Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Going against the grain

Category: Shop Furniture

Drill and Driver Storage

Progress on the workshop feels slow.  It’s probably because I have taken on too many projects at once.  Fortunately, I crossed one project off the list last night.  I wanted something that would keep my drills and drivers off the ground; something that would keep them within reach.  I found plenty of inspiration on the Internet.  This drill and driver storage unit is what I came up with.

Drill and Driver Storage

I can store all of my drills and drivers in one place.  I store the chargers on top, and have a nice little drawer for all of my bits and accessories.  The unit mounts to the wall using a french cleat.  There is a small power strip secured below the top using adhesive Velcro.  The power cord for the strip passes through the side, while the power cables for the chargers pass through the top.

I made the entire unit from 3/4″ birch plywood, and I spent less than $50 for the entire build.  That includes plywood, drawer slide, drawer pull, and power strip.  I found everything at my local Home Depot.  If I hadn’t been tied up with other projects, this little drill and driver storage unit could have been built in a couple of hours.  Below, I will include the Sketchup and a couple of drawings.  Feel free to customize this for your own tools.

Drill-Driver Storage Sketchup

Stay safe and have fun.

Better Hand Plane Storage

Plane Till

For the past year, my hand planes have sat on a little mobile cabinet near my work bench.  Here, they collected fine dust from my electron powered machines.  It wasn’t until after the weather started getting hot and humid again that I started to notice a few specs of rust here and there.  It was nothing that I couldn’t easily remove, but it got me seriously reconsidering my hand plane storage.

The goal is to create a nice hanging tool cabinet with doors, but it all starts with a plane till.  For now, the till will be hung on the wall using a french cleat.  Later, I will fasten it to the inside of the tool cabinet.  It only took about $25 and a few hours to finish.  It won’t be a huge loss if I decide to redesign it for the finished tool cabinet.

The ramp angle is fairly steep to save depth.  I will better secure the planes before mounting it to the wall.  I’m having a hard time between trying magnets glued to the back to the till ramp, or cleats.  Cleats are more secure, but less attractive.  What do you think?  Any options I haven’t considered?

French Cleat

Empty Till Web

I’ll detail the tool cabinet in a future series.  Mike Pekovich’s hanging tool cabinet formed the inspiration for this project.

I haven’t finalized the details, but I’m thinking that I will build it out of cherry with mahogany door frames.  Stay tuned.

You Can Never Have Enough…

Knowing that you can never have enough storage, I wondered if there was anything I could do with the plywood I had leftover from my other cabinet projects. I was able to scrounge up just enough to build this nice little hanging wall cabinet. I am going to use it to store wood finishes and glue. It’s not much more than a face-framed box with doors, but it works. It was hung using French cleats, so that it would easily be moved to a different location in the future.

photo 1

 

Here’s the finished cabinet.  As you can see, it’s a very simple design.

photo 2

Here’s a closeup of the french cleat.  I secured the bottom piece to the wall using 4 x 3″ screws.

 

photo 3

 

I just need to clean up a few edges and install a shelf our two.

Mistakes

Small mistakes can be the bane of many great wood working projects. Our friends, family, and customers may never notice them, but we know they exist; a constant reminder of an overlooked detail, inspiring feelings of inadequacy or ineptitude. Everyone makes them, so we can’t let them kill our love of the craft. Besides, they can be a great opportunity for learning.

I recently made a mistake while building the base cabinets for my shop. I thought I had everything square during glue-up, but I forgot to double-check. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this error until I went to install my drawer fronts. As a result of the cabinet being slightly out of square, the right edge of my drawer fronts stick out past the face-frame. This bugs the crap out of me. Fortunately, no one else seems to notice.

As a result of this error, I discovered a better way of designing cabinets. Not only does the new method do away with relying on clamps to square up the carcass, but it will simplify the construction process. The important thing to take away from this, is not to be discouraged. Ask yourself, what can be done better next time.

method1

The old construction method. This method squares the top-to-bottom nicely by using strips in the back and the top/bottom face frames on the front. However, this isn’t really necessary since the back is installed before the glue dries. This also makes it difficult to square the front-to-back, since there is no bottom and the top won’t be installed until later.

Method2

The new construction method. This uses four strips (two at the top and two at the bottom) to square the front-to-back. The back is installed before the glue dries, which ensures that the case is square in the other direction.

What lessons have you learned from past mistakes?

A Nickel for Your Thoughts

One of the most frustrating things I discovered while building my shop cabinets was getting the drawer faces aligned correctly.  Every time I got the drawer front aligned side-to-side, I’d discover that the vertical alignment had shifted.  It was a humbling exercise in patience building.  Who would have guessed that the solution to my problem could have been a handful of nickels?  

It turns out that the thickness of a nickel provides aesthetically pleasing drawer gaps.  Simply place a couple below the drawer face, one on each side (trim if necessary), then clamp and nail your front in place.  Don’t forget to retrieve your change afterwards.

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