The Home Office Build – Printer Cabinet

In my current home office setup, my printer sits on an Ikea Expedit 2×2 (or Kallax, I don’t remember which one it is) piece of furniture behind and to the right of me. It sits under a window, and over an air vent. There are four drawers – two of them hold printer supplies, two hold various cords and cables, and the two bottom sections hold junk.

(BTW, the top left set of drawers aren’t discolored, it’s that Ikea sold two different finishes on white, and I guessed wrong for the door and the top right drawers).

It is adequate. I mean, the printer never fell off, so I guess you would consider it a success. Furniture that doesn’t fall apart is good furniture, right? What it lacked was any sort of style or depth. It also lacked great storage for what I really needed it for – video game systems.

I got into system collecting last year, and quickly acquired most of what I wanted from the 1980s and 1990s. What the consoles didn’t come with though was a space to keep them. For months they sat at the end of my desk, piled on top of each other. For the sanity of my marriage this had to change. Thankfully, early on in the printer cabinet design I started thinking it would be a good spot for them.

This first project in the series took quite a long time to bring from concept to fruition. The main reason for this was because what I did here would influence the rest of the components in this series. I had to nail a design that would translate to the rest of the pieces, would serve my needs, and I had the capability to pull off. The basic build is a bookcase with doors and some adjustability in shelf location, so using it for different purposes down the road is no big deal. I just had to figure out how I was going to build it with the supplies I purchased.

What I bought (on sale) was common #2 8/4 walnut. This had a lot of knots I had to deal with, and an inability to resaw completely for full use. I designed the rails and stiles all the way around to use 1″ thick boards, to complement the 3/4″ walnut veneer ply I knew I could source. 1/2″ plywood as far as I could tell wasn’t readily available for me. I ended up sticking with this plan for thicker wood, even though it meant wasting more wood. I’ll have to find 5/4 or 10/4 for the future.

This 8/4 walnut was jointed, planed, resawn, and drum sanded to get to 1″ thickness for both the side panels, and the doors that came much later. These were also cut to 2″ width and various lengths. To make the grooves to accept the panels, I used the router table and a regular straight bit. One day I’ll pick up a couple of spiral bits, but the straight bits worked out okay. The one issue I ran into was not realizing the fact I was doing a climb cut on my second pass, and one board shot out of my hands and messed up one end a bit. I figured that out for subsequent visits on this technique. The plywood panels were also done at the router table, making a rabbet with a larger straight bit. I also added a decorative curved profile to the bottom rails.

The most difficult decision came to the panels themselves. I designed everything to have a middle stile, but unfortunately I was not going to have enough material to complete the project. I also was concerned about wood movement of the middle stile. With the way I had designed it, the inner panels would be completely flush. I felt I would have also had to add an expansion gap that would ruin the look on the inside. So I didn’t. I made the panels fake, with the middle stile being applied directly on top of the bigger plywood panel. I felt this would be the best compromise, and allow the middle stile to move slightly as it was not glued to each edge. This allowed me to use some of the waste material generated by resawing the 8/4 boards to 1″ thick as well.

The completed panels were all assembled using traditional methods, tongue and groove and mortise and tenon. The top and bottom rails had tenons made again at the router table, using my new Rockler sled. These tenons were then notched to fit into the stopped groove on the stiles. The ends of which were squared with the hollow chisel mortiser, something I haven’t used in years. Great application for this, even though they needed some additional fine tuning. The initial panels were glued with Titebond III and clamped. The faux third stiles were added after the assemblies were dry.

With the two side panels complete it was time to make this thing three dimensional.  First up was making the curved rail to match the sides, which was done at the bandsaw and cleaned up with sandpaper. This was connected to the bottom panel (shelf) with domino tenons. Then that assembly was connected to the back panel, again with domino tenons. Then it was time to carefully put mortises in the side assemblies for both panels. The back panel was lined up with the back of the side assembly, so that was easy. The bottom panel had to be lined up in the field of the side assembly towards the bottom, which necessitated a guide rail to reference off of. Thankfully I am becoming more skilled with the Domino and all of this went down smoothly.

