Monday, April 30, 2012

Brace & Eggbeater Storage

The pile of braces and eggbeaters under the workbench was getting to be a problem.  Worse, I couldn't remember what I had and sometimes where they were.  It was time for an intervention, one of the organizing kind.

I did a fair amount of research, looking for brace storage, but there wasn't much out there.  I wanted to be able to hang them in a neat fashion, and have space for bits, countersinks, augers, etc.  All things drilling related.  Since I couldn't find anything I liked, it was time to just build something, and design it on the fly.

Let's start with the box - how big? what shape?  I like to lay out the tools and a measuring tape.  This is about 32" wide by 24" high, and will hold the 5 braces, 3 eggbeaters plus have enough room for a set of drawers across the bottom.  After this point, I did very little measuring.

I have a lot of Douglas Fir left over from my bench project, and this is a shop cabinet, so Doug Fir it is.  It's easy to work and looks fine with a coat of oil.  And if I plan things right, I can dress it up with a little accent wood here and there.  I basically took old 2x stock and ripped it on the bandsaw to a rough 3/4". 

After milling, it was just a hair over 1/2".  Perfect for a little cabinet.

The carcass looked a bit boxy, so I added some swoopy curves to the front.  

The carcass was assembled with hand-cut dovetails.  Laying out the tails.

This little Lufkin depth gauge was just the right width to mark out the space between the tails.

Cutting the tails with a little 28 tpi dozuki.  Since Doug Fir has a tendency to splinter, I like using Japanese pullsaws for cutting the dovetails.  The last DF box I made with western saws had splinters everywhere.  This little dozuki worked well, but it was just a bit slow, and the kerfs were to small to get a coping saw blade into.  I eventually switched to the Japanese Rip Tooth Dozuki from LV, and it worked great.

After the carcass was dovetailed, then it was time to start thinking inside the box.  What to put inside the box, to be specific.  At the bottom, I wanted three drawers, so that was pretty straightforward.  The upper shelf was going to need some reinforcement to keep from sagging.  Also, I was worried about the Doug Fir breaking - the hang slots required cuts over halfway through the upper shelf.  So the upper shelf became a "composite board" - it is a layer of 3/16" baltic birch plywood, with a piece of Doug Fir laminated to it, and a strip of Goncalo Alves running across the front to hide the lamination.  The cabinet will be hung high on the wall, so the Doug Fir lamination is on the bottom - it will be visible, while the plywood will not be.  It's also reinforced with two 1" strips of Doug Fir above and below at the back of the cabinet.

Once I decided on the accent strip of Goncalo Alves on the top shelf, it seemed like a good idea to use it on the bottom shelf as well, and also as pulls for the drawers.  Here's a dry fit mock-up.

And loaded with the braces - at this point I decided I needed the reinforcement strips at the back.

Attaching the 3/16" baltic birch back with brass screws.  I put these tools to work on their own cabinet!  The ply is just screwed straight to the back.  I thought about rabbetting it in, but the 1/2" sides are just to thin for this.

Trimming the edges of the plywood back.

Here it is, all glued up, back on, ready for drawers.  You can see the reinforcement strip at the back of the upper shelf.

And the final product, loaded with the tools.  It's going to be nice to have these out from under the bench, in a spot where I can easily reach them.  I'll use a french cleat to attach it to the wall.

Wall-mounted with a french cleat, squeezed between the window and the dust collection pipe, two boxes of Irwin bits added as well.


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