Rolling Shop Cabinet
This rolling shop cabinet was based pretty closely on the New Yankee Workshop
version. The main difference is that I replaced the
cabinet part with two more drawers. Total cost was around $70; the top is a piece of Formica that the previous owner
of our house left behind, saving me $10 or so. I used AC fir plywood instead of the cabinet-grade birch that Norm
used (good choice -- not as pretty, but half the price), and I used half-inch BC for the drawer backs, sides, and
bottoms (bad choice -- stick with AC, the inner plies of this BC stuff are real crud).
Since I don't have a router table, I couldn't join the drawer sides to the fronts with a sliding
dovetail like Norm did. I wanted to do a locking rabbet, but that BC plywood was too cruddy to
do that with. So, I ended up just cutting dados in the drawer fronts and gluing and toenailing
the sides into them. It seems pretty solid; we'll see how it holds up over time.
Other than some simple household carpentry, this was my first woodworking project. Considering that, I think it came
out pretty well. It's not quite perfect, but I didn't make any bad mistakes either. Here are a few things that I learned
doing this project:
By the way, I was motivated to do this as a first project because my "workbench" is a door on sawhorses, which I set
up in the doorway of my garage (someday soon I'll build a rolling table to replace this, such as
Norm's work table or
this drop-leaf mobile
workbench). Working on that surface, I need another surface behind me on which to put down my tools;
if I set them down on the workbench, they're always in the way of the work. The rolling cabinet was a perfect solution;
I can set things on it while I work, and I can store my most-used tools in it so I don't have to go across the room for
- Eight inches is too deep for a drawer. I should've made 4 or 5 shallower drawers, or stuck with Norm's drawer-and-cabinet
- I always wondered why Norm never uses glue on drawer bottoms, even though they're made of very stable plywood. The
reason, I think, is that without glue, you can manipulate the rest of the parts a little if one isn't quite perfect, or if the drawer isn't
- Keep something on top of your coffee cup in the shop, or you get a mouthful of sawdust.
- Mounting drawer slides correctly is really hard. I definitely need some tips in this department.
- Sanding sealer gives you a bad headache even in a well-ventilated space. I wish wood finishes
weren't so toxic.
- Not planning ahead well enough gives you lots of practice swapping the cutting and dado blades in the table saw.
- The grooves cut by the Delta
36-515 Dado Head for Bench Saws have bottoms that aren't very flat. It was cheap, but I recommend spending
the money to get a better one; this one, perhaps.
- My table saw is definitely
too small for many operations. However, my logic in buying it held up: the $400 saws I was
considering wouldn't have made me happy either. Before too long I suspect I'll get a higher-end
contractor's saw -- somewhere between this
- Woodworking is a lot of fun.
Also, I figure shop furniture is an excellent learning platform, since if it's not quite perfect, hey, it's just shop furniture.
Next project will be a router table, and then some sort of workshop
Finally, I can call myself a woodworker, instead of just a guy who watches a lot of New Yankee