Two additional shelves were made with more of the 3/4″ walnut veneer ply, capped at the front with some scrap walnut. Since these shelves aren’t going to hold a lot, I didn’t make the edging too thick. Perhaps later if these shelves need to hold books I will revisit that. Everything got two coats of Arm-R-Seal semi gloss and it came inside to be used with a temporary top of plywood.

The top was made with the last piece of walnut I had left, and as such was a bit thinner than I had planned. After jointing, planing, resawing, and sanding the height came out to be just under 7/8″. I was aiming for 1″, so I’m glad I didn’t have to go all the way down to 3/4″. Again I used domino tenons to align and connect. I did have a large crack toward the end of the boards I used for the back and front, so I bought a inlay kit from Rockler and I learned how to inlay bowties to keep the crack from spreading. When the panel was done, I put a nice big bevel on three sides, which I got some inspiration from Harvey Ellis here. This will be a feature of all the projects in this series. Again, two coats of Arm-R-Seal were applied. I also learned how to fill knots on this project using two part epoxy. The design on the top even got me a follow on Instagram from a well-know celebrity. Head over to see who if you are curious.

There was a bit of a misadventure attaching the top to the cabinet with figure-eight washers, and I think I’ll have to go back eventually and use table clips. But, it does work (I can’t move it by the top). The cabinet could have been stopped here for now, but I often stop working on things when I’m 90% done so I pushed on.

Here’s where the second part of my design dilemma came in, and it is because I wanted to have a leaded glass insert. The only problem here was that I have zero experience or skill doing this. So I translated my potential design to a piece of plywood where I hoped to recreate the look. Unfortunately my plan didn’t work out, but I did find an alternate.

The doors were made in exactly the same manner as the side panels, with the exception of adding a third rail. Then I completely removed the inside rabbet in the upper section to be able to after-fact insert this plywood panel that serves as the glass substitute. I took the design from a Frank Lloyd Wright leaded glass panel, and created the same pattern on the plywood using pencil. I then went along these pencil lines with a 1/8″ router bit mounted in the table. The Incra fence system came in very handy here, allowing me to really dial in where the bit was cutting. I used stop blocks attached to the fence, and I can say I only had one incident there.

I had the foresight to make this panel four times, instead of two. This gave me some leeway in case I messed something up, and naturally that did occur. The idea was to inlay some dyed black veneer into the grooves I made to emulate the leaded glass. It was difficult to get the veneer to cut well, and even more difficult to get it in the grooves. I had to use CA glue to get the veneer pieces to stay, and attempting to sand it off took a lot of veneer with it. I certainly wasn’t going to succeed with this method, but thankfully I did like the look of just the cuts in the panel itself. So that became the final product. These were installed in the door, and secured with pivot pins like are used in framing. The backs of the doors look a bit off with this panel being wider than the one below it, but too late at this point.

Cup hinges were installed, and a 7° bevel on the mating edges to allow for full closure. I did my very best to prepare for installing the hinges to the cabinet, but I mixed up my spacers (one was 2″, the other 2.125″) and there was too much gap at the top. Thankfully, this happened to be the exact width I needed to clear my N64 controller cable, so I consider that a happy accident. I added period correct pulls from Rockler, drilled a few cable holes in the back panel, and that’s the project done. A component switch allows me to choose my system of choice for a retro gaming session.

For anyone wondering, these are the consoles:

  • Nintendo 64, NES, Nintendo Gamecube, Sony Playstation
  • Sega Genesis Model 2 with Sega CD Model 2 and 32x add-ons, Sega Genesis Model 1 (hot spot)
  • Super NES, Super Famicom (Japanese SNES), Nintendo AV Famicom (Japanese NES with composite output), and Nintendo Famicom with Disk System

I have a few wireless controllers for these, which I prefer over corded, but sometimes the cord is required. I really like 8bitdo’s 2.4g wireless controllers, which you can see a couple on the middle shelf. I also have a bluetooth version that I use for emulation elsewhere. The Gamecube uses Nintendo’s own Wavebird wireless controller, which is excellent. The 8bitdo controllers can be swapped between the US and Japanese counterparts, or the two Genesis units when needed. The hot spot I refer to is the fact I can swap out a different system in this spot if needed, and plug into the front of the component switch. I have a Saturn and a Dreamcast that aren’t represented here, and I know at some point I will want to do some gaming on them.

