Chaos Theory – 144 Style (Part Three)

I tried to enlist the carpenter ants to help me build this next part of the chaos wall, but apparently they don’t actually build stuff. Come to think of it, carpenter bees don’t build crap either. Hmm.

The drawer slides arrived today, on schedule. I knew that the sooner I got the drawers made, the sooner I could enjoy the fruits of my labor. Because I ordered the exact same slides as I did for the lathe stand, and I had a set left over due to a design change, I was able to already have all the 5mm holes drilled for the cabinet part of the slides. I just didn’t know how well they were going to work. I also already had the drawer bottoms cut, I just had to make the sides and front pieces, and assemble.

I took the miscut shelf pieces and proceeded to cut 2″ strips off of them for the fronts and sides. However, I didn’t feel like clearing off the table saw to do it. I don’t have parallel guides, yet. Hmm… I know, I’ll set the clamping elements up as a stop.

I can’t tell you how well this worked. I compensated for the blade kerf, and made sure the piece registered well against the guide fence. When the piece got too short to extend to the left of the guide rail, the next piece came along to push it and secure it. Easy peasy. I even had to remove the clamps a couple of times to crosscut more boards. I just undid the knobs, took them off the table, and then put them back and secured them again. I made sure they were lined up properly, but I didn’t have to set them up again. Those clamping elements are expensive, but they are starting to pay off. The side pieces were cut to 14″, and the front pieces were cut to 15.75″, although I really meant for them to be about 16.75″, and cover the side piece ply lines. Oh well. I just moved the sides up to compensate.

Once everything was cut, I made a little platform of two pieces of the 1/2″ ply stacked to give me proper registration for the sides and fronts. I wanted there to be a lip to secure the systainer, and some underneath to act as a pull. I earlier in the day used the pocket hole jig and season two of Magnum PI to prep the drawer bottoms. I used a parallel clamp to hold the fronts tight, and screwed in from the bottom. Then it got spun 90° and both sides were put on. I then marked not the centerline of the sides, but where the center of the bottom was on the sides to attach the slides. An awl marked where I needed to screw, and the supplied short screws attached the inner slides to the drawer.

With the 5mm holes all ready to go, installing the cabinet part of the slides was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I’ll never build another cabinet, bookcase or whatever without using a shelf jig again. Whatever you get, as long as it works, it should be worth every penny. I tested out the concept on the upper most systainers, then started working my way up from the bottom. It couldn’t have been more perfect on the left, with five systainers just barely fitting. On the right, I ran out of drawer bottoms, but right now three drawers are in and functional. I should say, that these are the first drawers I’ve ever made that actually work properly. The right side is bang on perfect, and the left side is probably a 1/32″ too narrow, but the drawers still went in (with some effort). I think the drawer bottoms might have bent just ever so slightly, because those systainers are slightly wobbly. That can be fixed with some sanding, most likely, if I ever deem it an issue. The drawer slides work without binding once fully engaged.

So, this is where I am right now.

Took a couple days longer than I anticipated, and I still have a bit more work to do making probably two more drawers, plus the actual drawers that will go in the space just above the systainers. All the systainers open, and the lids stay open when pulled out fully. I may have botched the design, but the (near) finished product meets my expectations.

Now, the unfortunate thing is this: I’m already exceeding capacity. My air tools sys (Sys 4) isn’t going to fit. I have something else coming perhaps on Friday that won’t fit either. Basically from here on out, we are in stacks again. The thing to do would be to build another one, right? Well, I might technically have the room for one, but it would be super tight right now. I think they’ll have to sit on the hardware bin you see in the lower left of the above pic for the time being. I may have to incorporate a couple of systainer drawers elsewhere in the shop. You don’t need a motor to run a bandsaw, right?

It’s nice to have actual content to share. Hopefully I’ll keep this train rolling with perhaps one more update on this topic, plus I’ll be putting together the next storage project in the next couple of days. Perhaps it’s also almost time again for another shop tour, once I can use the vac a little bit and cut up some more scrap. Oh, how about a video tour of this?

While the shop continues to fall down around me, it’s getting closer.

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