Tool Cabinet

Jim Morgans Wood Profits

Jim Morgan's Wood Profits

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A tool cabinet is a very personal item. Every woodworker collects a unique set of tools. The cabinet that holds and organizes them must also be unique. Because of this, you might not want to build a cabinet exactly like mine. You will probably change the size, the arrangement of the shelves and drawers, or borrow bits and pieces and incorporate them into an altogether different design. In the end, it will be your personal tool cabinet. To help you personalize this project, let me review some of my thinking as I designed my cabinet.

Size—The cabinet, I decided, shouldn't hold every tool in my shop, just those that I use most often. If there were too many tools, it would be difficult to find the ones I want. So. I made a pile of my favorite tools—chisels, saws, planes, screwdrivers, mallets, and soon. I included some of the portable power tools that I use frequently—a drill, a saber saw, a router, and two sanders—but I left out things like router fences and saw guides that I only need occasionally. When I finished, the pile was surprisingly compact. There were lots of items in it, but they didn't take up as much space as I thought. I figured everything would fit into a l-x3-x4-ft. box. with room to spare.

Depth—The deeper the cabinet, the more tools it can hold. However, once you make a cabinet more than one or two tools deep, you create an organizational nightmare. Every time you need a tool from the back row, you must move several tools in front of it. As you work, the cabinet becomes more and more disorganized. Instead. I created some additional storage by hanging tools on the doors. The cabinet is actually two or three tools deep when it's closed, but everything is visible and accessible when it's open.

Height —1 put the cabinet on a stand so the lowest shelf is the same height as my workbench, while its highest shelf remains well within my reach. The height of the cabinet is carefully planned so everything in it is visible. I don't have to bend or stretch to reach anything.

Woodworkers often put one cabinet on top of another and keep seldom-used items in the bottom cabinet. This is a good idea because it makes maximum use of the space. I wanted to placc this cabinet within a few feet of my workbench, how ever, and was afraid that I'd constantly bang into open doors or drawers. I opted to mount a few shelves between the legs of the stand. This uses the space but saves my shins.

Shelve types —Your shelves can be either fixed or adjustable. Most woodworkers prefer adjustable shelves, so they can rearrange them as they get more tools.

I chose to make the shelves permanent for aesthetic reasons. I like the solid feeling of a fixed shelf. I also like pigeonholes because all the nooks and niches help me stay organized. I configured the shelves to create nine compartments of varying sizes. I don't miss the versatility of adjustable shelves. My collection of tools and my interests have been fairlv stable for manv vears.

If you wish to rearrange the inside of the cabinet from time to time, mount the shelves on adjustable supports.

Drawer sizes—I chose to make drawers of three sizes for the same reason I decided to make various-sized pigeonholes. I also found that you can fit more drawers in a cabinet if you make several sizes. The construction is easier if vou make the drawers all the same. If vou do this, vou have w to build each drawer big enough to hold the largest item you want to store. That causes wasted space in the drawers that hold smaller tools.

I kept even the largest drawers as shallow as possible. The same logic applies here as it did to the cabinet: If a drawer is more than one or two tools deep, you'll find yourself moving tools to reach the one you need. The contents quickly become a jumble. If you must make deep drawers, consider building shallow, stacking trays to fit inside the drawers.

Please, remember that these are only one woodworker's answers to a few of the dilemmas vou face as you design a tool cabinet. They aren't necessarily the right answers; there are no right answers in these kinds of situations. What works well for me may not work at all for vou. so use w w your best judgment when laying out the cabinet. However (and this is a big. important however), consider each detail carefullv. It's the "details" that determine the difference between a great tool cabinet and a mediocre one. —N.E.

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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