This was a fun project that stretched my skills decently. In particular, both inlay portions. The two part epoxy went better than I could have imagined, but I do need to get better at taping. I learned some things going forward, and if I never get a chance to address my small mistakes on this project that would be fine. That’s a momentous step for me, delivering a project that is good enough to be permanent.

Next up in this series should be the computer desk, but we’ll see.


The Home Office Build – Design

Early Twentieth Century furniture has interested me even before I started woodworking. Our first pieces of furniture were Mission style from Target. They weren’t heirloom pieces by any means, but they were nice enough and lasted for a long time.

As am now approaching ten years of working wood, I went looking for a style to call my own, and starting this office series was the perfect catalyst to put plans into motion. We took a Midwest trip in 2018 that had us visit the Field Museum in Chicago. There was a furniture exhibit that had a few early 20c pieces, and I knew that my style would come from somewhere in this period.

I dove into research about Frank Lloyd Wright, Gustav Stickley, and some of their associated designers and builders. I considered Greene and Greene, but I thought it was slightly too ornate for both my taste and skill level. The furniture is breathtaking, but I also didn’t want to be constrained to copying a specific style throughout. I wanted it to have elements of early 20c, but not be a slave to it. My take on something classic, as it were.

I don’t know if what I came up with can be described properly. It’s “inspired,’ but not clearly from who. I designed the top because I liked Harvey Ellis. I went with walnut because I’m not a massive fan of QSWO (it’s very nice, but I like a bit darker wood). I wanted stained glass but I don’t have that skill set, so I used a wood substitute. There’s modern hinges but period-spec handles. Corbels were in the first drafts, but not the last.

What is in the featured image is the office area I started with, all Ikea and all white to contrast with the dark grey walls of our bedroom. Anyone with a van can go and duplicate this, and I ultimately wanted something unique, something I created, and something a bit more specific to my needs. This picture was taken in June 2017, and hasn’t largely changed. A few more LEGO models, the pics on the wall are different, but otherwise what I’ve been working with and on.

This is what I came up with.

This was my vision, as it was formed at the beginning of this series. Some changes happen along the way, so I’ll save final design language for when I actually start building them. Some of the design aspects are aspirational, like the stained glass windows. It keeps the basics of the setup, but I add quite a bit more storage.

I also designed a new TV stand and tall bookcase to go along with these, just in case I’m ever able to have it all in one room.

Again here will ultimately look a bit different as my design style evolves, but the goal is to have a mostly uniform look. The dream of having one office where all of these reside is a long ways off, but we are in need of a new living room suite anyway. These would not go to waste being built.

For right now, though, it’s time to tackle the smallest job as a way to ease into all of this.

The Home Office Build – Intro

Almost a decade ago, I gained the ability to work from home. It was a slow start, but in 2011 it went 95-99% full time. Since around 2016, it’s been 99% full time if not more. I might have to travel into work once every couple of months for a couple hours. I’m very fortunate, and I’ve resisted moves that would take me out of this opportunity even for more money. I value my time not spent in traffic, and I value the freedom it affords.

At first I was set up in an Ikea Mikael computer desk next to our dining room table. Then we moved this desk to our very large master bedroom (it’s out of proportion to the rest of the house thanks to a remodel about twenty years ago). When I needed two screens, we had to ditch this desk and go to a wider, flatter one. I’m still using this desk today, with modifications, and still in our master bedroom, although in a different spot.

We have a set of Ikea Expedit shelves creating a barrier between the living and working space, another short unit serving as storage for modern consoles attached to my desk (and more desk surface), and yet another short unit serving as our printer stand and storage. There’s also an Ikea bookcase nearby that houses our physical books, magazines, and some of my work-related tomes. So, yeah, Ikea is a popular destination for us. And it makes sense sometimes, when you consider how expensive a sheet of ply is compared to a bookcase in a box – the complete unit is cheaper.

