The storing of the green – part one

(Miter saw bench design related)

Now, if you hate Festool here is where you and I remain friends and I ask you to skip this post. However if you are a bit open-minded or want to hear more about my design criteria for the miter bench, please continue.

I haven’t enjoyed any of the green Kool-Aid just yet, but the pitcher is filled and it smells very refreshing. That said, I know there are some things that don’t have any appeal to me because I’m not an installer. I don’t have a mobile shop. I have a great miter saw and a bunch of other tools that at this time, I don’t expect to replace with Festool versions. There are, however, some mighty fine Festool products that I’d like to add to the stable that I think would either do a better job of what I already have, or fill a part of the spectrum that I can’t do now.

One of the unique things that sets Festool and their stablemate Tanos is their systainers and other storage systems. Each Festool comes in one, and many of the accessories come in them as well. They all keep the same basic footprint for stacking or racking, albeit in different heights. Really shames other manufacturers for their blow-molded cases. I have one for a router and it’s a huge waste of space. These systainers and sortainers work great for mobile workshops and for getting things to a jobsite.

My challenge is to make them work well in my situation. As stated, each tool I want comes with a systainer, and each systainer is going to need to find a home. The systainers have a footprint of 15.625″ wide, 11.625″ deep, and of varying height. Since I will need to get to any of them at any given time, I can’t just throw them in the basement like blow-molded cases or stack them up in the corner. Because as we all know, the one you need to get to is always on the bottom.

The track saw comes in a Sys-4, which is 12″ tall. The Domino joiner comes in a Sys-2, which is 6″ tall. If I want the matching Domino assortment (or just the box to store my own) that is another Sys-2. If I go with the hole drilling router and kit, those are both Sys-2. Several other items come in Sys-1 cases and I wouldn’t mind a Sys-2 or Sys-3 to store my minis in. I’m not sure what I’d get above and beyond that, so we’ll plan for just the things I know I will purchase this year and give myself the option of expanding somehow later. I don’t think I’m going to a pure systainer storage system – for a lot of things they don’t make sense for my space limitations. There are things I’d love to have in their sander lineup particularly, but chances are I will settle for less expensive options such as the PC 390.

Now, with my workshop I face one major hurdle that many others do not – the lack of space. This is particularly prominent when dealing with the systainers. Being only about 12″ deep, it makes little sense to stick them in a cabinet that is singularly deep. It would make perfect sense to store them in an assembly table and have them accessible from two or more sides, but I don’t have that kind of room. I could store them one row deep, but I’d have to make use of the room behind it or be extremely wasteful. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s one Sys-4, four Sys-2s and other assorted smaller ones.

One advantage I do have with these cabinets is that I plan on making them a bit taller than average – about 40″ tall at the top surface, which is about 4″ taller construction. I haven’t quite decided what the top is going to be made from, but I figure on order of about 1.5″ thick – perhaps two sheets of MDF laminated and perhaps a laminate top. They will sit on 4″ plastic legs, so total case construction will be 34.5″. Take away the thickness of the cabinet material and that’s approximately 33″ interior height. Even at single depth I could still fit an arrangement of 2 Sys-4 and 1 Sys-2, 1 Sys-4 and 3 Sys-2 (depending on thickness of the drawer bottom) or lots of combinations with the Sys-1 boxes. I still don’t really want the expense of making 28″ deep cabinets, but I don’t think I have any other choice.

I’m going to see just how much more material I would have to buy between the standard and deep cabinets and make a final decision.

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