Some random ponderings. #1: If I had to start over again, things I would change about certain plans...

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 06-10-2011 09:40 PM 1202 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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As many of you know, I am on to building my second “Wood Magazine Shop In A Box” clamshell style cabinet, I have been thinking of the shortcomings with the design, and how I think I should have changed it. I am too far along to do anything about it now, but for future reference I would change a couple of things…

#1. Make the main case 5” deeper. This would be for MY benefit. This would bring the case depth to close to 18”, and allow directly mounting my small parts drawer cabinets without having to leave out the inner doors. Even if I didn’t want to use those cabinets, I would have had sufficient depth to store things like round quart cans of stain, paint, lacquer, etc… Just make it more wood shop friendly.

#2. Replace the peg board back with 3/8” plywood for added strength. I know it will hang on the french cleat, but something about the peg board back gives me the willies…

#3. Create some sort of provision to lock the outer doors to keep, particularly young hands out and away from anything stored inside. Again I am thinking finishes etc…

#4. Completely omit the small bins. With the added 5” depth, the mid size plastic bins like you can get at Home Depot or Harbor Freight are cheap, easy, and would fit very nicely in the space…

#5. Design in an optional plane / saw till. Particularly a plane till. I am using mine for plane storage now, but in the long run will build a plane till to go between the two cabinets. Protected storage for these items is critical…

#6. Utilize locking rabbets instead of an open rabbet joinery for strength. This design relies far too much on screws to hold it together, glue is more or less of an afterthought. Locking rabbets would rely more on glue and wood to hold it all together.

I have an upcoming project in the planning stage. I want to design and build a full on proper table saw workstation for my BT3100. A good number of the ideas I have seen and used in these cabinet builds will likely end up in that build. Particularly some of the things I decided I want to change. The note pad is filling with ideas. I can only hope that I can pull it all off in the long run…

So many projects, so little time, and materials…

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3 comments so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4035 days

#1 posted 06-10-2011 10:26 PM

There’s not a man or woman alive who would not alter somethings after work commences or finishes.Off course not always, but usually there is some little thing.
Like owning a workshop it has been expressed here many times shop owners have often wished or actually made changes constantly to their shop designs it’s the same with our work. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4267 posts in 3614 days

#2 posted 06-11-2011 01:02 AM

Thanks again David. I am sure I will benefit from your thoughts.

#1. Don’t think I would put small parts bins in cabinets like these, but the added depth makes sense if one does. I have a bunch of bins that are over 30 years old, with a lot of stuff in them over 30 years old. My collection of hex bolts, nuts, washers, lock washers for: 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, and 5/8 has been used for many purposes. I bought them mail order, and they came with the bins. I also have a large number of lag bolts and carriage bolts, and those get constantly replenished, in particular. My 1/4 size of all sorts of stuff merits a substantial portion of a plastic cabinet with drawers all to itself…...cabinets from the BORG. I also have a pretty good collection of nails, machine screws, wood screws, sheet metal screws, and assorted other things. I might make a whole cabinet to house this stuff, I haven’t figured that out yet. I save and sort, at least to category, all screws I come across. These things occupy a lot of wall space, so I may end up making a multi-layered cabinet just for them.

#2. I would definitely put a plywood back on with the pegboard 1/2 inch in front of it. If you do that, then I think that the locking rabbets are no longer essential. I would use rabbets, glue, and nails, most likely. I have never had a structure fail with that combination…...even with butt joints.

#3. I have people in the house from time to time, but no need to lock most stuff. I do shut down my saws when my grandson from Fairbanks is here, and I mean shutting down at multiple locations. The planes may be an issue, because even handling them can be dangerous, and lead to a dropped plane = destruction. I may have to think about the till idea as well.

#4. Yup, use plastic, purchased bins and drawers. Making your own is masochistic.

#5. Yes planes probably need protection, but I suspect my collection will be smaller than yours, although I am already plotting the purchase of a couple more. And since I phsyically can’t tune them, they are expensive.

#6. As noted in #2, I wouldn’t bother with the locking rabbets, if a substantial plywood back is used, I would probably use 3/4”.

Just a funny, speaking of wood bins. I made some plywood boxes out of 3/8 and 1/4 inch ply, butt joints, finished in linseed oil, constructed with nails and glue, that I used for starting plants….in 1974. I have a couple still in use here in the shop, refinished in WATCO, and I don’t think they will ever die. Old American plywood, linseed oil, nails, and glue. Butt joints. Don’t underestimate their strength and longevity. And they repair easily.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3292 days

#3 posted 06-11-2011 02:49 AM

I often build things from plans. Usually the first time, I build it at least close to the original plans. The second time I’ll change things I didn’t like. Then while doing so I’ll think of other things I would like to change and build it a third time. This sometimes goes on for the forth, fifth, or many times. You get the idea. Yes, I often think of things too late into a project that I’d like to redo.
Right now I have a notebook I write down ideas in. If I just quit doing anything else and built from my idea book, I’d be busy until long after I was dead.


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