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Workshop
Storage
Solutions
16 Storage Projects to
Shape Up Your Shop
BONUS!
3 Shop Fixture Projects:
• Table Saw Outfeed Table
• Sawbench • Shop Stool
30
$
Lumber
Rack
It doesn’t take a lot of time or money
to build a flexible and sturdy rack
for your rough lumber and offcuts.
that means running
n my family, we still
them to the floor. In my
remember the day my
shop, the lower half of
old lumber rack colmy wall is cinder block,
lapsed. I was upstairs with
so I set the 2 x 4s on
the kids when there was
those. To hold the luma sudden and horrible
ber, I drilled 7⁄ 8"-diamecrash. The two cats ran
in four directions; the
ter holes through the 2
baby started to wail. It
x 4s at 4" intervals and
was that loud.
at a 5° angle. Then I inWhen I went down
serted 12" lengths of 1⁄ 2"
Clamp all your pieces together when laying out the holes. This is
the steps to the shop it faster and more accurate.
galvanized pipe in the
looked like a giant box
holes. The 1⁄2" pipe, availof toothpicks had spilled everywhere. It seems the able in the plumbing section, actually has an extemetal brackets I had bolted to the walls had reached rior diameter of just under 7⁄ 8", so it fits nicely.
their limit. One of the brackets gave way and everyBefore you get started, there are a couple things
thing came tumbling down.
to consider when building this rack for your shop.
So when I went to rebuild, I wanted something First, I used 12" lengths of pipe because I rarely have
stout, simple and cheap. I pored over books and mag- anything in my rack wider than 8". Wider lumber
azines for ideas, borrowed a few and made some needs longer pipes. Plus, this rack is right over my
changes. Here’s what I came up with:
jointer, so I didn’t want the pipes to stick out any
more than necessary.
I
Pipe and 2 x 4s
Photo by Al Parrish.
Essentially, the backbones of this rack are 2 x 4s bolted on edge to the double top plate and the bottom
plate of my shop wall. The bottom edges of your 2
x 4s should rest on something solid. In most shops,
Prep Your Lumber
I bought a single Southern yellow pine 2 x 8 that was
8' long for this project. By ripping it down the middle and crosscutting it into 4' lengths, I got four 4'-
by Christopher Schwarz
Comments or questions? Contact Chris at 513-531-2690 ext. 407 or
[email protected]
www.popwood.com
77
Because the table is at a
5° angle, it’s easier to
align your holes using the
rim of the Forstner bit
instead of the center spur.
long 2 x 4s. If you don’t have
Southern yellow pine in your area,
try vertical-grade fir or any other
tough construction timber.
I ran the parts over my jointer and through my thickness
planer to get them straight and
true. They finished out at 13⁄ 8"
thick and 3" wide.
Clearance Holes
The first thing to do is taper the
ends of the boards and drill the
clearance holes to bolt them to
your wall. I used 41⁄ 2"-long lag
screws and 13⁄ 8"-diameter washers. You want the holes in your
boards to be clearance holes —
that is, you want the threads on
the lag bolt biting only into the
wood in the wall.
Examine the diagrams and
you’ll see that the easiest way
to accomplish this is to taper the
ends as shown. I used a band saw
to cut the taper and cleaned up
the cut with a hand plane.
The holes for the lag screws
should be located so the screws
enter into the top plate and bot-
tom plate of your stud
wall. The location of
the hole in the diagram is for a stud wall
with a double top
plate. Your wall may
be different.
Now drill a 13⁄ 8"diameter recess for
the washer — it only
needs to be deep
enough to seat the
washer. Then drill
a 1⁄ 2"-diameter hole
in the middle of the
recess. Repeat this
process on the other
end of the board and
on the other boards.
Even More Drill Press Work
Now, drill the holes for the galvanized pipe. Chuck a 7⁄8" Forstner
bit in your drill press and set the
table at a 5° angle. This slight
angle will use gravity to keep your
lumber in the rack.
Clamp all the pieces of wood
together with the ends aligned
and make a mark every 4" across
all four boards.
Now drill the holes through
the boards. Because the table is
at 5°, it’s difficult to get the center of the bit to hit your line. So
don’t. Instead, align your holes
so the edge of the Forstner bit
touches the line instead of the
center. It’s much easier.
$30 LUMBER RACK
NO.
❏
❏
❏
❏
4
16
8
8
ITEM
DIMENSIONS (INCHES)
T
W
L
Vertical braces
Pipes
Lag screws
Washers
13⁄ 8
2ID
Yellow pine
Galvanized pipe
ID=interior diameter; the exterior diameter of this pipe is just under 7⁄ 8".
Double
top plate
3/4"
2 1/4"
6"
1/2" OSB or
drywall typical
1"
5º
7/8"
4"
Pipe holes
Bracket
Wall studs
Section
78 POPULAR WOODWORKING April 2002
48
12
41⁄ 2
13⁄ 8 dia.
Pipes and Installation
I bought galvanized pipe and cut
it to length using a hack saw. Dress
the ends using a grinder or file to
remove the rough spots. Now get
ready to install your rack.
Use a level to ensure your layout lines are plumb and parallel.
3
1⁄
NOTES
Mark where the bolts will go and
drill pilot holes for the lag screws.
Fasten the lag screws to the wall
using a ratchet.
I think you’ll see quickly how
3"
nice it is to have a flexible rack
like this. You can reserve a couple pipes for short scraps, and add
more pipes or braces as your lumber pile expands. PW
10-Drawer
Tool Chest
Store your smaller tools in style with a tool chest
that’s surprisingly simple to build.
1
The first step is to cut the sides 3⁄ 8" narrower than the finished dimension. Then
cut the 1⁄ 4" x 1⁄ 4" dados for the drawers. Glue a 3⁄ 8" x 3⁄ 4" strip to the back of each side.
This strip covers where the dados exit the sides, creating a stopped dado.
by Jim Stack
Excerpted from “Building the Perfect Tool Chest” copyright
2003 by Jim Stack. Used with permission of Popular
Woodworking Books, an imprint of F&W Publications Inc.
Visit your local bookseller, call 800-448-0915 or visit the
Bookstore at popularwoodworking.com to obtain your copy.
2
Now draw the top arc on each of the sides.Trammel points mounted on a stick are
great for drawing arcs. A little trial and error is involved here unless you can figure the
radius using math. I try connecting the dots, moving the pencil up or down the stick until
I find the radius that works. If you don’t have trammel points, drive a nail through a stick
at one end. This is your fixed point. Use a small clamp or rubber band to hold a pencil
anywhere you need along the length of the stick to draw your arc.
68
POPULAR WOODWORKING August 2003
Step photos by the author
M
ost woodworkers have dozens of tools
that are small, such as screwdrivers, files,
chisels, pliers, dividers and compasses.
All these can be stored in shallow drawers, which
is where this chest comes into the picture.
The design for the chest came from two inspirations. One was a Craftsman-style bookcase plan.
The sides and top are shaped like the bookcase, and
the chest is made of quartersawn white oak. The
other inspiration came from multi-drawer chests
that were made years ago to store sheet music.
This chest was assembled with butt joints and
screws. I countersunk the screws and plugged the
holes with 3⁄ 8" redheart plugs. The drawer pulls also
are redheart, which I cut using a 1⁄ 2" plug cutter.
popwood.com
69
Photo by Al Parrish
3
Now you need to draw the arc at the bottom of
each side. When laying out the radii at the bottom of the
sides, use a small, round object to draw the small radius
that defines each foot.
4
Connect these two small radii with an arc that is 1" high from the bottom of the side.
6
5
Drill holes with the same radius as the small arcs and
connect them by cutting the larger arc with a jigsaw or band saw.
70
POPULAR WOODWORKING August 2003
Smooth and shape the arcs with a rat-tail file or curved rasp.
Drawer
sides F (20)
Drawer
backs G (10)
Illustration by Jim Stack
1/4"
Drawer
fronts E (10)
11 1 /4"
Top B
1/4"
Drawer
bottoms H (10)
1/2"d
x 1/2" plug
lip
lip
Drawer assembly
16 1 /2"
Plan
1 1 /2"
Back crown
5/8"
1 7 /8" typ.
Drawer
fronts E (10)
Side A
24"
Drawer
pulls J (10)
Back D
Plugs K
1"
10"
15"
Bottom C
Elevation
1"
1"
Profile
10-DRAWER TOOL CHEST
NO.
L E T.
ITEM
DIMENSIONS (INCHES)
T
W
L
3⁄
4
12*
24
3⁄
4
111⁄ 4
15
3⁄
4
111⁄ 4*
15
3⁄
4
15
23*
1⁄
2
15⁄ 8
1415⁄ 16
1⁄
5⁄
2
1 8
101⁄ 4
1⁄
2
15⁄ 8
1415⁄ 16
1⁄
4
111⁄ 4
151⁄ 2
1⁄
1⁄
2-dia.
2
3⁄
1⁄ +⁄
8-dia.
4 3⁄
3⁄
8
4
24
3⁄
3⁄
8
4
15
3⁄
4
21⁄ 4
15
1⁄
3⁄
8-dia.
4
❏
2
A
Sides
❏
1
B
Top
❏
1
C
Bottom
❏
1
D
Back
❏
10
E
Drawer fronts
❏
20
F
Drawer sides
❏
10
G
Drawer backs
❏
10
H
Drawer bottoms
❏
10
J
Drawer pulls
❏
22
K
Plugs
❏
2
Side strips
❏
1
Bottom strip
❏
1
Back crown
❏
10
Dowel rods
*Measurement is finished dimension and includes solid-wood edging
M AT E R I A L
COMMENTS
White oak
White oak
Plywood
Ply/oak
White oak
Poplar
Poplar
Plywood
Redheart
Redheart
White oak
White oak
White oak
Hardwood
Width includes 3⁄ 8" edging
Width includes 3⁄ 8" edging
Top crown is 21⁄ 4" wide, glued to ply
Trim sides to fit after drawers are assembled
Cut with 1⁄ 2" plug cutter
Cut with 3⁄ 8" plug cutter
Glued to back edge of sides
Glued to front edge of bottom
Glued to top edge of back
popwood.com
71
7
Glue the back crown on top of the plywood back panel. Make the arc on the crown as you did for
the sides. Cut the top and bottom panels to size, then glue a 3⁄ 8" x 3⁄ 4" strip on the front of the bottom
panel. Assemble the chest using 2" screws. Cut the plugs and glue them in place to cover the screw heads.
8
Here you can see how the two arcs meet nicely at the
back corner of the case. These little details will make the sides
and back flow together nicely.
Cut all the drawer parts to size. The
sides are captured between the
front and back parts, so glue-up can be
done with two clamps. I just used glue
on these butt joints. I know what you’re
thinking: Why would he use just glue and
no fasteners or other joinery to strengthen this joint? Well, after the plywood
bottoms are glued in place, the drawers
are quite strong. (If you would like to use
fasteners, please do so. Screws or dowels
would work well.)
9
72
POPULAR WOODWORKING August 2003
I use bench horses all the time to
hold parts for gluing. Several
drawers can be glued at one time. After
applying glue to the bottoms, hold them
in place with a few small brads or nails.
Then stack up a few drawers and clamp
them while the glue dries. This also helps
keep the drawers flat.
10
When the glue has dried
on the drawers, rout the
1⁄
4" bead on the top and bottom
of the drawer fronts. The drawer
bottoms are the perfect thickness to accept the radius of the
bead. (See below.)
11
After drawer is assembled,
rout bead
1/2"
1/2"-thick
sides
12 If necessary, fit the drawers by planing or sanding the sides of the bottoms that fit into the grooves to ensure the drawers slide smoothly. Then cut
the plugs for the drawer pulls. I attached the pulls with an 1⁄ 8" dowel rod.
Drill a hole in the center of the plug, and a matching hole in the drawer
front. Glue the pulls in place, then sand and finish the chest and drawers. PW
1 5 /8"
1/4"
Drawer profile detail
popwood.com
73
All-in-one
All
Cabinet
FOR THE
S MALL S HOP
This shop cabinet squeezes 13 cubic feet
of tool storage into less than 3 square feet of floor space.
I
f you’re like most woodworkers, your shop is packed to the gills with tools, tooling and accessories. Storing power tools on open shelves is no good; dust will get into the windings and shorten the life of your motors. You need an enclosed cabinet, and you need one that takes up less
floor space than a band saw. This cabinet has a place to store routers, all the bits a woodworker
could need and other accessories such as edge guides, bases and template guides. There’s also room
for other tools such as jigsaws, sanders, biscuit joiners and even a portable planer.
Build the Case
Photo by Al Parrish
Before cutting the plywood, check out the optimization diagram on our web site (www.popwood.com), which shows
you how to lay out the parts on two sheets of plywood. After
the parts are cut to size, cut 1⁄ 2" x 3⁄ 4" rabbets on the ends of
the sides to hold the top and bottom pieces. Unless your shop
has high ceilings, you’ll need to cut the rabbets with a plunge
router, straight bit and an edge guide. First set the router for
the finished depth using your turret depth stop. Now raise Here’s the simple jig to rout the dadoes. It
the bit halfway and make a pass that defines the shoulder of uses a bearing-on-top straight bit to guide
the rabbet. Now climb cut (which is basically routing in re- against the edges of the jig. Clamp the jig
right on the marked lines and rout the dado.
verse, moving the router backwards) the waste out to the edge
of the board. Finally, plunge to the full depth of your rabbet and repeat the above procedure.
The next step is to cut the 1⁄ 4" x 3⁄ 4" dadoes in the sides. Mark the location of the dado and
make a simple jig to rout it. The jig uses a bearing-on-top straight bit to guide against the edges
of the jig. To make the jig, take the fixed shelf and place two strips of plywood against it on a
flat surface. Place all this on top of two cross pieces on either end of the strips and glue and nail
them in place. Leave a little room (about 1⁄ 2") across the length of the dado cut to adjust the jig.
Clamp the jig on the marked lines and rout the dado in two passes. Finish machining the sides
by cutting the 1⁄ 2" x 1⁄ 4" rabbet for the back on the back edge of both sides, top and bottom. (If
the cabinet won’t be attached to the wall, use a thicker back for stability.) Check the top, bottom and fixed shelf for a good fit, then glue and nail or screw the cabinet together. Fit the back
and set it aside. Place the case on a flat work surface and add iron-on edging. Finish the case by
gluing and nailing the hanging rail into the top of the case, flush with the rabbet in the back.
by Jim Stuard
Comments or questions? Contact Jim at 513-531-2690 ext. 348
or [email protected]
www.popwood.com
Build the Base
Now comes the adjustable base. When I
made custom cabinetry, we often added an
adjustable-height base to cabinets so we
could compensate for uneven floors or walls.
The base is a simple plywood rectangle. You
attach the adjustable feet to the inside corners and drill holes in the case above the
feet. This allows you to adjust the base with
a screwdriver while the cabinet is in place.
The base itself is a simple mitered
frame, with biscuits added at the miters.
Cut the miters, then glue and clamp
the base together. Make sure the base is
square by measuring across the corners.
While the glue dries, cut out the blocks
that hold the adjustable feet. They’re just
11⁄ 2" x 11⁄ 2" x 31⁄ 4" blocks. Drill a centered,
7⁄
16" hole through the length of the block
for a T-nut. Drill holes at right angles to
one another in the block that will be used
to screw the blocks to the base. Hammer
Use screws and glue to attach the levelers to the
inside corners of the base frame.The top of the
block (the end opposite the foot) should be flush
with the top edge of the base frame.
in the T-nuts. With the feet threaded into
the blocks, the entire assembly is about 4"
long. It should flush up with the top and
bottom of the base frame.
Now it’s time to attach the base. Cut
out four 3⁄ 4" x 3⁄ 4" cleats that fit between
the levelers and drill mounting holes in
the cleats for attaching the case bottom.
Screw them in place about 1⁄32" down from
the top edge of the base. Make sure to
Position the base on the bottom. Temporarily
screw the base in place with four 11⁄4" screws.
With the case on its back, take two hand screws
and attach them to the back lip of the case, 1⁄ 4"
in from the back.This provides a little offset for
the moulding on our walls. If you have larger
base moulding where you are, make the base a
little taller or less deep to accommodate the
larger moulding. Place the base up against the
case bottom. Center it on the bottom and temporarily screw it into place with four 11⁄ 4" screws.
Take out all the feet and use a pencil to
mark the location of the top of the leveler hole. Drill the holes using a piece of
scrap to back up the hole or you’ll tear out
the veneer on the inside of the case bottom. When you re-attach the base, you’ll
be able to adjust the levelers using a straightbladed screwdriver.
Build the Doors
The doors are plywood slabs with a mitered
moulding nailed to the edges. The moulding is a 3⁄ 16" x 13⁄ 16" solid wood edge with
a bullnose routed on the front (see diagram). The bullnose is referred to as a
cockbead, which is a common detail on
period furniture from the 18th and 19th
centuries. It’s an easy way to dress up a
door or drawer front.
After the edging’s been applied, it’s
impossible to sand into the corners, so
begin making the doors by finish sanding
the fronts of the doors and drawer fronts.
Next, attach the moulding. First apply
two opposite pieces, then fit and attach
the last two pieces.
Use a sharp pencil to mark the location of the miter cuts. Place the piece on
the miter saw and cut to the line. You
don’t always get the cut right the first
time. Make your cut a little long and nibble away at the miter until you get a snug
fit, then glue and nail the edges in place.
We use Accuset’s micropinner to attach
the mouldings. The 23-gauge pins don’t
split the edge, and they leave a hole about
the size of a period on this page. Putty the
holes if you like. Rout off any overhang
on the back side with a router and straight
bit. Finish sand the backs.
After making the stock according to the diagram,
take a piece and cut a miter on one end. Be sure
to make the first cut with the bullnose up.This
isn’t important for the first two edges, but it’s
very important for the last two. Use a piece of
scrap with a miter cut on both ends to test the fit
of the miters.
When fitting the second set of edges, start
by cutting the miter on one end. Flip the edge
over and place what will be the bottom edge
of the miter into the miter on the right.
Gently press the flat edge up against the other
miter. Mark the location of the miter and make
the cut.
Drill the holes for the hinge cups on your drill
press. Always make a test piece with a hinge and
mounting plate to test your setup.
POPULAR WOODWORKING April 2001
Take out all the feet and use a pencil to mark
the location of the top of the leveler hole.
Remove the base and drill 1⁄ 2" holes into the
case bottom.
Supplies
Lee Valley Tools
800-871-8158 • www.leevalley.com
4-107º Full overlay hinges, 00B10.01
1-14" Full ext.drawer slides,02K10.14
4-4" Swivel leveler, 01S06.04
4-3⁄ 8"-16 T-nuts (10 pc.), 00N22.24
5-4" Wire pulls, 01W78.04
1-Coat hook, 00W80.01
24-Shelf pins (50pc.), 94Z03.02
1-25' Maple edge banding, 41A05.01
2-25mm x 15mm hinges, 00D30.08
8-#1 x 3⁄ 8" screws (10pc.), 91Z01.02
This is offered by Lee Valley as a
package priced at $72. Ask for item
#05D1510
Note:The screws supplied with the
hinges use a #1 (square) drive.You’ll
need a small #1 square drive bit.
13/16"
Bullnose
moulding
3/16"
Door
3/4"
Bullnose Moulding
Lay the plate on the marks and drill pilot holes
into the cabinet.
www.popwood.com
You’re ready to hang the doors. The
cups for European cabinet hinges are usually 35mm or really close to 13⁄ 8".
Using the instructions supplied with
the hinges, derive a drilling location for
the hinge cup. I’ve always drilled hinge
cups about 3" or 4" in from the top and
bottom of the door. This leaves enough
room to adjust the hinge when mounted.
The first thing is to drill the hinge cup
holes. Set your drill press to drill the holes
a little deeper than the cup.
Now transfer the layout holes to the
door on the cabinet. Attach the mounting plate and screw the hinges in place.
European hinges can be adjusted in three
dimensions: in-out, up-down and leftright. When the cabinet is level and plumb,
adjust the hinges to make the doors even.
Build the Router Bit Drawer
After attaching the slide to the drawer, mark the
location of the cabinet part of the slide on the
cabinet side. Use a framing square to run a line
back from this mark and mount the slide 1⁄ 16"
back from the front of the cabinet.
The drawer uses standard construction.
Cut 1⁄ 4" x 1⁄ 2" rabbets on the ends of the
sides. Cut a 1⁄ 4" x 1⁄ 4" groove in the bottom
inside edges of all the parts to hold the bottom. Glue and nail the drawer together
with the bottom set into the groove.
After the glue is dry, take apart the commercial drawer slides, scribe a line on
the sides and attach the small part of the
slide to the drawer box. Make sure it’s flush
to the front of the drawer box. Measure
from the mounting line and add 3⁄4" to that
for the lid, hinges and gap. Measure that
distance down from the inside, underneath
the fixed shelf. Mark the location and
mount the slide. The slides have two different mounting holes. The drawer has
slots that allow up and down adjustment,
and the cabinet parts have slots that allow
forward/backward adjustment. Insert the
drawer into the slides on the cabinet.
Before mounting the front on the drawer box, nail two finish nails through the
front of the drawer box until they just protrude from the outside. Place the front
against the drawer box and space it so the
gaps on the top and bottom are equal. Push
the front against the nails in the drawer
box and gently push the drawer out. Drill
some clearance holes and attach the front.
Now nail on the drawer lid’s back rail
and attach the lid with two hinges. Drill a
1" hole in the lid so you can lift it easily. Cut
Position the drawer front and place a couple
of clamps on the drawer box to hold it in place.
Drill countersunk clearance holes into the drawer
box and attach the front with 1" screws.
POPULAR WOODWORKING April 2001
Drill the 1⁄ 2" and 1⁄ 4" holes. Nail in a couple of
rails on the inside of the drawer and simply drop
the panels in place.The panel for 1⁄ 2"-shank bits
is drilled all the way through and the panel for
1⁄
5
4"-shank bits is drilled down ⁄ 8".
out, drill and attach the two router storage inserts.
Finish up the project by drilling a series
of 7mm holes for the shelf pins. Make a template from scrap for this. Lee Valley sells
metal sleeves for the shelf pins, but I deemed
them unnecessary. You could probably get
away with using a 1⁄ 4" bit to make these
holes, but it makes the pins fit a little sloppy. Attach the back with #6 x 1⁄ 2" flathead screws. Check the fit of all the doors,
drawer and shelves, then disassemble all
the loose parts for sanding. Apply three
coats of clear finish and reassemble all the
parts. PW
Use a stop collar on your
drill bit when drilling holes for the shelf pins.
