My wife sent me an email at work on 3/25/2011, asking if I didn’t think I should build her a saddle / tack caddy. Even though she’s had a couple of horses in the almost 25 years we’ve been together, I had no idea what she was talking about.
Knowing that, the email contained a picture of an example of what she was talking about from “for the barn”. I found another one or two examples online to compare.
This looked like a good project for me – it’s not real fine woodwooking and the product will have a useful purpose! I REALLY like projects that produce something that can be used a lot as compared to the toy airplane I’m in the middle of now (and procrastinating on because I can’t figure out how to attach the wings).
So, I started thinking about it and discussing features that she’d like to see different than the ones she found online. Today, Saturday 3/26/2011, I spent (I’m embarrassed to say) about 8 hours drawing up a design in SketchUp. Here’s what I came up with (the dimensions were turned when I exported these pics):
I just have a hard time with SketchUp, but I think I figured out one issue. I could NOT figure out how to move the mouse in the “orbit” mode to get predictable movement of the image. Then I found out I had started with the axis in the wrong orientation. Once I got the axis in the “normal” orientation the “orbit” mode seems more natural. By “normal” orientation I mean with the red axis running horizontal and from left to right, the green axis also horizontal running from front to back, and the blue axis running vertical.
SketchUp still hung up though. It got to where I could select things but not delete them. Finally it froze and sent an error report to Google.
But, on with the caddy…
As for the design, we changed a number of things based on what we see as things we’d like different without having actually used the “for the barn” or other units. We may end up finding out their design is better but for now, since we have a blank slate, we changed some things.
First, starting from the bottom, we didn’t like the idea of the casters and changed the design so that we only have 2 large wheels to more easily run over the gravel that’s typical in the Phoenix area. We also decided to do the same thing I did on my sander stand I recently made and lengthen 2 of the supports so that they’ll serve as legs. This should make it pretty stable without having to worry about locking wheels or casters.
My wife likes the idea of a removable tote, so we kept that idea but modified it a bit. The tote can only be removed from one of the narrow sides, same as the example. I decided to not put a solid bottom under the tote since it wouldn’t really be used (the tote will provide the full bottom). Instead we decided we’ll put slats across it to let debris fall through but still provide some rigidity. I lowered the side where the tote can be pulled out. The tote will actually have a cut out for a hand hold but I couldn’t figure out how to do that in SketchUp.
Above that I’m putting in 2 sliding drawers that pull out from each of the narrow sides. They’ll probably use full extension sliding hardware. I’m having them go out each side so that when a saddle is on top you can pull them out without interference from the stirups.
After I drew the drawers in I realized that things could bounce out of there as the caddy is being moved so that led me to put a top over the drawers to fully enclose them. Once I did that, it looked like there was another surface for storage so I added another layer of sides around the drawer top.
The little pieces on the legs above the drawers will support some sort of catch mechanism to lock the drawers closed when transporting. That could change, and we may end up adding actual locks or something to the drawers.
The push handle is kind of a guess at this point. It could be that we’ll want it lower and it could be made part of the sides around the drawer top instead of up at the top rail.
The final big change is that we’ll make the actual saddle rest hinged so that it lifts up and there’ll be an additional storage area there.
The final dimensions as drawn are 44-1/2” tall by 24” wide (not counting the wheels) and 16-1/6” deep. I plan to make it out of 3/4” material, at least the first one.
I think we’ll make a prototype out of pine to test and refine the plan. If it works we can give it to someone (wifey has some ideas about that). She’d like one in nicer wood and I’m trying to figure out the best for this purpose. I don’t think oak is a great choice for this, and I’m leaning more towards a poplar or ash.
And, my wife explicitly said she wanted box joints so I had to order a box joint jig today! Dang the bad luck! I decided to get the Woodhaven unit. It seems like a good solution, working on either the table saw or router, it has a big sturdy aluminum fence and key. It costs half of the Rockler system. It’ll be more accurate than one I could make.
My only concern about it (besides learning how to use it well) is how good of a cut I’ll get from my Freud dado set at the bottom of the cut. I haven’t used the dado set for a while and I think it’s pretty good and may just require a little bit of cleaning with a chisel. Guess I’ll find out!
-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