence
Plane a slight
ramp on
leading edges.
Arm
top
Fender
washers
Back
Base
Front
Slotted
hole
Lock
knob
T-track
Spacer
Rail
Stiffener
l
base of your saw to each end of your cabinet
top, and subtract 1⁄4 in.
Laminating the tops
3. Make the 3⁄4-in.-thick fronts and backs.
front edges, and tops of the tables. Cut oversize strips and glue them to the edges with
contact cement. Rout the strips flush to the
plywood with a flush-trim bit.
To determine the width of the pieces, subtract 1 in. from the height of your chopsaw
table. Cut the pieces to the same lengths as
your bases.
4. Make the 8-in.-wide tops from 3⁄4-in.-thick
hardwood plywood or MDF. To determine
the length of the right-hand piece, measure
over from the top edge of your saw table to
the end of the cabinet top, and subtract 1⁄4 in.
For the telescoping tabletop, measure to the
left-hand end of the cabinet top, and
add 2 in.
1. Apply plastic laminate to the outer ends,
2. Cut oversize pieces for the tops, and apply
them (see photo K on p. 118). Use a hard
roller or straight-side glass jar to press the
laminate firmly into the cement.
3. Bevel the sharp edges with a mill file (see
photo L on p. 118).
E X T E N S I O N TA B L E W I T H T E L E S C O P I N G A R M
✦ 115
Mitering the tops for saw swing
The design of most chopsaws require that
the innermost ends of the extension tables be
cut away to accommodate the saw-table handle when it’s swung over for miter cuts.
1. Cut a length of cardboard into an 8-in.wide strip. With the saw table rotated fully to
one side and with the rear edge of the card-
CUT LIST FOR EXTENSION TABLES
Tables*
1
Top
3
⁄4" x 8" x (371⁄4")
1
Top
3
Hardwood plywood
1
Bottom
1
⁄4" x 8" x (19")
Hardwood plywood
1
Bottom
1
2
Fronts/
backs
3
2
Fronts/
backs
1
1
⁄2" x 10 ⁄4" x (33 ⁄4")
Hardwood plywood
⁄2" x 10 ⁄4" x (17 ⁄2")
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x (3 ⁄8") x (33 ⁄4")
Maple
3
⁄4" x (33⁄8") x (171⁄2")
Maple
Fence
15⁄16" x 45⁄8" x (36")
Maple
Fence
1 ⁄16" x 4 ⁄8" x (18")
Maple
3
3
3
1
3
5
3
5
Telescoping Arm*
1
Top
3
⁄4" x 8" x 3"
Hardwood plywood
2
Rails
3
⁄4" x (31⁄8") x (343⁄4")
Maple
2
Panels
1
⁄2" x 41⁄2" x (343⁄4")
Hardwood plywood
1
Fence
15⁄16"x 45⁄8" x 31⁄4"
Maple
1
Spacer
7
⁄8" x (31⁄8") x 17⁄8"
Maple
Hardware
1
T-track
36"
Woodcraft minitrack,
item #128219
1
T-knob
2"
Rockler,
item #71506
1
Half-track
18"
1
Half-track
36"
1
Hex bolt
1 ⁄2" x ⁄4"-20
5
Hex bolts with
washers and nuts
3
10 Fender
washers
1
From FasTTrak
From FasTTrak
1
⁄8" x 21⁄2"
⁄16" thick
1
*Modify the figures in parentheses to suit the height and lengths of your tables.
116 ✦
E X T E N S I O N TA B L E W I T H T E L E S C O P I N G A R M
board in the same plane as your saw fence,
mark and cut the end of the cardboard to
allow full swing of the saw handle. Repeat for
the opposite top.
2. Using the cardboard template, transfer
the angle to the ends of your tables, and cut
the angles.
Cutting the joints and mitering
the fronts and bases
1. Cut the 1⁄8-in.-deep grooves and rabbets in
the undersides of the tops (see photo M on
p. 118). I sawed them with a dado head on
the table saw, but you could rout them
instead. Make the joint as snug as possible to
ensure a uniform distance between the unit’s
front and back all along their lengths.
2. Lay out the grooves in the bases to exactly
match the spacing of the grooves in the tops.
This is important for the ultimate squareness
of the units.
3. Set up to cut the grooves in the bases.
Make a test cut in 1⁄2-in.-thick plywood, then
dry-fit the scrap, top, and front together to
ensure that the height of the assembled unit
will match the height of your saw table.
Adjust the depth of the groove as necessary
to yield that overall measurement, and cut
the grooves in the bases.
4. Dry-assemble the units in place next to
your saw. Transfer the angle of the tops onto
the top edges of the fronts, and cut the
angles on the fronts. Transfer the angles of
the fronts onto the bases, and cut them to
the same angle. Your saw should now have
full swing in both directions.
5. Push or clamp the tables tightly against
the cabinet top and use a long, accurate
straightedge to ensure that the extension
tables are level with your saw table. If they’re
a bit too high, you can trim the width of the
front and back pieces as necessary. If the
tables are a bit low, don’t worry; you can
shim them later during installation.
6. Crosscut 31⁄4 in. off the end of the lefthand top. This will be the section that you
attach to the telescoping rails later.
Cutting the attachment
holes and slots
Before gluing up the extension table, it’s
necessary to rout the lag-screw slots in the
base, drill the hole in the front for the lock
knob, and drill and chop the holes for the
fence bolts.
1. Mark out and rout the 5⁄16-in.-wide by
⁄2-in.-long slots in the base. I spaced them
about 11⁄2 in. in from the ends and added
centered slots in the long table (see photo N
on p. 119).
1
2. Mark out the lock-knob hole in the front
fence, carefully centering it halfway up the
front and 11⁄2 in. in from the end. Bore it on
the drill press.
The telescoping arm locks to the extension table and
includes an adjustable flip stop for efficient cutting of workpiece multiples.
3. Mark the fence-attachment bolt holes in
the back pieces, setting them in about 2 in.
from the ends, with an additional hole in the
center of the long table. Locate them 5⁄8 in.
down from the top of the back, as shown in
the drawing “End View” on p. 119. Again,
bore these on the drill press.
4. Cut the bolt-head recesses in the backs
FLIP STOPS
A
flip stop is an efficient device for crosscutting multi-
ple workpieces to the same length. When using a fixed
stop to cut multiples, all of the workpieces must be
handled twice—first to square the ends, then to cut
(see photo O on p. 119).
them to the same length against the stop. However, a
5. The last thing to do before assembly is to
flip stop can simply be flipped out of the way for the
sand and wax the inside faces of the top,
front, back, and base to minimize friction on
the telescoping section. Be careful not to get
wax on the surfaces to be glued.
first cut and then flipped down to make the final cut. A
flip stop left in position on the fence is also handy for
those occasions when you screw up a workpiece and
have to cut a replacement to the same length later.
BASIC EXTENSION
TA B L E S
A
quick chopsaw setup can be made by
mounting a length of commercial countertop
to an available base cabinet. The extension
tables shown here were made from scrap
plywood and MDF. The back piece extends
up past the tabletops to create a fence for
supporting stock and a place to clamp stop
are screwed to the countertop from
underneath.
TIP
Plastic-laminate
scraps are often
available free of
charge from
commercial cabinet shops. Get a
solid, light color
if possible.
PHOTO K: To ease alignment when applying larger pieces of plastic laminate, wait
until the contact cement has tacked up and then lay dowels across the panels with
the laminate on top centered over the panel. Press the laminate into the glue, working from the center outward and removing the dowels as you go.
PHOTO L: Bevel
the sharp laminate
edges using a mill
file pushed at an
angle to the edge.
Assembling the
Extension Tables
1. Glue the fronts and backs to the bases,
with the unglued tops in place to help square
the assembly (see photo P on p. 120).
2. After the glue cures, remove the top and
PHOTO M: When
rabbeting with a
dado head, protect your saw’s rip
fence by attaching
an auxiliary fence
that’s cut out to
accommodate
the cutter.
plane a slight ramp on the last 1⁄2 in. or so of
the exposed front and back sections of the
left-hand table (see the drawing “Extension
Table with Telescoping Arm” on p. 115). This
will help the telescoping arm close easily.
3. Glue the tops in place, and immediately
wipe away interior glue squeeze-out. Again,
make sure everything is square under clamp
pressure.
Making the Telescoping
Arm
1. Mill the rails, ripping them to fit
exactly between the top and base of the
extension table.
2. Rout or saw the grooves for the stiffener
panels (see the drawing “Extension Table
with Telescoping Arm” on p. 115).
3. Cut the panels. To determine their exact
width, clamp the rails inside the extension
table and measure between the bottoms of
the grooves.
118 ✦
E X T E N S I O N TA B L E W I T H T E L E S C O P I N G A R M
PHOTO N: To cut the lagscrew slots in the base, guide
your router using a T-shaped
jig clamped to the workpiece.
End View
(with telescoping arm installed)
15/16"
Plastic
laminate
23/4"
8"
5"
5/8"
Back
1"
1/2"
1"
Fender
washers
Stiffener
panel
1/4"
Bolt,
3/8" x 21/2"
1/4"
Saw-table
height
Lock
knob
41/2"
T-track
1/2"
1/8"
Rail
3/4"
13/4"
103/4"
4. Working on a flat surface, glue the rails to
the panels, keeping everything square.
5. After the glue cures, plane the faces of the
rails for a snug but sliding fit inside the table.
Wax the rails to reduce friction.
6. Saw or rout the T-track groove in the
front rail, making sure it is exactly centered.
Install the T-track.
PHOTO O: To cut the bolt-
head recesses in the extension-table backs, insert a bolt
into each hole and then trace
around the head with a sharp
pencil. Clean out the waste
with a chisel, making the
recess just slightly deeper
than the head.
Making the Fence
Although the aluminum half-track can be
used on a 3⁄4-in.-thick fence, I prefer a fence
that’s more substantial. I made mine from
hard maple.
1. Make the left- and right-hand fences. I
extended my right-hand fence to within 1⁄8 in.
of the chopsaw fence. My left-hand fence sits
1 in. away from the saw fence, allowing finger
access for adjusting small workpieces. Extend
E X T E N S I O N TA B L E W I T H T E L E S C O P I N G A R M
✦ 119
the opposite end 21⁄4 in. past the end of the
extension table.
2. Saw the 3⁄8-in. by 3⁄4-in. rabbet in the top
edge of each fence for the half-track.
3. Strike a line across the half-track 31⁄4 in.
in from the left-hand end of the 36-in. piece.
This will be your cutline for separating the
arm section of the fence later. Mark out
screw holes for attaching the track sections
(see the drawing “Extension Table with
Telescoping Arm” on p. 115). Drill and
countersink the holes on the drill press.
4. Using the bolt holes in the extension
PHOTO P: When gluing each unit, draw the back tightly into
its rabbet with a clamp. Immediately wipe up any interior
glue squeeze-out with a damp rag on a stick (or have a
skinny-armed helper do it).
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
Brian Boggs decided that he didn’t need a
full-length fence at all—just a sliding stop with
a short section of fence attached to it to register the end of the workpiece. The sliding stop
mounts onto two lengths of angle iron set at
the saw-table height. An acrylic plate screwed
into a mortise on the underside of the stop block provides a hairline cursor for
use with the tape rule
attached to the wooden
strips that support the rails.
The locking knob threads
onto a bolt that passes
through a mating block on
the underside of the rails.
120 ✦
E X T E N S I O N TA B L E W I T H T E L E S C O P I N G A R M
tables as a reference, mark out the 3⁄8-in. by
⁄4-in. slots in the fences, centering them side
to side over the bolt holes to allow lateral
fence adjustment.
3
5. Rout the slots, centering them 1 in. up
from the bottom of the fence as shown in the
drawing “End View” on p. 119. Unless you
have a long bit, you’ll have to rout in from
both sides.
6. Install the half-track on the fences (see
photo Q).
7. Bolt the left-hand fence tightly to its
extension table, with pairs of 1⁄16-in.-thick
fender washers in between (see the drawing
“Extension Table with Telescoping Arm” on
p. 115). Position the fence the desired distance from the chopsaw fence, and mark a
reference line across the fence and extension
table for repositioning the fence later. Install
the telescoping section, locking it tightly in
place with its end protruding 2 in. from the
extension table.
8. Make the spacer. It should be 17⁄8 in. long
and as wide as the rear rail. In thickness, it
needs to fit exactly between the fence and the
rear rail with the telescoping section tightly
locked. Glue the spacer block to the rear rail,
aligning the ends of both (see the drawing
“Extension Table with Telescoping Arm” on
p. 115).
9. Detach the fence, and use a carbide blade
to cut off the 3-in.-long piece for the telescoping arm. Reinstall the main fence, aligning it with the reference marks you made
earlier on the table. Also, install the fence on
the right-hand table.
10. Lock the telescoping arm in place with
2 in. projecting from the extension table.
(The 1⁄8-in. gap between the spacer and the
end of the extension table will allow fence
adjustment later.) Butt the arm section of the
fence against the main fence, aligning them
carefully, and glue the arm section to the
spacer.
Installing the Tables
1. Using a long straightedge placed against
the chopsaw fence and the table fences, position both extension tables on the cabinet top
and mark their locations.