I made this drilling jig from shop scrap.
Photo by Al Parrish
Arts & Crafts
TOOL
CABINET
The goal: The maximum tools in the minimum space.
S
ometime while sawing the
60th dovetail for a drawer
side, when my patience was
as thin as the veneer facing on
cheap plywood, a familiar feeling crept into my body. I began
to experience an understandable
lust for my biscuit joiner.
It sat patiently on a shelf, and I
knew that its chattering, rattling
teeth would make everything
about this tool cabinet go much
faster. But I resisted, because I had
the words of a Victorian social
reformer, art critic and part-time
madman ringing in my head.
The writings of Englishman
John Ruskin (1819-1900) were
a cornerstone of the American
Arts & Crafts movement. Ruskin
decried the worst parts of 19th
century industrialism. He promoted craft, pensions and public
education when there was little of
those things for the poor.
And in his book the “Seven
Lamps of Architecture, The Lamp
of Memory,” which was published
in 1849, he wrote a passage that all
woodworkers should read. It’s a bit
long and a bit dramatic, but it has
stuck with me just the same.
“When we build, let us think
that we build forever. Let it not be
for present delight nor for present
use alone. Let it be such work as
our descendants will thank us for;
and let us think, as we lay stone
on stone, that a time is to come
when those stones will be held
sacred because our hands have
touched them, and that men will
say, as they look upon the labor
and wrought substance on them,
‘See! This our father did for us.’”
The biscuit joiner stayed on
the shelf. I continued to saw, chop,
pare and fit for another four or five
hours. Ruskin, I hoped, would
have approved.
From the Book of Tolpin
While Ruskin kept me going
through this long and difficult
project, I really have a 20th century craftsman and author to
thank (or blame) for my obsession
with building a fine tool cabinet.
Since it was first published in 1995,
“The Toolbox Book” (Taunton
Press) by Jim Tolpin has become
the most-thumbed book in my
library. I’ve studied every page,
toolbox and drawing between its
maroon cover boards (the dust
jacket is long gone).
Years ago, I resolved to build
by Christopher Schwarz
Comments or questions? Contact Chris at 513-531-2690 ext. 1407 or
[email protected]
myself a cabinet that might rival
some of the examples in “The
Toolbox Book.” This year, I gave
it my best shot. Since early 2004
I’ve spent many spare moments
doodling on graph paper and on
my computer to come up with
a design that satisfied the three
things I wanted from a cabinet: It
had to hold a lot of tools, look good
and be built to last. After studying my work habits, measuring
all my tools and paging through
thousands of examples of Arts
& Crafts casework, this is what
I came up with.
It’s small but spacious. Have you
ever ridden in an old Volkswagen
Beetle? They are surprisingly
roomy, and especially generous
with the headroom. Somehow, the
Beetle violates the laws of space
and physics, and it is roomy but
can also be parked between two
oversized Hummers. This cabinet
continued on page 70
popwood.com
67
6 STORAGE SOLUTIONS
Tools need to be protected, organized
and easily retrieved. That’s a tall order.
Here are some of the problems I’ve
run into over the years: Hanging tools on
a wall keeps them organized and close
at hand, but unprotected. Keeping them
in a traditional sliding tool till in a chest
keeps them protected and organized, but
you dig around for them endlessly. Drawers under a bench keep them protected
and close at hand, but most drawers end
up a jumbled mess.
Here’s my solution, and so far it works
well. The cubbyholes are sized exactly to
hold a full complement of hand planes.
Finding the right plane and getting it
down for use has never been easier.
The chisel rack puts my most-used
sizes out where I can get them. And the
rack is designed to hold the tools even
when the door is accidentally slammed.
The saw till on the right door is the
same way. These two saws do 80 percent
of my work and they’re always handy.
The real feature is the drawers. The
smaller drawers hold tools for a specific
operation. In the larger drawers, the
interchangeable trays stack inside the
drawers and also hold tools for a specific
operation. Whenever I dovetail, I grab
the top right drawer. No more making
mounds of tools on the bench.
Chisel Rack
This simple L-shaped bracket holds the
five chisels I use most, plus my drawbore
pins. Don’t use a magnetic strip; it will
magnetize your tools, which makes
them difficult to sharpen.
Tool Trays, Lower Drawer
The bottom of the drawer is for the tools I rarely need. The
tray at left holds files and rasps (I’m going to subdivide this
tray as soon as some more rasps arrive in the mail). The tray
at right holds specialty chisels and screwdrivers.
68
POPULAR WOODWORKING December 2004
Top Shelf Plane Cubby
This area isn’t just what’s left over from
the remainder of the cabinet. It is carefully sized at 221⁄2" wide x 53 ⁄4" high
to hold a No. 7 jointer plane (a constant
companion in my shop), plus a jack
plane, panel plane and scraper plane.
Small Plane Cubbies
The cubbyholes are a magic size:
61⁄4" high, about 35 ⁄16" wide and
101⁄2" deep. This size holds all my
joinery planes, my scrub plane,
smoothing planes and miter plane.
Saw Till
My saw till holds the two most useful
joinery saws – a dovetail saw and a
carcase saw. My full-size saws reside on
pegs below the cabinet
Four Upper Drawers
Each of the four drawers holds all the
tools for a common operation: one is for
dovetailing, the second is for trimming
and squaring assemblies, the third is for
marking and measuring, and the fourth
is for nailing and screwing.
Tool Tray, Middle Drawer
The lower section of the drawer holds waterstones
and honing guides (make sure the stones are bone dry before
putting them back in the drawer). The tray shown above holds
my four spokeshaves and some specialty sharpening equipment.
popwood.com
69
continued from page 67
is designed to function the same
way. The interior is a mere 111 ⁄4"deep, 221 ⁄ 2" wide and 311 ⁄ 2" tall.
Yet, thanks to good planning, it
holds every hand tool I need.
The cubbyholes and shelf for
hand planes are carefully sized for
all the planes needed in a modern
shop. The drawers are loaded with
trays of tools. Each tray contains
all the tools for a routine function,
such as dovetailing, sharpening or
shaping curved surfaces.
The cabinet looks pretty good.
I spent months thumbing through
old Art & Crafts furniture catalogs and contemporary hardware
catalogs for inspiration. This cabinet and its lines are a little bit
Gustav Stickley, a little Harvey
Ellis and a little of myself.
The cabinet will endure. No
compromises were made in selecting the joints. Every major component (with the exception of the
changeable, nailed-together trays)
are built to withstand heavy use.
Of course, when you discuss durable joints, you are usually talking
dovetails, which is where we’ll
begin construction.
A Case that Takes a Beating
When this cabinet is fully loaded, my best guess is that it weighs
more than any single member of
our staff at the magazine (modesty prevents me from revealing
what that upper limit might be).
To ensure the bottom and top
pieces can withstand this weight,
I joined them to the side pieces
with through-dovetails.
One interesting variation
worth noting here is that instead
of using one solid top piece, I substituted two 3"-wide rails and dovetailed them into the sides to save a
little weight. Because I cut these
dovetails by hand, it was simple to
lay out this unusual arrangement.
If you plan to use a dovetail jig, you
will save yourself a headache by
forgetting the rails and making
your top one solid piece instead.
If you’re cutting the dovetails by hand, it’s faster and more
accurate to clamp your two sides
together and saw the tails on the
side pieces simultaneously. For
years I resisted this technique
because it seemed more difficult,
but now I know better.
A second feature of the case
to note is that the rabbet for the
back is a hefty 1" wide. This allows
room for the 1 ⁄2"-thick shiplapped
back, plus a 1 ⁄2"-thick French cleat
that will park the cabinet on the
wall and keep it there.
And then there are the stopped
dados. These 1 ⁄ 4"-deep joints in
the side pieces hold all the dividers. Cutting these joints is simple
work with three tools: a plunge
router, a bearing-guided straight
If your rabbets
for the back are
perfectly square,
your case is much
more likely to
end up square,
too. Clean up any
imperfections
with a rabbeting plane, such
as this bullnose
rabbet plane.
When sawing the tails, clamp the two sides together and
cut them at the same time. This saves time and effort and
prevents layout errors.
The shop-made T-square jig and a plunge router make quick work of the dados.
70
POPULAR WOODWORKING December 2004
Here you can see how you use the dado cut into the jig to line up the jig with
your layout lines. Using a router with a flat side on its base is more accurate
than using a router with a round base.
bit and a shop-made T-square jig
that guides the whole shebang.
Lay out all the locations of your
dados on the sides. Park the jig so
it lines up with your layout lines.
Cut the dados in two passes.
Fitting all the horizontal dividers to fit the dados is easy. The 1 ⁄2"thick dividers simply need a small
notch at the front to fit over the
rounded end of the dado created
by the round straight bit. A sharp
backsaw is just the tool here.
The 3 ⁄ 4 "-thick horizontal
divider needs a bit more work to
fit in the 1 ⁄ 2"-wide dado. A 1 ⁄ 4" x
1 ⁄ 4" end-rabbet is the answer.
The through-dados that hold
the vertical dividers use the same
router jig, but with the plunge
router set to make only an 1 ⁄ 8"deep cut. Laying out the locations
of these parts for the hand plane
cubbyholes might seem daunting.
If you want the openings evenly spaced, they should each be
3.333" wide. I don’t have any infinite numbers on my ruler. But it’s
actually child’s play to lay out the
cubbyholes with a pair of dividers (they look like a school compass but with two pointy tips – no
pencil). You can tweak these tools
until they step off the cubbyholes
as precisely as you please. Dividers
are one of my secret weapons.
With all these parts cut and fit,
make the back of the case. I used
Fitting the dividers is easy with a hand plane. I merely make sure the dividers
are surfaced a few thousandths of an inch thicker than where I want them to
be. Then I thin them down with a smoothing plane until they slide in with just
a little persuasion.
ambrosia maple. It’s cheap and
looks a bit like the spalted maple
I used in the doors and drawers.
The back boards are joined by a
1 ⁄ 4"-deep x 3 ⁄ 8"-wide shiplap on
each long edge.
The top cap is easy. Cut the
wide chamfer on the underside
using your table saw. Clean up the
cut with a block plane. Attach the
top to the rails with screws.
You are now at a critical juncture. You can go ahead and get
some quick gratification and
assemble the whole case. But
good luck when you go to finish
it. Getting those cubbyholes finished right will be murder. The
better solution is to glue up only
the sides, bottom and top rails.
Tape off the exposed joints and
finish all the case parts (I used
two coats of a satin spray lacquer).
Then assemble the case. I know it
sounds like a pain (it is). But the
end result is worth it.
Finish the back pieces and top
cap while you’re at it. Now you
can screw the back in place and
the top cap. You are ready for the
doors and drawers.
Easier than They Look
The doors aren’t too bad. The
mullions and muntins that form
the four lights in each door appear
difficult, but thanks to a little legerdemain, it’s no problem.
After gluing the sides to the bottom and top rails, trim the dovetails flush with
a block plane. Soak the end grain with a little bit of mineral spirits to make
it easier to cut. Here you can also see how I supported the case as I worked
on it. The big slab holding up the side is an offcut from an old door that’s
clamped to my bench.
popwood.com
71
But before getting mired in
those details, you need to assemble
the doors. Here’s how they work:
The stiles and rails are joined
using mortise-and-tenon joints.
For mid-size doors such as these, I
use 3 ⁄8"-thick x 1"-long tenons.
Cut your tenons and your mortises, then mill a 1 ⁄4"-wide x 3 ⁄8"deep groove in the rails and stiles
to hold the door panel. I generally make this groove on the rout-
er table using a straight bit and
featherboards. It’s the easiest way
to make the groove start and stop
in the right place in the stiles.
The door panel needs a rabbet
on its back to fit in the groove.
But before you mill the panel, you
should know a bit about spalted
maple. Its black spidery lines are
caused by the spalt fungus, which
attacks the tree after it’s been
felled. In short, it’s partly rotted.
#VUU KPJOU
TJEF Y CBDL GSPOU Y Cut the rabbet on the backside of the door using a rabbeting bit in your router
table. With a large tabletop such as this, it’s simple work.
CPUUPN Y EJWJEFS Y Tray joinery
EJB
mOHFS IPMF
5ISPVHI EPWFUBJMT
WFOFFS GSPOU
GSPOU
CPUUPN
Glue one backing strip into the rabbet in the door on edge. Then flip the door
over and glue a mullion onto the backing strip. Then use spring clamps to hold
everything while the glue dries.
TJEF
CBDL
Y SBCCFU
Small drawer joinery
WFOFFS GSPOU
5ISPVHI EPWFUBJMT
GSPOU
TJEF
Y HSPPWF
CBDL
CPUUPN
Install the horizontal muntins the same way. First glue a backing strip into
the rabbet on the backside of the door. Then flip the door over and glue the
muntin to that.
72
POPULAR WOODWORKING December 2004
Y SBCCFU GSPOU BOE UXP TJEFT
Large drawer joinery
Y HSPPWF
It’s always best to wear a respirator when dealing with spalted
wood. T here a re numerous
accounts of people who have had
respiratory problems after breathing in the dust.
Once you fit the panel, assemble the doors – the mullions and
muntins are added after assembly.
Once the glue cures, cut a 1 ⁄4"-wide
x 1 ⁄2"-deep rabbet on the backside
of the opening for the glass. This
rabbet will hold the narrow backing strips that are built up into the
mullions and muntins.
This technique was explained
fully by Glen Huey in our August
2002 issue (“Simple Divided-light
Glass Doors”). But the photos at
left explain it better than words
can. Essentially, you create the
T-shaped moulding that makes
the mullions and muntins by gluing together 1 ⁄4"-thick x 1 ⁄2"-wide
strips of wood. It’s simple work.
What’s not so simple is mounting the doors with the strap hinges. These hinges are inexpensive,
beautiful and handmade. As a
result, they need a bit of tweak-
Build the drawers with through-dovetails. Then glue a
piece of 1⁄4"-thick veneer to the front.
ing and bending and hammering
and cursing to get them just right
to hang a door.
Here’s my best tip: Screw the
hinges in place with the cabinet
on its back. Then stand it up, loosen the hinge screws and make your
final adjustments. I used a block
plane to make some adjustments,
and a mallet for others. Let your
frustration level be your guide.
Getting a Handle on Drawers
The drawers are a long slog. Even
though I’m a fair dovetailer, it took
Here you can see the two different ways of installing the
drawer bottoms. The bottom in the top drawer rests in
a rabbet in the sides. The drawer bottom for the larger
drawers slides into a groove.
Install the dividers in the drawers so they can be easily removed in the future.
A 23-gauge pinner is an excellent tool for this job.
me three solid days of work to get
the drawers assembled and fit. But
before you start listening to that
lock-miter router bit whispering
in your ear, remember this: The
drawers are going to hold a tremendous amount of steel. And
when you open the drawers during a future project, you’ll never be
disappointed to see dovetails.
To make things a tad easier, I
built all the drawers using throughdovetails and 1 ⁄2"-thick material
for the front, sides and back. Then,
with the drawer glued up, I glued
on a 1 ⁄ 4"-thick piece of spalted
maple to the front piece. This
trick also allowed me to stretch
my supply of spalted maple.
The four small drawers are
built a little differently than the
two larger ones. Because the small
drawers are shallow, I wanted to
use every bit of space. So the bottom is 1 ⁄ 4"-thick plywood that’s
nailed into a 1 ⁄4" x 1 ⁄4" rabbet on
the drawer’s underside.
The larger drawers are more
conventional. Plow a 1 ⁄ 4" x 1 ⁄ 4"
groove in the sides and front pieces
to hold a 1 ⁄2"-thick bottom, which
is rabbeted to fit in the groove.
Build all the drawers to fit their
openings exactly, then use a jack
plane to shave the sides until the
drawer slides like a piston. Finish
the doors and drawers, then it’s
Once everything is finished, install the glass using small strips of cherry (1⁄8"
and 1⁄4" thick). A few dabs of clear silicone and a couple small pins do the trick.
popwood.com
73
time for the fun part: dividing up
the drawers, building trays for the
tools and tweaking the hardware
so everything works just right.
As you divide up the drawers and trays, one word of advice:
Don’t fasten any of the dividers
permanently. Your tool set will
change, and you want to be able to
easily alter the dividers. I fit mine
in place with friction and a couple
23-gauge headless pins. The divid-
ers can be wrenched free when I
need room for a new tool.
When you hang the cabinet,
use wide cleats – mine were each 5"
wide. This allows you to get more
screws into the cabinet and into
the studs. Also, for extra insurance, I rested the bottom of the
cabinet on a 2"-wide ledger that
also was screwed into the studs.
With the project complete,
the voice of Ruskin was final-
ly silenced for a short time as I
assessed my work. (I for one was
happy for the silence; Ruskin
vacillated between madness and
lucidity during the last years of
his life.) I scolded myself for a few
things: the reveals around the
drawers on the left edge of the
cabinet are a tad wider than the
reveals on the right side. And in a
couple of the dovetails at the rear
of the drawers, there are a couple
small gaps. It’s not perfect.
But before I got too down on
myself, I remembered one more
quote from Ruskin that relates to
handwork and the pursuit of perfection. This one deserves as much
ink as the first.
“No good work whatever can
be perfect,” he writes, “and the
demand for perfection is always a
sign of a misunderstanding of the
ends of art.” PW
ARTS & CRAFTS TOOL CABINET
NO.
ITEM
DIMENSIONS (INCHES)
MATERIAL
COMMENTS
33
24
24
32
33
23
23
23
61 ⁄2
23 ⁄ 4
Cherry
Cherry
Cherry
Cherry
Maple
Cherry
Cherry
Cherry
Cherry
Cherry
3 ⁄ 8"-deep x 1"-wide rabbet at back
33
33
10
10
10
163 ⁄4
8
33 ⁄ 4
81 ⁄ 2
41 ⁄8
Cherry
Cherry
Cherry
Cherry
Cherry
Maple
Cherry
Cherry
Cherry
Cherry
T
W
L
3 ⁄4
1
1
3
5
2
Sides
Top rails
Bottom
Top cap
Shiplapped back
Major horizontal divider
Thin horizontal divider
Thin horizontal dividers
Vertical dividers
Small vertical dividers
121 ⁄4
3
111 ⁄4
17
231 ⁄4
101 ⁄2
101 ⁄2
91 ⁄ 4
10
91 ⁄ 4
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
4
2
4
Large stiles
Small stiles
Top rails
Intermediate rails
Lower rails
Panels
Vertical muntins
Horizontal muntins
Backing strips
Small backing strips
3 ⁄4
1⁄2
23 ⁄ 4
11 ⁄4
23 ⁄ 4
21 ⁄4
33 ⁄ 4
81 ⁄ 2
1⁄4
1⁄2
1⁄4
1⁄2
1⁄4
1⁄2
1⁄4
1⁄2
Carcase
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
2
2
1
1
3 ⁄4
3 ⁄4
1
1⁄2
3 ⁄4
1⁄2
1⁄2
1⁄2
1⁄2
Dovetailed into sides
Dovetailed into sides
1 ⁄ 2"-deep x 3"-wide bevel
1 ⁄ 4" x 1 ⁄ 4" shiplaps
In 1 ⁄4"-deep x 1 ⁄2"-wide dados
In 1 ⁄4"-deep x 1 ⁄2"-wide dados
In 1 ⁄4"-deep x 1 ⁄2"-wide dados
In 1 ⁄8"-deep x 1 ⁄2"-wide dados
In 1 ⁄8"-deep x 1 ⁄2"-wide dados
Doors
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
3 ⁄4
3 ⁄4
3 ⁄4
3 ⁄4
1" TBE
1" TBE
1" TBE
In 1 ⁄4"-wide x 3 ⁄8"-deep groove
In 1 ⁄4"-wide x 1 ⁄2"-deep rabbet, glued to vertical muntin
Glued to horizontal muntin
Drawers
3 ⁄ 4*
❏
4
Small drawer fronts
21 ⁄2
11
Maple
1⁄2
❏
8
Small drawer sides
21 ⁄2
9
Poplar
1⁄2
❏
4
Small drawer backs
21 ⁄4
11
Poplar
1⁄4
❏
4
Small drawer bottoms
101 ⁄2
9
Plywood
3 ⁄ 4*
❏
1
Medium drawer front
5
221 ⁄2
Maple
1⁄2
❏
2
Medium drawer sides
5
9
Poplar
1⁄2
❏
1
Medium drawer back
41 ⁄2
221 ⁄2
Poplar
1⁄2
3
⁄
❏
1
Medium drawer bottom
8 4
22
Plywood
3 ⁄ 4*
❏
1
Large drawer front
63 ⁄ 4
221 ⁄2
Maple
1⁄2
❏
2
Large drawer sides
63 ⁄ 4
9
Poplar
1⁄2
❏
1
Large drawer back
61 ⁄2
221 ⁄2
Poplar
1⁄2
❏
1
Large drawer bottom
83 ⁄ 4
22
Plywood
* Finished dimension, laminated from two pieces of wood; TBE= tenon, both ends
74
POPULAR WOODWORKING December 2004
1 ⁄ 4"-deep x 1 ⁄ 2" rabbet on bottom edge
1 ⁄ 4"-deep x 1 ⁄ 4" rabbet on bottom edge
Screwed to drawer box
1 ⁄ 4"-deep x 1 ⁄ 4"-wide groove for bottom
1 ⁄ 4"-deep x 1 ⁄ 4"-wide groove for bottom
1 ⁄ 4"-deep x 1 ⁄ 2" rabbet on bottom edge
1 ⁄ 4"-deep x 1 ⁄ 4"-wide groove for bottom
1 ⁄ 4"-deep x 1 ⁄ 4"-wide groove for bottom
1 ⁄ 4"-deep x 1 ⁄ 2" rabbet on bottom edge
Photo by Al Parrish
Portable
CHISEL RACK
Keep your tools right where you need them.
I
’ve seen, used and built a number of chisel
racks, but none has ever seemed to suit me.
Most of them are just a bit awkward.
And don’t even get me started on the alternatives to a chisel rack: Chisel boxes and rolls take
up too much valuable space on your bench, and
keeping the chisels in the bench’s tool tray just adds
to the clutter that collects there.
