June 25, 2016

Storage: A Cabinet Under The ShopSmith, Part 2

There!  Close enough to done that I feel okay about writing this post.  I've got 4 doors left to install, and then hang it from the ShopSmith (I've gotta get some carriage bolts to do that!)

Also, it was stinkin' hot in the shop today!  I was certainly a sweaty yeti, but I drank lots of water and persevered.  Not having AC in a garage shop in Phoenix is not particularly enjoyable, but I really wanted to get this assembly done today.

Another important lesson learned: if you're using material that is thicker than what the plans call for, you have to allow for that in your cuts.  It seems so obvious in retrospect, but at the time that I was cutting, I thought that everything would regulate, since I was using material that was consistently thicker.  I had to do a lot more cutting for the shelves and doors to fit.  That's the main reason that assembly was not entirely completed.

Assembling the cabinet base
Counter-sink those screws!
Main carcasse assembled
Yay dados....

Shelf supports going in!

Partition and shelf installed!

Sliding shelves installed

Door and cabinet back installed
Hooray for the doorknob!
The body of this cabinet was assembled with Titebond II glue and #6 flat head wood screws.  I failed to take pictures of the intermediate step of a dry assembly with clamps so that I could drill and countersink pilot holes for all the screws.
Now, dados are very strong mechanical wood joints, but since this is supposed to be suspended AND hold a lot of tools (some of which are quite heavy) all the joints have been reinforced with screws as well.

As you can see in some of the pictures, a couple of the shelves have some dados cut in them.  These are an example of that "measure 15 times, cut 50" thing that I was talking about in my last post.  Those 2 shelves were originally cut way undersized.  I'm not sure how that happened, but I had to use some scrap that was in the pile to replace them.  I will eventually replace those shelves, as material becomes available.

Other things I need to do: either sharpen my chisels, or get a hinge mortising bit for my router.  The strap hinges need to be recessed just a touch, and until I do that, the doors don't close correctly.  It also doesn't help that, while the body as a whole is pretty darn close to square, slight warping of some of the panels led to the shelf partition being a bit-more-than-slightly out of square.  Had I realized that was happening, I would have glued and screwed the back panel of that partition in place before screwing down the central partition.

Another thing I should really get: a stacked dado set.  Having that would have saved me a LOT of grief on cutting these dados.  That and maybe measuring 20 times.

Had to patch an incorrectly placed dado

These dados are a bit oversized.
Final verdict: Overall I am satisfied with this being my first complex project involving a decent number of techniques.  Could it have been better?  Absolutely.  That being said, though, it will certainly serve its purpose, and I am happy with the final result at this stage of my learning.  I will likely build another one down the road when my skills have improved, and that will be an interesting experience!

Parting thoughts: I have discovered that theoretical knowledge gleaned from reading and/or watching videos will only take you so far.  In the end, you've got to really practice those skills and techniques in order to convert that theoretical understanding into practical know-how.  So, I'm going to do what I should have started with: skill practice.

If you're just joining, Click here for part 1 of this project, or here for part 3.


  1. Great work, Adam! I especially like your parting thoughts. Reminds me o how 'the map is not the territory'. Cheers! Trent

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Trent! I'm trying to post new content weekly, so definitely check back in!

  2. Measure 15 cut 50!, I love it and also fits my own experience
    Keep bringing posts showing jigs you can make for the Shopsmith. I love those.

    1. I absolutely will! I need to practice some technique, so my next few posts will be covering the ShopSmith self-study course that accompanies Power Tool Woodworking for Everyone. I will be using both the course lessons and the book to learn and practice many techniques, as well as building all the jigs.

      Thanks for the kind words, and come back next week for more!