PHOTO Q: For
2. Remove the fences and arm, and mark
the lag-screw locations in the centers of their
slots. Drill pilot holes in the cabinet top, and
bolt the tables loosely in place.
3. Apply a coat of finish to the fences, and
reattach them, aligning the main fence with
its reference mark on the table. Using a long
straightedge, carefully align the extensiontable fences with the chopsaw fence, and bolt
the tables in place. Also, check that the tabletops are level with the saw table. If necessary,
shim the bases to achieve this.
accurate alignment when installing the halftrack, attach a flip
stop to the track
and then clamp it
against the face
of the fence before drilling the
track attachment
screws.
4. Attach the adhesive-backed tape rules to
the half-track. I marked each fence 16 in.
away from the blade and applied the tape,
aligning its 16-in. increment with my line.
Check your accuracy by making test cuts
using flip stops aligned with the tape markings. If necessary, loosen the fence bolts and
adjust the fence position.
5. Finish up by attaching the short top piece
to the telescoping arm. To do this, install the
arm, butting the sections of fence together.
Glue the arm top to the rails, spacing it 1⁄16 in.
away from the main top to allow for fine
fence adjustments later, if necessary.
E X T E N S I O N TA B L E W I T H T E L E S C O P I N G A R M
✦ 121
Full house: The majority of the author’s
routers, bits, and accessories fit into his
well-compartmentalized router cabinet.
ROUTER TABLE
I
HAVE USED and tested a lot of shopmade and
commercial router tables over the years, and I
decided to design a router table that incorporated the
best features of all of them. First and foremost, I
wanted a top that would stay flat over time. The
H-shaped understructure on this cabinet provides
the necessary tabletop support, and the 1⁄4-in.-thick
aluminum insert plate stays flat even when suspending my heavy Porter Cable® 31⁄4-hp router. To prevent
back strain and to increase router accessibility, I offset the router toward the front of the table. Much
routing is done on narrow stock anyway, and when
more support surface is needed, you can work from
the end or back of the table. I omitted a miter-gauge
track because I seldom need one and prefer to keep
the tabletop free of recesses that trap chips.
Enclosing the router in the cabinet dampens noise
and allows dust collection. Two electrical outlets
wired to an easily accessible switch allow for switching on the router and shop vacuum at the same time.
For wheelbarrow-style mobility, two fixed casters are
installed at one end of the cabinet, with the other end
resting solidly on the floor for stability.
The trays that flank the router compartment hold
bits, and the drawers in the lower section accommodate routers and accessories. I inset the trays and
drawers to prevent chips from collecting on top of
the fronts and then falling into the drawers. I avoided
using commercial drawer slides to maximize interior
space and to prevent drawers from opening when
moving the cabinet.
I used a commercially made fence, but you can
make your own. Dust collection at the fence can be
handled several ways. You can connect its hose to the
hose coming from the back of the cabinet using a
Y-fitting, or you can run a jumper hose from the
fence into the cabinet back. For heavy chip collection,
you can hook a dust collector to the cabinet and
hook the fence to a shop vacuum.
✦ 123
R O U T E R TA B L E
THE CASE JOINERY consists of dadoes and rabbets. The baffle reduces the size of the router compartment
for better evacuation and provides central support against tabletop sag. The cutout at the bottom of the
baffle provides an exit for chips, and the space under the central doors allows intake air to sweep the
compartment. The power switch controls a receptacle box in the baffle (for the router plug) and a box in
the back (for a shop vacuum), allowing simultaneous control of both tools.
Router
plate
Plastic
laminate
Tabletop
Edging
Plywood
MDF
Baffle
Cleat
Case
top
Back
Wire
hole
Side
Switch
panel
Electrical
box cutout
Door
Tray
runner
Panel
Upper
divider
Lower
divider
Bit tray
Bottom
Middle
panel
Stove bolt
Tray
front
Rail
Caster
Drawer
panel
Front
edging
Groove,
1/4" x 1/4"
Foot
edging
Rabbet
124 ✦
R O U T E R TA B L E
Bottom
Front
Elevations
Top view
Dust-collection port
Deflector
6"
191/4"
Electrical boxes
24"
11"
91/4"
8"
3"
7"
Front view
Switch
34"
41/8"
33/8"
71/2"
111/4"
15"
13"
6"
6"
107/8"
3/4"
34"
61/4"
1/4"
191/4"
28"
33/4"
1/2"
Section
through
drawer
31/2"
8"
127/8"
28"
R O U T E R TA B L E
✦ 125
CUT LIST FOR ROUTER TABLE
Top
1
Center panel
3
⁄4" x 23" x 33"
MDF
2
Outer panels
1
⁄4" x 23" x 33"
Hardboard or MDF
2
Edgings
1
⁄2" x 11⁄4" x 24"
Solid wood
2
Edgings
1
⁄2" x 11⁄4" x 34"
Solid wood
Case
1
Side
3
1
Side
3
1
Lower divider
3
2
Upper dividers
3
2
Case tops
3
1
Middle panel
3
2
Drawer panels
3
1
Bottom
3
1
Baffle
3
1
Back
1
1
Front edging
3
1
Front edging
3
2
Front edgings
3
1
Front edging
3
2
Front edgings
3
1
Front edging
3
2
Front edgings
3
1
Rail
3
1
Foot edging
3
1
Switch panel
3
2
Switch-panel
cleats
1
2
Deflectors
1
⁄4" x 191⁄4" x 291⁄2"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 19 ⁄4" x 32 ⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 18 ⁄4" x 12 ⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 18 ⁄4" x 15 ⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 18 ⁄4" x 6 ⁄2"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 18 ⁄4" x 27"
Hardwood plywood
Making the Top
⁄4" x 183⁄4" x 133⁄8"
Hardwood plywood
Laminating the panels
⁄4" x 18 ⁄4" x 27"
Hardwood plywood
1. Saw the panels slightly oversize. You’ll
⁄4" x 13 ⁄2" x 15"
Hardwood plywood
⁄2" x 27" x 283⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
trim them to final length and width after
gluing them together.
⁄4" x ⁄4" x 29 ⁄2"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 3⁄4" x 33"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 3⁄4" x 15"
Solid wood
clamping cauls from thick lengths of hardwood about 24 in. long (see the drawing
“Clamping Cauls” on p. 15).
⁄4" x ⁄4" x 12 ⁄4"
Solid wood
3. Glue the panels together, working on a
⁄4" x ⁄4" x 6"
Solid wood
flat benchtop or table-saw top. I applied a
thorough, even coat of yellow glue with a
roller to one face of the center panel and one
face of an outer panel. I clamped the assembly down to a 24-in.-wide benchtop with the
outer panel underneath the center panel.
After the glue cured, I attached the opposite
panel in the same manner. If you don’t have
an appropriate-size benchtop, work on riser
blocks and use a thick, flat panel as a caul to
spread pressure over the outer panel.
1
1
3
3
3
1
3
1
3
3
1
3
1
3
1
3
⁄4" x 3⁄4" x 261⁄2"
Solid wood
⁄4" x ⁄4" x 12 ⁄8"
Solid wood
⁄4" x1 ⁄2" x 26 ⁄2"
Solid wood
⁄4" x ⁄4" x 19 ⁄4"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 3 ⁄8” x 6"
Solid wood
⁄2" x ⁄4" x 3 ⁄4"
Solid wood
⁄2" x 75⁄8" x 27"
Cut both from one
plywood panel.
3
7
1
1
3
1
3
3
1
2. To prepare for glue-up, make crowned
Applying the edging
and plastic laminate
Doors
1
Panel
3
2
Edgings
1
2
Edgings
1
2
Panels
3
4
Edgings
1
4
Edgings
1
⁄4" x 5" x 97⁄8"
Hardwood plywood
1. Mill the 1⁄2-in.-thick solid-wood edging,
⁄2" x 3⁄4" x 5"
Solid wood
⁄2" x 3⁄4" x 107⁄8"
Solid wood
making the pieces about 1⁄16 in. wider than the
thickness of the top.
⁄4" x 51⁄2" x 135⁄8"
Hardwood plywood
2. Dry-fit the edging to the top, carefully
⁄2" x 3⁄4" x 51⁄2"
Solid wood
⁄2" x 3⁄4" x 141⁄4"
Solid wood
( continued on facing page )
126 ✦
T
he construction of the router table
can be broken down into three basic
processes: making the top; making the
case; and making the doors, drawers, and
trays. I built the top first, then the case.
Finally, I made and fit the doors, drawers,
and trays to fit their openings.
I made the top by sandwiching a piece of
3
⁄4-in.-thick MDF between two outer panels
of 1⁄4-in.-thick hardwood plywood. However,
inconsistencies in the thickness of hardwood
plywood prevent the top from being truly
dead flat. If I had it to do again, I would use
MDF or hardboard (such as Masonite®) for
the outer panels, as I suggest in the cut list.
R O U T E R TA B L E
mitering the ends to meet neatly (see the left
photo on p. 169). If you find that you’ve cut
a miter too short, there’s no harm in trimming the width or length of the top just a bit
to make it fit.
CUT
Trays
LIST FOR ROUTER TABLE (CONTINUED)
Trays
PHOTO A: Using a router with a flush-
trim subbase, cut the edging almost
flush to the surfaces of the outer panels.
4 Trays
3
⁄4" x 515⁄16" x 181⁄2"
Hardwood plywood
2 Tray fronts
3
⁄4" x 33⁄8" x 6"
Solid wood
2 Tray fronts
3
4 Tray runners
1
4 Tray runners
1
⁄4" x 33⁄4" x 6"
Solid wood
⁄2" x 2 ⁄16" x 18 ⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
⁄2" x 215⁄16" x 183⁄4"
Hardwood plywood
⁄2" x 31⁄2" x 185⁄16"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 3 ⁄2" x 12 ⁄16"
Solid wood
⁄2" x 8" x 18 ⁄16"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 8" x 12 ⁄16"
Solid wood
⁄2" x 18 ⁄4" x 12 ⁄16"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 8" x 11"
From Rockler
9
3
Drawers
4 Sides
1
4 Fronts/backs
3
4 Sides
1
4 Fronts/backs
3
4 Bottoms
1
1
13
5
13
1
5
Hardware
1 Aluminum
1
router plate
6 Butt hinges
11⁄4" x 11⁄2"
2 Nonswiveling
casters
3"
8 Flat-head stove
bolts with washers
and nuts
5
⁄16" x 11⁄4"
3 Adjustable ball catches
Woodcraft,
item #27H39
11 Aluminum
wire pulls
Lee Valley,
item #01W76.01
PHOTO B: Using a block plane set for a
very fine cut, finish trimming the edging
flush to the panels.
Woodcraft,
item #141052
3"
Electrical
3. Glue the edging in place, applying
plenty of glue to the porous edges of the
MDF. I first glue both long pieces in place,
using the dry-fit shorter pieces for alignment
purposes. After the glue cures, I attach the
shorter pieces.
4. Trim the edging flush to the panels. I first
routed it just a hair proud of the panel (see
photo A), then finished up with a few swipes
of a finely set, sharp block plane (see
photo B).
5. Cut the plastic laminate oversize, apply it
3 Metal
receptacle
boxes
with surfacemount flanges
2" x 21⁄2" x 3"
1 Single-pole switch
1 Switch plate
2 Duplex receptacles
2 Duplex receptacle plates
1 SJ wire
12 12-ga.
1 Plug
to both sides of the top, and trim it flush to
R O U T E R TA B L E
✦ 127
A F L U S H - T R I M B A S E P L AT E
Here’s a great router jig for trimming edging
Lay out and cut the heel to the shape
flush to panels. The jig simply consists of a
shown. Drill screw holes for attaching it to the
sole plate and a heel plate as shown. In use,
sole plate, countersinking the holes for flat-
the jig suspends the router above the edging
head screws or counterboring them for round-
to be trimmed, with the bit extended down
head screws. Also, drill a clearance hole
through the sole plate to allow access to any
screw in the sole plate that will be covered by
the heel plate.
Screw the heel plate to the sole plate, and
attach a mushroom-style handle. Finish up by
sanding the plates and waxing the heel plate
to minimize friction.
FLUSH-TRIM BASEPLATE
Mushroom-style
handle
Side view
Sole
plate
to the finished surface. The 45-degree cutaways on the heel plate allow it access into
Heel
plate
Bottom view
corners.
13"
To make the baseplate, cut the 1⁄2-in.-thick
91/2"
hardwood plywood blanks for the sole plate
and heel plate, matching the width of the
pieces to the diameter of your router base.
Remove your router’s subbase, and use it to
transfer the locations of the router attachment
screws onto the sole plate. Also, trace the
Clearance
hole
21/4"
Handle
screw
Suit to
router
base.
45˚
perimeter of the subbase onto the sole plate
to create your cut line. Drill and countersink
the attachment holes, and drill the bit opening in the sole plate. (I chose to make a
21⁄4-in.-dia. opening for good visibility.)
128 ✦
R O U T E R TA B L E
Router
attachment
screws
Heel
attachment
screws
the edging. (For more on applying plastic
laminates, see “Laminating the Tops”
on p. 115).