What most woodworkers need is a rack that
holds all their chisels upright where they can grab
by Christopher Schwarz
Comments or questions? Contact Chris at 513-531-2690 ext. 1407 or [email protected]
76
POPULAR WOODWORKING December 2003
them. They need a rack that protects the sharp tips. And they
need to be able to move the rack
off the bench when they’re assembling big projects there.
After months of sketches, we’re
sure we’ve got the perfect rack.
It does everything we want it to
do and it can be hung anywhere
in the shop (on a bench, a wall
or even a cabinet side) thanks to
a clever cleat.
And best of all, it’s easy and
fast to build with shop scraps.
How Does Your Steel
Measure Up?
The first thing to do is to measure a few dimensions on your chisels with a ruler and a dial caliper.
Find the thickest part of your
thickest blade. Add 1⁄ 32" to that
measurement and that will be the
thickness of all the spacers between the chisels.
Next measure the length of
all of your chisels’ blades and find
the longest one. That length is
the width of all of your spacers.
(Yes, I do mean width. You want
the grain of the spacers to run in
the same direction as the front
and back pieces.)
Then measure the width of
each chisel (don’t assume that
what is marked on the tool is correct). Add 1⁄ 16" to each measurement and that will determine the
distance between each spacer.
Take these measurements to the
saw and rip a small piece of scrap
to each of these widths. Mark
them with their width. These
scraps will help you place your
spacers during assembly.
The spacers between each tool
are 23⁄ 8" long. This might seem
like a lot, but it allows you to grab
any chisel without rapping your
knuckles against its neighbor.
Most chisel racks I’ve seen place
the tools’ handles too close together so you’re always fishing
out the specimen you need.
A Chisel Lasagna
This rack is essentially four layers of wood sandwiched together. You glue the spacers between
the front and back pieces, then
you screw a cleat to the back of
the rack to hang it.
The stop piece, which is located below the spacers, accomplishes two things: First, it keeps
all the chisels at the same height.
Second, it prevents you from destroying your rack.
Let’s say you built the rack
without the stop. Someday, you’re
going to accidentally drop something on one of your chisels in
the rack. The chisel’s socket will
then wedge into the rack, splitting apart all your work. So spend
the extra five minutes to cut and
install the stop.
Now that you know the size
of the spacers, the space that needs
to go between them and the
lengths of the blades, you can calculate the dimensions of your
front and back pieces (don’t forget to add some width for the stop
piece). You are ready to begin
milling your wood.
Plane down all the pieces you’ll
need for the rack, then rip and
crosscut all your pieces to size.
The first step is to attach the stop
piece to the back. But before you
attach the stop, cut a 45° chamfer on one long edge that measures 3⁄8" x 3⁄8". The chamfer makes
it easier for dust that gets into the
rack to fall out. Then glue the
stop in place on the back.
Now nail one of the end spac-
ers in place. Remember those
scraps you ripped to width after
you measured the width of your
chisels? Get them. Place them
between your spacers and make
sure everything fits to your satisfaction. Now glue and nail the
spacers (but not the scraps) in
place using 1⁄ 2"-long brads.
When that’s complete, glue
the front piece to the spacers.
You’re almost done. Clean up all
A dial caliper is handy for checking your chisels’ dimensions. Measure the width of
each blade, add 1⁄ 16" to each measurement, then rip a scrap piece to that width,
which will come in handy during assembly.
Use those scrap
pieces to lay out
the location of the
spacers on your
back piece. When
everything fits,
glue and nail the
spacers in place.
popwood.com
77
The chamfer on
the stop piece and
the slightly narrow
front piece allow
dust to escape the
rack easily.
four edges of the assembled rack.
Run the bottom edge over your
jointer (or clean it up with a hand
plane), then rip the rack to width
on your table saw to clean up the
top edge. Finally, crosscut the
ends to tidy things up.
A Clever Cleat
This rack hangs anywhere using
two cleats that interlock thanks
to a 3⁄ 8"-deep x 1"-wide rabbet on
each part. You want the fit between the two cleats to be firm.
Here’s how to do it right: Cut the
rabbet on one long edge of each
cleat so it’s just a touch shy of 3⁄ 8"
deep, maybe by a few thousandths.
Stop
Front
End spacer
Back
Distance between spacers
equals chisel width +1/16"
Screw one of the cleats to your
bench, shop wall or cabinet. With
the other cleat, plane or sand the
rabbet at the ends so that the surface is a very gentle and subtle
curve. Break the sharp corners of
the joint using a block plane or
sandpaper, which will make nesting the two cleats easier.
Now screw (but don’t glue)
this cleat to your rack and give it
a try. If the fit is too tight, remove
the cleat and thin down the rabbet a bit more. If the fit is too loose,
remove the cleat and make a few
passes with a plane on the area
where the cleat attaches to the
rack. This will tighten up the fit.
1"
2 3 /8 "
2 1/2"
2 1 /4 "
D
C
C
4"
1 1 /2 "
E
Bottom of front (B)
Elevation
3/4"
H
Side stops prevent rack
from sliding off cleat
14"
3/4"
1/2"
1/4"
1/2"
Plan
78
POPULAR WOODWORKING December 2003
Once you’re satisfied, glue and
nail the two side stops on either
end of the cleat that’s attached
to the rack. The side stops will
prevent you from pushing the
rack off its cleat.
Sand, plane or scrape the surfaces of the rack and add a clear
finish. Finish your rack with whatever you used on your workbench.
For me it’s a wiping varnish comprised of three parts varnish and
one part paint thinner.
Since I’ve installed this rack
I’ve been astonished at how many
trips it has saved me to hunt down
the chisel I’m looking for. This
rack’s a keeper. PW
CHOOSING
GOOD CHISELS
The chisels shown here are the
new American-pattern Ashley
Iles chisels available from Tools
for Working Wood
(toolsforworkingwood.com or
800-426-4613; $100.82 for a set
of six). The steel in these chisels
did really well during a test
performed by the magazine
editors in our February 2001
issue. If you’re in the market for
chisels, here are the other
brands that fared well:
• Marples Blue Chips
These are good all-around
chisels. They’re inexpensive and
hold their edge pretty well.
Available at any woodworking
specialty store or catalog. A set
of five costs about $45.
A rabbet plane or shoulder plane makes quick work of fitting the cleats together.
You want the cleat to fit tightly in the middle and a bit looser on the ends. This will
allow you to pivot the chisel rack on and off its mating cleat.
Cleat attaches
to rack
3/4"
1 / 2"
D
A
F
B
2"
3/8"
Cleat attaches to
bench or wall
1/4"
Gap allows
you to clear dust
• E.C.E.
German chisels with a hornbeam handle. Refinish the
handle and you have a topnotch tool. Ecemmerich.com or
800-724-7758. A set of six
costs $108.
2"
G
1"
Profile, cleat for wall
E
3/4" 1/2"
Profile
PORTABLE CHISEL RACK
N O . L E T.
ITEM
DIMENSIONS (INCHES)
T
W
L
M AT E R I A L
❏
1 A
Back
2
4
17 4*
Birch
1⁄
❏
1 B
Front
2
21⁄ 4 173⁄ 4*
Birch
1⁄
❏
2 C
End spacers
4
21⁄ 2†
1
Birch
1⁄
❏ 5** D
Spacers
4
21⁄ 2† 23⁄ 8
Birch
3⁄
❏
1 E
Stop
4
11⁄ 2 173⁄ 4*
Birch
3⁄
❏
1 F
Cleat for rack
4
2
14*
Birch
❏
1 G
Cleat for wall or bench 3⁄ 4
2
131⁄ 2*
Birch
3⁄
3⁄
❏
2 H
Side stops
4
4
2
Birch
KEY: * Actual measurement depends on how many tools go in the rack.
** Number of spacers depends on the number of tools.
† Thickness of spacers depends on thickness of tools.
1⁄
• Craftsman #36859
While these might have the
oddest-looking handle on the
market, the steel is surprisingly
good. Craftsman.com or
800-377-7414. A set of five
costs $29.99.
3⁄
• Two Cherries/Hirsch
Excellent steel and decent
handles are the good points.
Price and the amount of lapping
these tools require are the bad
points. Highlandhardware.com
or 800-241-6748. A set of four
costs $79.99.
• Woodworker’s Supply
German Bevel-edge Chisels
Once you refinish the hornbeam
handles on these bargain tools,
you’ll have a fine and durable
set of chisels. Woodworker.com
or 800-645-9292. A set of four
costs $27.99.
popwood.com
79
Drawer Primer: Sliding-lid Box
We discovered that our
drawer-building technique
is an ideal method to make
sturdy storage boxes.
his simple box uses the same saw setups and
rabbeting techniques for building the drawer
shown on page 24, and it’s good practice for building the “Simple Shaker End Table” on page 16.
However, there are a couple of differences.
Unlike a drawer, this box has a sliding lid that’s
cut using the same joinery we used to make the
bottom. We also added a notched piece of wood
inside to organize the box’s contents (for us, it’s
chisels). And there is a small amount of detailing
anyone can try: The lid’s bevel and thumb pull are
made with a chisel, rasp and small gouge.
To make the box, first choose wood with
straight grain for the sides, front and back, and
wood with nice figure for the lid. We built ours
from a hybrid called Lyptus (see page 32). Dress
(joint and plane) your lumber, then cut the parts
to finished size, except for the tool holder.
Cut the rabbets on your side pieces next, then
cut all the grooves. These grooves capture the
box’s bottom and guide the sliding lid. Finally,
cut the rabbets on your bottom and lid.
Lay out the 11 ⁄16"-wide x 1 ⁄4"-deep bevel on the
lid and shape it using a rasp. Once you get close to
your layout lines, finish the job with a block plane
or #120-grit sandpaper and a sanding block.
Lay out the location of the thumb pull on the
lid. Define all the edges using a straight chisel and
a gouge for the curved area. Chop out the straight
section with a chisel and use the gouge to remove
the waste. Hand plane or sand all the parts. If you
wish to make a tool holder, do so now. To make
the slots for our chisels, we drilled five evenly
spaced 1 ⁄2" holes, then cut out the remaining material with a hand saw or a band saw.
Dry assemble the box. Once satisfied, glue the
sides to the front and back. The bottom floats in
its groove and the lid (obviously) slides. Reinforce each joint with 5⁄8" brad nails. We finished
our box with garnet shellac. WM
— Christopher Schwarz and Kara Gebhart
28
■
woodworking magazine Autumn 2004
PHOTO BY AL PARRISH
T
Sliding-lid Box
NO.
PART
T
SIZES (INCHES)
W
L
❑
❑
1
1
Front
Back
1⁄
2
2
21 ⁄2
6 7⁄8
6 7⁄8
❑
2
Sides
1⁄
2
21 ⁄2
15
Bottom
Lid
Tool holder
1⁄
2
67⁄8
141 ⁄2
1⁄
2
67⁄8
11 ⁄2
143 ⁄4
6 3 ⁄8
❑
❑
❑
1
1
1
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
NOTES
1⁄
1
4" x ⁄4" groove
1⁄
1
4" x ⁄4" groove
on bottom
on top and bottom
1 ⁄2"-wide x 1 ⁄4"-deep rabbet on ends;
1⁄
1
4" x ⁄4" groove
on top and bottom
on all sides
1⁄
1
4" x ⁄4" rabbet on sides and back
Varies depending on your usage
1⁄
1
4" x ⁄4" rabbet
6®"
2ø"
ø"
‹
Bottom has
rabbet on
all four
sides
14ø"
‹
15"
14"
Profile
shown
without
side panel
ø"
14 œ "
6®"
2"
©"
Plan
¬"
2" Wide
¬" deep at front
ø"
ø"
©"
ø"
∕
2"
Elevation
¬" ¬"
Profile
1¬"
6µ"
1ø"
See Tool Holder Detail
¬"
ø" Dia.
Tool Holder Detail
Sliding-lid Box
woodworking-magazine.com ■
29
German
Work Box
A fold-out, carry-anything
tool chest on wheels.
uring a recent trip to Germany, our publisher,
Steve Shanesy, snapped some pictures of a utilitarian, but also clever, rolling tool cart used
in one of the woodworking shops he visited.
The cart was designed to hold your tools so your
bench or assembly platform remained tidy. It had doors
and drawers on the lower section, plus wings that
opened on top to reveal three tool wells that kept
things orderly and prevented items from falling onto
the floor. When not in use, the cart closed to a nice
size and could even be locked.
The staff agreed that the idea was a good one, but
we decided to put a Popular Woodworking spin on it.
We divided and detailed the lower drawer space some
more and added a tool till inside the center well
with magnetic tool holders.
Plus we made sure the construction was simple.
Mechanical fasteners do all the hard work. You could
easily build this cart with a circular saw, a drill and a
router, making it a great project for beginners or even
a professional cabinetmaker in a production shop.
D
Affordable Space
By David Thiel & Michael A. Rabkin
Comments or questions? Contact David at 513-531-2690
ext. 1255 or [email protected] Contact Michael at
513-531-2690 ext. 1327 or [email protected]
64
POPULAR WOODWORKING October 2003
Photos by Al Parrish
While we didn’t start out worrying about price, the
finished bill is worth talking about. Using two sheets
of good-quality 3⁄ 4" shop-grade plywood and one sheet
of 1⁄ 2" Baltic birch ply for the drawers, wood costs came
in at about $125. The necessary hardware (there’s a
lot more than you might think imagine) comes in at
less than $150 if you build it exactly as we have. So
SOURCES
Lee Valley Tools
800-871-8158 or
leevalley.com
1 set • 2"metal drawers (5)
#05K98.25, $23.50
1 set • 1" metal drawers (5)
#05K98.10, $19.95
2 • gripper mats
#88K18.05, $5.95 ea.
3 • 12" magnetic bars
#93K75.12, $7.95 ea.
Woodworker’s Hardware
800-383-0130 or
wwhardware.com
3 • 11⁄ 2" x 48" nickel piano
hinges
#LA11248 14A, $8.98 ea.
2 • 21⁄ 2" swivel casters
#JH25 S, $4.16 ea.
2 • 21⁄ 2" swivel casters w/brake
#JH25 SB, $4.81 ea.
1 • lid stay
#KV0472 R ANO, $2.67
2 • 4" chrome pull
#UFWP4 SS, $2,60 ea.
4 • 1" pull screws
#SC832 1SS, $.23 ea.
2 • roller catches
#A09714 A2G, $.96 ea.
1 • 18" 100# full extension slide
#KV8417 B18, $11.45 pr.
Woodcraft
800-535-4482 or
woodcraft.com
2 • Miller Dowel 1X walnut
packs (25)
#144735, $6.99 ea.
1 • stepped dowel kit 1X
#144570, $27.99
Woodworker’s Supply
800-645-9292 or
woodworker.com
1 • 13⁄ 16"x 50' PSA birch edge
tape
#934-960, $13.95
Prices as of publication deadline.
66
for $275, you’re still getting a lot
of storage for the price and the
space is arranged to be exactly
what you need, unlike a storebought toolbox.
The Basics
While this is a utilitarian work
cart for the shop, we expended a
little extra effort (veneer tape on
the plywood edges and no exposed screw heads) to make it a
more finished-looking project
while maintaining the solid, simple construction details.
The cart joinery is a collection of butt joints. We used a new
product on the market, Miller
Dowels, to assemble all the butt
joints. This is a stepped wood
dowel that replaces the screws
and plugs the holes left by the
drill bit at the same time.
The back is 3⁄ 4" plywood (plywood offers great gluing strength
on edge because of the long grain
part of the plywood core). This
size back offers excellent stability and the opportunity to squareup the case without worrying
about wood expansion because
of changes in humidity.
On the interior plywood drawers we used simple rabbet joints
to add some extra strength. The
bottoms of three of the drawers
are screwed to the drawer boxes
and stick out past the drawer sides
to serve as effective drawer guides,
emulating the metal drawers used
on the right side of the case.
Begin with the Big Box
First cut the plywood panels to
size according to the cutting list
below. We’ve posted an optimization chart at popwood.com
(click on “Magazine Extras”) to
help you get all the pieces from
your plywood sheets.
To allow the three smaller
drawers to slide in and out of the
case, you need to cut 1⁄ 2"-wide x
3⁄
8"-deep dados in the left side of
the case and in the left side of the
center divider. Lay out the dado
locations – according to the illustrations – then cut them using
either a dado stack in your saw,
repeated cuts with a circular saw,
or with a straight bit, using two
passes to achieve the full depth.
There is 1⁄2" of space between each
of the drawers and we worked
from the bottom up, leaving a
larger gap above the top drawer
to allow clearance for the door
catches.
Dowels and Glue
As mentioned, we used veneer
tape to dress up the edges of the
plywood. We had been using ironon veneer tape for years, but recently discovered a self-adhesive
GERMAN WORK BOX
Case
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
Drawers
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
POPULAR WOODWORKING October 2003
NO.
L E T.
ITEM
2
3
1
1
1
2
4
2
2
2
1
1
1
2
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
Sides
Shelves and bottom
Back
Front
Divider
Doors
Wing front and back
Wing sides
Wing sides
Wing panels
Till support
Till lid spacer
Till lid
Drawer section sides
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
3
1
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Drawer front and back
Drawer sides
Drawer front and back
Drawer sides
Drawer front and back
Drawer sides
Drawer front and back
Drawer sides
Drawer bottoms
Drawer bottom
DIMENSIONS (INCHES)
T
W
L
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
191⁄ 4
181⁄ 2
281⁄ 2
67⁄ 8
18
1415⁄ 16
615⁄ 16
615⁄ 16
63⁄ 4
131⁄ 2
51⁄ 2
M AT E R I A L
10
12
32
281⁄ 2
32
30
18
25
15
181⁄ 2
181⁄ 2
181⁄ 2
281⁄ 2
281⁄ 4
281⁄ 4
18
Shop plywood
Shop plywood
Shop plywood
Shop plywood
Shop plywood
Shop plywood
Shop plywood
Shop plywood
Shop plywood
Shop plywood
Shop plywood
Maple
Shop plywood
Shop plywood
4
4
41⁄ 2
41⁄ 2
5
5
51⁄ 2
51⁄ 2
163⁄ 4
171⁄ 2
153⁄ 4
171⁄ 2
153⁄ 4
171⁄ 2
271⁄ 2
171⁄ 2
153⁄ 4
171⁄ 2
18
27
Baltic birch
Baltic birch
Baltic birch
Baltic birch
Baltic birch
Baltic birch
Baltic birch
Baltic birch
Baltic birch
Baltic birch
3⁄
4
17 1/4"
Cut the drawer
dados in the case
sides prior to
assembly. We used
a router to make
the dados and a
store-bought
guide that clamps
across the plywood to guide the
router. You could
just as easily
clamp a straight
board to the side
to serve as a
guide. Use two
passes on each
dado to achieve
the full depth.
This puts less
strain on the
router and the bit.
1/2"w. x
3/8"d.
15 3/8"
dados
14"
12 1/2"
12 3/8"
10 3/4"
N
E
8"
7"
5 1/4"
2 1/2"
1/2"
Drawer dado layout
60"
30"
15"
15"
C
3/4"
3/4"
Piano hinge
L
M
3/16"
10"
18 1/2"
20"
K
3/4"
Plan
Wing hinge detail
3/4"
28 1/4"
See wing hinge
detail above right
M
I
N
B
A
6 3/4" G
J
G
H
6 15/16"
3/4"
18 1/2"
6 3/4"
I
6 7/8"
D
6 1/2"
3/4"
1/8"
25"
4"
O
4 1/2"
Q
J
5 1/2"
B
W
F
E
U
6 15/16"
A
C
18"
32"
25"
B
3/4"
5"
5 1/4"
S
3/4"
B
Elevation
Profile
popwood.com
67
veneer tape that is much simpler
to use, takes the concern out of
the glue melting evenly and sticks
very well to the work.
After veneering all the exposed edges, sand the interior surfaces through #150 grit. Now
you’re ready to assemble the case.
Start by clamping the divider
between the upper and middle
shelves, holding the front edges
flush. We used regular #8 x 11⁄ 4"
screws here because they would
be hidden inside the case. Drill
and countersink 3⁄ 16"-diameter
clearance holes through the shelves
and drill 3⁄32"-diameter pilot holes
in the divider. Add glue and screw
the assembly together.
Next use either screws or Miller
Dowels to attach the back to the
center assembly. Check the spaces
to ensure they are square, then
add the bottom shelf to the back,
Divider
The veneer edge tape is easy to use and
quickly adds a finished appearance to
the cabinet. Even though we ended up
painting the exterior, the paint still
applied better to the veneer tape than
on a bare plywood edge. You’ll need to
notch the tape with a file at the dado
locations in the left case side.
Middle shelf
Top shelf
Screw the divider between the top and
middle shelves by first drilling a pilot
hole for the screws and countersinking
the flathead screws to the shelf surfaces.
Back
Bottom
Attach the back to the center assembly
using the Miller Dowels. Put glue on the
back edges of the center pieces, then
position the back and clamp it in place.
After using the proprietary stepped drill
bit to make the holes, add glue to the
dowel and then tap it into place in the
hole. Lastly, attach the bottom to the
back with stepped dowels.
68
POPULAR WOODWORKING October 2003
holding the back flush to the bottom side of the shelf.
Clamp your center assembly
between the two sides, drill the
appropriate holes, add glue and
assemble the rest of the case. It’s
a good idea to trim the dowels
flush to the case side before flipping the case onto that face: It’s
more stable and there’s less chance
of messing something up.
Add the front piece to the
front edges of the sides, holding
it flush to the top edge. The front
will overlap the top shelf, leaving 1⁄ 4" of the shelf edge exposed.
This allows room to attach the
front to the shelf with brad nails.
The exposed edge will act as a
door stop once hinges are installed.
The wings go together like
simple versions of the case. The
side closest to the cabinet on each
wing is 3⁄ 16" narrower than the
other. This creates a recess to
house the hinge to mount the
wings to the cabinet.
We recessed the captured panels 1⁄ 4" in from the outside edges
to avoid any alignment problems.
Using the stepped dowels, attach
the wing sides to the wing panels. Attach the fronts and backs
to complete the assembly.
side the cabinet (so the wings can
close) we added a 3⁄ 4" x 3⁄ 4" maple
strip to the back 1⁄ 8" down from
the top edge. This allows the till
lid to open to about 110°. Mount
the lid to the strip with a length
of piano hinge. Carefully check
it for clearance between the two
sides as it closes.
