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Finishing Cabinet Assembly and Dust Collection

This project is really coming together. That biscuit jointer really makes quick and easy work of cabinet assembly. I have never really gotten a chance to use it before.

I ordered an Incra Magni-Lock router plate through Woodcraft. It seems to be on the slow boat. But hopefully it will come at about the time I need it.

Anyway, more chronicles of the progress I made on my day off yesterday:

Here is the cabinet fascia with half lap joinery, 3/4" x 2" Beechwood (the most inexpensive hardwood at the local yard), glued and clamped together:



Yes its true, my clamp collection is used to small jewelry boxes. But I say, work smarter (and cheaper), not harder! So for $15 these ratcheting tie-down straps held the cabinet face securely to the carcass until the glue dried. The whole face was biscuited to the carcass:



The clue has dried and I found some casters I like. They have rubber wheels and a lock that I like for about $11 each.





Finally, the cabinet gets flipped to rest an all fours. Also, you can see I added a melamine shelf for under the router. This slick surface will allow the dust to slide toward the dust collector more easily. At this point I had not figured out how to best direct the dust toward the chute, or where to put the chute.



I had decided that I would use the bottom-left space for a dedicated dust collector. I figured out that I would have just enough room for the smallest Craftsman vac that still has a 2 1/2" hose (the 6 gal model). This will also cut down on noise. I will probably add some noise insulation inside the vac compartment as well. This will be a huge improvement over the vac being outside the cabinet. (Maybe I could insulate the router compartment too?) I may not even need earplugs!



I wired a switch that would simultaneously activate the router and the vac. This gives each there own plug in there own compartment, leaving the router compartment sealed airtight. Their is also a 15 foot cord which powers that switch box. That cord comes out the left side of the cabinet. Notice the yellow cord end in the vac compartment (below) and the black cord end for the router:



The switch is a rocker/paddle style. This is so I can later add a large safety "Stop" paddle. Notice the router table power cord coming out of the left side:



I spent a couple of hours trying different things and thinking about how to best direct the flow of air/dust toward the dust collection chute. I wasn't sure where to put it either. Should it be directly below the router? Maybe over to one side?

Finally I came up with a plan. I decided to create a sloping shelf with a thin, wide opening below it. Under the shelf would be the chute, which is hooked up to the vac. This way any dust which landed on the shelf would fall right down to the opening and get sucked in. I will make a small vent in the sealed router-compartment door which will allow a cross-flow of air from front to back along the slick melamine surface directing dust right to the chute.

So this is the chute (that connector will be installed underneath the hole to connect to the vac hose):



And this is the sloping shelf (Chute is underneath):



(By the way, those corner brackets above are for securing and leveling the table top)



I hope it works as well as it seems like it should. The idea is that if the router compartment is airtight, and air is being sucked out through one hole by the vac, then suction will be created at the only other opening which is right around the router bit. I may also add a second dust collection port which consists of another hose connector on the back of the router compartment (behind the sloping shelf), and a hose which goes from there to the fence (which has integrated dust collection). This way chips and dust will be sucked away above and below the router bit.
Great link Blake! thanks. Can't wait to see the finished product.
 

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Finishing Touches

I've been adding the details as I have had time here and there after work.

I finally got my router plate (Incra Magni-lock) which I had to special order through Woodcraft because as far as I could tell nobody carries it. Woodcraft had to order it from Incra and have it shipped to them before shipping it to me. This is what I got:



I liked the actual Incra router plate better than the woodpecker brand version. And after it finally arrived in the mail I was pretty glad I had chosen it. That magni-lock system is pretty nice. I also ordered the extra ring set. Eleven different sizes in all.

Here are the cabinet doors in place: (I got anxious and installed them before I even sanded them. So I might have to remove the doors to do some sanding later)



Now for the drawers… I got the pieces cut to size (more birch plywood):



Then I started setting up to biscuit-joint the drawers together but it started turning into a nightmare of aligning, labeling, marking, cutting, etc., for each part of each drawer. I love the biscuit jointer. But this time it seemed to be taking more time than saving it.

So I came up with an idea: Cut the biscuit slots all in one pass with the dado blade on the table saw. This way I wouldn't have to worry about marking each biscuit position. I had never heard of anyone doing this before. Have you tried it or heard of anybody doing this? I gave it a test run:





It seemed to work just fine. The single dado blade was the same width as the biscuit cutter. And with the way I set up the fence in relationship to the dado blade I was able to do the edges and faces with the same set up:



The continuous biscuit slot worked beautifully and saved a ton of time. I was able to just tap the biscuits in wherever I wanted and didn't need to do any marking first.





Here is a finished drawer without the drawer front. I made the drawer fronts already but I have to install the drawers in the slides first so I know how to align the fronts. You can also see the first (top) drawer which has already been installed in the cabinet:



I wouldn't recommend this method for fine cabinetry but it sure is practical for something like this.

It will be nice to have the drawers in place. As you can see in one of the above pictures I installed the Incra positioner and fence. I guess I forgot to take pictures that day. The next thing I need to do is work on making a precise template to rout out the resess for the router plate.

Oh, I also forgot to show you pictures of the hardwood edge-band I put around the formika/particle board table top (Sorry). It is 1/2" thick and I screwed and glued it to the edges with epoxy and then plugged the screw holes. That is the first time I have ever used my plug cutter! That is a slick little drill bit. I will take some more pix of some of these details next time I am in the shop.
Very nice Blake. Great design. Thanks for showing!
 
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