Sunday, June 21, 2015

Tool cabinet done...

I got the drawers together and my box joint jig still works pretty well. It took a lot of samples, but I was able to dial in the settings to get some pretty decent looking box joints. I'm really considering getting a box joint blade set since the dado set I have leave those typical "bat-wings" that can really make box joints look pretty lame, especially on the 1/4" joints since it's only the two outside blades and those scoring marks are very noticeable.

I also learned that I still need to figure out how to make stopped cuts when I use my router table. I also need to remember that pine is a very soft wood and if I try to cut too close to the end of a thin piece, it's very easy to get a blow out. I had some major problems when I was cutting the groove for the bottoms of my drawers. I broke just about every finger on the pieces that were supposed to have the blind cuts. I'm going to just chalk this up to inexperience. I've never cut box joints for keeps before and I'm sure that if I were going to do this again, I'd use a harder wood that can handle it.


The fit was quite good on the joints, and getting the final assembly of the drawers was a bit of a challenge. Once I had gotten the glue on there, the joints were definitely snug. I had to close all the joints with clamps. I squared up all the drawers and let them dry.

This project also gave me a free chance to play with my spindle sander I got for my birthday last year. It was perfect for cleaning up the joints since I cut the fingers long on purpose. The drawers fit the spaces well and now I have small parts storage in the cabinet.

Putting the door on also gave me another fun challenge in that I wanted to mortise the hinges in. I was thinking about freehanding it with my router, but since I really don't trust myself, I built a jig. Cutting the mortise actually was easy and I was able to hang the door with a minimum of problems.

The only thing I had to do after I got all that done was to hang it on the wall. I decided to make french cleats to hang it. I've seen Norm and Steve Ramsey do this enough to know it's easy and reliable. Of course, I do have a track record of doing dumb things. I also have a track record of destroying tape measures.

I must have gone through 3 tape measures in the past 3 years. I broke the leaf spring inside one of my tape measures so it wouldn't retract. Needless to say that made it basically useless to me. I lost another tape measure after that, so I got my 3rd tape measure after that. Just as an aside -- why is it that all tape measures now don't have 32nds of an inch standard? Only certain brands have 32nds and some brands only have 32nds on certain models of tape measure, like on the 16' but not on the 25'. I find that to be really frustrating. In any case, I was trying to measure for my bevel cut and I didn't wait for the blade to stop spinning on my table saw. I got the tape a little too close to the blade and it basically ate the tape measure.

The irony of the picture is that the tape broke pretty much at the point I was trying to measure. The really heartbreaking thing is that the tape measure took a couple of the carbide teeth off the blade. I could have the blade repaired, but I decided not to take the chance. I figured that buying a new blade would be easier, and Marples blades are quite affordable.

I picked up a new tape measure too while I was at it. I wanted to try a Fastcap tape measure. I'm really happy with their Glu-bot and I thought their tape measures looked interesting. I picked up a ProCarpenter tape with a Righty/Lefty scale on it. It's really interesting since it has numbers that can be read right-side from either edge of the tape. I like that since I'm used to reading the tape upside down, and I'm pretty sure that's contributed to at least one or two mis-cuts. The tape measure also has a nice note-writing area and a pencil sharpener. It seems to be thought out very well. Hopefully I won't kill it any time soon.

After all that drama, I got the cabinet hung on the wall and started putting a few fixtures into it. Since I don't have a lot of tools, there isn't much in there yet. I still have to hang my chisels and screwdrivers in it. I also need to hang my saws too.  I like the fact that I can get my tools into some kind of case and keep it out of the open air in the garage where things tend to rust instantaneously.

I now need to clean up the garage and get everything organized again. I had to put together one other quick project. When I was vacuuming the garage, the lid on my dust separator broke. Considering that I hobbled together my dust separator, the fact it even lasted this long was amazing. I had some scrap MDF and 1/4" plywood lying around, so I got to building a proper separator lid and baffle.

This gave me a chance to make a new jig for my router -- a circle cutter. My brother's router has a circle cutting jig, but it doesn't fit on my router since my sub-base mounting screws are too short. I decided to just make a jig out of Masonite. It was easy enough to cut the jig and it was really crude as far as circle jigs go, but it worked. I cut out my lid and baffle and got everything put together in a day. I reused most of the parts from the old separator lid, and when I tested it, I figured out having the proper design makes it work extremely well. The separator in its old form was maybe about 60% effective. The filter on my vac would still clog up and the separator would only catch the larger bits of sawdust. The separator with the new lid and baffle keeps almost everything out of the vac.


I need to spend some time now to clean and organize my garage. I do have to get on to some room projects like a bookshelf which is really overdue already, and I need to build some additional storage for the room. Then Nadine and I can finally ditch a lot of the plastic bins we keep our things in. I'm considering building a platform bed at some point in the future, but not until I really clear some room in my garage. I foresee some trips to the landfill to clean out some extra room.