Next, attach the till support
to the top shelf by screwing into
the support through the shelf.
The support is set back 1⁄ 2" from
the front edge of the till lid to
allow you to get your fingers under
it to lift the lid. Add some glue
and a couple of stepped dowels
through the sides to hold everything in place.
Now you need to attach the
two wings to the case with more
piano hinge. Clamp the wings to
the case in the open position (flush
to the front) while attaching the
hinges to ensure even and wellsupported wings.
Lastly, attach the doors to the
case (use a piano hinge again).
Storage Details
Start by adding the till lid to the
back with a length of continuous
(or piano) hinge. Because of the
way the hinge needs to mount in-
Before attaching the second side, it
makes sense to cut the dowels on
the first side flush to the surface. I
used a Japanese flush-cutting pull
saw that has teeth with very little set
to them, reducing the chance of
scratching the cabinet side. By
applying pressure on the blade to
keep it flat to the cabinet surface, I
further reduced the chance of
scratches. Do a little sanding, then
flip the cabinet over and attach the
second side, then the front.
Till lid
Till support
The next step is to attach the first side (which side doesn’t really matter). Carry your
location lines from the back around to the side and use them to lay out the dowel
locations. Add glue, clamp, drill and dowel the joint.
After attaching the till lid, the wings are ready. The wings are held flush to the front
and are tight against the cabinet side. The recessed wing side is the attachment point
for the piano hinge, allowing the lid to close flush against the top of the cabinet.
popwood.com
69
To get the doors to seat flush
against the cabinet front, cut a
shallow rabbet (3⁄ 16" deep, the
thickness of the hinge) the width
of the closed hinge on the back
of the door on the hinge side. This
cut can be done with your router
or table saw.
When attaching the doors,
pay careful attention to the height.
Preferably they will be about 1⁄ 8"
below the wings when open to
keep things from bumping.
You’ll also notice that the lefthand door’s hinge covers the dados
for the drawers. Rather than place
the hinge on the outside of the
cabinet (making it too visible),
we opted to simply file out the
hinge to match the dado locations, as shown below.
Drawer Space
Ultimately you’ll decide how the
interior space in your cart is used.
We’ve used drawers because our
MILLER DOWELS
Miller Dowels are a clever concept that can make some types of assembly
faster and easier. Essentially, the stepped-dowel idea offers the strength of
a standard dowel with the ease of a tapered dowel.Alignment and splitting
difficulties often associated with standard dowels are reduced, while the
strength offered is actually better than with a standard dowel thanks to the
ribbed design (increasing glue coverage).
These stepped dowels can be used in place of screws (as we’ve shown
in this project) – think of them as self-plugging screws.
We’re going to stop short of advocating Miller Dowels as a replacement
for all screws, though.While the strength is good, they still won’t pull up an
ill-fitting joint, and if the glue is not allowed to cure before removing the
clamps, there is the potential for the joint opening slightly after removing
the clamps. So proper clamping and glue-curing time is still essential.
Then there is the economic consideration. A pack of 50 dowels (23⁄ 4" or
31⁄ 2" long) and the necessary bit cost about $30. Packs of 25 dowels cost
about $7. That’s about 28 cents per dowel versus 4 cents per #20 biscuit or
about 8 cents per premium screw.
All things considered, we like the idea of an all-wood, strong and simple
joint – but we’d recommend choosing your application carefully.
The dowels are available in birch, red oak, cherry and black walnut,
and more weather-resistant species are on the drawing board. For details,
contact Miller Dowel at 866-WOODPEG (866-966-3734) or millerdowel.com.
experience has shown that low
shelving just collects junk at the
back of the case that you can never
see or reach easily.
We’ve used a selection of drawer types for this project, both shopmade and purchased. You can follow our lead or choose whatever
style you prefer.
The lower shop-made drawer is simply a Baltic birch box
drawer mounted on full-extension, 100-lb. drawer slides. This
is a fine heavy-duty drawer joined
at the corners with simple rabbet
joints. We used a 1⁄ 2" bottom fit
into a rabbet in the sides. While
we usually would have recommended a 1⁄4" bottom, we had the
1⁄
2" material and didn’t feel like
by buying a whole sheet of 1⁄ 4"
for just one drawer.
The store-bought drawers are
metal, lighter-duty drawers of 1"
and 2" depths and have metal
flanges that ride on dados cut into
the sides of the case. With these,
the front of the drawer overlaps
the case sides to both hide the
dados and serve as a drawer stop.
As this would interfere with the
door hinge, we added two drawer section sides made of 1⁄2" Baltic
birch and set them back 1" from
the front of the case. This also
made it possible to cut the dados
in the section sides after the case
was assembled.
The three drawers to the left
use the best of both worlds, finishing off some of the wood at
hand and avoiding the cost of
more drawer slides by using the
“lip and groove” concept of the
metal drawers. On all the wood
drawers, a simple 1" hole drilled
in the front serves as an adequate
drawer pull.
Finishing Touches
The last steps are adding a finish
(we opted for two coats of dark
green latex paint on the outside;
the inside was left as-is) and then
some sturdy 21⁄ 2" casters to the
case and placing and organizing
your tools. The photos will show
you a couple of storage tricks and
items available for sale to help
keep things neat and tidy. PW
Notched
piano hinge
You can see the two sets of dados for the drawers with a few drawers removed.
Also, notice the notched piano hinge to allow the drawers to slide in and out.
70
POPULAR WOODWORKING October 2003
Rabbet joint
Trimmed to fit
This shot of one of the drawers shows the rabbet joinery used.
Also note that the bottom was trimmed slightly in width to
allow the drawer to move more smoothly in the dados.
Pads line the bottoms of
the wing and till sections
to keep tools from
rolling and to help trap
dust. Dividers in the till
section can be customized to fit the tools
you need. The magnetic
bars on the till lid
provide secure storage
for small ferrous tools.
Small-parts storage is
easily accomplished with
a couple of plastic
storage bins held in
place in one of the metal
drawers with some
hook-and-loop
fasteners.
popwood.com
71
Hand Plane
Cabinet
Hard-working tools deserve a decent place to rest.
n certain holidays, such as New Year’s Day,
craftsmen in Japan clean their tools, put
them on a shrine and offer them gifts such
as sake and rice cakes. It is their way of thanking
the tools for the service they have provided and will
provide in future days.
As my own collection of hand planes grew from
a few rusty specimens handed down from my greatgrandfather to a small arsenal of new high-quality
instruments, this Japanese tradition began to weigh
heavily on my mind. My planes generally squatted
on my workbench when not in use, and I had to
constantly move them around to avoid knocking
them to the floor as I worked.
After some thought, I decided that a cabinet
dedicated to my planes was the best way to protect
O
them from dings and to thank them for the service
they provide almost every day of the year.
This piece is designed to be used either as a traditional tool chest that sits on a bench or as a cabinet
that hangs on the wall on a tough French cleat.
Because planes are heavy tools, the case is joined
using through-dovetails. The lid is a flat-panel door
assembled using mortise-and-tenon construction.
And the dividers inside the cabinet are screwed
together so the configuration can be rearranged
easily as my collection (or needs) change.
As you design your own version of this cabinet,
you should measure your planes to ensure there’s
enough space for everything you own, or plan to
own. This cabinet should provide plenty of room
for all but the largest collections.
by Christopher Schwarz
Photos by Al Parrish
Comments or questions? Contact Christopher at 513-531-2690 ext. 1407
or [email protected]
popwood.com
73
P UZQ
Dovetail
layout
Mark the length of
your pins and tails.
There’s a debate
as to whether
you should mark
exactly how long
you want them, a
little less or a little
more. I prefer to
mark them 1⁄32"
longer so the ends
are proud when
assembled. Then
I plane them flush
after gluing.
With the pins defined, get out a coping saw with a fine-tooth blade and
remove as much waste as you can. The closer you get to the scribed line at
the bottom of the joint, the less cleanup you’ll have with a chisel. But if you
overshoot your line, you’re cooked.
74
POPULAR WOODWORKING October 2004
Dovetails with the Pins First
Because of all the cast iron and
steel in hand planes, the cabinet’s
carcase needs to be as stout as possible to resist the stress that all this
weight will put on the corners. In
my opinion, the through-dovetail
is the only joint for this job.
Whether you choose to cut
pins or tails first (or use a dovetail jig and a router) is up to you.
Usually I cut the tails first, but I
try to keep an open mind about
different techniques. So for a year
I built as many things as I could by
cutting the pins first – this is one
of those projects.
Lay out the joints using the illustration at left, a marking gauge,
a square and a sliding bevel square
set for 7°. I strike the lines with a
marking knife and color them in
a bit with a mechanical pencil.
The pencil marks help me see
the line and the knife lines keep
me accurate. In fact, once you get
some practice sawing, you should
be able to easily remove the pencil
marks from only one side of your
knife lines. It sounds crazy, but it’s
actually not that hard.
There are many ways to remove
the waste from between your saw’s
kerf lines. Some just chop it away
Once the cut is started, hold the saw like you would
hold a small bird that you’re trying to prevent from
flying away. Don’t clench the handle; just keep enough
pressure to avoid losing control. And never apply much
downward pressure as you saw – this will cause your
blade to drift.
Clamp your pin board to a piece of scrap and remove the rest of the waste
using a sharp chisel and a mallet. I sneak up on the line on one side, then on
the other, then clean up any junk in the middle. Clean out the corners of the
pins using a sharp knife.
directly with a chisel and a sharp
blow from a mallet. I find that I’m
sharpening my chisels less if I saw
out most of the waste and chop out
the little bit that’s left. A coping
saw with a fine-tooth blade works
well, as does a jeweler’s fret saw.
When you chop out the waste,
be sure to stand so you can see the
profile of your chisel – it must be
perpendicular to the work. I use a
standard bevel-edge chisel for this
operation. Just make sure that if
you do the same that your chisel
can be struck by a mallet without
splitting the handle.
Next you need to mark out
the mating part of the joint by
using the first half of the joint as
a template. Here’s the main difficulty you’ll encounter by cutting
the pins first: You have to balance
the pin board on edge to mark out
the tail portion of the joint. With
a small case it’s manageable. But
with a dresser it can be tricky.
Mark the joints with a sharp
knife followed by a pencil. Then
cut the tails. For this project I tried
a technique you might want to
take for a spin: As you can see from
the photo above right, I skewed
the tail board in my vise so I was
Pin board
Tail board
Put your tail board on the bench with
its inside face pointing up. Position its
mate on top of it and mark the locations
of the tails using a knife, followed by a
mechanical pencil. Be careful not to shift
either board during this step. If you do,
erase your lines and start anew.
Transfer the lines on your tail board across the end using a square. Clamp
the tail board in a vise. You can see how I skewed the board in my vise
so I’m actually cutting straight down. Angle the board one direction
and make half of the tail cuts, then reverse the angle for the other cuts.
Remember to cut ever-so-slightly outside of the lines.
Outside face
Backing block
Remove the waste from the outside face of the board
first, then remove the rest from the inside face. This will
result in a neater joint if the grain buckles while you are
chopping it. Again, clean up your corners with a knife.
Now it’s time for a test fit. Assemble the joint using a
deadblow mallet and a backing block to distribute your
blows across the entire joint. You should be able to push
the mating pieces together most of the way using only
hand pressure, plus a few taps to seat it in place.
PLANES AT REST: ON THEIR SOLES OR ON THEIR SIDES?
One of the big debates among plane users is
whether to place the tools on their soles or
their sides when they are not in use. Traditional carpenters place the tools on their sides
to protect the iron from getting dinged. Many
woodworkers have picked up this tradition
and it’s frequently passed on from teacher to
student (as it was to me).
But it might not be necessary.
A couple of years ago I was convinced by
a fellow craftsman that it’s better to place
planes on their soles when you are working
at your bench. Here’s the rationale. The old
carpenter’s rule applied to work on the job
site, where you could never be certain about
where you were setting your plane (this was
back when you might actually see planes on
a job site). So placing the plane on its side
protected the iron from grit and gravel that
could cover any flat surface in a newly built
home. Also, carpenters say that putting
planes on their sides prevents the iron from
being pushed back into the plane’s body,
which is what could happen when a plane is
rested on its sole.
Woodworkers, however, work on a
wooden bench – far away from mortar dust
and gravel. So they say it’s best to place
an unused plane on its sole to prevent the
iron from getting dinged by another tool
on the bench. What about the iron getting
pushed up into the plane’s body? If you think
about this statement for a moment, you’ll
see how ridiculous it is. The plane’s iron is
secured tightly enough in the plane’s body to
withstand enormous pressure as the plane is
pushed through the work. It should be child’s
play for the iron to stay in one place with only
the weight of the plane pushing it down.
Other woodworkers have come up with
other solutions that work, too, including
placing the planes sole-down over the tool
well of their bench. Or they rest the sole on a
thin wooden strip that holds the iron slightly
above the bench. But I don’t mess with that.
After unlearning years of training, I now put
my planes sole-down on the bench.
— CS
popwood.com
75
You can see the
pencil lines on
the tails and how
the ends of the
pins and tails
stick up a bit on
the completed
joint. This makes
it easier to trim
them flush, but
more difficult
to clamp during
glue-up.
sawing straight down instead of at
a 7° angle. I think this is a good
trick for beginners as it makes it
easier to track your lines. However,
you have to shift the board 7° the
other way for the other half of your
cuts, so it’s a bit more work.
At this point you have to pay
close attention to your lines or
your joint will have a sloppy fit.
Saw on the waste side of the line,
leaving the pencil line intact. This
makes the joint just a little tight
– something you can tweak by
paring with a chisel.
Use a coping saw to remove
most of the waste between the
tails and chop the rest of the waste
away with a chisel. Now you’re
ready for a dry run. Ease the inside
edges of the tails just a bit with a
knife. If the joint is too tight, try
shaving off a bit on the inside faces
of the pins – parts that won’t show
in the completed joint.
Bottom and Assembly
Cut the remainder of your dovetails and mill the 1 ⁄4"-deep x 1 ⁄2"
groove for the plywood back/bottom. I milled this groove using a
plunge router, a straight bit and
an edge guide. Make sure you put
the groove 1 ⁄2" in from the bottom
edge of the sides to make room for
the French cleat that attaches the
cabinet to the wall (if you’re hanging this cabinet on a wall).
Before you assemble the case
with glue, use a smoothing plane
76
to prepare all the inside surfaces of
the carcase for finishing – including the bottom piece. I sharpen
a gentle camber on the cutting
edge of the blade (about .002") and
set the plane to take a very fine
shaving, about .001" thick. This
creates a surface that generally
needs little or no sanding, especially with wood that has mild,
easy-to-plane grain.
Once you glue up the case,
trim the dovetail joints flush to
the outside and use a smoothing
plane to prepare the exterior of
the case for finishing.
Cut the groove for the 1⁄2"-thick bottom in two passes using a plunge router
outfitted with a straight bit and an edge guide. On the pin boards, you can cut
the groove through the ends because it won’t show.
On the tail
boards, you
need to stop
the groove in
one of the tails
as shown. The
dovetail layout
shown in the
illustration
allows you to
put the groove
solidly into a tail.
HAND PLANE CABINET
NO.
LET.
ITEM
DIMENSIONS (INCHES)
T
W
L
Carcase
❏
2
❏
2
❏
1
❏
1
❏
1
A
B
C
D
E
Top, bottom
Sides
Back/bottom
French cleat for case
French cleat for wall
Dividers
❏
2
❏
2
❏
3
❏
1
❏
1
❏
2
❏
1
F
G
H
J
K
L
M
Top, bottom
Sides
Horizontal dividers
Horizontal divider
Horizontal divider
Vertical dividers
Vertical divider
1⁄ 2
N
P
Q
Rails
Stiles
Panel
Moulding
3⁄4
Door
❏
2
❏
2
❏
1
❏
POPULAR WOODWORKING October 2004
3⁄4
3⁄4
1⁄ 2
1⁄ 2
1⁄ 2
1⁄ 2
1⁄ 2
1⁄ 2
1⁄ 2
1⁄ 2
1⁄ 2
3⁄4
3⁄8
3⁄8
MATERIAL
COMMENTS
Cut 1⁄16" long
Cut 1⁄16" long
In 1⁄ 4"-deep groove
45° bevel on one edge
45° bevel on one edge
71⁄ 2
71⁄ 2
16
21⁄ 2
21⁄ 2
263⁄ 8
17
253⁄ 8
247⁄ 8
227⁄ 8
Cherry
Cherry
Plywood
Maple
Maple
21⁄ 2
21⁄ 2
21⁄ 2
21⁄ 2
21⁄ 2
21⁄ 2
21⁄ 2
237⁄ 8
151⁄ 2
237⁄ 8
103⁄ 8
13
21⁄ 2
47⁄ 8
Maple
Maple
Maple
Maple
Maple
Maple
Maple
3
2
12
1
243⁄ 8
17
233⁄ 8
65
Cherry
Cherry
Poplar
Cherry
Cut long to fit cabinet
Cut long to fit cabinet
In 3⁄ 8" x 1⁄ 2" groove
1⁄4" roundover on one edge
(
'
)
)
When using a smoothing plane to prepare wood for finishing,
you’ll get better results if the plane’s sole is waxed. The wax
lubricates the sole and allows the plane to skim over the work.
You’ll use less effort and the end result looks better because
you’re less likely to stall during the cut. I use inexpensive canning wax found at any grocery store that costs a few dollars
for a box. Apply the wax in the pattern shown below (keep it
off the iron; that will change how the plane cuts). Then start
working until you feel the plane becoming harder to move. Just
reapply the wax and get back to work.
— CS
-
)
SLICK SOLE FOR SMOOTHING
(
,
.
+
'
Elevation – internal dividers
"
Y EPPS FEHJOH UPQ BOE UXP TJEFT POMZ
Plan – door removed
4FF DMFBU
EFUBJM
#
$
TUJMFT BOE SBJMT
QBOFM
1
Profile – door removed
/
Section
SUPPLIES
2
1
Lee Valley Tools
800-871-8158 or leevalley.com
2 • Forged flush rings, 1½" x 2"
#00L02.02, $13.60 ea.
2 • Colonial chest handles
#06W02.01, $14.50/pair
/
Elevation
2 • 2½" non-mortise hinges
#00H51.13, $1.20 ea.
Local home-supply store
2 • Magnetic catches
Prices as of publication deadline
popwood.com
77
I don’t like to clamp
carcase pieces
between dogs unless I have to – the
clamp pressure can
bow the pieces as
I’m working them. I
prefer a stop on my
bench, as shown.
After planing the
case pieces, I’ll hit
them with some
#220-grit sandpaper
to remove any ridges
left by the plane.
Stop
Build the Door
Clamping
block
I use simple clamping blocks to clamp the tail boards firmly against the
pin boards. These are easy to make using a hand saw or band saw. Apply a
consistent but thin layer of glue to the tails and knock the case together with
the bottom in its groove. Clamp up the case using the clamping blocks and let
it sit for at least 30 minutes.
A dado stack makes quick work of tenons for the door.
The table saw’s miter gauge guides the rails over the
dado blades to cut the face and edge cheeks.
78
POPULAR WOODWORKING October 2004
With the glue dry and the case
complete, measure its width and
length to determine exactly how
big your door should be. You want
the door to overhang the case by
1 ⁄16" on either end and 1 ⁄16" on the
front, so size your door’s rails and
stiles accordingly.
As much as I enjoy handwork,
I decided to cut the mortise-andtenon joints for the frame-andpanel door using my “tailed
apprentices” (my power tools). I
begin making this classic housed
joint by cutting a sample mortise
with my mortising machine. Then
I cut all the tenons using a dado
Test the fit of your tenon in a test mortise. When you’re
satisfied with the fit, cut the tenons on all the rails this
way, being sure to check the fit after cutting each one.
stack installed in my table saw.
The rule of thumb is that your
tenons’ thickness should be onehalf the thickness of your stock.
The doors are 3 ⁄ 4" thick, so the
tenons are 3 ⁄ 8" thick with 3 ⁄ 16"
shoulders on the face cheeks.
Now install a dado stack in
your table saw. These tenons are
1" long, so I like to put in enough
chippers to make a 5 ⁄ 8"-wide cut
in one pass. Set the height of the
dado stack to 3⁄16" and set the fence
so it’s 1" away from the left-most
tooth of your dado stack. Make
several passes over the blade to
remove the waste from the face
cheeks, then remove the waste
from the edge cheeks and test the
fit in your sample mortise.
Raise the dado stack to 3⁄8" and
remove the remainder of the waste
on the edge cheeks. The bigger
edge shoulders ensure that you
won’t blow out the ends of your
mortises at glue-up.
Mark the location of your
mortises using your tenons as
a guide, as shown in the photo
above right. Cut the 3 ⁄8"-wide x
11 ⁄16"-deep mortises in the stiles
using a hollow-chisel mortiser.
Next cut the 3 ⁄8"-wide x 1 ⁄2"deep groove on the door parts
that will hold the panel. I use a rip
blade in my table saw. Don’t worry
about stopping the groove in the
stiles; the hole won’t show on the
front because it will be covered
by moulding. On the back you’ll
almost never see it because that
is where the hinges go. If the hole
offends you, by all means patch it
with a scrap.
Assemble the door and make
sure it fits on the case. When all
is well, plane or sand the panel
for the door and glue up the door
– making sure not to put glue in
the panel’s groove.
With the door complete, mill
the moulding that surrounds the
door on three edges. Miter, glue
and nail it in place. Then install
Finally it’s time to make the dividers for the planes. This is the easy
part. I fastened the dividers using
screws to make sure I could change
Use the tenons to
mark where the
mortises should
go on the stiles. I
like this method
because there is
less measuring
and therefore
less room for
error.
in place. Secure the assembled
divider in the case with a couple
of 1"-long screws. As this is shop
furniture, I didn’t choose a fancy
finish. A few coats of clear lacquer
is enough protection.
I hung my cabinet on the
wall using a French cleat system,
shown at right. When installing
the cleats, be sure to use 3"-long
screws to fasten the cleat to the
studs in the wall. This cabinet,
when full, is quite weighty.
With this project complete and
hung on my shop wall, I loaded the
tools into their slots and thought
for a moment about offering my
planes some sake in the Japanese
tradition. But then, coming to my
senses, I offered myself a cold beer
instead. PW
When cutting the mortise, cut one hole, skip a space,
then cut the next one. Then come back and clean up the
area in between. If you cut all your holes in a row, the
mortiser’s chisel can bend or snap because it wants to
follow the path of least resistance.
