Shop Remodel #18: Rinse and Repeat

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Blog entry by bearkatwood posted 12-11-2015 09:31 PM 806 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 17: Blue tape to the rescue Part 18 of Shop Remodel series Part 19: Bats in the Belfry »

In the summer 1978 issue of FWW, Tage Frid wrote about tool cabinets.
“Why bother making a tool cabinet when a crate with shelves nailed in would hold the tools? I believe if a person wants to make a living as a woodworker and furniture designer, a well-designed and executed tool cabinet is very important. It’s a pleasure to have a beautiful tool cabinet, where the tools are properly arranged and easy to find. And when a potential customer comes into the shop and sees a nice cabinet, half the selling job is done right there.”

This set of cabinets and a bench is WAY over the top and might be thought to be excessive, but it is going to be my home for the rest of the time I am able to work with wood, hopefully 40+years left, so I want to look at something that inspires me to strive for perfection and make beautiful things. I have been having a good time making it and I look forward to the day I can step back and see the finished product.

So today was “Rinse and Repeat” on the cabinet doors.

I started out by lowering the left bottom branch a bit and drawing out what I liked.
I then did all the joinery to set the cross pieces in with floating tenons and dowels.

When I did the larger side mortises the clamp wasn’t deep enough to line the wood up flush with the top of the bench so I added some shims of pine to level it all out then routed the mortises.

The method I am employing to make these doors could be used to make some very decorative raised panel doors if any of you want to try it out. Over-size your frame and cut out the shape you like, then trace on the shape to your thick stock for the raised panel. Use calipers to enlarge the pattern being as accurate as possible. Then cut out the larger pattern and rout it with the matching raised panel bit. I would like to try it some day, but it might have to wait a few years. I think it would put a tombstone panel door to shame.

I am hoping for some good weather next week so I can use my grinder to take away the bulk of the wood to start carving on it.

For now I put the tools down and turn the lights off. It is time to rest a bit and come to it another day. I wish you all a wonderful weekend.
If you would like some more to read, I suggest this note written by woodworker Mark Love. It is a great piece titled “Risk”
Have fun Woodworking.

-- Brian Noel

8 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

21579 posts in 1761 days

#1 posted 12-11-2015 09:38 PM

The cabinet is too nice for shop tools. They are fortunate to have you for an owner.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View fatman51's profile


335 posts in 1260 days

#2 posted 12-11-2015 10:34 PM

Very nice work! I have waffled back and forth on this subject over the years. My present workshop is not large and my shelving is pretty rough. As I look forward to setting up my new shop in a 110 year old 14×30 building I am hauling in, still not large, I am looking forward to building nicer facilities to compliment my tools and sell my work, as you suggest. I have nothing as fancy as your work in mind, but I very much understand your point. Not that I have anything against using milk crates and pallets if that’s what a guy needs to do.

-- The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Benjamin Franklin

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2203 days

#3 posted 12-11-2015 11:45 PM

Brian, this my be over the top but it’s a joy to watch it unfold, great work m’man !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View pottz's profile


778 posts in 407 days

#4 posted 12-11-2015 11:53 PM

brian some may call it over the top but I say it is a justified luxury for a man who spends a large part of their life doing something they love so why not make the place you work and live as beautiful as the furniture you sell and its as tage said it makes a great first impression of what you do.if I walked into your shop and saw tool cabinets that nice id know what ever you made me would be of the finest brian you deserve it.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View bearkatwood's profile


1173 posts in 434 days

#5 posted 12-12-2015 02:25 AM

Thanks guys,
This has been something I have wanted for years and I am very happy it is in progress. A 14’ x 30’ shop can be more than enough room if you aren’t a hoarder (like me) and are economical with your space. My problem is that I am always one tool away from that greatness so like a hermit crab I am constantly outgrowing my shell. I fear by the time I die my shop will be the size of a wall-mart. I would love to have a shop with a storefront that people can see thee work space and be able to buy my works, but Bandon just doesn’t seem like it will work just yet, who knows what the future will bring. If you have never been it is a cool little town by the sea.

I live about 1/4 mile from these stairs and I get to walk down them every morning in the summers. What a spoiled brat huh?

Thanks for all your comments, you guys are the best.

-- Brian Noel

View bkseitz's profile


293 posts in 733 days

#6 posted 12-12-2015 12:35 PM

Continuing to look amazing. Keep posting

-- bkseitz, Washington "if everything is going well, you've obviously overlooked something"

View CFrye's profile


8588 posts in 1262 days

#7 posted 12-12-2015 04:50 PM

What a beautiful place to live, Brian! That bottom image is begging to become an inlay on a special piece. Your cabinets are looking awesome.

-- God bless, Candy

View ChickenChaser's profile


102 posts in 503 days

#8 posted 12-13-2015 01:28 AM

Awsome work!! I’m a little more in the It just needs to work side, but you just maybe changing my mind. love watching the work unfold. Thanks!

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