P.O. Box 2309, Bellingham, WA 98227 Phone: (360)734*3482 FAX; (360)671-3053
For appearance and function, design your chest with the shallowest drawers at the top and the deepest at the bottom. Flat items like layout tools and cabinet scrapers can live in the shallow drawers; bench planes can occupy the deep ones. In between, size your drawers for commonly used hand tools like chisels, screwdrivers, spokeshaves, and files. Groove or drill small blocks of wood to separate items like chisels and gouges. Fit these blocks unglued between the drawer sides.
Drawers need to slide in and out easily and stand up to everyday use. We've found that runners let into drawer sides don't stand up as well as frames that divide the case into discrete openings.
Finally, it's a good idea to have one or two doors that can slide and lock into place in front of your drawers. This protects your tool investment and ensures that drawers don't spill their contents when the chest is moved. You can design your chest with a single door that swings down from a top pocket. Another option is to build pockcts on both sides of the chest, and have a pair of doors that pull out and swing closed. Good luck.
Will Neptune Instructor, North Bcnnct St. School Boston, MA
Buying a Starter Lathe
I've recently become interested in woodturning, and I'd like to buy a lathe. What should 1 look for in choosing a machine, and what should I avoid?
Helen Stafford Oskaloosa, IA
O First you need to decide what sort of items you want to turn. Spindle turners planning to make furniture parts will need a machine with a bed at least 36 in. long to accommodate most leg and post stock. A bowl turner will want a heavy machine with at least a 16-in. swing capacity (spindle height 8 in. above the lathe's bed), a minimum '/2-HP motor, and speeds as low as 200 rpm. A model maker would be well served by one of the new mini lathes. (See AW #52.) Production-oriented pros should consider a duplicating lathe. In short, match the machine to the job.
If you're not sure what you want to make, you might want to start with a general-purpose lathe. I'd look for at
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