THE GENIUS OF
FRENCH CLEATS
When you hang a cabinet that
will be loaded with heavy
objects, I recommend a French
cleat to fasten it to the wall.
These cleats take a little more
work than metal cabinet hangers, but they are well worth it
because the cabinet will be more
secure and it will be easy to put
on the wall and remove.
To make a French cleat, take
some of the 1⁄2" stock left over
from building the dividers for
the interior of your cabinet.
You’ll need one piece that’s
247⁄8" long, which you’ll attach
to the backside of the cabinet.
And you’ll need a second piece
that’s a couple of inches shorter
than the first. Set your table saw
to cut a 45° bevel and rip one
long edge of each piece at 45°.
Glue and screw the long
cleat to the top edge of the
backside of the cabinet with the
bevel facing in. Now screw the
second cleat to the wall where
your cabinet will go – with the
bevel facing the wall. Be sure to
use big screws (I used #12 x 3")
and anchor the screws in the
studs in your wall.
— CS
"
%
8BMM TUVET
Divide and Organize
the configuration in case my plane
collection ever changed. The first
step when building the dividers is
to screw the four outermost pieces
together and plane them down so
they fit snugly inside the case.
Then divide up the rest of
your space and screw everything
%SZXBMM
the hardware: the butt hinges,
catches, pulls and handles.
$
&
The 3 ⁄8" x 1" moulding creates a dust seal around the
edge of your cabinet and gives the piece a nice finished
look. I cut a 1⁄4" roundover on the inside edge of the
moulding. Miter the ends, then glue and nail the moulding to the door’s edges.
As you install the interior dividers, it’s a good idea to
double-check your initial measurements against the real
thing. I had a rude shock when my No. 4 plane was wider
than I had anticipated. When everything looks good,
screw all the parts together using #8 x 1" screws. Then
screw the whole thing into the cabinet. I ran the screws
in from the backside of the cabinet.
4DSFXT HP UISPVHI DMFBU
BOE JOUP TUVET
popwood.com
79
Hanging Tool Cabinet
A
cabinet full of tools is physical evidence of a
deep, ever-growing investment. If it’s not the first
project you build, it should come soon after.
This project is based on the “Shaker Hanging
Cabinet” (page 16) minus the doors, the solidwood back (this one is Baltic birch plywood,
which doesn’t expand with changes in humidity),
the curved top and a shelf.
Before you start working with wood, you
need to first work with cardboard. To decide
how to best arrange your tools, draw a 19"-high
x 161 ⁄2"-wide rectangle on a piece of cardboard
and arrange your tools until you find a good fit
(Check out “Storing Your Tools” on page 28 for
some ideas).
Choose wood for the sides, tops and bottoms that’s no less than 9" wide and has straight
grain.
Next, joint and plane your boards. We chose
maple, but yellow birch works, too. Cut all your
parts to size, except the back and stiles.
Now cut a 3 ⁄4"-wide x 1 ⁄4"-deep rabbet on the
inside top and bottom of each side piece. Next,
cut a 1 ⁄2"-wide x 1 ⁄4"-deep rabbet on the long back
edge of each side piece. Then cut a 1 ⁄2"-wide x
1⁄
4"-deep dado on each side piece for the shelf,
located 61 ⁄2" from the bottom.
Next, drill the tool holes in the shelf. For my
chisels, I made a mark 9⁄32" in from the front edge
of the shelf and, using a drill press and fence,
bored six 5 ⁄8" holes with a Forstner bit. These
holes allow my chisels to hang on the shelf’s
front lip without falling. You also can drill a
matrix of holes two rows deep to hold hand tools
if you like.
Sand the inside faces of your pieces and test
the fit. Once you’re happy, glue it up. Check for
squareness before tightening the clamps. Once
the glue has cured, add nails for extra strength.
Attach the face-frame stiles and rout the cove
detail on the three edges of the outside top and
bottom pieces. Glue and nail these pieces on.
Measure the opening for the plywood back,
cut it to size and screw it in place with #8 x 1"long screws. Don’t use nails – with screws you
can remove the back for finishing.
Read “Wipe-on Finishes” on page 30 for
detailed instructions on finishing. Sand, scrape
or plane everything before applying your finish.
Once the finish has dried, attach a magnetic strip
or blocks of wood to hold your tools.
For information on hanging this cabinet, read
“Smart Ways to Hang Cabinets” on page 24. WM
26
■
woodworking magazine Spring 2004
Story and project by Kara Gebhart, associate editor
Hanging Tool Cabinet
NO.
PART
T
❑
❑
2
2
❑
❑
❑
1
2
2
❑
1
Sides
Inside top
& bottom
Shelf
Stiles
Outside top
& bottom
Back
SIZES (INCHES)
W
L
MATERIAL
NOTES
3 ⁄4
7
19
Maple
3 ⁄4"-wide x 1 ⁄4"-deep rabbets on ends
3 ⁄4
3 ⁄4
61 ⁄2
61 ⁄2
21 ⁄2
17
17
19
Maple
Maple
Maple
In 1 ⁄2"-wide x 1 ⁄4"-deep dados
Glued to carcase
1 ⁄2
1 ⁄2
81 ⁄4
17
19
19
Maple
Baltic birch
1 ⁄2
See shelf detail
‹
∂" Dia.
2ø"
Plan
´"
π" Dia.
Dimensions are for reference only.
Base on size of tools.
Shelf detail
Top and bottom
are rabbeted
into side panel
‹
7"
20"
‹
19"
Shelf is
dadoed into
side panel
18"
8¬"
Note : Side panel removed
for clarity
19"
Elevation
6ø"
Hanging Tool Cabinet
Profile
woodworking-magazine.com ■
27
Storing
Sidebar Your
headTools
T
here’s a bit of romanticism associated with
a tool cabinet. Many of us can remember
sorting through our parent’s old tool box,
eyeing everything in it fondly or quizzically,
then carefully putting each tool back in its
place to avoid getting in trouble.
On page 26 we show you how to build a
simple, utilitarian tool cabinet. Following is a
list of clever tool-storage tricks. Hopefully this
will give you ideas so you can design your tool
cabinet to best suit your tool investment.
■ Before you begin, use a piece of cardboard cut to the size of your cabinet to lay out
your tools. Here you can play with organization to determine the best placement for
shelves, cubbies and drawers.
■ Rare-earth magnets, either buried in
strips of wood or attached bare to the cabinet, are great for storing metal tools, but be
careful. Magnetized screwdrivers can be very
handy – even the tiniest of screws will cling
right to them – but magnetized chisels and
files can be problematic. Swarf (the metal
particles that are created during sharpening) will cling to a magnetized chisel, as will
metal filings to files. These tiny bits of metal
can scratch both the tool and your work, a
disheartening experience.
■ Appropriately sized holes or slots drilled
or cut into wooden shelves can hold all sorts
of tools including chisels, screwdrivers, router
bits, drill bits, awls, files and pliers.
■ Shelves are a great way to store hand
planes. Contrary to what some people
believe, storing a plane on its sole on a clean
“The pioneers cleared the forests
from Jamestown to the Mississippi
with fewer tools than are stored in
the typical modern garage.”
— unknown; attributed to Dwayne Laws
This tool cabinet, built by Malcolm and Glen Huey (owners of Malcolm Huey & Son, a custom
woodworking shop in Middletown, Ohio) marries hand-tool and power-tool storage with drawers,
deep-set doors, magnetic strips, cubbies, brass hooks, Shaker pegs and Shaker boxes.
28
■
woodworking magazine Spring 2004
wooden surface won’t dull the blade.
■ Hand planes also can be hung. Drill a hole
into the wall of your cabinet and tie a piece
of leather string, forming a loop. The string’s
knot holds it in place. Put your plane’s front
knob in the loop. Whatever you do, don’t drill
a hole in the sole of the plane to hang it. This
hole destroys any potential value the plane
had to the next generation of collectors.
■ A few appropriately sized and placed
blocks of wood allow you to hang certain
tools in your cabinet, such as the rule part of
your combination square. Some people will
even shape their blocks of wood to fit the
inside of specific tool handles or the heads of
hammers. This is for the ultra-organized only.
■ Deep-set doors, such as those shown on
the cabinet at left, give you additional storage
space that you can use for a variety of tools.
■ Store your precision instruments, such as
straightedges, so they are completely flat and
supported along their lengths. These instruments actually can be warped by their own
weight. Dial calipers should be stored in their
original plastic cases for the same reason.
■ Avoid the standard pegboard hooks. Yes,
they are inexpensive. But they fly off the pegboard if you just look at them wrong. Spend a
few extra dollars on the pegboard hooks that
lock in place. You will save yourself years of
bending over to find the little things.
■ If you’re looking for the ultimate tool-storage technique, some people try “French
fitting.” This involves making different scrollsawn depressions in the wood that will fit
each tool precisely. But we don’t recommend
it. Spend your time on the projects you’ll display proudly in your home.
■ Although it’s best to keep your safety
glasses and ear protection in your shop apron
or next to your machines, designating a
drawer for safety equipment is a good way to
keep extras on hand – great for when family
members or friends visit your shop. WM
— Kara Gebhart
Inside your cardboard representation, draw where
you will want to place the shelves, blocks of wood
and magnetic strips for holding specific tools.
Mobile Clamp Cart
T
B Y R O B E R T W. L A N G
This small rack rolls easily to anywhere you need it.
Ready and mobile. This
simple cart holds many
clamps and takes up
little floor space.
Online EXTRAS
For
or more information on the necessary
clamps for your shop, go to:
popularwoodworking.com/oct07
70
O
Popular Woodworking October 2007
here is an old saying in woodworking
that you can’t have too many clamps. While
this is true, it is entirely possible to have
too many clamps in the wrong place at the
wrong time. The last thing I want to do in
the midst of a complicated glue-up is to set
off to the far reaches of the shop in search of
a needed clamp.
A rolling cart is an obvious solution, and we have had one for years.
The problem with it is that it holds
only parallel-jaw clamps, and is so
big that there is only one place in the
shop that it fits. And if we could find
another place for it, it would be difficult to move. It’s always reminded
me of a retail store display. It looks
nice, but it may as well be fixed to
the wall.
I decided to make a smaller rack,
one that would hold wood handscrews and F-style clamps in addition to big cabinet assembly clamps.
I wanted it to be mobile and functional
with a small footprint.
I sacrificed a bit of organization to
gain usable space. The cabinet clamps
are contained in a three-sided corral
mounted on a simple cart. F-style
clamps hang on the outer top rails, and
wooden handscrews fit over two upright
pieces at the back. Now I can have the
clamps I use most often right where I’m
working, and when I don’t need them, I
can roll them out of the way.
The lower part of the cart is a piece of
3 ⁄ 4"-thick plywood, fastened to the top
of a hardwood frame. On each corner at
the bottom of the frame is a 21 ⁄2"-diameter
swivel caster. The frame is made from 1"thick x 31 ⁄4"-wide poplar. The three frames
that form the upper part are made of the
same material. Any hardwood would work,
or these parts could be made from 2x4 material prepared the same way as in the miter saw
stand article on page 38 in this issue.
The cart holds a lot of weight, so it should
be made of solid, sturdy material with solid
14"
53/4"
333/4"
32"
31/4"
201/2"
121/4"
131/4"
assembled view
construction. I held the frames together with
mortise-and-tenon joints, but there are any
number of other joints that would be suitable. I
used mortises and tenons because I had a new
mortiser and shoulder plane I wanted to try.
The two outer frames are glued to the long
edge of the central frame. After assembling the
three frames, I attached the plywood to the
bottom edges with glue and #8 x 13 ⁄4" screws.
Exploded view
Then I attached the bottom frame with glue
on the top face and screws down through the
plywood. The wheels were attached with #10
x 3 ⁄4" pan head sheet-metal screws.
The two racks for F-style clamps are 1"
x 31 ⁄ 4" x 131 ⁄ 4" poplar, with a series of 5 ⁄ 8"diameter dowels. The dowels are 3" long. I
made the holes at the drill press with a Forstner bit. The holes are 1 ⁄2" deep on 13 ⁄8" cen-
ters. After gluing the dowels in place, these
assembled pieces were glued and screwed on
to the top rails of the frames.
The two holders for hand screws are 1"
square and 30" long. They are glued and
screwed on to each side of the back with 18"
exposed above the top of the frame. I used
a 1 ⁄ 4"-diameter roundover bit to break the
edges of the frame. This prevents splintering
on the edges and makes the cart more userfriendly. pw
Bob is the author of “Shop Drawings for Craftsman
Furniture” (Cambium) in addition to other books (more
information is available at craftsmanplans.com). Contact
him at 513-531-2690 x1327 or [email protected]
Mobile Clamp Cart
High and outside. F-style clamps rest on the top
rail with the bars between dowels. The dowels
prevent the clamps from sliding off when the cart
is moved.
lead Photo by al parrish; illustrations by mary jane favorite
A handy home for hand screws. Hand screws
drop over a square upright attached to the back
of the cart’s frame. They simply stack without
needing to be clamped.
No. item
dimensions (inches)
T
W
L
Cart base 3⁄4131⁄4 201⁄2
Uprights 1 31⁄4 32
Back rails 1 31⁄4 161⁄2*
Side rails 1 31⁄4 81⁄4*
Bottom
rails
1 31⁄4 91⁄4*
Bottom
front/back 1 31⁄4 201⁄2
Hand screw
holder
1 1
30
5⁄8 dia. ❏ 18 Pegs
3
❏ 1
❏ 6
❏ 2
❏ 4
❏ 2
❏ 2
❏ 2
material
Plywood
Poplar
Poplar
Poplar
Poplar
Poplar
Poplar
Poplar
* = 11⁄4" tenon both ends
popularwoodworking.com
■
71
Photo by Tim Grondin
Saw Blade Box
Protect your investment in
saw blades by protecting their
brittle teeth – and keep them
well organized and handy at
the same time.
O
ne of my objectives in building the “Under-the-saw Cabinet”
in our December 2002 issue was to show a saw-blade storage
solution for inside the cabinet. I was tired of, and embarrassed by, my traditional “nail in the wall” approach.
After building a prototype, I finalized this simple, functional and
handy blade-storage box that you can build in little more than an
hour using shop scraps.
by Steve Shanesy
Comments or questions? Contact Steve at 513-531-2690 ext. 1238 or
[email protected]
popwood.com
53
The most important thing to
remember when starting this project is that you will cut the sloping, angled front after the box is
fully assembled. What you are first
building is a simple five-sided box.
The box sides are made using
3⁄
4 "-thick plywood, and the
“shelves” for the saw blades are
1⁄
4" plywood. Start by cutting the
top, bottom, sides and back to
size. Then, using your table saw
or router, cut a 3⁄ 4"-wide x 1⁄ 2"-
DO YOU REALLY
NEED 6 BLADES?
You might be wondering why
this box is set up to handle six
saw blades. Most woodworkers
get by with just one (a combination blade) or two (a rip and
crosscut blade).
Here are our thoughts on the
matter: First, keep the steel
blade that was likely shipped
with your saw. It’s not much
good for fine woodworking, but
it is a great “beater blade.” Use
it when you’re cutting into
material that might have content that could damage your
other blades, such as nails,
staples or even bullets.
In three other slots, keep a
combination blade, a rip blade
and a crosscut blade. Having
these three blades is ideal for
several reasons. As you first
machine your stock, it’s best to
do most of your ripping with a
rip blade and your crosscutting
with a crosscut blade. Your cuts
will be cleaner. Then use the
combo blade for the general
work that follows machining,
which will save you time switching between blades.
The other advantage to this
system is that if one of the
blades gets dull, you’ll still be
able to both rip and crosscut
with the two left.
And the last two slots?
When you have the cash, get a
plywood blade and leave the
last slot open for the future.
deep rabbet on two long and one
short edge of the top and bottom,
and one rabbet on one short edge
of each side piece.
Before assembling these five
pieces, you must cut the grooves
in the sides to support the 1⁄4" plywood shelves. An angled dado is
necessary to capture the secondary 1⁄ 4" back, which acts as the
stop for the shelves and blades.
I used my table saw with a rip
blade to cut the grooves in the
sides. Set the blade to make 3⁄ 8"deep cuts. Next, lay out the locations of the five grooves on the
front edge of the left side. You
need to mark only one edge, and
remember you will be making
right- and left-handed sides. This
means you’ll run one side with
the back edge facing the blade
and the other with the front. Run
both parts using the same setup.
Each groove requires two passes to make the correct size. Make
an allowance for the plywood
thickness being about 1⁄ 32" less
than 1⁄ 4" thick.
When done, cut the 3⁄ 8"-deep
dado for the secondary back. I
With the top
removed you can
see how the inside
pieces fit together.
used my slot miter gauge set to
20° to make the cut.
Before assembly, cut the secondary back to size and test-fit
the dry assembly. You can now
glue and clamp, or nail the assembly and make sure the secondary back is in place. If you
nail it, be sure to place the nails
away from the future cutting path
of the sloped front edge.
While the glue is drying, cut
out the pieces of 1⁄4" plywood you’ll
need for the shelves. Remember
the bottom shelf is 3⁄ 4" narrower
in width because it simply rests
on the bottom of the box.
Refer to the diagram and lay
out the cuts for the round shapes
on the front of each shelf. I used
a hole saw to make the 21⁄ 2" cut
before band sawing the larger
This saw blade box fits perfectly in the “Under-the-saw Cabinet” featured in the December 2002 issue. The cabinet is a great
project for the small shop. It offers considerable storage beneath the wing of your saw – usually wasted space. For complete
plans for the cabinet, order the back issue (issue #131) by visiting our web site at popwood.com or calling 888-419-0421.
semi-circle. This larger diameter,
at 101⁄ 4", will make sure any 10"
blade’s teeth will rest inside the
wood edge and be protected from
unintentional dings. Sand all the
edges smooth.
The final chore is cutting the
angle on the front opening. First
lay out your cut lines following
the diagram. Again, make sure
there are no nails in the cutting
path. Make your first cuts on the
top and bottom with your table
saw’s blade tilted to the 20° angle.
Raise the saw blade only enough
to clear the thickness of the plywood. Set your fence to the appropriate distance for each cut.
Next, bring your saw blade
back to 90° and set your slot miter
gauge to 20° to make the cuts on
the sides. Again, the blade height
should be only as high as necessary to clear the plywood.
When done, give the box a
light sanding, break the edges,
insert the shelves and put your
blades safely away. PW
1/4" typ.
13/16" typ.
1/4" typ.
8"
61/2"
70°
11 1/4"
Section, box profile
SAW BLADE BOX
NO.
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
2
2
1
1
5
1
ITEM
Top and bottom
Sides
Back
Second back
Shelves
Shelf
DIMENSIONS (INCHES)
T
W
L
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
1⁄
4
1⁄
4
1⁄
4
113⁄ 4
71⁄ 2
111⁄ 4
67⁄ 8
11
101⁄ 4
111⁄ 4
111⁄ 4
71⁄ 2
11
101⁄ 4
101⁄ 4
M AT E R I A L
Birch plywood
Birch plywood
Birch plywood
Birch plywood
Birch plywood
Birch plywood
2 1/2" d.
11"
10 1/4" d.
2 1/2"
11 3/4"
Shelves, plan view
71/2"
Exploded view
popwood.com
55
Traditional Sawbench
Plastic sawhorses are OK in
a pinch. However, once you
build a sawbench you will
wonder how you ever worked
wood without it.
awbenches are not sawhorses. Though both
devices support your work, real sawbenches can
be pressed to do so much more that they are worth
building in a long afternoon in the shop.
The major difference between a sawbench
and a sawhorse is the top. On a sawhorse, the top
is generally long and skinny. It will not support
anything on its own. A sawbench has a wide top:
7" is a common and useful width. And it’s this
detail alone that makes them worth building.
The wide top allows you to cut many cabinetsized parts using one sawbench alone. The top
is also an excellent clamping surface, allowing
you to secure work to it. The sawbench is a step
stool for reaching up high. It’s a mortising stool
for hand-mortising operations – you secure the
work over a leg and hold it down with a holdfast
(hence the hole in the top). And then you sit on
the sawbench astride or next to your work.
But, as they say on television, there’s more.
Much more. The shelf below holds your square
and saw as you move your stock in position. The
V-shaped mouth on the top – called a “ripping
notch” – supports your work as you notch out
corners with a handsaw or jigsaw. And the top is
the traditional place for a craftsman to sit when
eating lunch.
The sawbench shown here is based entirely
on traditional English forms. If you choose to
alter this plan, resist changing the height of the
sawbench. The 20" height is key to using the
bench in conjunction with a Western handsaw.
The 20" height allows you to use your legs to
secure your work without clamps and makes the
handsaw work efficiently. The sawbench is high
enough that a 26"-long saw at the proper cutting
angle won’t hit the floor and the saw won’t be able
to jump out of its kerf on the return stroke.
10
■
woodworking magazine Autumn 2006
PHOTO BY AL PARRISH
S
The reason sawbenches are so useful is the top. The fact that it is flat and has some width allows you to
perform many operations on it. And the particular height of the sawbench unleashes the full effectiveness of full-size Western-style handsaws and panel saws.
Build your sawbench out of any material that
is plentiful, inexpensive and easy to work. The
legs and lower braces are assembled much like
the American Trestle Table in this issue: Create
the through-mortise by cutting away the material
before gluing the two pieces together that form
each leg. If you like, chamfer all the edges of
your components with a block plane or chamfer
bit in a router.
Cut the ends of the legs at 10°, then cut a
notch at the top of each leg that will allow it to
nest into notches in the top piece. Each leg notch
measures 1 ⁄2" x 21 ⁄2" x 11 ⁄4". Cut your tenons on
the lower braces then assemble the braces and
legs. Drawbore the joints then wedge them using
hardwood wedges and glue.
With the legs and braces assembled, clamp
them temporarily to the top and mark precisely
where they intersect the edges of the top. Take the
clamps off and mark out the 11 ⁄2" x 21 ⁄2" notches
in the top that will receive the legs. Saw out the
notches and cut the ripping notch. Glue the leg
assemblies to the top and reinforce the joint with
a 1 ⁄2"-diameter dowel or Miller Dowel.
