Shop's Log #17: 3 Ply Tills

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Blog entry by terryR posted 12-06-2014 11:51 PM 2142 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 16: Stanley No.3 Restored Part 17 of Shop's Log series Part 18: First lathe bowl »

Three ply tills;
Three ply tills;
See how they slide;
See how they slide;
Made with Birch cut on the table saw;
Joined with rabbets from Veritas;
Three ply tills.

Recently, I added a new ply top and Poplar edge banding to my main work table, since the old 1” mdf top was aging badly due to moisture. This table is 4×5’ and stands between my bench and lathe, so occupies valuable space!

The new top was screwed and glued down, then I removed the screws and plugged the holes with walnut. I stained the Poplar to match the walnut, and also stained the birch ply with some left over Minwax that has to be used up…Pecan maybe? The Poplar is rabbeted at the corners, but that’s difficult to see.

The table is still a hack, with a couple of pressure treated 4×4’s for a legs, but the top looks pretty now. (And maybe I’ll clean up better after sharpening sessions in the future…that Windex eats mdf!)

Anyhow, this table is always covered with too many tools because of where it stands. Most of the stuff is small, so I thought a till which ran along the high shelf on the table would be a nice addition!

Using more Birch, I cut out four pieces to form the till walls, and a slightly over-sized piece for the base.

Hate to admit it, but this Veritas Skewed Rabbet plane has sat in my shop without use for nearly a year! Yeah, I made a few shavings with it, but built nothing. That’s about to change! LOL.

Love this plane after 5 minutes of use…even does a nice job on ply of all materials. I set the fence for 3/4” so I could house the entire sides of the till in the face…and it took about 2 minutes for each rabbet. Nice! Belay that order for a $100 dado stack!

Unfortunately, a brief cold spell had swung down from Canada and made glue ups challenging in a 52 degree shop. I tried to get the till into clamps before sundown, and added a small heater nearby to help the glue cure.

Since this photo, I’ve built a larger warming area for this sort of thing. I just wasn’t prepared for temps in the teens during November. LOL.

Next day…I trimmed the base to fit, and attached it with glue and nails…

No fine woodworking here. Lots of butt joints and exposed ‘end grain’. I used a block sander to remove as many of the ply splinters as I could; before my fingers find them down the road. Tried my No.18, but I just don’t have good luck with hand planes and ply yet.

Of course, the above till is pretty homely in appearance. Lots of points for usefulness; maybe a few negative points for looks. Hmmm…drawers have false fronts, why not shop tills?

Add a lil walnut…

...and Bam! A nicer looking till! LOL! I even added some nearly straight pine runners to keep this guy running back and forth in control. As you can see, this till can be pulled out from either side of the table. That was a necessity since I work all the way around this spot.

So, I liked it. One nice till. It held all my tape, then was full. Bollocks! Look at that 4×5’ table…it’s wide enough for a few of those tills! And I’ve certainly amassed enough tools to fill more tills…so time to dig out more ply.


Another important lesson for me to remember…whenever I see a spot that could use ONE drawer, automatically see the entire picture, and assess how many drawers could be built AT ONE TIME.


Yep, still learning I am.

Back to the table saw to cut a few more pieces of ply…which should’ve been ripped the first time when the fence was set. Plus…now that I search…I don’t have enough 1/2” material for more bottoms. That means the next two will be slightly taller. Oh no, there goes my OCD again…

So, I’ll save you guys the boring part of gluing up two more boxes. And cutting 8 more rabbets. How about a cool LN plane loving its’ way through some walnut?

Oh, and there’s the other two tills in the photo, too. Cool. They look a LOT better from a few feet away! LOL.

After laminating the fronts on both sides of both tills (?), I trimmed them to fit with the No.18 and No.95.

...nice end grain curlies from the 95! Gotta love that plane! Should’ve invested in one of them before so many bench planes. Just sayin’

A little wipe-on poly, and…

Oh, that’s much better. Three tills on tracks, which I can access from either side of the table. Sweet! And just look at all the tools waiting to be stored. LOL.

Nah, the tills don’t take up all the space available…they are all sized based on the first. See…I STILL have lots to learn!

Pulls next, if I can decide on a design…

Comments and suggestions are always welcomed.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

10 comments so far

View NormG's profile


6378 posts in 3240 days

#1 posted 12-07-2014 12:23 AM

Great idea for additional on board storage space

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19041 posts in 2803 days

#2 posted 12-07-2014 12:26 AM

nice improvements Terry. And keep using that Veritas Skewed Rabbet plane !!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Roman - THE BOOTMAN's profile


991 posts in 2922 days

#3 posted 12-07-2014 01:37 AM

Nicely done. I like the verse, too! A bit of music would have been nice. Roman

-- Author of POWER CARVING BOOTS & SHOES - Schiffer Publishing. Available online or your favourite bookstore.

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8542 posts in 2218 days

#4 posted 12-08-2014 12:55 AM

Your shop has so much character T. I’ve barely used my Veritas skew rabbet too. But I’ve got some opportunities coming up.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View CFrye's profile


10545 posts in 2076 days

#5 posted 12-08-2014 09:52 AM

You’re a poet and you didn’t know it…
Nice refurb of the work table, Terry! Is there a divider in the middle of the tills to keep stuff from scooting end to end?
I’ve always been a fan of the cupped style drawer pulls similar to these:

I wonder if you could turn a small ‘bowl’ and cut it in half to use as pulls?

-- God bless, Candy

View Don W's profile

Don W

19041 posts in 2803 days

#6 posted 12-09-2014 12:22 AM

I wonder if you could turn a small bowl and cut it in half to use as pulls?

- CFrye

Candy, you’re a friggin genius. I may need to think about replacing the rope on mine!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View CFrye's profile


10545 posts in 2076 days

#7 posted 12-09-2014 12:46 AM

Aw, shucks, Don. Post a picture if you do!

-- God bless, Candy

View Don W's profile

Don W

19041 posts in 2803 days

#8 posted 12-09-2014 01:07 AM

Aw, shucks, Don. Post a picture if you do!

- CFrye

I’ve got to actually break down and buy the lathe chuck. The only thing holding me back is actually making the decision. SO MANY CHOICES!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View terryR's profile


7462 posts in 2544 days

#9 posted 12-09-2014 01:26 AM

Thanks, Candy, wait till you see that table next…

Been looking at too many pulls…the designs are all mixed together right now.

Don, keep looking for a package deal if you can find one with a chuck and a few jaws. Chances are you’ll always want more jaws…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View AnthonyReed's profile


10081 posts in 2676 days

#10 posted 12-10-2014 03:34 PM

Well done Terry. Great improvement.

Happy to see your skewed rabbet worked well for you (in ply none the less). :-)

Thanks for bringing us along.

-- ~Tony

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