|Project by paratrooper34||posted 01-05-2013 at 11:43 AM||3273 views||14 times favorited||32 comments|
I finally finished my Hand Tool Cabinet that I have been working on. I started this project just about a year ago and it took a back seat to some other projects and languished for a while. It began when I purchased some rough quarter sawn red oak and wide pine from a gentleman in Western Massachusetts this time last year. After I had the boards in my cellar (where my shop is) for about a month and a half, I took them to a woodworking school that offers open time to use their machinery to mill it all up. I planned on making a massive cabinet with panel and frame doors, so I milled it all that way. It then went through the various phases of work until I completed it this weekend.
As stated, the doors are frame and panel. The rails and stilles are made of QSRO. The panels are flat sawn red oak. The frame was cut and milled in my shop using hand tools; hand saws and my trusty Stanley 45 to make the grooves for the panels. I used a mortising chisel to make mortises for the rails which are through mortises. The tenons are both wedged and draw bored. I initially intended to make raised panels, but opted for flat panels after doing some research and determining I liked that style better for this cabinet. Finally, the doors have windows on the top. These are old school windows with waves and bubbles that I got from an old house that did a replacement job on the windows. Unfortunately the pictures do not capture how cool that glass looks.
The carcass is made from wide pine boards. They are attached using half blind dovetails which keeps the sides clean. The overall dimensions are: 4’ high by 3’ wide by 20” deep. The cabinet sits on an old table I had hanging around which fits it perfectly. The cabinet is also attached with screws to the studs in the wall.
The drawer assembly at the bottom of the cabinet is made of pine (with wood runners!). The drawer pulls, as well as the door pulls, are made from QSRO. These are pretty good sized drawers which will allow a lot of storage for all the miscellaneous small tools. The plane till is made of one pine board with the dividers made of QSRO. This holds the planes that I use most frequently.
I struggled with adding the plane till because I have previously hung my planes as in the picture below.
I believe I could have made hanging the planes in this cabinet work. But I always liked the idea of having a plane till for ease of use. The problem I have with all the tool cabinets I have seen is the space behind plane tills seem to be wasted. So to take care of that issue, I decided to use only half the width of the cabinet for the till and leave the area behind accessible to put my hollows and rounds in. It worked. As you can see in the pictures, that area is now put to use for those planes. The space on the top of the drawers to the right of the plane till can be used for storage of some other, lesser used planes or maybe for my box which contains my Stanley 45.
There are a couple of issues I will point out that could be useful to others taking on this kind of project. First, the top of the case is bowed downward. Not sure why this happened. The boards were all straight when I started and there was lots of time in between milling and working to acclimate the wood. I guess this board just didn’t want to stay straight. Next, if you look closely at the sides of the case where the hinges are, you will see that there are patches made in the wood. The hinges that are on are actually the second set. I used a mortised in set previously and totally hated how they came out. I seem to always struggle with hardware and this project was no exception. They were not the right hinges as the doors didn’t open as far as they do now and they were just bad. I was trying to keep the hinges as much out of sight as I could, but it didn’t work. So with the new ones, which are a no mortise type, I needed to patch up the voids where I mortised in the old ones. The patches are visible, but no big deal for me. Lastly, the back panel is a simple piece of plywood. It really does not fit visually. I am thinking I may add some vertical tongue and groove beaded boards to spice it up some.
The finish on the cabinet is BLO. It only has one coat on it now and I am going to follow it up with another. I also need to use the interior vertical space to hang tools and organize drawer space. So it is not quite finished yet, but it is put to work. I am also thinking of adding a lock mechanism to the doors. Not sure why, I don’t think my shop cats will steal anything, but who knows!
I am also thinking of adding some inlay to the outsides of the doors. Not sure what yet, but am open to ideas. Maybe a compass rose? I am very happy to have this addition to my shop as the old cabinet I worked out of is very small and I have tools in multiple areas in my shop. This cabinet consolidates the most often used ones and take away step time getting and returning tools. If you are thinking of building one of these, go for it. There is no doubt that this will be very useful in my shop.