I’m a man with a dream. That dream is a beautiful tool cabinet that makes all others pale in comparison. Yes, it’s a piece of shop furniture, but I want it to be built and styled the same way I would any high priced commission. I want a piece that will withstand the test of time and can be a source of pride for my family for generations to come. And really…that’s only part of the dream.
The harsh reality is that I don’t really know how to build it yet. I’m still working on the layout of everything, and plan to consult the Lee Valley tool cabinet plans for some inspiration, but ultimately I still have a lot I’ll have to learn for this to work. I keep thinking of the H.O. Studley tool cabinet I first saw almost a year ago. This tool storage device is a work of art in it’s own right. Studley was a piano maker, and the materials he used reflected that. Mahogeny carcase, ebony accents, ivory inlay, it’s truly a thing of beauty. The materials alone are beyond my ability to get…mostly because ivory is illegal now, but still.
I dream of this cabinet, and someday those dreams will be realized. In truth, this cabinet will probably take me months to build once it’s begun, and I’ll have to learn tons of new skills just to complete it. Joinery will probably be everything from biscuits and pocket screws to mortise & tenon and dovetails. Oak panel and frame construction (to help withstand the moisture changes from being outside under a canopy). Veneered and/or inlayed drawers on the inside. Carved ebony handles on the exterior (and a lock since it’ll be outside!).
Here’s the thing though. I could easily say “I can’t do it because I don’t know how”, but I don’t want to do that. I want to build amazing things. You don’t do amazing things by saying “can’t” in any form except “I can’t be stopped!” I’ll be learning all these techniques. I’ll be refining them and using them. Then, when the time is right, my cabinet will be complete. My magnum opus.
Sounds pretty pretentious, right? It might be. However, I want to build a lot of other things too. A new coffee table, bedroom furniture, an island for the kitchen, and a bunch of other stuff. Who knows what order it’ll be in. But it’ll get built, and if I take my time, I’ll create some amazing pieces that will last for generations to come.
I really wish we had more of that kind of thinking in this world. Both the idea of having and holding on to well built, quality furniture and the idea of accompishing great things. I can’t help but think of where the world would be if we did have more of it.
-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!