Installing the router plate
My router plate rests on a 1⁄2-in.-wide ledge
recessed into the tabletop (see the drawing
“Router Table” on p. 124). To mount the
plate, I first drill out the radius for each corner of the recess using a Forstner bit, then I
make the table cutout. Last, I rout the ledges.
6. Rout the ledges using a straight-edged
board as a guide (see photo D). Try to get
the plate dead-flush to the surface or just a
hair proud of it. But don’t worry if you rout
a bit too deep; you can shim with tape later.
7. After testing the fit of the plate, screw it
to your router base (after removing the
router’s subbase). If necessary, notch the
cutout ledges to accommodate your router
handles or other protrusions.
TIP
To keep the contact cement on
your brush or roller
from drying out
between applications, wrap the tool
tightly in plastic
between uses.
1. Check your top with a straightedge. If it’s
crowned, orient the crown on the top side.
Locate the plate, as shown in the drawing
“Elevations” on p. 125, and trace around its
edges with a fine pencil line. Mark for the
table-cutout lines 1⁄2 in. in from the plate
outline.
2. Prepare to drill the corners of the cutout
by drilling a guide hole in a panel that you’ll
clamp to the top to prevent the bit from skittering on the plastic laminate. Drill the 1-in.dia. hole on the drill press.
3. Now make a hole-depth gauge. Cut two
disks that are slightly less than 1 in. in diameter. Make one disk the exact thickness of the
router plate and the other disk the thickness
of your guide-hole panel. Cut one disk into a
mushroom shape as shown in photo C.
(The stem of the mushroom simply provides
a handle.) Glue the two disks together.
4. Clamp the guide-hole panel to the top,
PHOTO C: Using a Forstner bit, drill the corners of the cutout to a
depth that matches the thickness of the router plate. A panel with
a guide hole prevents the bit from wandering. The thickness of
the depth gauge in the foreground equals the combined thickness
of the router plate plus the thickness of the guide-hole panel.
with its hole aligned with the plate corner
lines. Drill to a depth that equals the thickness of the depth gauge. It’s all right if you
drill a bit too deep because the plate will be
resting primarily on the straight sections of
the ledges.
5. Saw or rout the through cutout in the
top, following your layout lines. You don’t
have to be precise with these cuts.
PHOTO D: Rout the ledges around the
table cutout using a straightedge to
guide your router. Here, the scrap from
the cutout supports the straightedge,
which overhangs the top when cutting
the foremost ledge.
R O U T E R TA B L E
✦ 129
A B E N C H T O P R O U T E R TA B L E
If you don’t have the space for a full-size
router-table cabinet, a benchtop model may
be just the ticket. Andy Rae’s benchtop table
is a good example of an easily made design,
which includes the basic features you’ll probably want. A top panel mounts to a simple box,
with the router base screwed directly to the
underside of the top. An auxiliary switch provides accessible power control. A plywood
fence that includes a dust-collection port
attaches via slots to knobs that screw into
threaded inserts in the tabletop, and a mitergauge slot cut into the top guides a shopmade miter gauge when needed.
Making the Case
Making the case involves cutting, fitting, and
edging the plywood panels, then mortising
for hinges, attaching the tray runners, and
making the cutouts for the electrical boxes all
before assembling the case pieces. This is
necessary because the relatively small compartments make cutting-tool access difficult
after case assembly.
130 ✦
R O U T E R TA B L E
Cutting the pieces
1. Lay out the plywood pieces for the case.
2. Cut the plywood pieces to size. Leave the
back 1⁄4 in. or so oversize in width for now.
You’ll trim it for an exact fit after assembling
the case.
3. Mill the pieces for the edging to 3⁄4 in.
thick, but make them slightly oversize in
width for now, as you’ll trim them flush to
the plywood after attaching them. The sizes
PHOTO E: When
sawing dadoes
with a dado head
on the table saw,
keep the workpiece solidly
against the rip
fence and maintain
constant downward pressure
near the joint.
in the cut list give the finished lengths; however, you should make the pieces about 3⁄8 in.
longer than their finished length for now.
You’ll trim them to fit later.
Cutting the joints
1. Arrange the pieces for placement, and
mark them. I use the triangle marking system (see the drawing on p. 14).
2. Lay out the dadoes and rabbets (see the
drawing “Elevations” on p. 125). Make sure
to carefully center the dadoes in the middle
panel and bottom.
3. Saw or rout the dadoes (see photo E).
4. Saw the rabbets at the tops of the sides
and upper dividers using an auxiliary fence
on your table-saw rip fence (see photo F).
5. Saw 1⁄2-in.-wide rabbets in the rear edges
of the sides to accept the back. Stop the rabbets at the bottom dadoes.
PHOTO F: Sawing
Applying and trimming
the edging
of the horizontal pieces—make sure that the
edging is set back no more than 3⁄16 in. from
the end of the panel.
1. Glue the foot edging to the taller case side
3. Trim all of the edging flush to the panels
to prevent tearout of the plywood side at the
bottom when moving the cabinet. After the
glue dries, trim the edging’s ends flush to the
edges of the plywood.
in the same manner that you trimmed the
edging for the top.
2. Glue and clamp the edging to the rest of
the pieces (see photo G on p. 132). Make
sure that the edging overhangs both faces of
the panel. On pieces where the ends of the
edging will abut other edging—such as on all
4. Saw the ends of the edging on the cabinet
rabbets on the
table saw requires
the use of an
auxiliary fence to
prevent cutting
into your saw’s
rip fence.
sides flush to the ends of the panels (see
photo H on p. 132). Do the same at the top
edges of the upper dividers.
5. Trim away the ends of any edging where
a panel will tuck into a joint (see photo I
on p. 132).
R O U T E R TA B L E
✦ 131
TIP
When applying
edging, I roll a thick
layer of glue on the
plywood edge to
be covered and
then rub the edging
back and forth into
the glue before
clamping it in place.
PHOTO G: When gluing edging on similarly
PHOTO H: To saw edging flush to
sized panels, sandwich the edging between
the two panels. Alternate clamps over and
under to prevent the workpieces from buckling under pressure.
the ends of panels, align a shim block
flush with the outside face of the
sawblade teeth.
Cutting out the baffle,
cutting the hinge mortises, and
drilling for the casters
There are a few cuts you need to make before
assembling the case, as it will be difficult to
maneuver tools within the compartments
after assembly.
1. Lay out and cut the 3⁄4-in.-wide by
12-in.-long scalloped cutout at the bottom
of the baffle (see the drawing “Elevations”
on p. 125).
2. Lay out and cut the opening for the electrical box in the upper right-hand section of
the baffle (see photo J on facing page). The
placement isn’t critical; just leave enough
room at the edges to accommodate the cover
plate. Also, drill a hole for the wire that passes
through the upper rear section of the righthand upper divider (see photo R on p. 136).
PHOTO I: To cut the notch where the end of a panel slips into
a joint, the author uses a good dado head and an auxiliary rip
fence. A miter gauge guides the workpiece, with a piece of
scrap backing up the cut to minimize exit tearout.
132 ✦
R O U T E R TA B L E
3. Lay out the hinge mortises in the upper
dividers, locating them 3⁄4 in. in from where
the doors end. (Don’t forget to factor in the
A P P LY I N G S O L I D - W O O D E D G I N G
The primary purpose of solid-wood edging
assembled. This covers the joints, but makes
is to hide the unsightly edges of plywood.
trimming the edging a bit more difficult,
However, a secondary purpose can be to
especially in corners. In these circumstances,
cover rabbets, dadoes, and other case joints.
I first use a flush-trim router bit, then pare
You have several options for applying edg-
the overhang near the corners with a chisel
ing, and it can be done either before or after
where the router bit won’t reach. I finish up
the case is assembled.
by scraping and sanding.
The easiest approach is to edge the panels
Another approach, which was used for this
before cutting your joints. This means that
router table, is to apply the edging to the
you’ll be cutting the joints right through the
panels after cutting the joints. Before assem-
edging, exposing the rabbets and dadoes, as
bly, the ends of the edging are trimmed
seen in the drawing “Assembly Table”on
where the panels fit into the joints. This cov-
p. 162. The advantage is that the oversize
ers the joints but allows trimming the edging
edging can be glued on, then easily trimmed
flush to the plywood before assembly. This is
flush to the pieces before assembly.
often the best approach when dealing with
A second option is to fit and apply the
many compartments.
edging after the plywood pieces have been
⁄8-in. opening below the center doors.) Trace
around the hinges using a sharp knife (see
photo K on p.134).
3
4. Cut the mortises. I first rout them as close
to my knife lines as is safely possible (see
photo L on p. 134). Then I pare to the knife
lines using a sharp chisel (see photo M on
p. 134).
5. Drill the pilot holes for the screws, offset-
TIP
To prevent snapping the heads of
small brass
screws, prethread
the pilot hole by
first installing a
steel screw of the
same size.
ting them slightly to pull the hinges toward
the rear of the mortises.
6. Drill and countersink for the flat-head
caster stove bolts. To locate the holes, set
each caster plate in 1⁄2 in. from the end of the
bottom panel and 1⁄4 in. in from the front
or rear edge.
PHOTO J: Use a drill press and jigsaw to
cut out the electrical-box opening in the
baffle.
R O U T E R TA B L E
✦ 133
PHOTO K: Lay out each door hinge by
tracing around the leaf with a sharp
knife. Take light initial passes to avoid
shoving the hinge, then deepen the cuts
using a square and marking gauge.
Dry-fitting and
predrilling the case
Before gluing up the case, I dry-fit the parts
and predrill for the screws. This makes the
glue-up go faster and prevents fouling my bit
with glue.
1. The first step in assembling the case is to
either glue and nail or staple the tray runners
to the left-hand side and upper divider (see
the drawing “Elevations ”on p. 125). To prevent glue squeeze-out, don’t spread glue near
the edges. Before attaching the runners, I
sanded their edges to 220 grit and applied
wax for easy tray sliding.
2. Using a large square, mark the screw
paths on the panels opposite the joints to be
attached with screws.
3. Dry-fit the baffle and upper dividers to
PHOTO L: Rout as
close to your knife
lines as is safely
possible.
the middle panel and then drill and countersink screw holes for attaching them. Make
sure that the top edges of all the pieces are
carefully aligned.
4. Dry-fit the entire case, except for the
shelves. Stand the unit upside down. Drill
and countersink for attaching the bottom to
the lower divider and for attaching the middle panel to the upper dividers. Avoid the
baffle dadoes when drilling the middle panel.
5. Stand the unit right side up. Drill for four
screws through the middle panel into the
lower divider.
6. While the unit is dry-assembled, cut the
back to fit snugly between its rabbets. You’ll
use the back to help keep the case square
while the glue cures after assembly.
7. The last thing to do in preparation for
PHOTO M: Finish
up by using sharp
chisels to pare to
your knife lines.
134 ✦
R O U T E R TA B L E
glue-up is to make six clamping cauls, about
19 in. long, from thick hardwood. You’ll need
them for clamping the sides in place. Plane a
⁄16-in. crown on one edge of each caul to distribute pressure at the center of the panel.
Alternatively, you could nail or screw the
sides in place, puttying or plugging the
holes later.
1
Gluing up the case
Now you’re ready to glue everything
together. You’ll want to work quickly, so
make sure that your screws, clamps, cauls,
and wiping rag are at the ready.
1. Using #6 by 2-in. screws, glue and screw
the middle panel to one of the upper
dividers. Then glue and screw one end of the
baffle to that divider. Last, glue and screw the
opposite divider to the baffle, and attach the
middle panel to that baffle. Make sure the
top edges of the baffle are carefully aligned
with the top edges of the dividers.
2. With the case facedown on the assembly
table, glue the shelves to the lower divider,
then glue the sides to the bottom, shelves,
and middle panel. With the back dry-fit in
place, I clamped one end of a caul to each
joint and then stood the case upside down to
clamp the opposite ends of the cauls (see
photos N and O).
3. Glue and clamp the two tops into their
rabbets, and glue a screw cleat to the top of
the baffle for attaching the top later.
4. Attach the casters using the stove bolts,
washers, and nuts. I included lock washers
because of the vibration inherent in a
router table.
5. Plane or sand the front edges of the case
PHOTOS N
AND O:
With the back dryfit in place and the
unit facedown,
clamp one end of
each caul to the
case (above).
Stand the case
upside down,
clamp the other
ends, and carefully
adjust each clamp
so it’s centered
across its joint
(right).
flush to each other.
Making the deflectors
The two triangular deflectors in the rear cavity were suggested by a dust-collection expert
as a means of targeting airflow toward the
dust-collection port in the cabinet back.
Good advice? All I know is that the dust collection in this router table works well.
1. Make a cardboard pattern of the deflector
shape as shown in the drawing “Deflector”
on p. 136.
2. Saw a piece of 1⁄2-in.-thick hardwood
plywood to 75⁄8 in. by 27 in.
R O U T E R TA B L E
✦ 135
3. Screw the plywood to a thick, squared-up
Deflector
piece of scrap at least 27 in. long. Set your
sawblade at a 29-degree angle, and rip the
bevel on one edge of the panel (see photo P).
