Keeks of the hand tool cabinet

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Since there aren’t really any keek plugins for word press yet, I decided to start embedding my keeks into my blog as appropriate.  To get caught up real quick, I thought I would post the keeks related to the hand tool cabinet.

Jun 16, 2013 | First Keek! Quick tour of the hand tool cabinet. by mikemader on

Jun 16, 2013 | card scraper till done! by mikemader on

Jun 19, 2013 | Most of my hand tools in the cabinet. Not sure if what to do with the saws yet by mikemader on

Jun 20, 2013 | Saws finally hung. All tools in the cabinet! by mikemader on

Evolution of my shop

Published on by Mike  (2 Comments)

2013-06-08 16.06.27Yes, I know, my posts drop off when I am working out in the shop.  However, the time between my last post and this one has not gone to waste!  There have been quite a few changes in the shop!  Every shop is a constantly changing environment.  When we first moved into this house, most of my tools were small and portable, and I would take them out to the driveway and work.  Most of the projects I undertook then were home improvement/repair related, and a few other smaller woodworking projects which were well perforated with brad nails.  (Sorry Norm)  The white cabinet on the wall I made for power hand tools, and really was the first storage towards my shop.  It was perfect for that use, and was on the wall for quite a few years.  Everything else I had was well stored on the peg board around it.  However, as my interest in woodworking grew, and my projects became more sophisticated, my tool needs changed, and therefore my storage needs changed.  Now if you told be 3 years ago that I would have a hand tool collection beyond a set of chisels, I would have laughed.  However, that soon changed, and my hand tools started growing.  Quickly.  🙂  So that is how and why the hand tool cabinet project began.  Other storage needs had also cropped up besides hand tools.  Last year I started buying clamps.  Real clamps.  Not the junk i had bought from a discount store a few years ago.  In fact I have started buying Bessey Revos and Bessey F-clamps.  The nice thing about the Revos, they do stand up on their own.  However, they do take up a lot of floor space, and honestly, I have knocked them over more then I care to admit.  So, wall storage was needed as well.

2013-06-24 23.08.322013-06-22 14.58.54So, now the hand tool cabinet is up on the wall, and my still growing collection of hand tools are stowed away in it.  Each tool, that didn’t end up on the plane till or in the chisel rack all had custom hangers made for them.  I eventually want to put a saw till in the right door, but with just the one dovetail saw and the one Japanese saw, I decided to leave that for a later project.   I still need to make the drawers for the cabinet, but those will come later as well.  I also made two clamp racks.  The first one is for the k-bodies.  If you notice, it is intentionally only half full.  I am not buying those clamps yet.  🙂  I also made a rack down lower for my smaller clamps, including the F-Style clamps.

2013-06-24 23.08.05I dare not call the hand tool cabinet finished.  I don’t think I will ever call it finished, as it is meant to grow and change as  I do in my woodworking.  So don’t be surprised if 5 years from now if I still make the occasional update on it.  For now, on to the next project!

Oh, and the white cabinet did not go to waste.  My Dad took it, and is going to use it in his garage.

Hand Tool Cabinet – Lots of progress

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2013-05-17 18.33.48After completing the door boxes, I started working on the false fronts.  The false fronts are actually serving 2 purposes.  The first is to make the cabinet look nice when the doors are closed.  The second is to hide any potential screw or nail penetration.  2013-05-25 17.39.50The back of the door boxes is 1/2″ baltic birch ply and is meant for me to hang tools off of.  So, it is very possible a screw may poke through, which the false fronts will hide that.  The false fronts are made with a frame and panel design, using an ogee style router bit set.  The panels themselves are cherry plywood that I had left over from the cradle.  This adds a nice contrast to the ambrosia maple from the rest of the cabinet.

2013-05-25 17.39.58Once I had those completed, I readied the table saw to cut a rabbet around the entire perimeter of the fronts so that they would fit into cavity left for them in the door boxes.   After getting getting it setup and making a few test cuts, I decided to not do the rabbets.  The reason being is I realized this was going to look funky where you could see the joinery.  While it was not going to be that obvious, I felt it was still an issue.  Using some thin pieces of scrap, I attached them to the underside of the fronts to use to line them up.  I applied the glue and clamped them up.  I made the fronts over-sized to the door boxes so that there was an 1/8″ overhang on all sides.  I then used a flush-trim bit to flush everything up.

