Saw cabinet

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Project by Dave Polaschek posted 06-02-2018 11:33 AM 1557 views 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve needed a place to store my saws for a while now. After wrapping up the box swap, I got out some pine I had and started building another box, this one a little bigger.

I’ve gotten quicker at preparing lumber with hand tools. The pine had a little cup to it, so some quick traversing with the jack plane dealt with that.

Then a few quick lengthwise passes with the jointer, and I was ready to go.

As this is going to be a shop cabinet, the outside just needs to be good enough to keep me happy, and the inside just needs to not give me slivers, so the inside got left finished by the jointer, and the outside got cleaned up with a smoothing plane after I glued the carcase together.

I whipped through dovetails in a hurry. Because it’s pine I’m working with here, I left the chisels alone, and tidied up the dovetails with a rasp. Works pretty well if you lay things out making sure pins and tails are both wide enough to fit the rasp between them.

I also sawed two dados for the oak shelf to ride in. Over time, as the dados wear, I’ll probably need to add runners to the cabinet, but I don’t need them today. The dados are stopped so they aren’t visible beyond the front panel of the cabinet.

The front and back of the cabinet are quarter-inch Baltic birch. The front rides in a dado (combination plane cuts pine pretty nicely) and the back is nailed on.

With all the joinery cut, I glued the box together and sawed off the lid (last photo in the gallery). I cleaned up the sides with a smoothing plane, and broke the corners with a spokeshave.

Load the shelf up with saws, and discover that I actually have room for future expansion. Yay! For now, some planes can hide in the saw cabinet while I start working on the plane till.

After putting on the hinge and latch, I added a dust-seal made from ash top and bottom. On the bottom, that’ll help keep small things in the cabinet. On the top, it’ll keep my saws from dinging up the pine if I don’t slide the shelf out quite far enough for the saw to clear.

I haven’t seen a sliding shelf like this in a saw till before, but it seems to work for me. Perhaps in a few years I’ll discover some horrible flaw in my plan, but for now it works.

The slots in the shelf were cut with an auger bit and brace, then a keyhole saw. I tidied things up with files and sandpaper, but it’s not especially pretty.

Finish is a coat of linseed oil, two coats of platina shellac, then two coats of orange shellac. Mounted to the wall with a French cleat that’s screwed into the uprights of the cabinet. I’ll wax things a bit next time I pull it down from the wall to add a new slot to the shelf.

Thanks for looking!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

20 comments so far

View balidoug's profile


514 posts in 3250 days

#1 posted 06-02-2018 11:52 AM

Should keep everything in place, and keep the dust off. nice work

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View Oldtool's profile


2955 posts in 2963 days

#2 posted 06-02-2018 12:08 PM

Dave, nice work on this cabinet, looks great. I find that working with hand tools is a relaxing exercise, sounds like you enjoyed your build too.
Question, rather than a slide out shelf, why didn’t you bring the slots all the way out to the front for saw slide out?
Good work on cutting the lid off by hand, that came out nice & straight.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5386 posts in 1354 days

#3 posted 06-02-2018 12:29 PM

Thanks, Doug.

Tom, I went with the slide-out shelf because bringing the slots all the way to the front would mean that a couple of my saws would always be wanting to fall out because of the way the front of the handle meets the blade.

I also figured it would be easier to slide the shelf out to add slots for more saws that I add in the future or to swap out the shelf completely if I decide this way sucks.

So mostly because I figured it was a safer way to future-proof things. And if it wears too fast, I can easily add runners. But wood sliding on wood is pretty well-proven technology.

And yeah, it was a nice relaxing build after scrambling to do the little bonus box in three days at the end of the swap. I find I like working pine sometimes too. Pain to chisel, but sawing and planing go fast and pleasurable. And it smells better than poplar.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View doubleDD's profile


9465 posts in 2815 days

#4 posted 06-02-2018 12:38 PM

Great job on the build Dave. You are really the handyman handtooler. Looks like you are already starting to outgrow this cabinet.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View hairy's profile


3070 posts in 4304 days

#5 posted 06-02-2018 12:40 PM

You do good work!

Future – proof, that’s a concept I need to learn.

-- Genghis Khan and his brother Don, couldn't keep on keeping on...

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5386 posts in 1354 days

#6 posted 06-02-2018 12:42 PM

Thanks, Dave. If I get the plane till built soon, there’ll be room for more saws. And the only saw additions I’m aware of are a miter jack saw and turning saw I’m building. Otherwise I’m reasonably well set (which means I’ll find a new saw I NEED this afternoon, probably).

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5386 posts in 1354 days

#7 posted 06-02-2018 12:43 PM

Thanks, Hairy. I try. Sometimes it all works out, even!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1419 days

#8 posted 06-02-2018 01:10 PM

Good work, Dave. Cabinet looks nice. Kudos on cutting the lid off!

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3639 days

#9 posted 06-02-2018 01:14 PM

This is a wonderful tool cabinet and It will provide some fine storage for your shop.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Mosquito's profile


10291 posts in 3064 days

#10 posted 06-02-2018 01:28 PM

Nice work Dave! It looks good

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7547 posts in 1484 days

#11 posted 06-02-2018 01:42 PM

a real nice cabinet that look like it works very well for you … GREAT JOB :<)) GRATZ TOP 3

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5386 posts in 1354 days

#12 posted 06-02-2018 02:10 PM

Thanks, Ron, Charles, Chris and Tony!

Cutting the lid off isn’t a huge deal as long as the sides all line up (and if they don’t, plane them until they do). Just scribe a line with the marking gauge (or stick on some blue tape) and use a saw that’s big enough to cut cleanly around the corners. I start on one corner, go down the short side and around the corner in the same kerf, then flip 180 and do it again. Then stick in card scrapers or wedges to keep the kerf open while I connect the lines on the long side.

Takes time, and it’s slow and fussy, but as long as I’m sawing a straight line it’s not too hard.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1419 days

#13 posted 06-02-2018 03:50 PM

... as long as I’m sawing a straight line it’s not too hard.

- Dave Polaschek

Something to be said for sawing a straight line!

View therealSteveN's profile


5760 posts in 1346 days

#14 posted 06-02-2018 05:49 PM

Nice tool chest Dave, looks like the planes are snuggling up with the saws.

You know you are going to need to go chest #2 if you get some long saws.

I can do it that way, but I am so glad to have that 15” Planer, 8” Jointer plus my TS when it comes time to prep wood. I’ve done it your way, and hate waking up all stiff and sore.

Thanks for posting.

-- Think safe, be safe

View duckmilk's profile


4180 posts in 2096 days

#15 posted 06-02-2018 09:06 PM

Nicely done Dave! I have cut dovetails in pine before and tried to chisel out the waste which was frustrating. The rasp trick looks a lot easier. My saws are currently stacked side by side on longish pegs.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

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