Gather the tools you want to store in your toolbox and spread them out on a clean sheet of plywood. Start playing with the arrangement, grouping the tools together according to their function and to the suggestions outlined above. If necessary, hold your experiments in place with wood scraps or nails. Remember to account for the thickness of compartment dividers and tool supports—indicate them on the plywood with strips of wood. Your goal is to discover the layout that maximizes access to the tools in the smallest volume of space.
It won't take long until you begin to see how large—and in what overall configuration—your storage unit must be. (If you don't like what you see, it's still not too late to rethink your tool requirements.) Now make a rough sketch of the unit, drawing in the location of any major partitions, drawers or bins. If you have an "instant* camera, consider taking a picture of the layout as well. Commit yourself to the overall dimensions of the box and the size and location of the major interior components, and indicate them on your rough sketch.
The next step is to create a set of working drawings for the box. I strongly suggest drawing the plans to full scale for several reasons. First, you can see clearly what the overall size and proportions of the box are going to be (you can even take the completed drawing into your shop to see how well the unit will fit into its proposed location). Second, you can measure the components directly off the drawing to produce a bill of materials and cut lists. And third, you can lay out details from the drawing such as joint lines directly on the stock (or on a story stick). This is as close to a fail-safe layout system as you can get.
DESIGNING I N -S H O P TOOL STORAGE T8W0CÜ
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