2013-06-01 21.18.39After getting that all done, I had a lot of sanding to do.  Therefore, I procrastinated.  🙂  I ended up working on the plane till to go inside the cabinet.  This was another design change from the sketchup.  The original design wasn’t really well thought out, and consisted of vertical slots for the planes, with no real  thought into keeping them in place.  I decided to go with one at an angle 2013-05-27 15.19.34that the weight of the plane would help hold it in place.  The back of the till is 1/2″ baltic birch ply screwed (yes screws) on to a couple rails to hold it in place.  I then proceed to make shaped spaces for each plane to sit in.  With the tight fit in the till, and the angle they are sitting at, they are secured in place.  I later even worked in a place for the spoke shave.  Right now I am working on figuring out where the router plane will go.

2013-06-01 21.18.29Finally I completed the sanding.  Sanding was, well it was sanding, and a lot of it.  I then decided it was time to proceed with the finish.  I covered everything, except the back of the main cabinet with boiled linseed oil.  After giving the oil a few days to cure, I sprayed the exterior portions (except the back) and wiped on the edges of the interior.  I decided it would probably be best not to shellac the interiors of cabinet and door boxes.  I was concerned that this would create some barriers down the road.

So, what’s left?  I need to get the piano hinges purchased and installed on the doors.  I then need to complete making the french cleats and the upper portion installed on the back of the cabinet.  Then the wall it is going on needs to be cleared off and the french cleat installed on that.  Then, I start loading it!  As I make further updates here on the blog as I make more progress.

Hand Tool Cabinet Update – Door boxes!

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2013-05-05 17.54.26    So this past weekend I made quite a bit of progress on the hand tool cabinet, with the completion of the boxes that will make up the doors of the cabinet.  The doors are boxes as they are intended to be additional storage for my growing hand tool collection.  This was actually my second attempt at making the doors.  The first attempt did not end so well, as when I was cutting the grooves in the long boards (the sides) that would house the plywood backing, I had a mishap on the table saw.  I finished cutting the short boards (tops and bottoms) and I must have inadvertently hit the locking lever for the fence.  Not enough to completely loosen it, but enough to move it each time I pushed a board against.  Thankfully no kickback, but the result was each of the long boards had a groove incrementally further into each board.  After thinking through my options, I decided that the boards I had just worked on can be used for other aspects of the cabinet, so they will not go to waste.  Another aspect was the color of the ambrosia maple had a lot of dark areas in them, so it wasn’t a great match to the existing cabinet box, as well as making some dumb mistakes with wood selection.  So lessons learned, I went back to my hardwood supplier, and took more care in what I selected for the doors.  Armed with new wood, I milled the boards.

2013-05-03 22.33.292013-05-03 22.33.37The boxes are a fairly simple construction, with rabbets on each of the side boards, and grooves to hold the 1/2″ baltic birch plywood for the backs.  After getting the pieces sanded, and dry fitted a couple times, I glued them up.  I ended up only using two clamps for each cabinet, as I had an easier time getting the boxes square.  The two clamps held everything tight enough, resulting in tight joints.

2013-05-05 17.51.592013-05-05 17.58.59The next step in the project is to build the false fronts for the doors.  These will be frame and panel fronts.  I am thinking once those are done and on the doors, I am going to apply the finish to the cabinet and doors, and go ahead and hang it.  The reason being, is it is big.  🙂  Storing it while it is being worked on has become difficult.  Once that is done, the rest of the components needing made are relatively small.  I do realize that this puts this at risk to never being done.  However, it truly never done, as it will always be modified and added to as I continue to add to my hand tools.

Spring is coming soon…… Please hurry!

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2012-09-23 18.45.19So, it is early March, and reflecting back on the winter we had, it was COLD!  I do have a kerosene heater that I can warm the garage, but it is only effective if the outside temp is over freezing.  Most any day I can get it tolerable to be in the shop with a sweater or jacket on, but if I can’t get it into the mid-50s it isn’t worth it.  First, I don’t like working in the shop with long sleeves on, for various safety reasons, as well as I feel like I can move more freely when working with hand tools.  Next, and yes on this one I am being a wuss, but cast iron and tool steel is COLD and uncomfortable to work with!

2013-01-30 22.44.46That said, I am starting to think ahead as to what I will be working on this spring.  First off, I want to finish the box for the box challenge.  It is nearly done, but I have an idea of a detail I want to put inside the lid first.  I will post here how that works out.  Once that is done, I will mortise out for the hinges and once the outside temp is steady enough, put some finish on it.

Next, I want to finish my hand tool cabinet.  I made a lot of progress on it last fall, and it has been sitting on saw horses waiting for me to get back to working on it.  One thing I have been thinking on is the drawers.  First, I want to do hand cut dovetails with them again.  One thing I am tempted to try is making them half blind.  I will have to do some more research on it.  The other thing is, I want the drawers to be unique.  I have been thinking about getting a small amount of some sort of figured exotic for the fronts.

As for other projects, I have a few ideas in the works, as does my wife.  🙂