Saw 29˚
bevel on
this edge.
4. Lay out a left-hand and right-hand
deflector in mirrored fashion on the panel,
aligning the long leg of each triangle along
the beveled edge. Separate the two triangles
with a square crosscut across the panel.
129/16"
101/8"
5. Set your sawblade to a 19-degree angle,
Saw 71˚
bevel on
these edges.
and tack each triangle to a single-runner sled
to cut the bevels on the 101⁄8-in. edge and the
93⁄8-in. edge (see photo Q). Save the offcuts.
6. Nip off the tip of each deflector where it
83˚
93/8"
1/2"
fits against the baffle. I did this on the bandsaw, with the table set at 19 degrees. Note
PHOTO P: The first
step in making the
twin deflectors is to
saw the 29-degree
bevel on the panel
you’ll use for both
pieces. To make the
cut safely, screw the
panel to a piece of
squared-up scrap
lumber. (The groove
in the scrap here is
irrelevant.)
PHOTO Q: To make
the 71-degree bevels
on the deflectors,
tack them solidly to a
single-runner sled and
make the cuts with
the blade set at a
19-degree angle.
136 ✦
R O U T E R TA B L E
PHOTO R: When installing the
deflectors, shape the offcuts
to serve as backup blocks.
(Note: The hole in the upper
section of the divider is for
the switch wire.)
that this bevel opposes the direction of
the others.
7. With a bandsaw or jigsaw, shape the offcuts you saved to serve as backup blocks for
installing the deflectors. The bevel on each
offcut is a perfect complementary angle to
the standing angle of the deflectors (see
photo R on the facing page). Glue and nail
or staple the deflectors in place.
A H O R I Z O N TA L
R O U T E R - TA B L E J I G
When routing the edges of wide boards or panels, it can be advantageous to lay the workpiece
on the table and feed it against a horizontally
Preparing and
installing the back
mounted router. Mike Callihan added a pivoting
1. Make the cutout for the electrical box in
allows him that capability. The panel pivots on
the back and drill a hole for the incoming
wire. I located the cutout 2 in. down from
the top and 1 in. in from the right-hand
upper divider. I drilled the hole for the wire
4 in. down from the cutout.
a bolt at one end, while the other end is adjusted
2. Drill or cut out the opening for your
a backup for the jig to ensure that it’s square to
dust-collection port, locating it at the bottom center of the rear cabinet chamber, as
close to the middle panel as your fitting
allows. The type of opening and attachment
will depend on whatever particular fitting
you need to suit your shop vacuum or dust
collector.
the tabletop.
panel to the edge of his router tabletop that
to the proper height, then secured by a bolt running through an arced slot. A substantial rail
attached to the underside of the table serves as
3. If you decide to use a jumper hose from
your fence into the cabinet back, cut that
opening now.
4. Glue and nail the back into its rabbets.
Installing the switch panel
1. Mill a piece of 3⁄4-in.-thick by 33⁄8-in.-wide
stock 12 in. long to use for the switch panel.
The extra length allows you to clamp the
workpiece to the bench for making the
electrical-box cutout.
2. Lay out and cut the opening for the
electrical box, and crosscut the panel to fit
exactly between the upper divider and side.
3. Make the switch-panel cleats. Glue them
to the upper divider and side, carefully setting them back the exact thickness of the
switch panel.
4. After the glue cures on the cleats, glue
and clamp the panel to the cleats and the
cabinet top.
R O U T E R TA B L E
✦ 137
Making the Trays,
Drawers, and Doors
Now that the case is complete, it’s time to
make the trays, drawers, and doors and fit
them to their openings.
Making the bit trays
1. Cut the plywood trays to size, and lay out
the holes to hold your bits. I drilled an array
of holes to hold my current collection of bits
as well as future acquisitions. I drilled the
holes 1⁄2 in. deep on the drill press, using drill
bits slightly larger in diameter than my
router-bit shanks.
2. Make the tray fronts, and attach them to
the trays as shown in the drawing “Router
Table” on p. 124. I used a couple of #20 biscuits to align and reinforce the joint, but if
you don’t have a biscuit joiner, it’s all right to
just edge-glue them to the trays. Make sure
that the pieces align at the bottom and that
the fronts are square to the trays under
clamp pressure.
3. Fit the trays on their runners, and plane
the edges for a small consistent gap all
around each tray front.
Making the drawers
Although I built my drawers using dovetail
joints for maximum strength, you could use
any number of other joints, including routed
drawer lock joints (see the sidebar “Routed
Drawer Lock Joint” on pp. 154–55).
1. Mill the stock for the drawers. I ripped it
to a width that exactly matched the height of
the drawer openings because I plane the
drawers for a close fit after assembly. Crosscut the pieces to length, adjusting the length
of the sides as necessary to suit any alternative joint you’re using.
2. Mark all of the parts for orientation. I
used the triangle marking system (see the
drawing on p. 14).
3. Cut the joints. I used a dovetail jig to cut
⁄2-in. half-blind dovetails at the front and
back of the drawers (see photo S).
1
PHOTO S: Use a half-blind dovetail jig to quickly rout the drawer joints.
138 ✦
R O U T E R TA B L E
H A L F - B L I N D D O V E TA I L J I G S
I
enjoy cutting dovetails by
hand, especially for fine furniture. But when it comes to
quickly cranking out lots of
utility-grade drawers, it’s hard
to beat the efficiency of a
dovetail jig. There are a lot of
dovetail jigs on the market,
some of which will cut halfblind and through dovetails,
as well as variably spaced
tails. These premium jigs are
versatile but expensive. However, if you just want a jig for
making drawer joints, you can
pick up a half-blind dovetail jig for less than
a hundred dollars.
You’ll probably find the initial setup of one
of these jigs to be a bit finicky, but once
The design of these jigs is really inge-
things are adjusted properly, you can cut joint
nious. The pin board and tail board are
after joint like a breeze. That said, be aware
mounted at right angles in the jig so that
that because the spacing of the tails is fixed
the tails and pins are cut at the same time.
by the template, you may have to design the
End stops offset the pieces so they’ll line
height of your drawers to suit the template
up properly during assembly. A template
spacing if you want your joints to terminate
guide mounted on the router follows the
with a half pin at each end, which mimics a
fingers of a template to steer the bit.
traditionally made joint.
4. Saw or rout the 1⁄4-in. by 1⁄4-in. drawer-
7. Glue up the drawers (see photo T on
bottom groove in all the parts. Run the
groove through the tails, not the pins, so it
won’t be exposed on the sides of the drawers
(see the drawing “Router Table” on p. 124).
p. 140). I use white glue for this because it
has a longer open-assembly time than yellow
glue. Spread a thorough coat on the tails and
pins. I just spot-glue the bottoms at the center of every groove. If your joints fit well, you
shouldn’t need to clamp the drawers, but
make sure they’re square. Let the glue dry
thoroughly.
5. Cut the drawer bottoms to size. Saw or
rout a 1⁄4-in. by 5⁄16-in. rabbet on every edge to
create the tongue that slips into the grooves.
6. Dry-assemble the drawers to make sure
all the parts fit well.
R O U T E R TA B L E
✦ 139
PHOTO T: Because of
Installing the drawers
its longer openassembly time, white
glue is better than
yellow glue when
assembling dovetailed drawers.
1. Plane the bottom of each drawer so that it
sits absolutely flat.
2. Fit each drawer into its opening, planing
the sides and top edges as necessary for an
easy-sliding fit. Aim for a consistent, small
gap all around the sides. To create the gap at
the bottom of each front, I planed a slight
upward bevel on it.
3. Make the drawer stops—which are
simply small blocks of wood that fit between
the back of the drawer and the cabinet
back—positioning the drawer front flush to
the front of the cabinet. My pieces were
about 7⁄16 in. square by 4 in. long. Dab a bit of
glue on the blocks, and simply rub them into
place. Do not insert the drawer while the glue
is curing, or seepage may glue the drawer in
place. (I really should have known better . . .)
TIP
When ripping plywood into pieces,
plan your cut
sequence so that
all factory edges
are cut away in the
process, leaving
clean-cut edges.
Cabinet Wiring
15-AMP SINGLE-POLE SWITCH
BACK RECEPTACLE
BAFFLE RECEPTACLE
Connect black (hot) conductors to
brass-colored terminals.
12/2-gauge cable
Connect white
(neutral) conductors
to silver-colored terminals.
Grounding
screw in box
15-amp
receptacles
Ground (bare)
conductors
White conductor
"coded" black
Incoming power
140 ✦
15-amp plug
R O U T E R - TA B L E F E N C E S
Of course, you’ll need a fence for your new
shape of an L. The bottom board is clamped
router table. There is no shortage of commercial
to the router tabletop, and the vertical board
models (see Sources on p. 172), which are regu-
includes a cutout for the router bit. Better
larly reviewed in woodworking magazines. There
designs include a dust-collection port and a
are also plenty of shopmade designs published
means for adjustable attachment to the table-
in woodworking books and magazines.
top, as seen on the benchtop router table in
At its simplest, a fence needs to be only a
the sidebar on p. 130. The best fence designs
span of thick, straight wood that clamps to the
incorporate a two-piece split fence, which can
edges of the tabletop, with a cutout at the
be adjusted so that the two pieces closely
center to accommodate the bit. The next step
flank the router bit to create a zero-
up—which provides a higher fence—is to glue
clearance opening.
together a couple of straight, flat boards in the
Making and installing the
doors and applying a finish
doors, with the side door pull at the same
height as the center pulls.
1. Build the doors by applying solid-wood
2. Install the hinges and catches. For the
edging to the panels (which you probably do
pretty well by now).
center doors, I used brass ball catches, which
adjust for tension but require painfully precise alignment during installation. Use any
catches you like.
2. Screw the hinges into their mortises in
the case. Press the edge of each door against
the hinges, and use a sharp knife to transfer
the locations of the leaf edges onto the doors
(see the photo on p. 53). Cut the mortises in
the doors as you did for the case mortises.
3. Screw the doors to the hinges with one
screw per hinge, and mark the edges of the
doors for a small, consistent gap all around.
Remove the doors, and plane to your marks
using a sharp plane. Also, plane a slight back
bevel on the edges opposite the hinges.
4. At this point, I removed the hinges and
applied several coats of wiping varnish to the
doors, drawers, and tray fronts, as well as all
exposed surfaces on the cabinet.
Installing the hardware
and electrical components
1. Drill the holes for the drawer, tray, and
door pulls and install them. I located the
door pulls 3⁄4 in. in from the edges of the
3. Install the electrical components as
shown in the drawing “Cabinet Wiring” on
the facing page. The wiring isn’t difficult to
do, but if you don’t feel comfortable with it,
enlist the help of someone who does.
Attaching the top
and selecting a fence
1. Align the top on the case with an even
overhang all around, and clamp the top
in place.
2. To ensure a tight connection, drill pilot
holes into the tabletop and drill clearance
holes through the case tops and plastic laminate. For strength when rolling the cabinet
around, I used six #6 by 15⁄8-in. drywall
screws through each case top. Also, install
one or two screws through the baffle cleat to
pull down any crown in the top.
3. Buy or make a fence for your table.
R O U T E R TA B L E
✦ 141
One of the best helpers you can enlist in your shop is a
multi-drawer, mobile cabinet for rolling your collection
of tools to wherever they’re needed.
MOBILE
TOOL CABINET
Y
OUR SHOP doesn’t have to be neat as a pin to
be organized and efficient, but a shop that’s
cluttered by homeless tools and supplies isn’t going
to make your workday easier, as you pick through
piles of stuff to find that blasted #3 Phillips driver.
Organization can also save you money. I’m sure I’m
not the only person who has occasionally dropped
a few dollars buying a duplicate wrench or set of
hinges simply because I misplaced the ones I knew
I had somewhere!
There are plenty of options for storing tools and
supplies—ranging from racks, shelves, boxes, and
bins to cabinets with drawers and customized compartments. Standard kitchen-style cabinets will
accommodate many tools and supplies, but custom
storage projects designed to suit specific contents can
really pay off in organization. Not only will they
allow you to quickly lay your hands on specific tools
and supplies, but they also permit a quick inventory
of the contents.
Bill Hylton’s tool cabinet is a great example of efficient organization. And like any well-crafted toolbox,
it represents the skills of the craftsman who uses it.
The cabinet’s legs and rails are made of solid ash. For
the panels, Hylton used ash-veneered MDF, which he
biscuit-joined to the case framework. The top is a
piece of secondhand butcher-block countertop. Fullextension drawer slides allow easy access to every tool
in a drawer, and some of the drawers have flocked,
French-fit inserts with custom recesses cut out for
dedicated storage of specific tools. Hylton’s shopmade pulls are scaled to the sizes of the drawers and
increase in size from top to bottom for a nice design
flair. Heavy-duty casters allow easy moving of the
cabinet to wherever it’s needed during the workday.
✦ 143
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
ALL OF THE RAILS, except the top front rail, join to the legs with loose tenons; the top front rail joins
with dovetails. The back, bottom, and side panels connect to the rails and legs with #20 biscuits.
The drawer boxes are constructed with drawer lock joints at the corners and are mounted to the case
with commercial drawer slides. Solid-wood drawer fronts are screwed to the boxes afterward.
