Dovetailed Hand Tool Cabinet #1: The plan...or lack thereof...

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Blog entry by JasonD posted 05-02-2011 09:26 PM 3768 reads 1 time favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Dovetailed Hand Tool Cabinet series Part 2: One man's trash - making the cabinet back from scraps »

I’ve slowly built my hand tool arsenal up over the past year. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anywhere to put most of my new tools. I saw an article in the last issue of ShopNotes for a tool cabinet and it sparked my interest. I was originally going to build that exact cabinet, but as the project progressed, I found my Krenovian muse and let the project “go with the flow”.

I remember the first time that I read James Krenov’s “A Cabinetmaker’s Notebook” and he talked about starting a project with just a general idea; maybe a couple of sketches or rough dimensions, but not having any strict plans to follow. The idea is to let the wood and the tools dictate the flow of the project and to work in the joy of the craft.

I thought to myself, “sure, you can do that, but I’d be too scared to try it”. Well, I don’t know what came over me, but some where in the middle of rough milling the boards to make the carcass, I decided to “wing it” and I’m very glad that I did.

This project was built using hand tools. The tasks and their respective tools are listed below:

dimensioning crosscuts = GreatNeck crosscut panel saw
dimensioning rip cuts = Stanley rip panel saw
joinery crosscuts = LV crosscut saw
joinery rips cuts = LV 20tpi dovetail saw

Stanley FatMax 1/4”, 3/8” bench chisels (chopping, shaping the tool holders, some paring)
Buck Bros. 1/2”, 1” paring chisels

vintage Stanley #7 jointer plane with an IBC replacement blade and chipbreaker
LV LA Jack plane with both 25-deg blade (shooting end grain) and 38-deg (general dimensioning and smoothing)

Various other tools that I made myself
small mallet for light chopping / carving (hard maple / red oak)
large mallet for heavy chopping (hard maple / red oak)
shooting board for planing end grain and dimensioning small parts

This project included a LOT of “firsts” for me and I learned a ton of new techniques and had to come up with ways to handle tasks that I had never faced before. All in all, that means more to me than the finished product, because my primary motivation and inspiration as a woodworker is the chance to tackle new hurdles each day and learn something new.

Here is a link to the finished cabinet: Hand Tool Cabinet Project

1 comment so far

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180 posts in 2887 days

#1 posted 05-03-2011 03:30 AM

Pat, To be honest, I thought about the idea of my tools outgrowing my cabinet. That’s why I installed all the tool holders with small brass screws, but no glue. That way, if I want to change something later, I can easily move things around or change what tools are stored in the cabinet. One thing I was thinking about in the future, it using this cabinet just for my marking / measuring tools and moving the saws to a saw till / cabinet that I will build in the future.

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