What I don’t have right now, and won’t for quite some time, is a separate office space. We have considered moving, but it isn’t a good fit for us at this time with repairs we need to put into the house. I don’t think constructing another building is wise either, considering the expensive technology that would need to go into another unconditioned space. We have no better places for me to work from, so we make do. One day we will either move, or the kids will move out (or both), so it is something to look forward to. By then I may have to go back into work regularly, too.

What I can do though is make this space a bit more conducive to my everyday needs, and do it in a way that gets rid of the sea of plastic-ish white surfaces. It’s not a bad look pared with a dark grey wall paint, but I’m a woodworker. I could do better if I wanted to. So I am.

So next up I’ll get into what the goals are, what my requirements are, and what the design process is. Then we’ll get into the projects themselves. Should be fun.

Systainer upgrades

Back in March, I finally upgraded my air tool systainer to make things more organized and easier to find. With a fantastic Christmas gift and a great deal, it was time to get a couple more upgraded as well.

For Christmas, my wife bought me something that was on my wishlist for quite some time, the Bosch FlexiClick set. This is a 12v driver that has four attachments – right angle, compact bit driver, drill, and offset. This set joined my other three Bosch 12v drill/drivers, and it also brought my battery total up to five. I needed to have all these things together and easy to find. The prior situation was throwing the Bosch drivers in with my Ryobi 18v drivers in a systainer and letting things bounce around. I picked up a sheet of thick kaizen foam to see how easy it was to manipulate.

The idea is all over the internet, keeping things neat and separated. I decided to make one systainer for the Bosch 12v tools and batteries, and another would be for the Ryobi 18v tools. The systainers really only required one layer of the thick kaizen, so installation was pretty easy. I used the template I made of the systainer for the air tools, and it lined up pretty closely for the foam. Only I didn’t need to quite follow it because the indentations that exist at the very bottom of the systainer weren’t there at the level of the foam top.

The foam is pretty easy to work with, easily cutting with a breakable razor blade. There is a bit of a learning curve to shape the indentations and holes to fit your needs, and you can tell I started with the driver on the left that has the battery installed because the hole is too big. The reason for this partially is because I tried to stand it up and it was a bit too tall without adjusting. Otherwise, things went as expected. All my drivers, attachments, and batteries fit without issue in the Bosch systainer. I even used the special edition one to closely match the Bosch colors.

The Ryobi one has room to take a bunch of batteries if I absolutely have to.

The reason for this is because Home Depot was running a deal where I could get four batteries and a charger for $80. The last time I bought batteries was a few years ago, so it was time for a refresh. I have some other 18v tools that I use for yard work and etc, so they are handy to have around.

While systainers are by no means the most space efficient means of storing things, there is that just pleasurable feeling with everything having a place and finding it easily. I’m hoping that I can use some more kaizen in some drawers to better find things in the future.

Future Fairly Fine Furniture

The decision-making process I used over the fall to decide to get back into woodworking was fairly simple: get better or get out. By that measure, I upgraded tools as I could over Black Friday to meet the “get better” side of the equation. That process isn’t complete, but major steps were made. Now I need to produce something that is worthy of running a shop.

The render above is hopefully the first step. I am a huge fan of early-20th century furniture design, and Prairie School architectural design. What I tried to do was to conceptualize my take on these designs in a functional early-21st century usage. The final design might change slightly, but I want to keep the Harvey Ellis-inspired overhangs, and the Marion Mahony-inspired stained glass design on the doors. The overall dimensions shouldn’t change, unless they are material related.

The first build is a printer sideboard. The current thing holding the printer now is an Ikea cabinet that is only slightly functional. What I would like to do is replace it and let it hold a bunch of retro video game consoles that are currently sitting on my desk and another Ikea cabinet. The design would allow for it to become another bookcase inside, or for whatever purpose. The insides are regular adjustable shelves. I don’t yet know how to make stained/lead glass, so the inserts may be temporarily wood or faux glass.