Top
Twin
loose
tenons
Tabletop
clip
Top
rail
Top
front
rail
Leg
Drawer-slide
shim
#20 biscuit
Side
panel Bottom
panel
Caster
Groove,
x 1/4"
1/4"
Bottom
Back
Side
Bottom
rail
Solid-wood
front
Drawer
Pull
Elevations
Side view
11/2"
25"
13/4"
Drawer-slide
shim centerlines
111/16"
299/16"
2
261/16"
221/16"
311/4"
363/8"
177/8"
131/2"
83/4"
29/16"
20"
21/4"
15/8"
A
s when making any case of drawers,
it’s best to make the case first, then
build the drawers to fit.
Building the Case
Milling the solid-wood parts
1. Mill the legs and rails to the sizes in the
cut list. It’s important that all the pieces be
straight, flat, and square (see the sidebar
“Dressing Stock with Machines” on p. 13).
Make at least one of the legs about an inch
oversize in length. After ripping and planing
it, crosscut it to length and save the offcut to
make a drilling jig for boring the caster bolt
holes later.
2. If you’re going to make your own top,
instead of using manufactured butcher block
41/8"
like Hylton did, glue up the boards to make
the top. After the glue dries, sand or plane
the top and then cut it to size.
Mortising the legs and rails
1. Lay out the mortises for joining the rails
to the legs with loose tenons (see the drawing “Joints” on p. 148). If you use a mortising
jig like Hylton’s, you only need to lay out one
pair of tenons to full width and length. The
rest need only a centerline along the length
of the mortises (see the sidebar “A Mortising
Jig” on p. 149).
2. Set up the mortising jig to rout the mortises in the ends of the rails. Clamp one of
the bottom rails to the jig, with its inner face
clamped against the jig and its end aligned
with the top of the jig. Align the mortise
centerline with the registration line on the
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
✦ 145
Elevations (continued)
Front view
Pull profiles
13/16"
30"
11/16"
281/2"
25"
11/4"
11"
3/4"
27/8"
15/16"
13/16"
37/8"
13/8"
37/8"
42"
41/4"
7/8"
13˚
17/16"
41/4"
15/16"
5"
11/2"
71/8"
1"
21/4"
19/16"
15/8"
11/16"
jig, and adjust the router-travel stops to cut a
15⁄8-in.-long mortise. Set your plunge router
for a 1-in.-deep cut. Place a 5⁄8-in.-thick spacer
against the rear of the jig, and adjust your
router’s edge guide to rout the innermost
mortise (see photo A on facing page).
fence to shift the router forward for cutting
the outermost mortise (see photo B on
facing page).
3. Rout the innermost mortise. Afterward,
shorter than the bottom rail mortises. To
account for the difference, place a 3⁄16-in.-thick
reposition the spacer behind the edge-guide
146 ✦
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
4. Rout all of the bottom rail mortises in the
same manner.
5. Rout the top rail mortises, which are 3⁄8 in.
CUT LIST FOR MOBILE TOOL CABINET
Top
1
Butcher-block top
11⁄2" x 25" x 30"
Maple
Case
PHOTO A: To rout the first mor-
tises in the end of a rail, mount
the rail to the mortising jig, clamping it to the vertical work holder.
Make the cut with a 5⁄8-in.-thick
spacer placed between the
edge-guide fenceand the rear
of the jig.
4
Posts
13⁄4" x 13⁄4" x 363⁄8"
Hardwood
2
Bottom side rails
1
1 ⁄8" x 2 ⁄4" x 20"
Hardwood
2
Top side rails
1 ⁄8" x 1 ⁄4" x 20"
Hardwood
2
Bottom front/back rails 1 ⁄8" x 2 ⁄4" x 25"
Hardwood
1
Top back rail
1 ⁄8" x 1 ⁄4" x 25"
Hardwood
1
Top front rail
3
⁄4" x 1 ⁄8" x 26 ⁄2"
Hardwood
2
Sides
3
⁄4" x 20" x 31 ⁄4"
Veneered MDF
1
Back
3
⁄4" x 25" x 31 ⁄4"
Veneered MDF
1
Bottom
3
⁄4" x 20" x 25"
Birch plywood
⁄4" x 27⁄8" x 25"
Hardwood
⁄2" x 2 ⁄8" x 24"
Baltic birch plywood
⁄2" x 2 ⁄8" x 19 ⁄8"
Baltic birch plywood
⁄4" x 3 ⁄8" x 25"
Hardwood
⁄2" x 3 ⁄8" x 24"
Baltic birch plywood
⁄2" x 3 ⁄8" x 19 ⁄8"
Baltic birch plywood
⁄4" x 4 ⁄4" x 25"
Hardwood
⁄2" x 4" x 24"
Baltic birch plywood
⁄2" x 4" x 19 ⁄8"
Baltic birch plywood
⁄4" x 5" x 25"
Hardwood
5
5
3
5
1
5
3
5
1
1
1
Drawers
1
Applied front
3
2
Fronts/backs
1
2
Sides
1
2
Applied fronts
3
4
Fronts/backs
1
4
Sides
1
2
Applied fronts
3
4
Fronts/backs
1
4
Sides
1
1
Applied front
3
2
Fronts/backs
1
2
Sides
1
1
Applied front
3
2
Fronts/backs
1
2
Sides
1
7
Bottoms
1
2
Drawer-slide shims
1
12 Drawer-slide shims
1
7
See the drawing “Elevations” on facing page.
Pulls
5
5
7
7
5
5
7
1
7
⁄2" x 4 ⁄4" x 24"
Baltic birch plywood
⁄2" x 4 ⁄4" x 19 ⁄8"
Baltic birch plywood
⁄4" x 7 ⁄8" x 25"
Hardwood
⁄2" x 6 ⁄8" x 24"
Baltic birch plywood
3
3
7
1
7
⁄2" x 6 ⁄8" x 19 ⁄8"
Baltic birch plywood
⁄4" x 23 ⁄16" x 19 ⁄16"
Birch plywood
11
⁄2" x 1 ⁄16" x 20"
MDF or plywood
⁄2" x 2" x 20"
MDF or plywood
7
7
7
7
Hardware
PHOTO B: To rout the second rail
mortise, reposition the 5⁄8-in.-thick
spacer behind the edge-guide
fence, which shifts the router
forward.
7 sets Drawer slides
Accuride® series 3832
20", full extension
Rockler, part #32508
4
Locking swivel
casters
3"
Woodcraft,
item #140639
4
Hex-head bolts
1
⁄2"-13 x 11⁄2"
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
✦ 147
Joints
1/2"
Top view
Top rail mortises (end view)
Side view
3/8"
3/4"
15/8"
1/4"
1/4"
1/4"
11/4"
5/8"
3/8"
1/4"
1"
13/4"
1"
3/8"
3/8"
3/8"
5/8"
Leg
Side
rail
In rails, both mortises
are 1" deep.
313/4"
Inner
panel
face
1/2"
Bottom rail mortises (end view)
1/4"
3/8"
Back
rail
3/16"
3/8"
Top
front
rail
15/8"
3/4"
13/8"
TIP
When routing mortises with a plunge
router, it’s best to
use an upcut spiral
bit. A regular
straight bit can’t
plunge straight
down into the
workpiece.
3/8"
Inner
leg
face
r
3/8"
shim against the end of each router-travel
stop. After aligning the mortise centerline
with the jig’s registration line, rout the mortises in the same manner as before.
6. Rout the mortises in the legs. Clamp a leg
routing the 15⁄8-in.-long mortises at the bottom of each leg, remove the 3⁄16-in.-thick
shims from the router-travel stops. Use them
when cutting the 11⁄4-in.-long mortises at the
top of each leg.
to the jig, with one inner face against the face
of the jig and the other inner face aligned
with the top of the jig. Align the mortise
centerline with the jig’s registration line as
before. Set one of your plunge router’s turret
stops for a 5⁄8-in.-deep cut and another for a
1-in.-deep cut. Leave the router-travel stops
set up as they were.
8. Rout the rest of the leg mortises in the
7. Cut the outermost mortise to a depth of
1. Use your saved offcut from the leg to
1 in. Insert your ⁄8-in.-thick spacer between
the rear edge of the jig and the edge-guide
fence, and rout the innermost mortise to a
depth of 5⁄8 in. (see photo C on p. 150). When
make a guide block for drilling the caster
bolt hole in the bottom of each leg. Crosscut
the offcut to 1 in. long.
5
148 ✦
3/8"
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
same manner. Before you cut, always make
sure that an inner face of the leg is against
the face of the jig. Otherwise, your mortises
will be offset to the wrong edge of the leg.
Boring and tapping the
caster holes
A M O RT I S I N G J I G
Routing mortises for loose-tenon joinery
be set to restrict the amount of router travel.
can present a bit of a challenge. Although
A track at the rear of the jig allows the use of
it’s easy enough to rout the edge mortises
a shim to offset the mortises, rather than hav-
using a router edge guide, cutting the end
ing to reset the edge guide.
mortises can be tricky because of the
limited bearing surfaces for
the router base and edge
guide. Bill Hylton’s mortising
jig solves the problem and
allows you to rout the edge
mortises and end mortises
These faces
must be
perpendicular.
Track captures
edge-guide fence.
Registration line
bisects mortise
to be cut.
Top,
13/4" x 5" x 16"
Studded knob
turns into
threaded
insert.
Adjustable
stops limit
movement
of router.
with the same basic setup.
This jig is particularly useful
when routing twin mortises,
such as those found on this
Toggle clamp
secures work.
tool cabinet.
In use, the jig holds the
workpiece in the proper orientation for routing. When routing edge mortises, the workpiece is clamped to the face
Side view
Workpiece
Work holder
adjusts up
and down. Face,
13/4" x 7" x 16"
Base,
13/4" x 3" x 24"
Edge-guide
fence, captured
in track
of the jig, resting on a horizontal work holder. When
routing end mortises, the
workpiece is clamped to a vertical work holder. Adjustable
stops on the top of the jig can
Mortising
jig
Put spacer between
jig and edge-guide
to shift router position
for second of twin mortises.
2. Using a 27⁄64-in.-dia. bit in the drill press,
Shaping the bottom rails
bore a hole through the axis of the guide block.
1. Make the two templates for routing the
3. Clamp the guide block to the end of each
curved bottom rails (see the drawing “Rail
Templates” on p. 150). Each template consists
of a 1⁄4-in.-thick MDF panel to which are
attached 3⁄4-in.-thick by 1-in.-wide fences for
holding the workpiece when routing. To
make the arc, trace along a thin, straightgrained piece of wood that has been sprung
to the desired curve (see the drawing
leg using a handscrew. Drill a 11⁄2-in.-deep
hole into the bottom of the leg using your
27
⁄64-in.-dia. bit.
4. Using a tap for 1⁄2-in.-dia. holes, thread the
bolt hole in each leg (see photo D on p. 150).
You can get a tap at the hardware store for
just a few dollars.
Optional vertical
work holder for
end mortising
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
✦ 149
Rail Templates
Side Rail Template
26"
20"
41/4"
21/4"
Fences
2"
15/8"
1"
Front/Back Rail Template
29"
25"
PHOTO C: When routing the mortises for
41/4"
21/4"
Fences
2"
15/8"
the legs, mount the leg on top of the
horizontal work holder and leave the
router-travel stops set up as before. The
3
⁄16-in.-thick shims against the ends of the
stops are removed when routing the
longer of the twin mortises.
“Springing a Curve” at left). Cut the curves
with a bandsaw or jigsaw, and smooth them
fair using files and sandpaper.
Springing a Curve
2. Use the templates to lay out the curves on
Thin,
straight-grained
strip
Nail
Scrap
block
the rail blanks. Bandsaw the rails to within
⁄16 in. of your line.
1
3. Mount each rail in its jig, and rout to the
final profile (see photo E on facing page).
Making and
fitting the loose tenons
1. Rip a length of 11⁄4-in.-wide stock and a
Workpiece
length of 15⁄8-in.-wide stock to make the
tenons. Plane the stock for a snug fit in the
mortises. You should be able to insert the
tenons using just a bit of finger pressure.
2. Rout, plane, or sand a bullnose profile on
both edges of the tenon stock.
3. Crosscut the pieces to length. Each twin
tenon joint receives one 115⁄16-in.-long tenon
and one 19⁄16-in.-long tenon. The shorter
150 ✦
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
PHOTO D: Thread
the hole for each
caster bolt using
a tap
tenon is mitered on the end that inserts into
the leg (see photo F).
Dry-fitting the frames
and cutting the panels
PHOTO E: After bandsawing close to the rail’s curved cut line,
1. Dry-assemble the legs and rails, inserting
use a template and pattern bit to rout to the final profile.
all of the loose tenons. Clamp the assembly
together to make sure that all the parts
line up properly and that the joints all pull
up tight.
2. With the unit still clamped up, measure
the openings for the side panels, back panel,
and bottom (see photo G on p. 152). Measure
carefully, as any gaps between the panels and
their frames will be evident after assembly.
3. Lay out the dovetails on the ends of the
top front rail (see the drawing “Joints” on
p. 148). Cut the tails to shape using a
bandsaw or small backsaw.
