Rolling Shop Storage Cabinet

Organization is a sickness that you catch from time to time.  When it hits, things can get out of hand.  My drawers are getting cleaner, but now my shelves are in order.  I am going to go from Left to Right in a few short cuts.

Yeah, the one on the left is a huge mess, I get it.  The shelves were made of particle board and started sagging soon after installing the unit.  It was deep enough that most things sat in the front which waisted a lot of space.  I did some thinking and tried to come up with as simple of an easy and efficient design as possible.  Here are the parts cut out from my sheet goods.  It was a compromise of materials and what I wanted to store.  The design gets you both 4′ high cabinets but only 6 shelves.

I used another sheet of 1/2″ plywood to get more shelves and to make some drawers that will come in at a later date.  I started by cutting up the 3/4″ plywood and building a basic box with no front or back.  Before assembling I gave the sides a small dado to accommodate the pilaster strips.

A 1/2″ piece went across the back making every very stiff.  I used pilaster strips, which can be found in your hardware store in the shelf section.  They are very affordable at able 3 bucks a strip, and the clips costing 1 dollar per shelf.  They can hold a lot of weight, are incremental in 1/2″ steps, and the clips are very low profile.  Each shelf got a small cleat on the backside for stiffness and to keep it from sliding forward when pulling something out.


I did a lot of sorting, throwing junk away, and repacking organizers.  It came together and never looked so good.  Everything got a coat of BLO, and both cabinets got a set of casters for easy placement.

The project took a few days when mixed with a lot of other projects and turned out great.  The left one is kind of sparse and is missing some hardware still.  At some point I will use my remaining plywood stock to build a set of drawers to hold the sanding supplies and misc hardware.  Total, both cabinets together cost me about 175 dollars.  A little expensive, but there was very little waste, and they ought to last a really long time.

I said organization is contagious, and I mean it.  I piled my battery charging stuff on top like always, and it just didn’t look right.  I had some off cuts and spare pieces and in no time had a smart looking drill station built.  My drills hang over by my tool box, this just has the chargers, batteries, and drill/bit kits.


Foam Drawer Organizer

Organization is a constant battle in my shop.  I vary my interests and tactics a lot, and I am into a lot of different types of making.  Woodworking has been pretty consistent and hand tools are probably here to stay.  I built my workbench a few years back and added a lot of drawers into the base.  It has been good, but the drawers turn into a mess.  Stuff sliding everywhere and items ending up crammed in the back.

Enter kaizen foam.  There are a few products out there like this, but I happened to find it at my woodcraft less than a week after researching it on the manufacturer’s website.  It is super expensive to ship unless you buy a lot, but woodcraft had it at a good price so I picked up two different thicknesses.


This was the only drawer I had in mind.  It has some delicate measurement devices in it, and they get banged around and lost often.  After doing this drawer though, I got inspired.


Gorgeous!  Can I just say that I love marking gauges?  At first I really wanted their product that had the white core and black outside.  Now, I think that is a mistake.  My cut jobs were kind of poor in places, but it looks fine because everything is the same color.  A white core would show any mistakes.  Seriously, go with all black.  Or white if they have it, I bet this will show sawdust like crazy in a few months.


The foam is in layers.  You cut to a depth and tear out enough to make a pocket for your tool.  Tearing layers wasn’t bad, but sometimes making consistent levels was difficult.  The foam is tough enough to stand up to abuse, but easy to cut.  It is kind of cathartic to trace everything out and slowly cut the shapes.  I will not be using this in all my tool boxes, but will probably pick up a few more sheets the next time I have the chance.

Storage Bed Frame Phase 1

Storage is a premium in our house and rarely used bedroom items like blankets and extra pillows take up a lot of space.  I looked around for ideas and instead of trying to build a better chest of drawers than we currently have, I went for a new bed frame with storage.  I couldn’t find many good examples of bed frames that keep the boxsprings and provide a decent storage solution.  So I designed my own.

The frame is going to be in two halves that are joined by a narrow bit of plywood to tie the two together.  This makes each half narrower and lighter, and get it the right size for drawers.

Most of the body parts are made of plywood that will get covered in maple face framing.  I used pocket holes to aid in assembly and came back afterwards with screws from the other side to help with strength.  Each base has 3 cavities of the same size.  The ones closest to your head will have a false drawer front because our night stands sit too close for them to be useful.

The drawers are going to be big and heavy, so instead of messing with metal drawer slides I am just going to have them slide on the floor.  Each drawer cavity got some clean pine along the edges to help horizontally guide the eventual drawers.  Everything is recessed 6″ to prevent me from banging my foot on the corners like I always do with our metal bed frame.


The left and right half with drawers all needed face framing.  I hand planed all the surfaces, and went with waterlox varnish (a thinned tung oil) for the finish based on my lessons at the tampa woodworking show.  I am pretty sure I applied it too heavy, but I really like the results.

I did the same for two long sets of rail to go across the upper portion of the drawer area.  It isn’t a traditional way to do face framing, but it was much easier to do and will still look good.  Everything got strapped down with pocket hole screws.


