Monday, May 25, 2009

Toolbox project

Being a Bank Holiday, and being a rather nice day too, I decided to get the woodworking bench out and do a bit of work on a toolbox project I started last summer.

I got the idea from a magazine article. Th original was made from oak, but I've been using leftover 12mm hardwood ply for my version. It was really just to see if I could make something a little more complicated than the things I'd already made.

Anyway, I set to work today to add the rear top rail and the 6mm ply bases to the tool tray and the toolbox. Having done that little job using my homemade router table to run the rebates for the panels, I turned my attention to the 5 drawers I need to make. 

Running the groove for the ply bottom was no problem, having cut all the section to length for the fronts and sides, I ran them through the router. The backs would be cut to size after making a rebate for them which needs to be set in from the end of the sides. This is because of a clever little locking system that will make sense when I post some pictures of a finished drawer.

To create these rebates I needed a mitre gauge and a simple, repeatable set-up to get them all in the same place for each side so that the drawers are nice and square. This is what I came up with for the job.

The mitre fence is made of two pieces of 12mm ply glued together at right angles. One rides on the surface of the router table and it is attached to a piece of timber that runs against the edge of the table. You can see it on the second picture.

The stop-block allows me to set the distance from the end of the rail to the rebate, and the two-piece fence keeps the fingers neatly tucked away and also away form the cutter-head. 

I guess I could make it even safer by incorporating the hold-down clamps and sled from my sled.

With the router bit set to the correct depth and a few test runs completed, I was able to make all the rebates for all the drawers quickly and easily. 

As it turned out, I was able to use the same set-up to make the rebates for the half-lap joints where the sides meet the front face of the drawers. Simply moving the stop-block to the edge of the groove that was cut in my mitre fence gave me the correct position for this.

So, another creative solution that will be quite useful in the future. 

I managed to complete one drawer before it was time for tea, so the others will have to wait until another day-off comes around. Hopefully I might even get them all done in the next couple of weeks. Provided the rain keeps off of course!  

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