Ridgid toolboxes... and fixing the sadness #12: Taking a bite out of the next tray

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Blog entry by Tony Ennis posted 08-13-2017 11:40 PM 1461 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: Tray #1 is complete... Part 12 of Ridgid toolboxes... and fixing the sadness series Part 13: More on the Layout Tray »

The 2nd tray is for my layout and measuring tools. This one is not as straightforward as the items in it are awkward. For example, a square is mostly air surrounded on 2 sides by steel.

Since it was more complicated, I decided to just start placing tools. As each was located, I would hot glue the various spacers and dividers in. Since the dividers aren’t load-bearing, the hot glue should last a long time. And of course, it is easily reversible.

The three tools I care about today are a square, a speed square, and a combination square. My primary design goal was to make the speed square easy to get as I use it all the time.

Without further ado, here’s the tray as it stands now. The strips you see have been carefully measured, planed, and located so that no tool touches another. It was harder than it looks.

As I was experimenting, I found I could not get the square (typical metal square) off the bottom of the tray; there was nothing to grab. I elevated the square by about 1/8” using the strip at the bottom and the similar strip running perpendicular to it on the right side. The vertical piece is the width of the square’s small leg. The other leg is wider, however, so it overhangs the wooden strip. This allows me to get my fingers under it.

There it is. You’ll note the 1/4” gap to the right of the square. The speed square’s lip will drop into that gap. The diagonal strip is about 3/8” thick, and is give support to the other side of the speed square. The small block in the upper right corner prevents the speed square from moving too much and also prevents the carpenter’s square from rotating.

Now the combination square. I got unlucky as the combination square touched the carpenter’s square in the upper right hand corner. I don’t want any of the tools to touch. So I elevated the combination square by about 1/16”. That’s why I had to add the piece of veneer. The blocks the rule rests upon are also about a 16th thicker too, to compensate.

So far so good. Those tools require additional dividers and blocks to prevent them from moving. Here’s a picture with the tape measure and its divider. That divider isn’t glued down. It’s just there for visualization purposes.

We see that things get pretty cozy pretty quickly. I don’t like it on this tray for aesthetic reasons, but along with the speed square, it’s almost always the first tool I reach for. It must be accessible.

What I like about this layout is that there’s an area in the center that’s about 5.5” x 7”. It will be ideal for a compass, trammel point, and spare pencils, etc Also, while it isn’t easy to tell, nothing is higher than the speed square’s lip. That’s 3/4”. But this tray is more than twice that height. I’ll be able to add another layer of tools. I don’t expect to include much more than a clipboard and pencils, however. We’ll see. The ability to add another layer s why I left the triangular sections in the upper and lower right clear – I’ll be gluing 7/8” tall pylons there, and other dividers on the first layer will also be 7/8” tall. This will support another layer nicely.

Sorry about the quality of these pictures, my phone is well past its end-of-life.

-- Tony

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