4. Position the rail on top of the legs, carefully aligning the rear edge of the rail with
the rear edge of the leg. Trace the shape of
the dovetails onto the tops of the legs.
5. Using a router, waste away most of the
dovetail sockets. Use a sharp chisel to pare
to your cut lines until the dovetail fits its
sockets snugly.
6. Saw the panels to size using a goodquality blade to minimize tearout.
PHOTO F: The inner loose tenons are shorter than the outer
tenons and are mitered on one end where they meet inside
the leg.
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
✦ 151
the inner faces of the legs and rails (see
photo H on facing page).
5. Cut the biscuit slots in the panels, centering them across the edge (see photo I on
facing page).
6. Use your biscuit joiner to cut the tabletopclip slots in the top rails. Hylton cut the slots
⁄4 in. down from the top edges of the rails,
then made his own tabletop clips to suit. You
could also use commercially available metal
clips, cutting the slots to suit them instead.
1
Assembling the Case
Now you’re ready to glue the case together,
working in stages. However, before performing every assembly step below, it’s wise to
dry-fit the subassemblies first to set your
clamps and to rehearse your clamp-up
procedures.
1. Begin by gluing up each side assembly.
PHOTO G: After dry-clamping the legs and rails, Hylton
measures the openings to determine the measurements for the back, bottom, and side panels.
A good approach is to build it standing on
edge. Lay a leg on the bench, and then glue
one of the rails to it. Next attach the panel,
and then glue on the opposing rail. Last,
attach the opposite leg. Make sure that the
assembly is square under clamp pressure
and that it’s lying flat on the bench while
the glue cures.
2. Glue the front and back bottom rails to
TIP
When clamping panels or rails to legs,
make sure that the
clamp screws are
centered across the
thickness of the
workpieces to prevent the pieces from
buckling under
clamp pressure.
Laying out and
cutting the biscuit joints
1. Lay out and cut the biscuit slots for
attaching the bottom to its rails (about four
biscuits per edge). Align the slots so that the
top face of the bottom panel will line up
with the top edges of the rails (see the drawing “Mobile Tool Cabinet” on p. 144).
2. Lay out the slot spacing for attaching the
side and back panels to the rails and legs.
Four to five biscuits per edge is fine.
3. Set your biscuit-joiner fence for cutting
the slots in the rails and legs. Offset the slots
so that the inner faces of the panels will be
inset 1⁄2 in. from the inner faces of the legs
and rails (see the drawing “Joints” on p. 148).
4. Cut the slots in the legs and rails, always
referencing your biscuit-joiner fence against
152 ✦
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
the bottom panel, carefully aligning the
ends of the rails with the ends of the panel.
Make sure that the rails are square to the
faces of the panel so that the loose-tenon
joints don’t cock out of line with their
mortises in the legs.
3. At this point, dry-clamp the pieces to see
if you are able to assemble the rest of the
unit in one operation. Some cross-clamping
will be necessary, so your success probably
depends on your collection of deep-throat
clamps. If you’re not sufficiently equipped,
your next step is to glue the back panel to its
rails. It may help to dry-clamp the sides in
place for alignment purposes.
4. Finish up by clamping the side assemblies
to the bottom, back, and rails. To help keep
the cabinet square during clamp-up, attach
PHOTO H: When cutting the biscuit slots in the rails
and legs, always reference your biscuit-joiner fence
against the inner faces of the pieces.
the top front rail but don’t glue it in place
yet. It’s easier to install the drawers without it
in the way.
Making the Drawers
PHOTO I: Center the biscuit slots across the edges
of all the panels.
Installing the Drawers
Hylton used heavy-duty, full-extension
drawer slides to carry the weight of metal
tools and to allow easy access to items at the
rear of a drawer.
The drawer boxes are made from 9-ply Baltic
birch plywood. Solid-wood drawer fronts are
screwed to the boxes after the drawers are
installed.
1. Begin by cutting the drawer-slide shims
1. Cut the drawer-box parts to size, and
along their centerlines for attaching them
to the side panels with three 1-in., #6 drywall screws.
mark the parts for orientation (see the
drawing “The Triangle Marking System”
on p. 14).
2. Cut the joints. Hylton routed the joints
using a drawer-lock bit in his router table
(see the sidebar “Routed Drawer Lock Joint”
on pp. 154–55). However, you could use any
joints you like.
3. Saw the 1⁄4-in. by 1⁄4-in. grooves 1⁄4 in. up
from the bottom edges to accept the drawer
bottoms (see the drawing “Mobile Tool
Cabinet” on p. 144).
4. Dry-assemble each drawer to check the fit
of the joints and the bottom in its grooves.
Glue up the boxes on a flat work surface.
Make sure the drawers are square under
clamp pressure.
to size. These will create a mounting surface
flush to the inside faces of the legs.
2. Predrill and countersink the shim
3. Drill pilot holes along the centerline
for attaching the slides to the shims. Use a
slide to determine the correct spacing for
the holes.
4. Screw the drawer shims to the side panels. To ensure that they were perpendicular
to the face of the cabinet, Hylton rested the
shims on a supporting plywood panel held
against the case side. He began by cutting the
panel to the proper height for installing the
top shim. After screwing the top pair of
shims in place, he installed their slides and
trimmed the support panel to the correct
height for the next lowest shims (see photo J
on p. 155).
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
✦ 153
R O U T E D D R AW E R
LOCK JOINT
A
routed drawer lock joint provides a quick way
to make drawer joints that resist the stresses
caused by pulling and slamming drawers. The
interlocking joint is made using a single drawer
lock bit mounted in a router table. The drawer
fronts and backs are cut by feeding the pieces
flat on the table. The sides are cut with the
pieces standing on edge. The bit stays at the
same height for both cuts. Only the fence needs
to be adjusted for the cuts.
Use scrap to set up the cuts. The first step is
to set the bit height, as shown in the drawing at
Setting the fence
left, fine-tuning the height until there is no gap
Overhang
width
between the pieces. Next, set the fence for cutting the drawer front. The perimeter of the bit
should protrude from the fence a distance
Tuning bit
height
Fence
equal to the thickness of the plywood. Set it as
closely as you can, and make a test cut in scrap
to check the depth of cut. When you’ve got it
right, clamp registration blocks to the table
behind the fence (see the top left photo on the
Gap here means
bit is too low.
Mounting
plate
facing page).
Finally, set the fence for cutting the drawer
For drawer front
Fence
Fence flush
with cutting
edge; only
tab protrudes.
sides. The fence should be aligned with the
lower section of the bit’s cutting edge, as
shown in the drawing. Only the tab section of
the bit should protrude from the fence. Make a
test cut, then clamp registration blocks in front
of the fence (see the bottom photo on the facing page).
Won't close;
bit is too high.
Make one last set of test cuts with the fence
in both of its positions against the registration
Mounting
plate
For drawer sides
154 ✦
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
blocks. Fine-tune the fence settings if necessary
and then cut your drawer joints.
PHOTO J: To keep the drawer-slide shims
perpendicular to the case front, Hylton rests
each shim on a square plywood panel
pressed against the case side. Starting with
the uppermost slides, he works downward,
sawing the panel shorter to install each subsequent pair of shims.
5. Install the quick-disconnect rails to the drawer-box sides (see photo K on p. 156). The rails
are offset on the drawer side because they ride
on top of the extending slides. Space them so the
drawer box will be centered on the telescoping
drawer sides.
6. Now that the drawers are installed, you can
glue the top front rail into its dovetail sockets.
Making and Attaching
the Drawer Fronts
The drawer-front sizes listed in the cut list are
ideal finished sizes. In fact, you’ll cut the drawers
about 1⁄16 in. oversize in width, and trim them to
fit during installation.
1. Begin with the front for the bottom
drawer, ripping it to about 73⁄16 in. wide. Before
crosscutting it to length, check the square of
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
✦ 155
if fine, install the other screws. If the alignment
is off, remove the installed screws, adjust the
position of the front, and install the other
two screws. When everything is aligned, drive
all four screws home.
4. Install the rest of the drawer fronts moving upward in the same manner, using shims
placed on the top edge of the drawer below.
5. After all the fronts are installed, use a
sharp block plane to do any final edge trimming. Ease the sharp edges, and sand the
drawer fronts through 220 grit.
Making and Attaching
the Drawer Pulls
Hylton made his own wooden pulls. They
align with the bottom edges of the drawers
and increase in size from top to bottom. If
you like, you could make the pulls all the
same size or use commercial pulls instead.
1. Determine the lengths of the individual
pulls by laying out lines from the center
11 in. of the top drawer downward to the
bottom outside corners of the bottom drawer
(see the drawing “Elevations” on p. 146).
2. Using the pull profiles’ drawing as a reference, rip and plane lengths of stock slightly
oversize in width (the pull height) and length
for each pull. For example, the blank for the
bottom pull would be 11⁄16 in. thick by 15⁄8 in.
wide by 27 in. long.
PHOTO K: A combina-
tion square gauges
the lines for installing
the quick-disconnect
rails that attach to
the drawer sides.
your case opening. If it’s perfectly square,
crosscut the drawer front to be 1⁄16 in. less
than the opening. If the opening is out of
square, crosscut the drawer front so it
touches both stiles.
2. Place ⁄16-in. shims on the case bottom,
and clamp the drawer front to its box. Mark
for trimming the ends (see photo J on p. 155).
Aim for a gap of 3⁄64 in. on each side. Use a
sharp block plane to trim the end grain.
1
3. Reclamp the trimmed drawer front to the
box. Remove the box, and drill four countersunk holes through the box to attach the
front. Install two screws, remove the clamps,
and recheck the fit in the case. If the alignment
156 ✦
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
3. Rip the bevels on your table saw, with the
bottom of the pull against the fence and the
offcut underneath the tilted blade.
4. Set up your router table with a 3⁄4-in.-dia.
corebox bit, and rout the coved underside of
each pull blank. Adjust your router fence for
each pull so that you leave 1⁄8 in. of uncut
wood at the nose of the pull.
5. Place each pull against its drawer front.
Mark the trim lines on the ends of the pull,
using the layout lines that you made on the
drawer fronts as a reference.
6. Trim the ends of the pulls. To make the
cuts, tilt your chopsaw blade to 45 degrees
and set your miter angle to 13 degrees.
M A K I N G D R AW E R C O M PA RT M E N T S
Drawers are a great storage solution
because they can be built in sizes suitable
to particular tools. They also provide easy
access to items that might otherwise lie in
piles on a shelf. But drawers full of small
items can become a jumble of stuff to pick
through. The best improvement you can
make to such a drawer is to compartmentalize it with dividers.
Craig Bentzley outfits his tool cabinets with
removable dividers that can be rearranged to
suit his tool collection as needed. When making his drawers, he cuts 1⁄8-in.-wide slots in
the drawer walls to accept dividers that are
slotted to allow further compartmentalization. He makes the long main dividers from
⁄4-in.-thick solid wood, rabbeting them at
1
their ends to slip into the slots in the drawer
walls. The short dividers that connect to the
long dividers are simply pieces of 1⁄8-in.-thick
plywood.
You can retrofit any drawer for this type of
system by first lining the walls of the drawer
with slotted inserts to which you can add
dividers as shown here.
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
✦ 157
F R E N C H - F I T D R AW E R S
For the ultimate in organization, you can out-
Lay your tools out on the panel and trace
fit tool-cabinet drawers with French-fit inserts,
their profiles. Then cut the shapes using a jig-
as Bill Hylton did. These inserts are simply
saw or scrollsaw. (Notice the semicircular
panels cut out to accommodate specific tools.
cutouts for finger access incorporated in the
Hylton even applied flocking (see Sources on
recess for the metal rods.) Round over the
p. 172) to further protect and cushion his tools.
edges, and use files and sandpaper to
It’s easy to make a French-fit drawer. Begin
smooth and round in the corners where the
by cutting a panel to fit inside your drawer.
bit can’t reach. Glue the panel into the drawer,
You could use plywood, but MDF provides
weighing it down with bricks or other heavy
a cleaner, smoother surface. Hylton used
objects until the glue cures.
⁄4-in.-thick MDF, but you could use thicker
1
To apply flocking, paint the drawer with
material if deeper recesses would better serve
special flocking adhesive (see the photo at
your needs.
bottom left). Place the drawer in a plastic bag
or canopy, and shoot the
flocking onto the panel
using a cardboard telescoping pump sold for the
purpose (see the top
photo at right). After the
adhesive dries, brush away
the excess flocking for one
fine-looking drawer.
158 ✦
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
Clamping the Pulls
TO CLAMP THE BEVELED PULLS to the drawer fronts,
make a clamping caul that complements the bevel and
nose of the largest, lowermost pull. After attaching that
pull, rip the caul to suit each successively smaller pull.
Caul
Drawer
front
Pull
7. Sand the pulls, and clamp them to the
drawer fronts. Hylton did this one at a time,
starting with the lowermost pull and using a
beveled clamping caul that he trimmed
down for each successively smaller pull (see
the drawing “Clamping the Pulls” on p. 159).
Finishing Up
1. Finish-sand the case, drawer fronts,
and top.