The desk will have a tower space on the right, which can later be converted to drawers if so needed. The left side will have a spot for files at the bottom. There will be ventilation and cord management slots in the right base and underneath the top. I don’t plan on having any other accommodations for ports or cables, as I want this to be more of a classic desk that can serve as a computer or office/library desk. Any future needs can be addressed by adding on and securing to the top underneath at the back, as the monitor stand will.

I have also designed a TV console, and a basis for tall bookcases. I designed the TV console to hold as many consoles as I can think of at the moment. The width will fit into a future office space should we remain in our current house, but will also work in our current living room and is around a standard size, if not a touch tall. There will be an attempt at cable management in the form of back panels, plus heat management via thermostat-controlled AV fans. Any future consoles will require putting them on top or making other changes, but the entire interior of the cabinet except for the vertical partitions are removable. This is a pretty standard build and design. The drawers will be dovetailed if I can refine my methods. Most likely push to open drawers and door, so that the design stays clean.

The tall bookcase can be duplicated and adapted for any room. Here, it is holding drawers of games, but the goal will be to have them on adjustable shelves. If that turns out true, then no adaptation is really necessary – just add as many adjustable shelves (besides the one fixed at door height) as necessary. I haven’t planned on making full doors or four doors, but I may change my mind here.

I had to choose between quartersawn white oak and walnut, and I decided to go with walnut. As I stated, this is my take on period pieces and I really enjoy the sight of walnut get freshly finished. That, and it’s cheaper, and I like the darker wood.

So, I had hoped to begin this project in late October, but that obviously didn’t happen. Since I knew I had to get my situation upgraded before I started, I have pushed it back to at least now. I have at least the initial amount of walnut on hand, but now I have to make a design consideration of what the final process will be since I’m only going to get about 7/8″ thick pieces out of this 8/4 stock. I will be cleaning up the shop a bit more and thinking on this, and hopefully starting to mill at the very least before Christmas.

The Fine Woodworking Hanging Tool Cabinet – Part II

The carcass of the cabinet is done, and hung on the wall. Now we need to work on making this space actually store stuff. On today’s program, I make the doors, make them start to be useful, and get some other milestones started.

First up is the upper carcass storage. I made a temporary plane till, because shedding the old one meant I didn’t have anywhere to them. I’ll go back and redo it at some later point when I either have more/better planes, or an accurate idea of the space they will take up. Above this area is a small cabinet with storage on and behind the doors. I’ll have a picture for this later, but you’ll notice a spot where I did a dado on the wrong side. No worries, this will be hidden by a door hinge piece. In the photo later on, the upper cabinet area has a shelf where the sharpening stones are sitting on right now.

The big part of this update are the doors. The biggest space usage on my wall is the massive amount of chisels I have, and getting the doors on will allow me to get moving on fixing this. First step was to make the rim pieces, which were more dovetails.

I of course am not perfect with my dovetail making, but I think I did well enough. The rim gets attached to the door frame/front, which was up next. I cut a tongue and groove on all the pieces necessary, including the new plywood I picked up for the purpose.

I will say that this step was fraught with problems. I don’t honestly know what the issue was with the first problem, but things didn’t line up. The second issue was caused by not properly doing the groove because I messed up the bit height and had to carry on.

This was not ideal. I had to do some trimming on the doors, just enough where I didn’t reduce the coverage of the doors. I used the track saw to square things up, and I also used the sander. A lot. Thankfully I was able to save what I made, and I didn’t think I’d be able to do that. I glued the fronts to the rims next.

Next up was checking to see how it would look, which is the featured pic at the top of this page. After that, it was time to install the hinges, which I bought from Rockler. These have a removable pin, and are very much cheaper than the decorative options I saw elsewhere. Everything got a sanding up to 180 grit while it was off the wall.

This picture right above shows that while my mortises and dovetails weren’t perfect, some glue and sanding really helps to hide things. With the hinges mounted and everything sanded, it was time to go back up on the wall.

Looking heroic. After a week off, it was time to tackle the chisels. It turned out that I could fit them eight across on the back of a door, and I had 23. I gave the widest two chisels a bit more room, and went to town. I ordered a 22mm bit to better help secure the chisels, since these would have to be canted about 5° to fit them all in.

