The Hand Tool Cabinet #1: Plan first?? no thanks.

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Blog entry by SRRieman posted 10-20-2013 04:25 AM 1365 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of The Hand Tool Cabinet series no next part

Just over a year ago, I really began enjoying hand tools, and restoring the older stanley tools. After gathering up a healthy collection (of user tools), I began to figure out which ones I wanted to keep for use and which ones I would restore and resell. I’m not fully converted to hand tool only, I don’t necessarily enjoy all the planing that goes into most projects, but do enjoy it when necessary, and I understand when hand tools are just better to use then the power tool counterparts.

Some time ago, I was reading an article written by Christoper Schwarz, on the construction of a slab top roubo bench. In the article, he mentioned how nice it would be to have a bench located outside of his normal workshop, a dark drab basement. I was on the same page and loathed for a workspace where I walked on hardwood floors, was surrounded by insulated walls, and where natural light surrounded me. Bingo. I started using hand tools outside my normal workspace and because it’s two floors up from the basement shop, I had hand tools all over the place or kept walking up and down the stairs to get what I needed or put the rest away. So the hand tool cabinet journey begins….

I have a really good idea of what I want, but no concrete plans in place. I enjoy working off the fly quite a bit so I intend on doing that and if I have regrets later than so be it.

Here’s what I’ll need so far:

Decent size maybe 28×32 or so with doors that are boxed out

Only a few small drawers to hold the necessities (I hate drawers in a workplace)

Dovetails as much as possible because I really need the practice

Square plugs and screws, not through tenons, just in case I want to remedy any of my…I shouldn’t have done thats…

Oil rubbed finish with clean tight lines but soft rounded accents.

Use magnets as much as possible, make most use of the space ( I don’t want a ramp plane till)

Finally, room for the tools I don’t have that I want

Here’s what I turned out after the first few days:

The square plugs are cherry (endgrain showing) and hide the screws holding the shelf. I did glue them in but if I ever need to get them out, it should be a pretty simple process.

These were a mistake. I accidentally cut a nick on the shelf while crosscutting it to length. At first I mitered the corners, but wasn’t satisfied, finally settled on these cherry accents for the cover up. Pretty happy with them over all and that style will build and inspire the rest from this mistake…

First tools to go in, my essential planes. These hold them “up” and there are rare earth magnets under the soles to really lock them in place. Again, cherry was used.

Thoughts so far: 16 hand cut dovetails in 7/8 material was not easy, the figure in the maple only made it harder. The doors and drawers will be 5/8 thick max. But I was really happy with how they turned out considering these are my first real full set.

I put two coats of seal coat on the case, not really too happy. Might sand off the outside, dye for pop, then re seal.

Really like the soft accents, will make my own drawer and door pulls, sticking to this theme.

Next up: take a proper inventory on the tools I want to store in the cabinet, finalize the door design (still up in the air on the woods I’ll use), build and actually install the doors.

-- Scott Rieman

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