2. Apply a finish. Hylton wiped on several
coats of wiping varnish, sanding between coats.
3. Attach the top using tabletop clips. You
can make your own, as shown in the drawing
“Mobile Tool Cabinet” on p. 144, or use
commercial metal clips.
MOBILE TOOL CABINET
✦ 159
The torsion box top of this mobile assembly table
offers a dead-flat, glue-resistant, easily cleanable
surface for assembling woodwork projects.
ASSEMBLY TABLE
A
DEAD-FLAT ASSEMBLY TABLE can save
a furniture maker untold grief. If the surface that you use to assemble projects isn’t flat, it can
introduce twist into your work, causing problems
down the line with other subassemblies and installations. Most assembly tables that I’ve seen and used
over the years have had tops made of MDF—and for
good reason; MDF is about the flattest panel material
around, and it’s a great substrate for a plastic laminate covering, which is tough and glue resistant.
Unfortunately, MDF—like all particleboard
products—sags under its own weight over time. So
even assembly tables with a good supporting framework underneath can sag between supports that
aren’t spaced closely together.
I decided to put the time into building an assembly table that would be dead flat and stay that way for
the rest of my career. The solution was to make the
top as a torsion box, which is comprised of a gridwork of closely spaced ribs sandwiched with glue
between two panels. This creates a very stiff, rigid
construction. The top is mounted on a low cabinet
that provides a comfortable height for assembling
medium-size cabinets and furniture.
I’ve used a number of mobile assembly tables that
were outfitted with clamp drawers and overloaded
with hardware and supplies to the point that calling
them “mobile” was stretching the truth. I needed to be
able to move my table around the shop more easily, so
I purposely kept the case relatively lightweight and
open, adding only a shelf or two. The compartments
can be utilized as needed for tools and supplies.
If you’re not concerned about mobility, you could
eliminate the casters and simply extend the base to
the floor. For storage, you could outfit the cabinet
with drawers, shelves, or doors, as you like. Of course,
you can make your assembly table any size you like,
as well. Just make sure when you’re designing the grid
for the top that the next-to-outermost ribs overlay
the top case frame for attaching the top.
✦ 161
A S S E M B LY TA B L E
THE TORSION BOX TOP, with its MDF panels and internal grid of ribs, ensures a lifetime of flat stability.
The plywood case, with its stiffening spine, can be outfitted with shelves or drawers for storage. The base
supports the case and provides solid attachment for casters.
Plastic
laminate
MDF
panel
TOP
Full-length rib
Short rib
Grid
frame
Edging
MDF
panel
Plastic
laminate
Notch
Dado
Frame
Shelf-pin hole
Spine
CASE
Case
Side
Rabbet
Rail
Bottom
Divider
Rail
BASE
Corner
block
Caster
162 ✦
A S S E M B LY T A B L E
T
his project consists of three basic
components: the base, the case, and
the top (see the drawing “Assembly
Table” on facing page). I built the base first
so I could use it as a flat surface for assembling the top, which I made next. I put the
case together last.
Making the Base
CUT
LIST FOR
ASSEMBLY
CUT-LIST
FOR
ROLLING TABLE
PIN
Base
2
Rails
13⁄4" x 21⁄2" x 53"
Maple
3
Rails
1 ⁄4" x 2 ⁄2" x 27"
Maple
2
Ledgers
1 ⁄4" x 1 ⁄4" x 25 ⁄2"
Maple
4
Corner blocks
1 ⁄4" x 2 ⁄2" x 3"
Maple
⁄4" x 35" x 60"
MDF
⁄4" x 2 ⁄4" x 57 ⁄2"
Pine
⁄4" x 2 ⁄4" x 35"
Pine
⁄4" x 2 ⁄4" x 6 ⁄4"
Pine
⁄4" x 2 ⁄4" x 2 ⁄8"
Pine
⁄2" x 3 ⁄4" x 36"
Maple
⁄2" x 3 ⁄4" x 60"
Maple
⁄4" x 301⁄2" x 151⁄2"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 14 ⁄4" x 54"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 14 ⁄4" x 15 ⁄8"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 30 ⁄2" x 54"
Hardwood plywood
⁄4" x 2" x 31"
Solid wood
⁄4" x 2" x 54"
Solid wood
⁄4" x ⁄4" x 15 ⁄2"
Solid wood
⁄4" x ⁄4" x 54"
Solid wood
⁄4" x ⁄4" x 15 ⁄8"
Solid wood
3”
Woodcraft, item
#141051
3
1
1
3
1. Rip and crosscut the stock for the base
Top
rails and corner blocks using dense, straightgrained hardwood. I used hard maple. Cut
the pieces oversize in length and width, and
let them relax for a few days before milling
them to final size. Make extra stock for setting up cuts later.
2
Panels
3
7
Ribs
3
2
Ribs
3
32 Ribs
3
16 Ribs
3
2. Mark the pieces for orientation. I used
2
Edgings
1
the triangle marking system (see the drawing
on p. 14).
2
Edgings
1
3. Lay out the 1⁄2-in.-wide by 3⁄4-in.-deep
Cabinet
dadoes in the ends of the long rails to accept
the tongues on the short rails.
2
Sides
3
1
Spine
3
4. Rout the dadoes. I clamped the two rails
1
Divider
3
1
Bottom
3
2
Cleats
3
5. Saw or rout the rabbets in the short rails
2
Cleats
3
to create the tongues that fit in the dadoes.
Set up the cuts and test the fits using the
extra stock you milled when making the
rails. I made the cheek cuts first, using a
tenoning jig on the table saw (see photo B
4
Edgings
1
2
Edgings
1
1
Edging
1
together and used a shopmade square to
guide the router across both rails at once
(see photo A).
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
3
3
3
3
3
1
1
3
1
3
3
1
Hardware
4
Swivel casters
16 Lag screws
and washers
⁄16” x 11⁄2”
5
PHOTO A: Rout the dadoes in the base
rails using a shopmade square to guide
your router. For efficiency, gang the
two rails together for the cut. (The
extra edge joints you see here are a
result of using butcher-block countertop for the rail stock.)
A S S E M B LY T A B L E
✦ 163
on p. 164). I cut the shoulder using a stop
block on my crosscut sled (see photo C).
6. Glue up the base on a flat surface, carefully aligning the edges of all the pieces. Sight
across the top of the assembled base to make
sure it’s not twisted. If necessary, shim under
the appropriate corners to make it flat. Let
the assembly dry overnight.
7. After the glue dries, plane the edges flush
to each other if necessary. This is important
for proper case and caster attachment.
8. Cut the corner blocks to size and glue
them to the base, carefully aligning them
with the bottom edges of the base. The
blocks will provide additional support and
mounting for the casters.
PHOTO B: The cheek cut for the rabbets was made using a
shopmade tenoning jig on the table saw. The blade and fence
have been set up using scrap, which was then test-fitted in
the dado.
Making the Top
Making the top isn’t complicated, but it does
require good material and accurate workmanship if you want to get a dead-flat surface. You don’t have to use premium-grade
pine for the ribs, but avoid pieces with squirrelly grain and a lot of knots, especially for
the pieces used for the grid frame and fulllength ribs.
Cutting the pieces to size
1. Make the rib stock, ripping the strips 1⁄4 in.
oversize in width. Sticker the pieces, and let
them sit at least overnight to relax and do
whatever warping they’re going to do before
further milling them.
2. Saw the MDF panels to 351⁄4 in. by 591⁄4 in.
PHOTO C: The shoulder cut for the rabbet was made using
the table-saw crosscut sled. The test piece cut for the previous step makes the perfect stop block, allowing space for the
offcut to fall away.
If you’re frugal like me (my friends prefer the
word “cheap”), you can get both panels from
one sheet of MDF by abutting two pieces to
make the bottom panel (see the drawing
“MDF Panel Layout” on p. 166). Both the top
and bottom panels will be trimmed flush to
the grid frame after assembly.
3. After the rib stock has done whatever
warping it’s going to do, joint one edge of
every piece straight and then rip all of the
strips to 21⁄4 in. wide.
4. Crosscut the pieces to length, working as
accurately as possible. After cutting one end
of each piece square, use a stop block on
your saw to ensure that all commonly sized
ribs are exactly the same length.
164 ✦
A S S E M B LY T A B L E
Assembling the grid and panels
A LIFT FROM THE MEDICAL
PROFESSION
To put the top together, you’ll assemble the
grid of ribs, then glue and screw the two
panels to the rib assembly.
When woodworker Walt Segl needed an assembly
1. To ensure that the top will be flat, it’s
table, he used his connections with the medical indus-
important to work on a flat surface. To create
one, place the base on a flat surface such as a
benchtop, then sight across the top edges of
the base to make sure it’s sitting flat. Shim
the corners if necessary. Then place your
351⁄4-in. by 591⁄2-in. MDF panel on top of
the base.
try to procure a surplus hospital-bed mechanism.
Outfitting it with a maple butcher-block top provided
him with an assembly table with built-in height adjustment. Pressing a foot
pedal raises the table to
a height suitable for
2. Working on the MDF panel, assemble the
whatever-size project
grid frame. First, nail or screw the corners
together, carefully aligning all the edges.
Then, nail or screw the full-length ribs in
place, using the short ribs to space them the
proper distance (see photo D on p. 166).
he’s working on. Although
not as rock-solid as a
typical sturdy assembly
table or workbench, Segl’s
3. Using a large square laid across the full-
assembly table is both
length ribs, mark the layout lines for placing
the short ribs (see the drawing “Elevations”
on p. 167).
mobile and convenient.
TORSION BOXES
A torsion box is a construction made by sandwiching a
grid of closely spaced ribs
between two panels. This
yields an incredibly strong and
rigid platform, and it’s used in
many applications where a
supporting framework underneath the surface must be
kept to a minimum. The top
of many a large conference
table is made of a torsion box,
and it’s a great solution for a
shelf or countertop that needs
to span a long area with no
center support underneath.
The strength of a torsion box
depends not only on the type
and thickness of the wood used
for the ribs and panels but also
on the spacing of the ribs. The
wood used for the ribs doesn’t
have to be dense for the torsion box to be strong. The box
picks up a lot of strength from
the fact that the ribs are glued
to the panels, so using pine or
another soft wood is usually
fine, and it reduces the overall
weight of the torsion box.
Closely spaced ribs add
strength to the torsion box
and minimize deflection of
the panel areas between the
ribs. Wider ribs increase the
thickness of the torsion box
and bolster its overall resistance to deflection. The grid
of ribs consists of full-length
pieces with short spacer ribs
filling in between. It’s usually
best to run the full-length ribs
the long dimension of the
torsion box.
A S S E M B LY T A B L E
✦ 165
MDF Panel Layout
FOR ECONOMY, the bottom panel can be made by abutting
two pieces cut to the sizes shown, yielding a seam that will
straddle a rib in the torsion box top.
351/4" x 473/4"
Join at 351/4"
edge to make
bottom panel.
111/2"
x
351/4"
PHOTO D: With the short ribs pressed
against the frame between the full-length
ribs, nail or screw through the outer frame
into the end of each full-length rib.
Top
351/4" x 591/2"
4. Arrange the short ribs in place, and staple
TIP
Wood can contain
internal stresses that
are released after
ripping a board,
causing the newly
sawn pieces to warp.
To ensure that
boards stay as
straight and flat as
possible over time,
rip them about 1⁄4 in.
oversize in width,
then sticker them
for a day or so to let
the pieces “relax”
before jointing, planing, and ripping
them to final size.
166 ✦
them to the full-length ribs (see photo E).
I used 3⁄8-in.-long staples. Hammer any proud
staples flush into the surface. Afterward,
carefully flip the grid over and staple the
other side in the same manner.
5. Mark the centerlines of the long ribs onto
the face of one of the MDF panels. Mark for
screws along those lines, which should be
spaced 71⁄4 in. apart.
6. Drill clearance holes through the MDF
for the screws using a 5⁄32-in.-dia. bit.
Countersink the holes. Do not drill pilot
holes into the ribs. Sand away any projecting
blowout on the exit side of the holes.
7. Apply a coat of glue to the top edges of
the ribs (see photo F on p. 168). It’s best to
use white—rather than yellow—glue for this
because of the longer open-assembly time.
Screw the panel to the grid using #6 by
15⁄8-in. drywall screws. Before driving the
screws, make sure that the panel overhangs
the grid on all edges.
A S S E M B LY T A B L E
PHOTO E: A staple straddling each short rib
and full-length rib holds the pieces together.
A bar clamp applies pressure across the
assembly to ensure snug contact of the
pieces.
8. Flip the assembly over, mark the screw
holes in the remaining panel, and drill them.
Attach the panel with glue and screws in the
same manner.
9. One important final step: Mark the locations of the perimeter screws on the edges of
the top panel so you don’t cut into them
when cutting biscuit slots later. (Don’t ask me
how I found this out . . .)