Clamp the plywood top braces in place and
trace the angle of the legs on the braces. Unclamp
the braces and saw each one to shape. Glue and
screw the braces to the legs using three #8 x 2"
wood screws in each leg. If you want to add a
shelf, first rip a 10° bevel on the shelf braces and
cut the ends of the shelf pieces at 10°. With the
sawbench upside down on your bench, place the
shelf pieces against the lower braces. Now glue
the shelf braces against the shelf pieces and nail
everything in place.
Bore a 3 ⁄4"-diameter hole in the top for a
holdfast or holddown. Position the hole so the
pad of the holdfast will touch the tops of the legs.
Mine is positioned to accommodate the Veritas
hold-down. WM
— Christopher Schwarz
1"
5"
1ø"
2ø"
2ø"
top view
11ø"
7"
5"
32"
3"
1¬"
5"
20"
100
14"
0
1¬"
3"
21"
80
0
2ø"
14ø"
front view
end view
Traditional Sawbench
NO.
❑
❑
❑
❑
❑
❑
1
4
2
2
8
2
PART
Top
Legs
Lower braces
Shelf braces
Shelf pieces
Top braces
SIZES (INCHES)
T
W
L
11 ⁄4
7
32
21 ⁄2
11 ⁄4
3 ⁄4
11 ⁄4
3 ⁄4
21 ⁄2
21 ⁄2
3 ⁄4
21 ⁄2
5
21
261 ⁄4
21
91 ⁄4
91 ⁄2
MATERIAL
NOTES
Pine
Pine
Pine
Pine
Pine
Plywood
Includes extra length for trimming
25 ⁄8"-long tenon, both ends
10° bevel on one long edge
10° bevel both ends, cut to fit
10° angle on edges, cut to fit
leg joint detail
woodworking-magazine.com ■
11
Photo by Al Parrish
SAWBENCH &
42
POPULAR WOODWORKING June 2005
SHOP STOOL
This simple afternoon project is perfect for handsawing,
holding doors for planing, organizing tools and giving
you a leg up. It will quickly become indispensable.
M
y simple plywood two-step
in the old tool shed had
reached the end of the road.
Looking at it you could see a pile of
old wood ready for the burn pile. I
saw in it a project that recalled 45
years of working life. It was more than
just memories that came to mind. If
it was time to recycle the old stool
then it was important to document
what had been a most useful object,
and perhaps make a successor to it
before its last rites.
My time in home building and
remodeling went back to four summers during college. I learned the
trade of carpentering before the
modern era of specialization, the
days when a small carpenter crew did
everything from the first framing to a
completed house ready for painters. It
was a good education. The shop stool
represented a sort of rite of passage
into the world of construction.
by John Wilson
John Wilson currently writes and operates
The Home Shop in Charlotte, Michigan,
where he teaches classes and sells Shaker
box supplies.
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Exploded view
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Foot detail
Construction Steps:
1. After cutting all the plywood pieces, round over all the exposed edges
in the stool using a 1⁄8"-diameter roundover router bit.
2. Assemble pieces using tapered drill and countersink to pre-drill for 15 ⁄8"
deck screws. Start with the front and back supports on the middle shelf.
3. Cut 4'-long hardwood blocks for the feet with a groove to fit 3 ⁄4" plywood. Adjust the thickness of the blocks to make the stool level and glue
them in place.
4. Finish with a sealer coat of polyurethane and thinner mixed 50/50.
popwood.com
43
That first summer I was too
busy learning the ropes as the new
kid to understand the significance
of a shop stool. I borrowed someone else’s when a task was at ceiling height. The second summer
I was more confident of what was
required on the job. After all, they
had hired me back.
One day the boss suggested I
stop by his shop to make a shop
stool. It sounded helpful to me, but
looking back on it from the perspective of years later I can see its
significance. It marked my acceptance as a man who could use an
on-site bench to do his work. From
now on along with my growing
box of tools, the back of my car
held my very own work stool,
something some newer member
of the crew would ask to borrow.
That pile of old plywood ready for
the burn pile was to me a badge of
rank, hard won during months of
work on the job.
So what was so special about
the shop stool on the job? The
place at which you work is an
important extension of the tools
you use. This is as true of home
building and remodeling as it is
in the workshop. In fact this shop
stool is an asset in either your shop
or on the building site.
• It serves as a stable two-step
work platform.
• It’s a mobile work surface for
cutting and assembly.
• It holds doors on edge for
planing tasks.
• Two stools will replace the
need for sawhorses.
• It keeps tools in one place
where they are easier to find and
transport to a new work site.
All of this is from a half sheet
of 3 ⁄ 4" plywood and some deck
screws. Recalling all the ways the
shop stool gives good service made
me realize how important it was to
record its dimensions. I inherited
mine from men of experience on
the job. There is no better school
of design than experience. So here
it is for you, too.
quality varied considerably and
that taking time to shop for a
sheet with reasonable finish, free
from major voids, and not warped,
paid off. Some of the best plywood
these days comes from yellow pine
and is the BC grade with one good
face. Pick the best you can.
The illustrations and cutting
plan give you direction. Start by
screwing the 8" back support to the
middle shelf, and then screw the
5" front support under the middle
shelf leaving it centered with 7 ⁄8"
exposed at each end. With these
in place, the sides will screw to the
middle shelf more easily. The top
step goes on and you are done. It’s
that simple.
The door holder slot, if desired,
is added to one side. And there is
one more addition that will add
years of life to your shop stool.
I found that the plywood feet
abraded away with use, as you can
see in the picture below. As that
happens, the stool loses stability
as well. So I made some simple
hardwood blocks. The blocks are
made from a piece of 11 ⁄ 2" x 2"
with a groove 3 ⁄4" wide by 1 ⁄2" deep
routed into the wider face. Cut
these into four pieces 4" long and
glue them onto the sides.
One further use of the stool
comes at noon – all the guys sitting
around the work site with their
lunch pails open! PW
Construction Tips
While plywood is a stock construction item, I found that its
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Photo by the author
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Cutting plan
44
POPULAR WOODWORKING June 2005
���
Here is the old stool after a life of usefulness, now on the burn pile to be
returned to basic elements of the universe and to be recombined into a new
generation of materials. Note the badly worn corners where the plywood feet
gave out. The attachment of the hardwood “shoes” as I describe in the article
will extend the life of your stool.
A Better
Miter
Saw
Stand
b y R o b e r t W. L a n g
Is it the saw or where the saw lives
that increases your accuracy?
38
■
Popular Woodworking October 2007
T
here are two types of miter saws. The first can be a
mainstay in the woodshop, dependably making accurate
crosscuts day in and day out. Or it can be a cantankerous
helper, needing constant attention and delivering inconsistent
results. The difference usually isn’t in the saw; it is where the
saw lives in the shop – how it is set up, the table it sits on and
the fence and stop.
Miter saws were designed to be portable, taken to a job
site and moved often. In many shops, the miter saw is still
treated as a visitor, not a permanent resident. This makes
sense if you’re just setting up shop, or often move your tools
to share space. If, however, you have the room, a fixed location is preferred.
In our shop, our miter saw has floated around for several
years on a mobile cart with folding tables. We still have a limited amount of space, but we assessed our needs, the way we
work and the way we share our shop, and a permanent miter
saw workstation was at the top of our list of shop upgrades.
Meeting of the Minds
I met with the other editors and we talked about how we use
the saw and what our expectations were. And we listed the
things we didn’t like about the old setup. We planned a new
stand and decided to concentrate on the important things,
leave the bells and the whistles for someone else to add, and
keep to a tight budget.
The two main tasks our saw faces are breaking down
rough lumber at the beginning of a project and then making
precise, repeated cuts after the lumber has been milled. Most
saws on the market today are capable of being very precise
with one big “if.” Tossing rough lumber around can knock
a wimpy saw stand out of whack with the first piece of 8 /4
hardwood that comes its way, so the first requirement is
strength and stability.
But this strength needs to be focused and refined. The
alignment of tables and fences needs to be right on – and stay
that way – or the saw is useless for precise work.
At least nine out of 10 cuts we make are with the bulk of
the material to the left of the saw blade. We decided to trade
some flexibility for precision and build a solid stand to the
left of the saw. To the right of the blade is a rolling stand that’s
the same height as the saw to hold material and to give some
support when we need it.
Pulling Out the Stops
The final point we agreed on was a stop system. We use stops
on a regular basis to cut multiple parts to an exact length. We
needed a simple and easy way to add a stop when we needed
one. We also decided that it’s hard to beat a block of wood
and a clamp (especially on the price).
lead Photo by al parrish; illustrations by mary jane favorite
Right at home. This
miter saw workstation
is compact and inexpensive to build. As a
bonus, our crosscuts
are more accurate, and
our shop is cleaner.
popularwoodworking.com
■
39
All messed up and nowhere to go. Our old
stand had lots of bells and whistles, but it lacked
a way to deal with scraps and debris.
We’ve seen more than our fair share of systems with T-track and fancy stops that flip up
and down and decided that for us the time,
expense and chance of a stop moving or slipping weren’t worth it.
One of my pet peeves is the buildup of
offcuts and sawdust around the saw, so we
left the saw table open on top, with a trash
can directly below the saw.
We also borrowed a trick from the zeroclearance insert on our table saw. The kerf
in the insert shows the exact location of the
blade, and is an excellent aid to cutting right
to a layout line. It sure beats trying to line up
a cut to a tooth on the saw blade, especially
if you’re trying to cut to one side of your line,
or trying to split the line.
We added a sacrificial insert that sits outside of the saw’s metal fence. It won’t last forever, and it will get trashed as soon as we bevel
the saw, but nearly all of the cuts we make are
at 90°. The additional accuracy we get from
having the insert makes moving or changing
it on occasion no big deal.
Little Things Mean a Lot
The saw we chose to use, the DeWalt DW781,
has a lot going for it. It is capable of wide crosscuts in thick material. The detents lock in place
without wiggling around, it’s simple to change
the settings and it is solid overall. One of the
things we like most is the small footprint and
40
■
Popular Woodworking October 2007
short length of the saw’s slide bars. This
saves space, of course, but more important,
short bars reduce the leverage that works
against precision in this type of saw.
Many saws we have used work fine on
a narrow piece, but get sloppy when the
bars extend to make a wide cut. The guide
tubes still take up space behind the saw,
but much less than other saws in this category. The thing we like the least is the dustcollection bag, but with the way we mounted
the saw, most of the debris falls into the
trash can below.
The saw has a flat, level table and a
straight fence, but most of the wood you
are going to cut will sit off the table. If it
isn’t properly supported, the quality of cuts
will suffer. If we can extend the machine’s
surfaces, we can cut confidently. What
may seem like a tiny error can turn into a
woodworker’s worst nightmare.
A quarter of a degree, caused by a sagging
outfeed table may not seem worth worrying
about, but when you assemble four table legs
and four aprons all with that error, there
will be a lot more to be concerned with.
Little errors are a social bunch. They like
to gather in one corner of a project and have
a party. And when they party, they like to
cause trouble. That insignificant deviation
can now become a racked carcase, a twisted
drawer, or an out-of-square door.
Our stand fits in a limited space between
an existing lumber rack and a corner of the
room. The integral lumber rack we added
holds the back of the saw stand away from the
wall by 31 ⁄4" . Taking this into account with the
footprint of the saw, this stand would be 31 ⁄4"
deeper if we omitted the lumber rack.
We also made this stand a little narrower
than the actual width of the saw with the fences
extended. This puts the end of the left-hand
fence over the end of the fence assembly. This
means cutting a notch in the right end of the
fence, but makes it easier to line up the end of
the fence assembly with the saw’s fence.
The final parameter is the height above the
floor. We chose 421 ⁄8" – which might seem tall,
but it makes it much easier to see our work and
line things up without an awkward bend.
Cheap is Good, With Patience
The construction of the tables makes use of
a common, cheap material and an assembly
method that gives a solid and sturdy surface
Design Around the Saw
What we came up with works well for us,
is adaptable to nearly any saw and shop,
and you won’t spend a lot of time or money
making your own. The first part of designing your stand is establishing the footprint
of your miter saw. I set ours on a piece of
plywood to mark the layout. Put the front
edge of the saw on the edge of the plywood,
and push the head of the saw as far back as
it will go (if it has a sliding carriage).
Hold one leg of a framing square against
the back of the guide tubes and mark the
plywood. Swing the table to its right and left
extents and make marks both at the back of
the guide bars and at the control handle at
the front of the saw. Extend the fences out
from the saw and mark the distance at full
extension. These marks will determine the
size of the stand that the saw sits on. When
the saw stand is complete, you want it to be
tight against the wall, and the saw should
be able to move to any position without
interference.
Sow’s ear. Construction lumber is so wet that it
will twist and warp as it reaches equilibrium with
the shop environment. If used in this state, your
work won’t come out straight.
Silk purse. After drying, jointing and planing, this
common material is now fit to use.
c
c
72"
c
c
c
c
c
32"
421⁄8"
c
c
333⁄4"
FENCE, END VIEW
32"
22"
Miter Saw Stand
NO.
3-D VIEW
with basic joinery. All of the solid-wood parts
began as spruce, pine or fir 2x4s from the
home center. In our neighborhood, the leastexpensive hardwood available is poplar, and in
6/4 material, it costs about $2 a board foot.
I paid $2.38 each for “pre-cut” studs,
slightly less than 8' long; this works out to
about 70 cents a board foot. The drawback is
that this stuff can be soaking wet when you
buy it. This can be overcome, but it requires
time and effort.
Construction lumber is kiln-dried, but it
comes out of the kiln at 18-20 percent moisture
content. Similar material that has been in our
shop for a year is between 8-10 percent moisture content. As the 2x4s reach equilibrium
with the shop’s environment there will be
some shrinkage, warping and twisting.
I’ve found some ways to work around this.
The most important thing to do is wait. The
drying process can be assisted, but it still takes
time. When the wood gets to equilibrium, I
mill it on the jointer and planer and obtain
P 16
P 8
P 12
P 8
P 4
P
P
P
P
1
4
1
1
P 8
P 16
P 2
P 2
P 2
P 1
P 2
P
2
P
P
P
P
2
1
2
1
ITEM
Fixed table legs
Rolling table legs
Table frame
side rails
Left & right table
frame rails
Saw table
frame rails
Saw table front rail
Rack uprights
Rack cross piece
Lower brace
between tables
Lumber supports
Support brackets
Saw supports
Tabletops
Table shelves
Saw table shelf
Fence top
& bottom
Fence front
& back
Fence strips
Fixed fence
Sacrificial fence
Cut-off stop
DIMENSIONS (INCHES)
T
W
L
MATERIAL
11⁄4
11⁄4
31⁄4
31⁄4
373⁄4
345⁄8
SPF*
SPF
11⁄4
31⁄4
191⁄2
SPF
11⁄4
31⁄4
27
SPF
11⁄4
11⁄4
11⁄4
11⁄4
31⁄4
31⁄4
31⁄4
31⁄4
28 3⁄4
271⁄4
80
717⁄8
SPF
SPF
SPF
SPF
11⁄4
11⁄4
3⁄ 4
3⁄ 4
3⁄ 4
3⁄ 4
3⁄ 4
31⁄4
31⁄4
61⁄2
7
203⁄4
191⁄2
191⁄2
501⁄8
12
93⁄4
203⁄4
32
291⁄2
311⁄4
SPF
SPF
Plywood
Plywood
Plywood
Plywood
Plywood
3⁄ 4
67⁄8
72
Plywood
3⁄ 4
6
21⁄8
43⁄4
43⁄4
43⁄4
72
72
60
471⁄2
Plywood
Plywood
Plywood
Plywood
Plywood
3⁄ 4
1⁄2
1⁄2
1⁄2
9
COMMENTS
Adjust to wheel diameter
Notch back for saw fence
Match height of saw table
Make extras
*SPF = Spruce, pine or fir
popularwoodworking.com
O
41
311⁄4"
17"
373⁄4"
11⁄4"
31⁄4"
table, exploded view
straight and flat material. Even though I am a
procrastinator, I wanted to speed the process
so I cut the studs to rough lengths.
Most of the moisture exits the board
through the end grain, so this opens up the
middle of the board and lessens the distance
the water in the wood needs to move. Then I
cut a bunch of scraps into 1 ⁄ 4"-square strips
and stacked the rough-length 2x4s with
spaces between the edges of the boards and my
1 ⁄ 4" stickers between each layer of the stack.
I scanned a few boards with a pinless moisture
meter every few days, and in about a month
the wood was dry enough to use.
Without a moisture meter, it’s still possible
to tell when the material is dry enough to use.
If you have a piece of similar material that has
been in your shop for several months, you can
use that as a comparison to the new material. Wet wood will be heavier, and noticeably
damp and cool to the touch.
The length of time it takes for the wood
to acclimate will vary depending on where
you live, and the environment of your shop.
A month in our air-conditioned shop is the
best-case scenario, but it could take two or
three months in a damp basement shop. If
you live in the desert, it could dry on the way
home from the lumberyard.
Pretend it’s Rough Lumber
each other straight, resisting warping and
twisting. The legs are far stronger than just a
2x4, and the shape allows solid attachment of
the frame. This method can be used to make
sturdy benches of nearly any size. I also made
stands for a lunchbox planer and a mortiser
and you can see more details of these online
at popularwoodworking.com/oct07.
The legs are held together with #8 x 21 ⁄2"
screws and glue. Set one of the leg parts on
edge on the bench, and apply glue to the top
surface. Put the other part on top, using a
piece of scrap to support it while you align
the edge with the face of the vertical piece.
With the parts aligned, drill countersunk
holes and drive three or four screws to connect the two parts of each leg. The frames are
glued and butt-joined and these joints are also
screwed together.
The frames fit in the inside corner of the leg
assemblies. Lay two legs on the bench with the
inside of the “L” facing up. Put some glue on the
inside faces of the legs and put a frame unit in
place with one of the long pieces down. Drill
holes and connect the frame to the legs with #8
x 2" screws. With a combination square, mark
the location of the lower frame 20" up from
the bottom of the leg and glue and screw it in
place. When the three tables are assembled,
When the wood was dry, I milled it down to
11 ⁄4" x 31 ⁄4" on the jointer and planer. This may
seem like a lot of waste, but in my experience,
this is what it takes to get straight material
from 2x4s. With a pile of now-straight and
square stock, I cut the parts to final length
and assembled the benches.
There are two subassemblies to the
benches: “L”-shaped legs, and butt-joined
frames. Glued and screwed together, the
jointed edges of the leg components hold
Dynamic tension.
The jointed edge
of one part helps
keep the face of
an adjacent part
straight. Held
together with glue
and long screws,
these legs are
strong and straight.
All together now. With the frames inside the leg
assemblies, this table is ready for a plywood shelf
and top.
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Popular Woodworking October 2007
attach the plywood shelves and tops to the
frames with glue and #8 x 11 ⁄4" screws.
The right-hand table has shorter legs so that
it can roll on swivel casters. A block of scrap
leg material is glued into the inside corner at
the bottom of each leg, providing a place to
mount the wheels with #10 x 3 ⁄ 4" panhead
sheet-metal screws. A simple plywood box,
the same height as the fence beam, can be
placed on top of this rolling table to provide
support for material to the right of the saw
when needed.
Leave Yourself an Opening
The front upper rail of the saw table is reinforced with a second piece of wood that fits
between the legs. I didn’t bother with screws;
I just glued it on, holding it to the existing
frame’s front with clamps while the glue dried.
The plywood on the top of this unit isn’t a solid
piece; it is two 7"-wide strips going front to
back at the right and left ends. The lower shelf
on this unit may need to be slightly lower than
the other units to ensure that the trash can
fits. I used a Rubbermaid 32-gallon “Brute”
that I purchased from the home center, but
you’ll need to adjust the opening size if you
opt for a different container, or if you change
the height of the saw table.
On the Fence
The fence assembly is a plywood box-beam.
The extended front and back pieces of the
beam are held to the top and bottom with
strips of plywood. This beefs up the beam,
and the width of the strips helps to level the
surface to the surface of the saw table. In this
entire project, the width of the strips is the only
dimension that is important to hit exactly. This
dimension will depend on the exact thickness
of the plywood, and on the distance from the
top of the saw’s table to the base of the saw.
Because 3 ⁄4" plywood is notorious for being
undersized, I took two scraps and placed them
on top of each other, next to the base of the
saw. To get a precise measurement I took my
combination square and set the head on the
saw table and slid the blade down until the
end of the blade rested on the plywood scraps.
After cutting a test strip, I put it on top of the
scraps and used the blade of the square as a
straightedge to check the width. If the strips
are a bit too narrow, that won’t cause any problems, as the fence beam can be shimmed up
to match the saw table.
One strip is attached to the long edge of
each of the front and back pieces. I used 11 ⁄4"long narrow crown staples and glue, but the
strip can also be held in place with nails or
screws. Be careful to keep the long edges of
Gauge the distance. Stacking two pieces of plywood next to the saw table
will give you a precise distance without measuring.
Double check. Checking the width of the strips with a straightedge will
help keep the fence beam at the same height as the saw table.
Keep the edges flush. The thin plywood strip reinforces the front and back
of the fence assembly, and locates the top and bottom correctly.
Quick and strong. The box beam construction keeps the fence assembly
straight, and the narrow strips of plywood make it easy to put together.
popularwoodworking.com
■
43
Right where you want it. Using the kerf in the
subfence allows you to cut inside or outside a
pencil line, or split it down the middle.
A place to put your stuff. Adding brackets to the
back of the stand is a convenient way to store
material about to be cut and parts that have just
been cut.
the two pieces of plywood flush during assembly. Attach the beam bottom to the edges of
the front and back, then attach the top of the
fence beam. If you need to notch the end of
the fence, you can cut the notch with a jigsaw,
either before or after assembly.
The box that sits on the rolling table is
made from the same size parts as the box beam
fence, minus the wider pieces that extend
up and down. I glued and screwed the parts
together and considered attaching it to the
rolling tabletop, but it does its job, supporting long pieces to the right of the saw just as
well if left loose.
A material rack is built into the back of
the saw stand. It isn’t designed to hold a lot
of material; it is more of a temporary place to
put material before and after cutting parts to
length. Three 80"-long uprights are screwed
to the back legs on the left-hand table, and
the back left leg of the saw table. A cross piece
connects the two tables at the back, keeping
the entire assembly from racking, and this provides a place for a fourth upright. The supports
are short pieces of 11 ⁄4" x 31 ⁄4" material, held
in place with simple plywood brackets.