I cut the holes on the drill press with the forstner bits, then cut the angle on the table saw. I got a perfect fit side to side, got a perfect fit sizing the holes to each individual chisel. Satisfied by the success, I made some more holes for the Narex rasps I also had, including leaving room for expansion.

And that’s where we leave things as of about a month ago. I decided it was time to take another break, along with it being time to work on another stage set. To be honest, the next bit gets difficult not having things on hand to size accurately, so I’m holding off for a bit. I also need to work on getting finish on what I’ve made thus far, plus putting in magnets to secure the doors. At the same time, I’m looking at the broader picture of the shop and seeing what other tweaks and improvements I can make.

That’s all for now.



Bench Shavings – 03/21/19

It’s been a long time since I had the opportunity to write, and I find myself making excuses when I do get the time. Most of my sharing now is on Instagram, and unfortunately I can’t get an automatic process to share the blog on IG to work. In fact, this post has taken me over a week to write.

I’ve been busy working on set design and building. We’ve had three performances thus far, although the materials for the first were borrowed from the second one. From Screen to Stage has more details on those two plays with the front door set. The third one just wrapped up, and was a fairly simple build, at least from a hard product standpoint. I reused the blocks I made in All the Workshop’s a Stage for a base for a few sheets of plywood.

The goal was to make an elevated stage on the stage for a panel to sit on with chairs and a desk. I painted the plywood and pinned them to the blocks. I made a simple desk frame out of 2x4s and loose tenons. I also made frames out of MDF molding for a cityscape that was mounted on rigid foam. I also made two short steps to get up onto the elevated stage, plus another full set of steps for the actual stage.

I also worked a bit more on the Hanging Tool Cabinet, and some systainer storage solutions, which I will post about at another time. It’s hard enough to finish this post without adding more.

2019 Outlook

This is always an interesting post to do at the beginning of the year, as I can’t always follow through with all of my stated goals. I always try to also follow up on the post from the year previous, but I didn’t do one for 2018.

There will be a couple stage projects to do in the first half of the year, but the big build should be done with via the front porch project. Second half of the year obviously is unknown at this point. The theatre group operates on a public school schedule, and the year goes from September to May. There will be a flower cart, a talk show set, and a couple other minor things.

One of the main things I want to accomplish is “finishing” the shop. What that entails is completing the insulation in the loft, switching out the one light in the loft to the ones I had in the old shop, installing trim on the outside, and trimming up the windows and ceiling inside. I plan on getting the insulation done first before it gets too warm, as it will also free up floor space up there and I can toss the rest. I will also be fencing off the underside of my shop, as my dogs (and perhaps other things) are trying to eat away at the insulation.

I will be improving my air nailer storage by making a custom systainer insert. This will keep the inside from being a mess, hopefully. That’s the plan, as I think it’s a better one than dedicating wall space to hang them. I can fit the three trim nailers, the wrench, the nails, and the oil in one systainer, so I think that’s valuable storage usage.

I will be improving the dust collection in the shop. The table saw that I have is very nice with that exception, and it’s only gotten worse. I will be closing in the base and creating a port where more dust can be evacuated. I will also finally be closing in the router table and creating a dust solution there as well. That in and of itself will solve 90% of the dust problems in my shop, but at some point I also hope to swap out the router top with one that will allow for the Incra Cleansweep rings. I just wish I could get it locally and save shipping charges. At some point I may make other upgrades, but I will see how these two changes get me through.

I’m going to work to make things more mobile, in case I need to build on-site. I don’t like to disrupt what I have going on in the shop, so I need to make it very easy to grab anything that I might need for a set build. I’m still sorting how I’m going to do this. I’d like to make a mobile cart that will hold some systainers and be a work area, but I have so much that I would have to bring. I also don’t really have anywhere to store it.

I don’t really know what might be in store for tool upgrades or additions. I will likely look to start filling out my new tool cabinet, but that is rather pricey. I have my eye on a new bandsaw and some jobsite things, but again those are expensive. I would rather put money into trip funds that I will need to work on very soon. Those are more important.

I will attempt to fix the door situation, which is that it has gaps around the perimeter and sometimes sticks to the other door. There is also some minor water entry at the door which I need to investigate.

