Saturday, 15 November 2008

Finally, An Assembled Insert...

So with all things glued, trimmed and smoothed, I now have another section of the tool cabinet assembled and ready for finishing.

 The whole idea behind all of this is to minimize destruction to the cabinet itself so it can be modified easily in the future if I ever want to take on this assignment again. By building a fixed insert, all of the holes and such for different dividers and shelves can be made to the insert, while the cabinet itself just has to suffer a few screws. The insert does the rigid supporting, the cabinet just holds the insert.

The insert for this door is a bit complicated because my plane handles and irons project into it. To accommodate that, I had to keep the center part open. I can still mount tools here, but only one level and not the two or three like the other areas of the cabinet. It is also complicated by the decision to store a 24" level and a framer's square here, as well.

All of the jointing in this insert is either using dovetails or through tenons. You can follow the order of the construction of this thing simply by following the quality of these joints. The more I did, the better the results.

I'm sure there is a specific name for the type of dovetail I used but I don't know it. If anyone can help me out with that I would appreciate it. Each dovetail starts at the front with a full tail, which is mitered, while the rest of the pins and tails are normal for a dovetail. The shelves and dividers are morticed and through tenoned. It is surprising the rigidity these joints bring to the unit.

The top portion of the insert holds my screwdriver rack. It is a bit fussy, and because I had to remove so much material, a bit weak. I had drilled and inserted dowels into each finger of the rack shelves to support the cross grain but found, once assembled, that there was considerable give to the shelves along their length. To overcome this I drilled out a couple of the dowels in each rack, positioned the unit, and drilled through into the cabinet door itself. I slid longer dowels into these so they support the rack shelves and once the unit is finished I'll glue them. They are 1/8" dowels, so the hole isn't much bigger than that left by a screw so I don't feel I've compromised the design.

The screwdriver section will be covered by either one or two hinged racks, as this area is capable of holding the two or three levels of tools. I'm not sure a single hinged section will support the weight here, as this section will be the full depth on half of it to hold my hammers while the other side will be loaded from both sides with pliers, channel locks and other pinching tools. I'm trying to figure out how to build this rack so you can still see through it, like the other racks I have built, but do so with enough strength to support the weight.

As I said, the set-up for this section is similar to the entire cabinet and it is going to be fussy to work with. That can't be avoided because I am trying to store a couple of hundred different tools in one small space. The fussiness does have its benefits, though. While working with my previous set-up, which was almost as fussy as this, I found it changed my working habits. When I made the switch from power tools I brought along my impatient attitude as well, something I have found you can't have when your working with hand tools. By having my tools stored close together like this, it takes a conscious effort to get one out of the cabinet or to put it back, another thing I have to learn to do working in such a small space. This exercise forces me to slow down a bit and think. What I am learning, because of this, is that it is the journey, not the destination that is such a blast.

I'm trying to keep my beading theme consistent throughout, and this section is no different. Around the circumference of this insert I have applied the bead where the unit is full depth. The opening racks over the screwdrivers will have a bead run around it or them, whichever the case may be. The biggest problem with the beading of the insert was the bottom left corner. Here, the outside wall kicks in 2 3/4" to make room for my level, which is hung on hangers on the back wall of the door, and the framer's square which will be held in place over the level by rare earth magnets. Just a note, the square/level set up will be the only part in the cabinet where you have to remove a tool to get at another. Because of this kick-back, I had to extend the bead beyond the horizontal piece and miter it to the bead applied to the vertical piece. I did this all with chisels, mitering the bead on the horizontal piece and mitering and removing the unwanted area of the bead on the vertical. My heart was in my mouth throughout this entire process. I reasonably happy with the results, though.

If you have another look at the top photo you will see two whacking big pieces of walnut on the bottom two shelves. These pieces are destined to become multiple drill indexes. The reason you see the little kick-up on the bottom photo is because my speed bits will be stored here and they are taller than all my other bits. I originally wasn't going to have that little cubbyhole above the kick-up but after reading Kari's article on carving, over on The Village Carpenter, I decided to add it to frame a little accent piece that I will display here. I know exactly what I want to do, but as usual, I have no idea how to do it. Thankfully, it will be one of the last things I will add to the cabinet and because of the length of time it is taking to build this thing, I'll have lots of time to learn.