With the tables and fence assembled, the
complete saw station can be put in place and
assembled. Start with screwing or bolting the
saw to its table, then level the table with shims
under the legs as needed. The left table is set
in place, and the fence beam is set across the
two tables. Check to see that the fence beam
is sitting level, and that the fence itself is in
line with the metal fence on the saw.
When everything is level and in line, attach
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Popular Woodworking October 2007
Zero clearance equals accurate cuts. A replaceable sub fence indicates exactly where the saw
blade will be during the cut.
the fence assembly to the two tables with a
couple screws. Attach the 1 ⁄2"-thick secondary fence to the thicker back fence with #6 x
3 ⁄ 4" screws. We used Baltic birch plywood,
which comes in sheets that are 60" square. The
permanent portion of the secondary fence is
one rip from the sheet.
Making Sacrifices for Accuracy
Rip some extra pieces from the sheet for the
replaceable fence sections. Hold one of these
against the right-hand edge of the permanent
piece and mark the length directly from the
right edge of the metal fence on the saw. To
provide clearance for the saw carriage, you’ll
need to trim the upper portion of the replaceable fence in the middle. Hold it in place, trace
the outline of the saw’s fence on the back, then
make the cut on the band saw or jigsaw.
The sacrificial fence is held in place with
#6 x 3 ⁄4" screws. Most saws have a few holes
in the metal fence that will allow you to run
a few screws in from behind, and you can
run a couple screws from the face of the fence
into the thicker plywood back fence. With
the saw set at 90˚, make a cut through the
plywood fence.
This cut through the fence gives a convenient and accurate way to line up a cut line
on your work with the saw blade. When you
need to renew this kerf line, you don’t need
to replace the entire piece.
Remove the sacrificial fence, cut the edge
back to square and put it back, pushing the
freshly cut end against the edge of the remaining right-hand fence. This will leave a gap on
the other end, but that won’t hurt anything.
The only remaining part is the stop, which
is a cut-off piece of 1 ⁄2" plywood. I nicked off
Keeping it simple. An offcut of plywood and a
clamp make an effective stop system.
Dealing with the trash. Miter saws can make a
mess, but leaving the top open below the saw
lets dust and scraps fall into the trash can below.
the end at a 45˚ angle to keep sawdust from
building up between the end of the stop and
the material being cut. pw
Bob is the author of "Shop Drawings for Craftsman Interiors" (Fox Chapel) and other books. More information
is available at his web site: craftsmanplans.com. Contact
him at 513-531-2690 x1327 or [email protected]
S TA N L E Y
Tool Cabinet
Keep all your important
tools at your fingertips using
this adaptation of a Stanley classic
that’s built to travel.
by Christopher Schwarz
T
B
D
A
A
A
E
A
C
H
G
F
B
I
Schedule of Materials: Stanley Tool Cabinet
No. Lett.
Item
Dimensions TWL
3⁄
2
A
Sides
4" x 8" x 22"
3⁄
2
B
Top & bot.
4" x 8" x 14"
3⁄
3
1
1
C
Divider
4" x 3 ⁄ 4" x 12 ⁄ 2"
1⁄
1
1
1
D
Back
2" x 13 ⁄ 2" x 21 ⁄ 2"
1⁄
1
1
1
E
Frt. panel
2" x 13 ⁄ 4" x 21 ⁄ 4"
3⁄
1
1
F
Drw. front
4" x 4" x 12 ⁄ 2"
1⁄
1
2
G
Sides
2" x 4" x 3 ⁄ 4"
1⁄
1
1
H
Back
2" x 3 ⁄ 2" x 12"
1⁄
1
I
Bot.
4" x 3" x 12"
M=primary wood: maple • P=plywood
Material
M
M
M
P
P
M
P
P
P
he man running the antiques booth
was certain he’d found a sucker. I was fawning all over a well-preserved tool cabinet
emblazoned with Stanley’s “Sweetheart”
logo — so called because it featured a heart
with the initials “S.W.” inside. As I examined the piece, the dealer dropped
the price bit by bit.
Finally, I looked up at the dealer. He
smiled because he smelled a sale — until
I told him I’d rather build one and walked
away. For the next couple weeks I tried to
research the cabinet, but I couldn’t find a
photo or drawing of it in any of our old
Stanley catalogs. The cabinet I examined
looked similar to the old #862 from the
early 1920s, but it wasn’t quite right. So
I gave up and built this one from memory
and my notes. This cabinet is similar to
the #862, but it’s 13⁄ 4" deeper, has a small
drawer at the bottom and is made from
maple instead of a dark-stained oak. A
great feature of this cabinet (and the #862)
Here's how to cut the finger joints. Put a dado
stack in your table saw to make a 1⁄ 2"-wide cut.
Raise your blade just a hair over 3⁄ 4".The jig is a
piece of plywood screwed to the miter gauge. First
attach the ply to your gauge, then make a cut in
the ply using your dado stack. Now cut a small
piece of plywood that’s exactly 1⁄ 2" x 1⁄ 2" x 3⁄ 4".
Glue and screw this block exactly 1⁄ 2" away from
the cut on the plywood as shown in the photo.
Cutting your finger joints is now simple (below).
is the large handle on top of the cabinet.
This makes it portable when you need to
take your tools on a job — or when you
quit your job. Cabinetmakers are an itinerant bunch.
Construction
I built this cabinet and door as one box
and then parted the front door off using
my table saw. It’s tricky to keep the blade
from binding during this operation, but
I’ll show you a way to make this procedure
safer. The case itself is assembled using
rugged finger joints. The back panel rests
in a rabbet. The front panel sits in a groove
on all four sides, and the drawer divider is
biscuited into place. Begin construction
by cutting your parts to size according to
the Schedule of Materials.
First cut the 1⁄ 2" finger joints on the
ends of the top, bottom and sides. I use a
homemade jig for my table saw like the
one shown in the photo. Now cut the 1⁄ 2"
x 1⁄ 2" stopped rabbet for the back panel on
the back inside edge of the four sides. Then
cut the groove to hold the front panel. The
front panel rests in a 1⁄ 2"-wide by 3⁄ 8"-deep
groove that’s 1⁄ 4" in from the front edge of
the sides. Now cut the biscuit slots for the
drawer divider, which is 4 3 ⁄ 4 " up from
the bottom edge of the sides. Make sure
the divider is flush to the back panel when
the case is assembled.
Get out your clamps and assemble the
case without glue. The front panel should
square up the case. Now assemble the case
again, this time with glue.
Finally it’s time to part the front door
off the case. As I mentioned before, this
can be tricky. Get out a hot melt glue gun
and eight 6"-long blocks of wood. Glue
two of these to the inside of each side of
the box. These blocks will hold the box
together, and the kerf open, as you cut the
case on the table saw.
Now set your table saw’s rip fence to
41⁄ 4" and raise the blade to just over 3⁄ 4".
Make sure the back part of the cabinet is
running against the fence. First cut along
the top, then one side, then the bottom
and the other side. Pry the blocks loose
after the cut and remove the glue with a
scraper.
Drawer Construction
The drawer is a simple thing that’s great
Use hot melt glue to attach 6"-long
blocks that keep the saw kerf open
when you cut the front off the
cabinet (inset). After that, ripping
the cabinet is almost cake.
for holding hardware. Here’s
how I built it: the 1⁄ 2"-thick
drawer sides rest in 1⁄ 2" x 1⁄ 4"
rabbets on the ends of the drawer front. The back rests in 1⁄ 2"
x 1⁄ 4" rabbets in the sides. And
the 1⁄ 4"-thick drawer bottom
rests in a 1⁄ 4" x 1⁄ 4" groove in
the sides and front that’s 1⁄ 4"
up from the bottom edge. I also cut a 1⁄ 4"
x 1⁄ 4" rabbet on the drawer front as a decorative detail.
Glue your drawer together, then nail
the sides to the front and back. Nail the
bottom in place to the back.
Now attach all the hardware. The drawer gets two finger pulls. Screw two cabinet
hangers to the back so your cabinet can be
hung on the wall. Don’t forget the handle
on the top. Also, put two screws at the bottom of the back piece to allow you to level
it against the wall.
Finally, protect your cabinet with three
coats of clear finish and nail the back in
place. Hang it above your bench using wall
anchors, but don’t make those screws
too tight. You never know when you might
have to change jobs. PW
Supplies
2" butt hinges are available at any
hardware store.The magnetic tool
strip is available in most woodworking catalogs.
The rest of the hardware can be
obtained from
Lee Valley Tools (800-871-8158).
• Flush Ring Pulls (2 needed) item #
00L02.01. $10.95 each.
• Chest Handle (1 needed) item #
06W02.01. $11.75 a pair.
• Draw Catch (1 needed) item #
00S70.01. $3.95 a pair.
TA B L E
S AW
ou can find all sorts of
devices for sale to support your stock as you
feed it over your table saw. Some
sport rolling pin-style rollers, some
have a series of roller balls. Some
attach directly to your saw, others offer micro-adjustment to level
it to the precise plane of your saw
table.
My humble outfeed table offering has no such features. In
fact, they are about as “plain Jane”
as you can get. Remove them from
the shop and no one would take
them for anything other than
what they are — a pair of trestle tables.
So what’s the big deal? Well,
if you operate in a small shop
space, say a garage or basement,
these tables will serve so many
useful purposes you’ll wonder how
you ever did without them.
I’ve been using a pair of tables
just like these in my basement
shop for the past five years. They
surround my table saw and can
be easily repositioned for ripping
long stock, crosscutting a full sheet
of plywood and supporting long
crosscuts using my table saw’s sled
(and they give me a place to hang
the sled when it’s not in use). But
wait, there’s more.
These tables also serve as stock
support for both sides of my compound miter saw. I use them as
smaller assembly tables, for stack-
Don’t let the simplicity
of these tables fool you.
Y
When used together they make
many operations easier and serve
many other tasks that
aren’t immediately obvious.
ing stock while I’m planing or
jointing it. Sometimes I finish
projects on them. And because
they are also the same height as
my regular assembly table, I can
put larger objects on both.
I arrived at the trestle-style
design because it’s not only stout
and material-efficient, but it keeps
the base enough “inboard” so that
you’re not bumping table legs
with your feet. It also keeps the
weight down and makes them
easy to slide on your shop floor.
Getting Set for Building
Before you start construction,
measure the distance from the
floor to the top of your table saw.
There can be as much as an inch
or two variance in heights. The
plans given here are for a saw that
is just over 34" high. You should
make your tables’ height 1⁄ 8" less
than your saw’s height and reduce
the height by as much as another 1⁄ 8" if your shop floor isn’t very
46 POPULAR WOODWORKING February 2002
level around the saw. What can
make these tables useless is if they
are even a bit higher than the saw
table. In my book, being slightly
under doesn’t matter.
And if you wonder why I didn’t use levelers, I’ll tell you. It’s
just not worth the hassle of adjusting them every time you move
a table, let alone two of them.
And you’d have to do this every
time, owing to variations in the
floor or the fact that most screwadjustable levelers will wind or
unwind just by dragging the table
across a floor. When maintaining
a plane in critical work, perhaps
with a miter saw, shims or wedges
are quick and easy.
Construction Details
I built these tables using both
mortise-and-tenon joints and
dowel joints. You could use only
dowels if your shop isn’t set up
with mortising equipment. And
in fact, my original tables were
by Steve Shanesy
Comments or questions? Contact Steve at 513-531-2690 ext. 238 or
[email protected]
constructed entirely using biscuit
joints and screws and are no worse
for the heavy service they have
seen. If you don’t use mortises,
remember to deduct the length
of the tenons from the parts list.
I used stout white oak for the
bases because I had some 8/4 stock
on hand. But since I finished it
out to 11⁄ 2" thickness, you might
want to consider using ordinary
2 x 4s. Just don’t use twisted ones.
Follow the diagrams and cutting list to prepare your stock in
the correct sizes, making any allowance for a difference in table
saw height in the leg parts.
Next take the feet, top rails
and legs for Table 1 and lay out
the mortise locations as shown
in the diagram. All tenons are 1⁄2"
thick by 11⁄ 4" wide by 11⁄ 4" long.
Make the mortises the same dimensions except in depth. Make
them 1⁄ 16" deeper so the tenons
don’t bottom out before they seat
home.
Layout Trick: Work
From the Center Out
When I do layout work I often
find it handy to use a couple
tricks.Take the top rails and feet
of Table 2, for example. It’s really important that the mortises
and dowel joints line up perfectly for the legs. To pull this off, I
group all the parts together so
their ends align perfectly. You can
Photo by Tim Grondin.
Outfeed Tables
even throw a square on the group
to make sure they aren’t creeping out of alignment. Clamp them
so they can’t move.
Next, locate and mark from
each end the center of the leg locations (71⁄8") on one of the parts.
Since the feet get mortises that
are 11⁄ 4" wide, measure out 5⁄ 8"
from each side of the center lines.
Now take a square you know to
be true and transfer these lines to
the other parts. For the top rail,
use the same lines to align your
doweling jig. Later, you can transfer these lines onto the leg parts
for identical jig alignment.
Grouping parts and measuring
from the center out cuts down on
simple errors of missed or incon-
sistent measuring on common
parts. The beauty of this method
is that even if you are off slightly, everything remains off consistently. After laying out the mortises, cut them all.
Cut the Tenons
Next cut the tenons, fitting them
to the mortises. I use the table
saw for this job, setting up the
saw using scraps of fall-off from
the actual parts so their dimensions are consistent with the materials I’m working with.
I cut the cheeks using the table
saw’s fence, standing the parts on
end to run them over the blade.
Use a back-up block to support
the tall stock when making these
www.popwood.com
47
48" O.A.
2 1/4"
1 1/2"
3/4"
B
C
14"
5"
B
2 1/4"
A
A
1 1/2" 4"
D
28"
34"
7/16"
7/16"
D
2 1/4"
Table 1
37" spreader
1 1/2"
3/8"
2 1/4"
3/8"
It may take a little “persuading” to seat
the tenons in their mortises, but if properly fit should only require tapping in place.
5"
E
"
R2
Table 1
3"
1 1/2"
3"
E
8"
8"
2 1/4"
C
3/4"
16"
14"
3 3/4"
26"
48" O.A.
20"
3/4"
2 1/4"
5"
G
G
F
1 1/2"
F
1/2"
1/2"
H
J
J
Table 2
37" shelf
34"
2" 3 3/4" 2"
28"
16 1/2"
K
3/4"
3/4"
2 1/4"
1
4" 1 /2"
8"
"
1 1/2"
R2
Table 2
5"
L
3"
8"
L
3"
K
20"
48 POPULAR WOODWORKING February 2002
3 3/4"
cuts. To finish the tenons I band
saw off most of the waste from the
cheek cut. I then set the table saw
fence to establish the final length
of the tenon. With the stock on
its side and guided by a slot miter
gauge, trim the remainder of the
cheek waste. Then turn the part
to the other side and make the
shoulder cut.
In this project, since there
weren’t a lot of tenons, I just made
a series of passes over the rest of
the shoulder to cut away the waste.
Otherwise, I would have set up a
dado stack to do the work more
quickly.
Before you make the final
shapes on the top rails and feet,
lay out and drill for the pair of
When gluing up, assemble the ends
first and let them dry before completing
the table base assembly by gluing the
stretchers to the ends.
Joining the top stretcher to the top rail and the leg to the top rail on
Table 1 requires the dowel placement to straddle the mortise.
The top rails are
joined to the
legs using two
1⁄
2” dowels for
each leg while
the bottom uses
a mortise and
tenon. Other
joinery options
include dowels
only, mortises
only or biscuits.
dowels at the top of the leg-torail joint on Table 1. Position
them so they straddle the mortise in the rail as shown in the diagram.
Next make the angle cuts on
the rails and feet, and the cutout
on the bottom of the feet. Follow
the layout in the diagram, then
band saw out the waste. Smooth
the rough band-sawn edges.
Before gluing up, make a dryrun assembly to make sure everything is right before you get to
that panic glue-up stage. After
making any adjustments, start
gluing up, but don’t try to do everything at once. First glue up and
clamp the leg/rail end sections.
Once those are dry, glue the
stretchers to the ends. Although
this takes a bit longer, it allows
you to make sure your glue ups
are square and flat. A twist in a
table base is a real pain.
Once the base is completely
assembled, you can call it done
or rout a 3⁄ 8" radius profile on all
the edges except where the feet
meet the floor and the top rail
and stretcher attaches to the top.
I did this on my tables and think
it makes them appear more “finished.”
The tops and shelf are straightforward. Cut plywood to the sizes
OUTFEED TABLES
NO.
ITEM
DIMENSIONS (INCHES)
T
W
L
M AT E R I A L
TA B L E 1
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
1
2
2
2
2
2
2
Top (A)*
Top rails (B)
Top-Bot stret (C)
Legs (D)
Feet (E)
Solid edging
Solid edging
3⁄
4
11⁄ 2
11⁄ 2
11⁄ 2
11⁄ 2
3⁄
4
3⁄
4
15
21⁄ 4
21⁄ 4
21⁄ 4
3
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
47
14
391⁄ 2
291⁄ 4
14
48
15
birch plywood
white oak
white oak
white oak
white oak
any hardwood
any hardwood
47
20
391⁄ 2
291⁄ 4
36
48
25
37
151⁄ 2
birch plywood
white oak
white oak
white oak
birch plywood
any hardwood
any hardwood
any hardwood
any hardwood
given, then glue and
tack on 3⁄4"- x 1⁄2"-wide
solid edging. Tack
below the center point
so you can rout a 1⁄ 4"
radius profile on the
top edges. This detail
isn’t optional; the
rounded edge helps prevent stock
from catching on the edge when
the tables are in use.
Before attaching the shelf on
the larger table, sand the base and
tops to your satisfaction. I didn’t
bother with a finish on my tables.
These are for the shop, after all.
To attach the shelf, use corner braces at each of the four legs.
If you change the height of the
1 - just make
shelf forTable
any reason,
rail, interfere
leg & with your
sure it won’t
stretcher
table saw’s
motor hanging out the
back of your contractor saw.
And by the way, if you are already set up and happy with an
outfeed system for your shop, remember that you can always
change the height of these tables
and use the design and joinery
for any number of other trestlestyle tables. PW
junction
Cutaway view top rail
1/2" x 1 1/4" x 1 1/4"
typical all tenons
TA B L E 2
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
1
2
1
4
1
2
2
2
2
3⁄
Top (F)*
4
Top rails (G)
11⁄ 2
Top stret (H)
11⁄ 2
Legs (J)
11⁄ 2
3⁄
Shelf (K)*
4
Solid edging top 3⁄ 4
Solid edging top 3⁄ 4
Solid edging shelf 3⁄ 4
Solid edging shelf 3⁄ 4
25
21⁄ 4
21⁄ 4
2
151⁄ 2
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
1⁄
2
*Dimension given does not include 1⁄ 2”-thick solid edging to be added.
1/2"
x 2" dowels
Stretcher
Table 1 - rail, leg &
stretcher junction
Cutaway view - leg
www.popwood.com
49
Tool Tote
A good bevel gauge makes
the angles in this simple piece
easy to make (and perfect
dovetails be darned – sloppy
photo by al parrish
will hold just fine).
B
efore the advent of plastic tool boxes, carpenters, joiners and the like would carry their
tools from job to job in a wooden tote. (In fact,
we have a family picture of my great grandfather
carrying a similar tote, and he was a plumber). For
this tote, we took the 24" interior bottom length
(just long enough to hold a framing square) from
an early 19th-century Canterbury, N.Y., Shaker
example that sold for $400 at a recent Willis
Henry auction. I decided on 121 ⁄2" x 61 ⁄2" for the
interior width and height. The ends are about
22° off vertical.
This piece presents an excellent opportunity to
practice your dovetails without having to worry
about cutting them perfectly. Even if your pins
and tails look like an illustration from an 18thcentury dentistry tome, they’ll still hold. And
after all, this is a working piece, which means
it’s going to quickly get munged when you toss
tools into it and lug it around the house or to a
job site. (And paint is an excellent way to cover
small gaps and wonky cuts.)
But first things first. I chose to use poplar not
only because it’s affordable and readily available,
but because it’s relatively lightweight. Once this
sucker gets loaded down with hunks of metal, it’s
fairly heavy, so it’s best to avoid adding to the tare
weight, which can tear up your back.
Mill all your stock except the handle to 5 ⁄ 8",
then joint the edges. The sides are 7 3 ⁄ 4" wide
x 301 ⁄ 4" long, and the ends begin at 81 ⁄ 2" wide
x 131 ⁄ 4" long (however, the angle dictates the
width, so rough-cut and tweak your final width
later after the pieces are dry fit). Initially, I had
milled the handle to 1 ⁄ 2" to gain a smidge more
interior room, but concluded afterward that 1 ⁄2"
cut into my palm too much. So, I milled another
piece to 3 ⁄4" and rough-cut it to 11" x 30".
26
■
woodworking magazine Autumn 2008
Don’t let the angled ends put you off – this simple tool tote is a great beginner project. Even if your dovetails don’t look perfect, they’ll still impart the strength necessary to hold up under a heavy load.
Glue up a 14" x 25" panel for the bottom (a bit
larger than finished size in width and length so
you’ll have enough extra stock to angle the ends
and to fit it) then set it aside to dry.
Now, lay one of your side pieces flat on your
workbench, and grab your sliding bevel gauge
(see page 22 for tool recommendations). Set it to
an angle that pleases your eye and lock the blade
in place. You’re going to leave your bevel gauge at
that setting until you’re done with construction.
Mark that angle on one end of a side piece.
Because you’re going to gang cut the sides
on the miter saw, you need only mark the angle
on one end of one piece. Line up your two side
As you can see, all my tails are a bit proud, and
the fit at the baseline is gappier than I’d like. But
they’ll do for a workaday project like this one.
pieces at the top and bottom, then secure them
together by sinking a 1" nail into the waste portions at both ends.
With the saw off, pull the blade down on your
work and adjust the cut angle by eye. When you’re
close, press the handle of your bevel gauge against
the miter saw fence, and tweak the saw blade
angle until the gauge’s blade is flat against the
saw blade along its entire length. Lock in the
angle. (As with your bevel gauge, once you lock
the angle on the miter saw, leave it set until the
project is complete.)
Now align the angled mark on the side piece
with the blade and make the cut. Flip the pieces
over carefully (you’ve cut away one of the nails
securing them together), measure 243 ⁄8" along the
bottom edge, and make the second cut.
