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Vintage Wall (Tool) Cabinet - Reclaim!

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 06-17-2011 10:50 PM 2710 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Saw a mid-sized cabinet at a local auction last month, and wanted it. Not because I knew exactly what I’d do with it (isn’t that the way it often is??) but because of it’s age and the way it was constructed. In case bidding didn’t go according to plan, I took a some pictures just to capture the essence of it.

There were a couple of yellow pine battens nailed to the back so it could be nailed to the wall (in the barn?):

Doors looked good, even with baby-turd-brown paint:

But the inside, with some fancy scrollwork edging tall partitions, showed an eye for detail.

The top definitely says it was a one-and-done: hand-cut (kinda ratty) half-blind dovetails:

The cabinet has a bunch of pigeon / cubby holes inside with labels alongside that are legal terms. Including words like Summons, Probation and even Execution. Plus the name of a local newspaper that hasn’t been published since 1893. So the puppy is old! I cleaned it up, removed broken moulding and glued / re-applied it, and otherwise gave it the once-over. The doors and carcase are walnut, with dadoed shelves and pigeon hole cubbies. Decided to follow Dennis’ advise and hang it left of the window, near my workbench, to store hand tools.

Here it is from further back. I love it! Oh, and the purchase price of the cabinet at auction? $20.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive



18 comments so far

View venicewoodworker's profile

venicewoodworker

100 posts in 1319 days


#1 posted 06-17-2011 11:05 PM

Nice cabinet and a nice buy.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10054 posts in 1308 days


#2 posted 06-17-2011 11:17 PM

@Venice – I do like saving things like this from (possibly) the scrap pile, especially nice because of it’s age and the fact that the cubbies are right-sized for quite a few things… Top row on the left, for example, holds smaller bench planes perfectly! “Someday” I may strip the paint so the walnut shows…

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

895 posts in 2303 days


#3 posted 06-18-2011 03:03 AM

Very nice save.

Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.
Otto von Bismarck

Those that respect the law and love sausage should watch neither being made.
Mark Twain

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View venicewoodworker's profile

venicewoodworker

100 posts in 1319 days


#4 posted 06-18-2011 03:55 AM

Smitty, did you see the chest I scored? Check it out under my Antique tool chest blog.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10054 posts in 1308 days


#5 posted 06-18-2011 02:13 PM

@E- I’ve seen both of those and a number of other discussions of the quote that led me to go with Unattributed. It’s not clear that either were really the original source.

@Venice- I did, and love it! Maybe someday the tool gods will smile on me like that… :-)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View spunwood's profile

spunwood

1194 posts in 1526 days


#6 posted 06-20-2011 02:56 AM

That is a really good find and I’m glad it could be repurposed

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10054 posts in 1308 days


#7 posted 06-20-2011 08:44 PM

@Spunwood – Sometimes things fall into place better than expected. Other times, things like this end up being great ideas that ‘devolve’ to projects that never come into being. The sizes being right is the luckiest part of it all; but for that it would have been a ‘gotta tear it apart inside to get it right,’ and likely would have sat for months if not longer. And then wouldn’t have been original, which is important to me, anyway. Thanks for reading!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Dave's profile

Dave

11184 posts in 1530 days


#8 posted 06-23-2011 02:43 AM

Man Smitty that is one great find. To me its almost as good as building it yourself. Great stuff..

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10054 posts in 1308 days


#9 posted 06-23-2011 07:27 PM

@Super – Thanks, I agree wholeheartedly about build vs. find. Sometimes it’s just fate, I think.

One quirk about the cabinet is the knob; the machine bolt runs through a keyhole in the cabinet door and must have been a very early replacement. I say this because the paint shows wear from contact and the other door, which still has a hook and loop catch to keep it stationary, has no strike plate on it for the lock. And there are no wear marks at all where the lock would have come across it.

The lock was surface mounted on the inside of the cabinet door; you can see in the third picture above all that remains is the plate (no guts). If I can find a good old lock that fits just right, I’ll put it on the cabinet and use it that way. So the hunt is on!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1344 days


#10 posted 06-26-2011 04:39 PM

nice addition

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View BarbS's profile

BarbS

2434 posts in 2775 days


#11 posted 06-26-2011 05:57 PM

Oh wow, what a great find. And it works Wonderfully in your shop. How great!

-- http://barbsid.blogspot.com/

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10054 posts in 1308 days


#12 posted 06-29-2011 02:54 PM

Thanks, Barb and RG!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1383 days


#13 posted 06-29-2011 02:56 PM

That’s great, Smit. I’m intrigued by the back design!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10054 posts in 1308 days


#14 posted 06-29-2011 03:02 PM

@Al – the back is simply a number of 1/2”-ish boards set into rabbets cut into each side and nailed into place. Not half lapped or matched / nothing fancy. I made the brackets and cleat to set it on when mounting to the wall ; so therr’d be enough strength to hold when fully loaded…

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1383 days


#15 posted 06-29-2011 03:04 PM

Smit, where am I seeing those largish finger-joint type joints? Oh, you just told me! I was looking at the top, confusing it for the back. Let me rephrase, “I’m intrigued by the TOP design”!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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