Applying the plastic laminate
In the interest of balanced construction, I
applied plastic laminate to the bottom of the
Elevations
60"
Top view
571/2"
61/4" 61/2"
36"
1/4"
3/8"
151/8"
35"
6"
3/8"
11"
3"
1/4"
23/8"
Short rib
Screw hole
Full-length rib
Front view
1/2"
21/4"
60"
3/4"
33/4"
14"
54"
151/2"
263/8"
55"
21/2"
26"
1/4"
1"
Bottom view
(with top
detached
1/2"
Base frame
31"
251/2"
3/4"
27"
29"
13/4"
53"
55"
torsion box as well as to the top. I used a discounted sheet of damaged laminate on the
bottom, but you could also piece together the
bottom laminate using offcuts from the top
sheet. If you want to make an auxiliary top
for assembling shorter work, at a raised
height this might be a good time to laminate
those pieces, too (see the drawing “An Auxiliary Top” on p. 169).
1. In preparation for applying the laminate,
sand down any ridges on the panel caused by
the countersink bit. Use compressed air to
blow away the sanding dust to prevent contaminating the contact cement you’ll use to
apply the laminate.
A S S E M B LY T A B L E
✦ 167
2. Apply contact cement to the MDF panel
and to the laminate. I found that I had to
apply a second coat to the porous MDF
because it showed dry spots after tacking up.
3. After the contact cement tacks up, lay
long dowels across the MDF panel and then
place the laminate on top of the dowels,
ensuring that the laminate meets or overhangs the MDF panel at all edges.
4. Working from the center of the panel,
PHOTO F: Use a small paint roller to apply white glue to the
ribs for attaching the panel.
press the laminate onto the MDF panels,
removing the dowels as you work outward
(see the top photo on p. 118). After removing
all the dowels, apply heavy pressure to the
entire surface using a roller, straight-sided
glass jar, or piece of thick wood with a bullnose edge.
5. Using a flush-trim router bit, trim the
T H E N O D E N A D J U S T- A - B E N C H ™
edges of the laminated MDF panel flush with
the edges of the rib grid.
Woodworker Geoffrey Noden has developed what
6. Flip the assembly over, and apply the lam-
I consider to be one of the coolest innovations to
inate to the other side in the same manner.
Trim those edges flush.
come along in woodworking in recent years. The
Adjust-A-Bench is a rock-solid assembly table/work-
Fitting and applying the edging
bench that easily adjusts in height from 28 in. to 45 in.
1. Mill the stock for the edging, making sure
Noden sells the metal trestles that incorporate the
it’s a bit wider than the top is thick.
lifting mechanisms. You can attach whatever type of
2. Fit the edging to the top, carefully miter-
benchtop you like to the
trestles. Since using my
Adjust-A-Bench, I’ve been
amazed at how many
times I change its height
during the course of a
workday—often raising it
up for cutting dovetails,
then dropping it down
low for assembling cases.
It’s a real convenience, not
to mention a back saver.
(See “Sources” on p. 170.)
ing the ends to meet neatly (see photo G on
facing page).
3. Cut the biscuit slots for attaching the edging to the MDF panel (see photo H on facing
page). These biscuits are more for alignment
than joint strength. The slots will allow just
enough up-and-down adjustment to push
the edging a hair proud of the laminate when
gluing it in place.
4. Glue the edging to the top, applying
plenty of glue to the absorbent MDF edges.
I clamped the edging in place, but you could
nail or screw it instead. I attached the long
pieces first, carefully aligning them at the
corner using the dry-fit short pieces. After
the glue dried, I attached the short pieces,
making sure to apply glue to the faces of
the miters.
5. Trim the edging flush to the laminate
using a sharp block plane set for a very
fine cut.
168 ✦
A S S E M B LY T A B L E
An Auxiliary Top
6. Rout a roundover on the edges and corners
of the top using a 1⁄4-in.-radius roundover bit.
Making the Case
The case is a simple construction consisting
of two sides, a bottom, a spine, a compartment divider, and a frame. I used dadoes to
align and connect the spine to the sides and
to connect the divider to the spine. You could
use biscuits instead, but remember to adjust
the sizes of the pieces accordingly.
FOR WORKING ON shorter projects without bending over, you can
raise the height of your assembly table with this auxiliary top. The
knock-down riser can be disassembled and stored in the long compartment of your assembly table. If you cover the top with plastic
laminate, be sure to cover the panel bottom as well to prevent
warping.
Cover top and
Locator blocks
bottom with
nestle in
plastic laminate.
Top
corners of riser.
MDF
panel
Preparing the plywood pieces
Make riser
panels from
3/4"-thick
plywood.
1. Lay out the plywood pieces, all of which
can be cut from one sheet of plywood.
2. Cut the bottom and sides to size, ripping
away the plywood factory edge in the
process. Rip the spine and divider to 15 in.
for now, but crosscut them to finished
length. During the assembly process, you’ll
rip them to exactly match the height of
the sides.
3. Mill and apply 1⁄4-in.-thick edging to the
sides, bottom, and divider. Make the edging
slightly wider than the thickness of the
plywood, and trim it flush after gluing it on
(see the photos on p. 127).
Riser
Rout or saw
slots for
snug fit.
Rip to suit.
PHOTO G (far left):
When fitting the
mitered edging to
the top, clamp two
adjacent pieces to the
top with their miters
meeting neatly at the
corner. Care-fully mark
the opposite miters
with a miter square
and a sharp pencil.
PHOTO H (near left):
To provide support
for the biscuit-joiner
fence when slotting
the edging, orient the
edging inside out and
clamp it to the edge
of the top.
A S S E M B LY T A B L E
✦ 169
PHOTO I: Using a
4. Orient the plywood pieces for good looks,
tenoning jig and a
dado head, cut the
open-mortise half of
each joint. Set up the
saw and test the cut
using scrap.
and mark them using the triangle marking
system (see the drawing on p. 14).
5. Lay out the dadoes in the sides and spine.
6. Saw or rout the dadoes, after setting up
the cut using scrap.
7. Cut the rabbets in the bottom edges of
the sides. The width of the rabbets should
exactly match the thickness of the bottom.
PHOTO J: Again using
scrap to set up the
cut, adjust the rip
fence and cut the first
cheek on all tenons.
Next, slide the rip
fence over to make
all of the second
cheek cuts.
8. You need to measure for the final width
of the spine. To do this, first dry-clamp the
spine and one of the sides to the bottom.
Then make a mark near the top edge of the
spine where it meets the side. Rip the spine
to the mark to ensure that it is exactly the
same height as the sides.
9. Cut the rabbets in the top edge of the
sides, exactly matching the width of the rabbet to the thickness of the frame.
10. Cut the notches in the spine and divider
to accept the frame. I used a jigsaw, but you
could cut them using a table saw.
PHOTO K: A sliding
compound miter saw
with a depth stop
makes quick work of
cutting the tenon
shoulders. A stop
block to the right of
the blade registers the
cut. A spacer stick that
holds the workpiece
away from the fence
allows you to make a
full-width cut with the
raised blade.
Assembling the case
1. Lay out the screw holes for attaching the
divider to the spine. Glue and screw the
divider into its dado, carefully aligning the
edges of the spine and divider. I used #6 by
2-in. drywall screws.
2. Lay out the screw holes for attaching the
bottom to the spine and divider. Drill a
clearance hole through the bottom for each
screw. There is no need to countersink the
holes, as the head will pull itself down into
the plywood surface.
Making the frame
1. Mill the pieces for the top frame. Make
extra stock to use for setting up the joint cuts.
2. Make the corner joints. I used bridle
joints, which make for great strength (see
photos I, J, and K). However, you could join
the corners with biscuits, dowels, or simple
half-lap joints.
3. Glue up the frame on a flat surface, such
as your brand spankin’ new assembly tabletop. Compare the diagonals to make sure the
frame is square after clamping.
170 ✦
A S S E M B LY T A B L E
3. Glue and screw the bottom to the spine
and divider (see photo L on facing page).
4. Flip the unit right side up. With the sides
clamped lightly to the spine, glue and screw
the top frame to the spine and divider. One
screw at each notch will do the trick.
5. Attach the sides. I glued and clamped
them, but you could either glue and nail or
screw them instead, filling the holes later if
you like.
6. Drill the shelf-pin holes using a brad-point
bit to minimize tearout. I used a shopmade
plywood drilling template to guide the bit.
7. Screw the case to the base using 2-in.-
PHOTO L: With the
long screws. For each screw, drill a pilot hole
into the base and a clearance hole through
the case to ensure good contact between the
pieces. If you want to plug the holes for
looks, as I did, drill counterbores as well and
plug the holes later.
sides dry-clamped to
the spine and with
the unit upside down,
glue and screw the
bottom to the spine
and divider using
#6 by 2-in. drywall
screws.
8. If you’re going to apply finish to the
case, it’s easier to do it now, before attaching
the top.
9. Attach each caster using four 5⁄16-in. by
11⁄2-in. lag screws. I installed flat washers as
well (see photo M). I set the caster plate
about 5⁄16 in. in from the edges of the base.
10. Attach the case to the top with #8 by
21⁄2-in. drywall screws driven into the ribs
(see the drawing “Elevations” on p. 167).
For good screw purchase, I drilled pilot holes
through the MDF panel (but not into the
ribs) and drilled clearance holes through the
frame and plastic laminate.
11. With a helper, flip the unit right side up
and roll it to your assembly area. Your workmanship is about to move up a notch.
RETROFITTING FOR MOBILITY
When Andy Rae moved to a larger shop, he found
that he needed to be able to move around his
previously stationary assembly table. So he added
L-shaped blocks to the lower rails and affixed casters
to the unit. A heavy assembly table like this—with its
thick posts and rails, MDF panels, and load of tools
PHOTO M: Attach the casters to the base
and hardware—requires heavy-duty casters. Don’t
using lag screws and washers.
stint on their cost.
A S S E M B LY T A B L E
✦ 171
SOURCES
ADJUST-A-BENCH
Geoffery Noden
232 Stokes Ave.
Trenton, NJ 08638
(609) 882-3300
www.geocities.com/adjustabench/
Adjustable bench hardware
REID TOOL SUPPLY CO.
2265 Black Creek Rd.
Muskegon, MI 49441
(800) 253-0421
www.reidtool.com
Handles, knobs, tool, and
woodworking supplies
WOODWORKER’S SUPPLY, INC.
1108 N. Glenn Rd.
Casper, WY 82601
(800) 645-9292
www.woodworker.com
Hardware, tools, and woodworking
supplies
HARTVILLE TOOL
940 W. Maple St.
Hartville, OH 44632
(800) 345-2396
www.hartvilletool.com
T-track, hardware, tools, and
woodworking supplies
ROCKLER WOODWORKING
AND HARDWARE
4365 Willow Dr.
Medina, MN 55340
(800) 279-4441
www.rockler.com
Knobs, flocking supplies, hardware,
tools, and woodworking supplies
WOODWORKING FASTTRAK, INC.
W5823 School Ave.
Merrill, WI 54452
(888) 327-7725
www.woodworkingfasttrak.com
T-track, flip stops, and
woodworking-machine
accessories
LEE VALLEY TOOLS LTD.
PO Box 1780
Ogdensburg, NY 13669
(800) 871-8158
www.leevalley.com
Hardware, tools, and woodworking
supplies
LIE-NIELSEN TOOLWORKS, INC.
PO Box 9
Warren, ME 04864
(800) 327-2520
www.lie-nielsen.com
Exceptional handplanes
MICRO FENCE
11100 Cumpston St., #35
N. Hollywood, CA 91601
(800) 480-6427
www.microfence.com
Exceptional router edge guides
172 ✦
WOODCRAFT
PO Box 1686
Parkersburg, WV 26102
(800) 225-1153
www.woodcraft.com
Minitrack, casters, hardware, tools,
and woodworking supplies
WOODHAVEN
501 W. First Ave.
Durant, IA 52747
(800) 344-6657
www.woodhaven.com
Router-table fences, hardware, and
router accessories
WOODWORKER’S HARDWARE
PO Box 180
Sauk Rapids, MN 56379
(800) 383-0130
www.wwhardware.com
Drawer slides, pulls, hinges, tools,
and woodworking supplies
CRAFTS & HOBBIES
The right fixtures and accessories can
mean a big difference in how well your
workshop works for you.
In this book, Paul Anthony has collected some of the
best ideas for shop accessories, workstations, jigs, and
storage solutions. With the help of the detailed drawings
and step-by-step instructions and photos, you can build
and install these ingenious shop additions. The result
will be a more efficient workshop and woodworking
that’s safer and easier.
CLAMP RACKS
WOOD STORAGE SOLUTIONS
D R I L L I N G S TAT I O N S
TA B L E S AW S TAT I O N S
R O U T E R TA B L E S
TOOL CABINETS
AND MUCH MORE . . .
About the Author
Paul Anthony has been a professional woodworker for
almost 30 years and is a past president of the Sonoma County
Woodworkers Association. He has built hundreds of projects, ranging
from furniture to turnings and musical instruments. A former editor
for American Woodworker magazine, he is also the author of Home
Storage Projects. He lives in Riegelsville, Pennsylvania.
Visit our website at www.taunton.com.
Cover photos by: Paul Anthony
Cover design by: Howard Grossman/12E Design
The Taunton Press also publishes Fine Woodworking
magazine, the single best source of woodworking
ideas and information anywhere.
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Taunton Product #077977
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