Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wall Hung Tool Cabinet - Case Construction

It's not a secret that I'm not much of a hand tool guy. This is mostly because of a lack of experience using hand tools, but I'm realizing as I go along through my woodworking, I'll need to develop some skills with my hand tools. I also realized that I needed somewhere good to put my hand tools. Pretty much all of my tool storage is dedicated to my power tools and I have all my screwdrivers and chisels and stuff just lying around on my bench. Considering this is Hawaii, it's not the ideal situation for tools since metal rusts instantaneously here.

Ready for dadoes and rabbets.
With this in mind, I started the work on a new project - a wall hung cabinet. I did plans in Sketchup and I finally got it to work properly on the Linux side of my computer so that takes away another reason for me to use Windows. Construction for this is mostly 3/4" plywood, and I'm going to build a nice door panel to dress up the front and then just dress up the edges with some solid wood (probably poplar because I'm cheap).

I found that Sketchup really helps. I used to just go with a hand drawn sketch and remeasure parts and all that. This time I decided to commit to the dimensions I came up with from my drawing and see how it all works out. I milled up all the major pieces quickly, and then I cut all the dadoes and rabbets.

I started to work on the assembly and pretty much got everything together without much incident. The case and door aren't more than 1/32" out of square, so they fit together pretty well. It isn't perfect, but this is a shop project, so I'm not sweating it much.

I have to pick up the solid wood to frame out the rest of this, and then I need to make some drawers for it, but that can wait for a little longer. School's pretty busy right now and I'm trying to make sure that I commit enough planning time for that, so the woodworking waits until I have time. There are some major things I want to work on for the rest of this project:

  • Mortise for hinges.
  • Make drawers using box joints for the joinery.
  • Make a nice door for it using my router.
  • Find a good custom hanging system for all my tools.

It stands up even without nails and glue...I say it's good to go.
I got my butt hinges for this - they're just plain old 2 1/2" fixed pin hinges from Ace. I'm guessing that I only need to install 2 hinges, but I think that I'll put a 3rd one on there to be safe so I don't have the door fall off the cabinet. I have to cut a jig so I can rout the mortise, but I did this once before when I built my outfeed table. I'm sure that I can do this, and I'm also sure I won't mess it up.

In all, I must have put in about 5 hours total on one day to get this case roughed out, milled, dry fit, and then finally assembled. This also included a couple of short breaks and a longer one where I had to open up my saw to retrieve one of my dado chippers because I had a bad case of butterfingers. This may have been one of the fastest builds I've ever done in terms of time invested. It'll take me another weekend to finish it up since I have to pick up some more stock. I'm not even going to go wild finishing this project except for hitting it with something simple. I don't want to spend hours sanding this thing just so I can hang it on the wall and never really touch anything except for the door.

On another lighter note, I got a new sander for my birthday, and I'm looking forward to making some projects with curved parts so I can use the sander and put it through its paces.

I need a reason to use this...