It’s time to cut the angles on the top and bottom of the end pieces – maybe. You may prefer
to cut your dovetails now using your preferred
method, and plane the top and bottom edges to the
correct angle once the box is assembled. These
are not compound joints, but regular old dovetails,
so if you haven’t cut too many dovetails, it might
be easier to leave the edges square while you do
so – just be sure to leave enough overhang at the
top and bottom so that you can plane the angles
flush with the sides when you’re done.
Or, you can set up your table saw for an angled
cut (again using your bevel gauge to set the blade),
and cut the proper angle at the bottom of each
side, then line up the bottom edges of the side and
ends before marking out and cutting the joints. I
chose this option because I’m not a virtuoso with
the plane; the table saw blade was far more likely
to result in a matching profile to the sides, ensuring the tote would sit flat on a surface.
After I cut and dry-fit my dovetail joints, I
pulled them apart, added yellow glue, then reassembled them. Check the bottom edges of the box
for square (theoretically both the top and bottom
edges should be square, but because you have to
fit the tote bottom, if it’s a choice between the
two, go with the bottom).
Once the glue is dry, use a block plane to
bring the top edges of the end pieces flush with
the side pieces (and if you didn’t cut the bottom
angle before dovetailing, flush the bottom edges
now as well).
Now align, glue and nail 1 ⁄ 2" x 1 ⁄ 2" cleats to
the bottom edge of the side pieces. For added
strength, you could also add angled cleats to the
end pieces, then plane them to flush the angle
with the ends. But that’s fairly involved.
Measure 5 ⁄8" up from the cleats, and calculate
your measurements for the size of the bottom
panel from that point. Cut the ends to the proper
angle at the table saw, or plane them to fit. The
30¬"
13¬"
“It is not only fine feathers
that make fine birds.”
— Aesop (c. 550 B.C.)
fable writer
bottom panel should drop in and sit flat on the
cleats. There’s no need to secure it; the handle
will keep it in place.
Now it’s back to the miter saw to cut the angles
on each end of the handle. As you did with the
side pieces, simply mark one angle with the bevel
gauge, make the cut, flip the board end for end
then measure 24" at the bottom’s length and make
the second cut. (It’s a good idea to confirm your
length by measuring at the bottom of the tote,
or make your initial cut a little long, and sneak
up on the final dimension.)
What I found trickiest about this project was
shaping the handle – or actually, deciding on
what shape and handhold size looked and felt
best. As I mentioned, I first milled wood to 1 ⁄ 2"
thick for the handle, and after cutting out the
handhold, found that was too narrow a width to
be comfortable. So I went with 3 ⁄ 4" instead. To
lay out the curve at the top, I first measured in
3" from where the handle ends would meet the
box at the top edge, and sunk a nail just outside
the line on the waste side on either end.
I then found the centerpoint at the top edge,
grabbed a thin offcut from the trash can, and
used the nails to hold it in place while I pushed
up at the center to find the curve. Then I marked
it with a pencil (see picture at right).
top view
1ð"
8ł"
24ł"
š"
Š"
š"
front view section
5š"
10ð"
Ý"
side view section
illustration by robert W. lang
Two nails and a thin piece of offcut make a fine
(and cheap) arc marker.
ý"
7Ý"
I cut to my line at the band saw, then measured
11 ⁄4" down from top center, and 11 ⁄4" to the right
and left from that point. I chucked a 7 ⁄ 8" Forstner bit in the drill press, lined up the center of
the bit with my two outside marks, and drilled
holes (you may wish to make a larger handhold,
depending on your hand size). I cut away the rest
of the handhold with a jigsaw, curving the top
edge slightly to match the handle profile, and to
provide a more comfortable grip.
With a rasp, I rounded over all the edges in the
handhold, then used #120-grit sandpaper to break
all the edges and clean up the rasp marks.
I decided to paint my tote a smoky gray-blue
… my default color. But, to make it a little more
interesting (and to avoid constantly chipping
the paint with the movement of tools), I masked
off the inside top edges with tape, and painted
only the outside surfaces of the box (filling in my
dovetail gaps in the process) and the handle.
After the paint dried, I marked the centerpoint
on each end piece, dropped the handle in place,
drilled three pilot holes through each end into
the handle, and secured the handle in place with
11 ⁄4" cut nails. WM
— Megan Fitzpatrick
Tool Tote
No.
❑
❑
❑
❑
❑
2
2
1
1
2
part
Sides
Ends
Bottom
Handle
Cleats
T
5 ⁄ 8
5 ⁄ 8
5 ⁄ 8
3 ⁄ 4
1 ⁄ 2
sizes (inches)
W
73 ⁄ 4
L
301 ⁄ 4
81 ⁄2
12
103 ⁄ 4
1 ⁄ 2
131 ⁄ 4
24
291 ⁄ 8
23
material
notes
Poplar
Poplar
Poplar
Poplar
Scrap
Dimension w/out angles
Dimension w/out angles
Dimension w/out angles
Dimension w/out angles
Use a drill press to cut the outside ends of your
handhold, and a jigsaw to remove the remaining
waste. You’ll do the final shaping with a rasp and
sandpaper.
woodworking-magazine.com ■
27
46
POPULAR WOODWORKING December 2002
Photos by Al Parrish
Underthe-Saw
Cabinet
The space below your table
saw is a prime storage area
that’s likely been doing little
more than gathering scraps.
I
n my eternal quest to find
more shop space, I discovered a respectable piece of
real estate right under my nose,
err, well my table saw anyway.
Yes, right below the table board
was a beat-up box of odd cut-offs
that were about as valuable as ice
cubes are to Eskimos.
After noodling around with
design ideas I settled on the rig
you see here. Not only does it provide a lot of useful storage, but it
has really helped me organize my
blades and accessories that weren’t
always at my fingertips. There’s
even extra storage on the “outfeed” side of the cabinet.
The Shaker-style flat-panel
doors gave me a chance to try out
some new router bits. We’ve included a special pull-out poster
that provides all the details for
making these doors, or other doors,
that will make a handy reference
when hung in your shop.
Build the Case
Cut out the plywood for the sides,
top, bottom, the common back,
partition, front rail and full bottom that goes below the routerbit storage tray.
On the two sides, cut a rabbet
on the top edge that’s 1⁄2" deep by
3⁄
4" wide that will hold the top.
For the bottom, make a dado 1⁄ 2"
deep by 3⁄ 4" wide that starts 3" up
from the bottom edge.
Next will be several 1⁄ 4" by 1⁄ 4"
dados and grooves.These joints
join the common back to the sides,
the partition on the “infeed” side
of the cabinet where it joins the
common back, and where the rail
and full bottom form the drawer
openings. Refer to the drawings
for the placement of each of these
dados. Remember to stop the dado
on the cabinet side for the router
Before assembly, handsaw 3"x 33⁄ 4"
notches in the sides at the bottom
corners to make the toe kick space.
bit section bottom so it doesn’t
pass beyond the common back.
For the corresponding parts,
cut 1⁄ 4" tongues on the edges. On
the back, these are on the two
sides; for the partition, they’re on
the back edge.The 4" rail has
tongues on both ends, and the
full bottom on both long edges.
Now, before you begin assembly, notch the bottom corners of the sides to create the setback for the toe kick. The height
of the kick is the same as the lower
edge of the dado you cut for the
cabinet’s bottom.
Apply a hot iron to hot-melt-glue backed edge veneer, then file off any veneer
overhang using the teeth on your file’s edge. It works just like a saw.
When done, install the top. Next,
turn the cabinet upside down and
nail or screw through the bottom
into the bottom edges of the common back and partition.
While the case is in this position, nail on the kick pieces after
edging the ends with hot-melt
glue-backed veneer tape. While
the iron is hot, veneer the other
edges of the cabinet and shelves
to conceal the plywood core.
Make, Install the Drawers
The project requires one regular
drawer and two pull-out trays.
All three are made the same except the trays have a cut-out front.
The router bit storage behind the
other drawer front isn’t really a
drawer at all, but another kind of
tray. Here’s how to make the regular drawer and trays.
Cut out the parts according
to the cutting list. On the draw-
Dry Fit, then Assemble
Dry-assemble the case to check
the fit of the joints. Make sure
that during the real assembly you
have all the parts oriented in the
right direction so you don’t turn
a part with a 1⁄ 4" tongue around
and create a cabinet that won’t
go together.
When you are ready for final
assembly, have a friend around
or assemble the parts in stages.
Before nailing the top in place,
screw two cleats into the sides
of the router bit opening that are
1⁄
2" up from the bottom. Make sure
a 1⁄ 2" piece of plywood will slide
smoothly in the space because this
will be the simple slide method
for the router bit pull-out tray.
by Steve Shanesy
Comments or questions? Contact Steve at 513-531-2690 ext. 1238
or [email protected]
Mark the cutout
on the fronts of
the pull-out trays
and then band
saw to the line
and sand. Then go
ahead and assemble the trays.
www.popwood.com
47
Both the pull-out
panel and the pullout tray are
guided by simply
creating grooves
for them to slide
in and out.
3/4"
8"
er fronts and backs, cut rabbets
that are 5⁄ 16" deep by 1⁄ 2" wide.
These accept the sides. The back
is 1⁄ 2" narrower in width than the
sides and front. This allows the
bottom to slip in 1⁄4" x 1⁄4" grooves
cut in the sides and front, 1⁄ 4"
up from the bottom edge. Before
assembling the trays, make the
cutout on the front. Make the cut
2 1⁄ 2" in from the side and the top
edge. To assemble, use glue and
nails. After the glue has dried,
slip the bottoms in place, then
check for square before nailing
the bottom in place.
Install the drawers following
the instructions for the type of
drawer slides you use. The drawers are sized to use common 1⁄ 2"thick drawer slides.
The tray for the router bits is
just a 1⁄ 2" piece of plywood glued
into a 3⁄8" x 3⁄8" groove in the drawer front that starts 5⁄ 16" up from
the bottom edge.
Position the plywood to allow
for the drawer front gap on the
right side of the front. Later, add
another layer of plywood with
holes cut to stand your bits in
place, then screw this second layer
to the tray bottom.
Now turn to the vertical pullout panel. It is simply 1⁄2" plywood
that runs in grooves on top and
bottom to guide it. A hole near
the front edge gives you a place
to grasp and pull. Cut two pieces
of stock 11⁄ 4" x 27⁄ 8" x 213⁄ 4", then
cut a groove 3⁄ 4" deep by 1⁄ 2" wide
that’s 13⁄ 4" from the edge. Screw
these to the cabinet in the upper
and lower corners.
3/4"
3/4"
31"
3/4"
1/4"
20 3/4"
1/2"
13/4"
1/2"
1/4"
3/4"
11/4"
4"
2 7/8"
3/4"
Plan
Partition detail
16 1/8"
8 3/8"
Vertical-panel guide profile
26"
3/4"
3/4"
5 3/8"
5"
3/4"
See detail
above right
30 3/4"
20 1/2"
20 7/8"
26 1/4"
30 3/4"
3/4"
3/4"
3"
3"
3/4"
15 3/4"
26"
8"
Infeed elevation
48
POPULAR WOODWORKING December 2002
3/4"
3/4"
12 1/4"
Outfeed elevation
12 1/4"
3/4"
Use your router
and an edge guide
to mortise the
hinges on the door
stiles. I set my
hinges 3" from the
stile ends.
Swaging hinges will allow a better door fit. Place the hinge on a solid surface, cover
the leaves with a piece of steel up to the hinge barrel, then give it a good whack
with a hammer.
Make and Install the Doors
Turn to the center spread of this
issue for a special pull-out poster
containing complete details for
building the doors.
Mortise the butt hinges on the
stiles to the thickness of one hinge
leaf. I used a router with a 1⁄ 4"diameter bit. Use a chisel to square
up the mortise corners. To swage
the hinges, see the photo at right.
Screw the hinges on the doors
after drilling pilot holes. Use paraffin on the screw threads and a
screwdriver if you’re using brass
screws, which are quite soft.
3"
Profile
Position the doors in the opening and use shims to set the door
up from the bottom. Carefully
pencil the hinge locations, then
mark and drill the pilot holes for
the hinges and install.
To complete the project, drill
holes for the adjustable shelves.
I spaced mine 11⁄ 2" in from the
front and back, then from the
bottom, up 81⁄ 2", 10", 111⁄ 2", 17",
181⁄ 2" and 20". Before finishing,
install door catches, and the door
and drawer pulls.
For finish, your cabinet deserves a little protection so give
it a clear coat of your favorite finish material. PW
UNDER-THE-SAW CABINET
NO.
3"
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❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
2
1
1
2
1
1
2
2
1
2
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
4
2
2
2
4
2
1
2
1
4
4
2
ITEM
DIMENSIONS (INCHES)
T
W
L
3⁄
Sides
4
3⁄
Common back
4
3⁄
Partition
4
3⁄
Top/bottom
4
3⁄
Rail
4
Full bottom, router area 3⁄ 4
3⁄
Toe kicks
4
3⁄
Shelves
4
1⁄
Pull out panel
2
Panel guides
11⁄ 4
3⁄
Drw front
4
3⁄
Drw front
4
1⁄
Router bit tray bottom
2
1⁄
Drw sub front
2
1⁄
Drw back
2
1⁄
Drw sides
2
1⁄
Drw bottom
4
1⁄
Sides, pull out trays
2
1⁄
Fronts, pull out trays
2
1⁄
Backs, pull out trays
2
Bottoms, pull out trays 1⁄ 4
3⁄
Door stiles
4
3⁄
Door rails
4
1⁄
Door panel
2
3⁄
Door rails
4
1⁄
Door panel
2
3⁄
Door stiles
4
3⁄
Door rails
4
1⁄
Door panels
2
31
25
2015⁄ 16
251⁄ 2
4
81⁄ 2
3
7 5⁄ 8
203⁄ 4
27⁄ 8
53⁄ 8
53⁄ 8
715⁄ 16
41⁄ 4
33⁄ 4
41⁄ 4
141⁄ 4
41⁄ 2
41⁄ 2
4
131⁄ 16
11⁄ 2
11⁄ 2
63⁄ 16
11⁄ 2
1315⁄ 16
11⁄ 2
11⁄ 2
101⁄ 16
303⁄ 4
261⁄ 4
261⁄ 4
31
161⁄ 4
203⁄ 4
26
245⁄ 16
191⁄ 2
191⁄ 2
83⁄ 8
161⁄ 8
21
143⁄ 4
143⁄ 4
195⁄ 8
19 3⁄ 4
20
139⁄ 16
139⁄ 16
193⁄ 16
207⁄ 8
61⁄ 4
1811⁄ 16
14
1811⁄ 16
261⁄ 4
101⁄ 8
241⁄ 16
M AT E R I A L
COMMENTS
birch ply
rabbet top edge
birch ply
rabbet both sides
birch ply
rabbet back edge
birch ply
birch ply
birch ply
rabbet 2 long edges
birch ply
birch Ply
birch ply
solid hardwood
solid birch
solid birch
birch ply
tongue, 1 short end
birch ply
rabbet 2 short ends
birch ply
rabbet 2 short ends
birch ply
birch ply
birch ply
birch ply
rabbet 2 short edges
birch Ply
rabbet 2 short edges
birch ply
solid birch
solid birch tongue 2 short ends
solid birch
solid birch tongue, 2 short end
birch ply
solid birch
solid birch tongue, 2 short end
birch ply
www.popwood.com
57
Wall-hung Tool Racks
Tool storage out of the box: A flexible system takes root and grows on the walls of our shop.
I
opened off a cabinet. I designed the doors around
the tools I used regularly, and in between the
doors were shelves and a bank of dovetailed
drawers. It changed the way I worked. The tools
had a place to live and were right at hand. If I
started to see too much empty space in the inside
of the doors, I knew it was time to take a break
and clean up.
While the wall-hung chest functioned well,
I never quite completed it. I intended to put in
a latch and lock mechanism to keep the doors
closed, but after a few months, I realized that I
rarely closed the doors. It was like a television
cabinet in most homes – the doors are functional
but if the TV is always on (or the tools always
being used), the doors really aren’t needed.
When I came to work at Woodworking Magazine, I planned to bring in my tool chest and hang
it on the wall. My plan had to be aborted when I
recognized that our shop’s biggest blessing, an
abundance of windows, didn’t allow the 6' of wall
space I needed. I was back to tools in drawers
PHOTO BY AL PARRISH
used to keep my hand tools in drawers in
machinists’ and mechanics’ tool chests. My tools
were organized and protected, but it wasn’t very
convenient. Edge tools rattled against one another
as drawers opened and closed, and my layout
tools were never at hand. During projects, tools
stayed on the bench where they could be found,
but soon were buried as my work, shavings, scraps
and more tools piled up.
When I opened my first shop, I decided to
make a wall-hung tool chest. Two wide doors
Waiting in line, ready to be used. A rack of tools directly above the bench keeps them out of harm’s way and makes them easy to locate.
24
■
woodworking magazine Autumn 2007
and odd boxes, and I pondered how to add a wall
without losing any windows. I wanted the accessibility, safety and organization of the chest, but
I was developing an impractical plan.
One day as I walked into the shop, I glanced
to the left as I almost always do. Most of the time
there will be some interesting project or part
of a project or esoteric tool on Editor Christopher Schwarz’s bench. What caught my eye that
morning was his simple and elegant solution to
the same problem I faced. He had installed a
simple rack across the window directly above
his bench and it held more tools than I would
have thought possible.
Recognizable as leftover baseboard, two 3 ⁄4"thick boards, about 31 ⁄2" wide, were held 1 ⁄2" apart
by wood spacers in between. The back board was
a few inches longer than the one in front, allowing it to be easily mounted to the wall, or in this
case the wood casing on our window. By that
afternoon, I was loading a similar rack across
the window above the bench in my corner of
the shop.
I was delighted at how well this simple solution solved a problem. My only reservation
about hanging my tools was securing them so
they wouldn’t fall. When I made my tool chest, I
made French-fit holders for individual tools. With
the new rack, most would fit neatly within the
slot between the two boards. They were handy, in
sight and out of danger. A few didn’t fit between
the slots, so I drove a few screws and nails to hang
them on the outer part of the rack.
Organization came in time. Instead of planning where each tool should go ahead of time, I
started using the slotted rack as I worked, putting
tools in a slot as I completed typical tasks. Before
long, an organizational scheme emerged that
works better than I would have planned. I also
found that the slots were good for many tools, but
not everything fit quite the way I wanted.
Above the bench at the other end of the shop,
Shaker pegs began to appear on the outside of my
shop mate’s rack. First, a few near one end, then
an entire row with hammers hanging from them.
A day or two later, another row of pegs appeared
above the first rack, holding more than a dozen
saws. Not being a collector, I didn’t need that
The simple start is two pieces of wood, 3 ⁄4" thick x
31⁄2" wide, of a convenient length. The back piece is
longer than the front by a few inches to allow fastening to the wall. The rack is wide enough to hold tools
securely, and provides a place for Shaker pegs for
hanging tools.
The two pieces are separated by 1⁄2"-thick spacers,
and tools drop into the space. This was a “sweet
spot” for our tools and can be varied to accommodate your tools.
Screws and nails aren’t as attractive as Shaker pegs, but function well –
especially in tight spaces and for tool-specific hanging.
The flexibility of using the slots gives you freedom to change the overall
arrangement as your tools, needs, habits or projects change over time.
woodworking-magazine.com ■
25
26
■
woodworking magazine Autumn 2007
Bracket
Remove waste
with backsaw
Distance equals half
the hole diameter
®" hole,
˚" from edge
Chamfer edges
with rasp
˚"
∂"
Wall-hung Tool Rack
Detail
Upright
Shelf
Corbel
Bracket
This rack has uprights at both ends and in the
middle. These provide a place for brackets and
corbels that can support shelves.
A 7⁄8"-diameter hole, 1 ⁄8" in from the edge of a
2"-wide shelf holds a variety of handle sizes. The
sawn slot connecting the hole and edge allows
you to hold a chisel with a blade that is wider
than the handle diameter.
Illustration by Hayes Shanesy
much space – I only have four saws and five hammers, but my tool rack did need some improvements and additions.
My first addition was a simple shelf, about
4" wide that rests on band-sawn brackets. This
provided a place for planes and a few other tools
that I didn’t want to hang, but needed at hand.
The remaining problem to solve was the chisel
chaos. They fit between the boards of the rack,
but because they’re top heavy with wide handles,
they wouldn’t hang straight. It bothered me to
see them leaning against each other like a gang
of out-of-work loafers. I wanted them standing
straight ­– at attention and ready for action.
My solution was another shelf, held in notched
brackets with a series of holes that fit the chisel
handles. I experimented with some differentsized holes and various chisels and found that
a 7⁄8" diameter worked for almost all of them.
I also wanted a slot at the front of the hole so I
wouldn’t need to lift a chisel its entire length to
get it in or out of the rack. A little more experimentation and a couple test-fittings later, and I
had my final dimensions; the holes were drilled
with the edge of the hole 1 ⁄8" back from the front
edge of the 2"-wide board. A center-to-center
distance of 11 ⁄8" provided room to reach each
handle individually.
After marking off the series of equally spaced
centerlines, I stepped off one-fourth the diameter
from each side of the centerlines and sawed slots
from the front edge of the shelf to each hole, leaving a 7⁄16"-wide slot connecting each hole to the
edge. I used a rasp to chamfer the edges of the
holes and slots, connected the shelf to the brackets, and mounted them in place. Wider chisels
need a bit of a turn as they go in and out of the
rack. Narrow ones slide right in. They all are
held securely.
More concerned about function than decoration, I made my racks out of scrap hardwoods and
didn’t use a finish. A light sanding and a coat of
shellac, lacquer, oil or wax would make them
look nicer, but I rarely bother with doing that on
something for the shop.
I considered doing some decorative carving
on the brackets, but that reminded me that my
carving chisels still live in canvas rolls in drawers
in a nearby cabinet. I’m not a collector, but I will
need a rack for 40 or 50 of them, and while I’m
at it, I may as well start gathering the 30 or 40
more carving chisels that I really need. Maybe I
can clear some space on the building column to
the left of my bench for a row of them.
The great thing about these racks is that they
are adaptable and made easily and quickly. As
happened to me, once you start, you’ll need
another two or three as the list of necessary tools
grows, and the way you work and the things you
work on change. If you cross the line to “collector,” you might need many more than that. wm
— Robert W. Lang
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