With all the face work done I could finally assemble the whole lot.  Pocket holes around the edges will hold on the lip that keeps the box springs from falling off.  I screwed up a cut and had to do the center spanner in two pieces instead of one.  A few alignment instructions later and it was ready to install in the bedroom.


The installation went pretty well and after a few weeks of sleeping on the frame we are really happy.  The height is good, the frame is sturdy and no banged toes!


Currently I am using a few pieces of pine as the boarder to keep the box springs in place.  I need one across the head, because the boxsprings have slid up since we installed them.  The bedskirt ended up covering most everything.  I was going to be more decorative with the box spring trim, but now will probably keep it simple.  Phase 1 complete, phase 2 will be the trim and a piece to cover up the bottom face, and phase 3 will be the drawers.


Adirondack Add-Ons

I was a bad woodworker and bought a set of adirondack chairs.  Yeah I know shameful.  In my defense they were really cheap and reasonably comfortable.  They are going to sit on the porch with the buns and they are just going to chew it half to death anyways.  I felt we needed a few accessories to go with the zazzy new chairs.  First, a cup holder!

Being that they are wooden chairs I can screw or glue anything I want to them!  I took a 3 inch hole saw and made a cup sized hole biased slightly to the one side of a board.  I used my largest forstner bit to make a depression for the cup to sit in.  Unfortunately even my narrow based pub glasses were too big, so I ditched that part.  A bit of sawing and sanding later and I had a notch for my coffee mug handles to fit into.

I made two sets and attached them to the end of the arm rest on each chair.  A spare block added more distance between the top retainer ring, and the base.  I did some shaping with saws, spokeshaves and sanders to get something a little curvy after the fact.  Not exactly gorgeous work, but it does a great job of holding your drink!

Side table

The arms on an adirondack are supposed to be mega wide for holding spare items like drinks and plates.  I got the drinks covered, but a side table would be helpful.  I had some spare pine lying around so I put it to good use.

Speaking of good use, I made use of my dividers and compass.  The dividers helped center up the upright board quickly, then the compass made some pleasing curves for the band saw.  The top sections turned out great, but the feet are a little awkward.  I still have a lot to learn about curves and proportions.

I assembled everything with screws because it was quick and this is going to see a lot of abuse on the porch from rabbits and spilled food.  Not exactly fine furniture.

Though not fine furniture, it looks really good considering it is about 15 dollars of pine, and a single evening of work.  It will hold our plates and various other outdoor items for years to come.  That is assuming the buns don’t chew it down first.



Mother’s Day Gift #2

I had another gift in mind using the family wood.  I couldn’t leave my mother-in-law out.  She is an avid reader, so I stuck with the book theme and made a set of bookmarks.  This is the thinnest resawing I have done, and I was planning to sand down even further.  We are getting into thin veneer territory here.  A fun project with a little skill building thrown in.  Cue up that gorgeous family walnut!

DSC_0210I planed the right side flat to have a good surface to start with, then used a marking gauge to mark off a plank of about 1/8″.  I might try my hand at doing thinner next time, but this was pretty thin for me.


I cut two just in case, but as it turns out each one was wide enough to make two bookmarks.  I left one quite long, and kept a full thickness of the top inch or so.  The rest of that one got thinned dramatically.  The intention is that the thicker portion will add strength, and keep a portion of it proud of the book when shut.

The shorter one was thinned across its entire length till it was pretty flexible.  To keep it from splitting It found a small piece of purpleheart and glued it on with the grain running perpendicular to the walnut grain.  A lot of shaping at the sanders gave it a nice look and feel.  The purpleheart piece will also keep the bookmark from slipping down inside the book.

Once sanded smooth both pieces got a few layers of spray lacquer.  The shorter one should be good for novels and other small paperbacks while the big one should be great for larger hardcovers.



Mother’s Day Gift

There are some pieces of walnut that have been in my family since my mom was a small child.  They were used to hold things down and as ballast in a sailboat.  Some sections are incredibly solid, while others are somewhat worm eaten.  I needed a good mother’s day gift and got inspiration from what I call, the family wood.

The pieces are 2-3 inches thick and 6-8 inches wide.  Quite a heft to deal with on the miter saw.


I chopped off that nice rotted wormy section at the top for this project and a few others I have in mind.  I think with a bit of cleanup this could be a perfect book end for all of mom’s fancy book creations.


It probably isn’t heavy enough on its own to hold the books up.  I considered drilling it out to add shot and a grippy bottom.  Instead I cut a small relief in the bottom to allow a metal tongue to protrude.  The weight of a few books on this tongue should resist movement.  The metal is a bit of 20ish gauge sheet steel.  A good hit with a center punch depressed the area enough so that a countersink screw wouldn’t protrude.  Two part epoxy was probably overkill, but it will keep it from rattling.

I pulled off the really loose chunks, brushed everything down, and planed the 3 vertical sides that weren’t wormy.


No project is complete without a little message to remember it by.


I may have gotten carried away with getting it finished and off to her early.  I did a number of coats of spray lacquer and never took a photo of the finished product.  Luckily for me, mom is a great photographer, and sent me some really pictures of it in use with her homemade books.  Happy Mother’s Day!