I don’t have any set expectations for projects, although I hope I finish the hanging tool cabinet. I’d like to tweak some storage and layout if ideas come to me, but nothing concrete. I would like to continue to refine my techniques, learn new things, and enhance the quality of my home and the sets at the theatre group.

Odds and Ends – Wrapping up 2018

There were a few things that I got accomplished towards the end of the year that I either didn’t have time to write about, or they weren’t worth dedicating a post to. Here we go.

I built an outdoor table to help with breaking down sheet goods and large assemblies. It is just a skeleton at the moment while I decide how best to do a top for it. I also may add other features, like a shelf at the bottom, a hook for the cord reel, etc. I built it out of pressure treated lumber, did pocket hole screws throughout, and it should hold up much better than the previous one. I also built it so that it is level on the uneven terrain.

Instead of building a mirror cabinet for the master bath, I went with an Ikea unit. Made much more sense based on cost and time. The old mirror will be reused in the other bath, and I will be making a frame for it. I’m just procrastinating or it would already be done by now. Perhaps that can be the first project of the new year.

I did some general cleaning up of the shop the other day, and it finally feels like an actual shop again, one where I can come in and do work. I moved a couple of things around to help better organize, but it’s something that will continue to be addressed in the new year.

I used thread locker on the MFT’s hose arm, as to stop it from flopping over at just about every opportunity. I think I may drill into the arm and put in something that I can wrap the end of the hose back to to keep it out of the way.

I tried making wooden rings. It didn’t go half bad, but I don’t know if it is something I will try to keep doing.

I bought some new tools, sold or gave away some old ones. I went on some adventures, and resolve to go on bigger ones next year. Thanks for reading.


The Fine Woodworking Hanging Tool Cabinet – Part I

This is a project I have had my eye on for ages. In fact, I’ve had the DVD on how to do this for a few years, but I can’t exactly remember when or where I purchased. It predates all my Festool gear, I believe. Well, I finally got started on it, but it is taking quite a while.

I don’t think I planned on this starting at the beginning of a month, but on September first I drove to my nearest Woodcraft and found some big Ash boards that would fit my needs. This cost a tad over $100 for all three boards. I also figured out for perhaps the second time in the 16 years we have had this car that the back seats slightly recline if needed.

I decided that I would take this project as an opportunity to work on my hand tool skills, a decision I actually made all that time ago. Which probably explains why it took years to try and do. The first step was to mark all the pieces out for the case, and mill them up. This is just after that process. I tried to select the straightest grains and I matched where the doors and cabinet match up.

Next it was time to start working on the dovetails which hold everything together. I bought a set of dovetail markers to lay them out, but after that it was all manual work. (also had a bit of a bow in one of the door pieces that I was trying to get out)

This was done with my Veritas dovetail saw, and chisels. Next it was time to work on the pins, and I used my small router to take care of most of the waste. This unfortunately had some errors. It also made a right mess, which I saved a lot of for the inevitable filling I would need to do.

The fit was pretty decent, just a bit of finessing to get those in. The square tenons for the shelf were a different story. Or should I say the error manifested on the mortises. I blew out the back sides a bit, which unfortunately were on the show faces.

I got one end it to make it look like this and it sat this way for about a month while I worked on the set project and other things. I recently got the other side mortised out, and was able to get the cabinet together for a dry fit. There was a bit of racking that I had to get out with a couple of clamps when I was fitting the panel.

The back panel is two pieces of 1/2″ plywood, cut on an angle to form a French cleat. I was able to glue everything together and use a bit of the scrap/dust to get the dovetails and through tenons looking better. First two pics are before/after. I might can still do a bit better on the tenons.

Where I’m at now is that I’ve gotten the cabinet hung on the wall, and I’m starting to get the inside sorted out to begin with. I will also still have to make the doors, which will wait until my next trip to Rockler to get more quality plywood.

I’ve done some moving around since I don’t need the old plane till anymore, it is now going to be used for general storage and the finish cabinet that was above the miter saw traded places.

To be continued. I will have to sort out how all these chisels are going to fit as well.