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Thread: Ugly tool organizer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Fairbanks AK
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    771

    Ugly tool organizer

    Just posting pics of mine to stir your pot for your tool storage challenges. I came up with this for me to solve my particular set of problems, mostly by looking at picutres of stuff you guys have already made. I intended to be a bit further along before I opened this thread, but I had an idea today that I should have thought of before I started making sawdust.

    Pics.

    20210509_125917[1].jpg20210509_125941[1].jpg20210509_130016[1].jpg20210509_130042[1].jpg

    Base of the cabinet is 24x30 inches, a bit smaller foot print then a tool chest, on 5" casters. The black bag in the bottom is my tool for working on machines, lawnmower, bicycle, whatever. It is a known tool group to me. When I needed a 7/16 flat wrench to adjust the chain tension on my vise, I reached for the black bag. First shelf off the floor is my toolbelt for working on the house. Again, a known familiar group of tools that (in my weak mind) all belong together.

    Second pic is the upper portion of the cabinet, with another fixed shelf 15x24 inches, and a comb for the joinery saws at the very top. Finally I have a 'place' in the shop for my phone and keys too.

    Third pic, the idea du jour. I am planning to make some sliding trays out of 3/8 BB with a strip of red oak top and bottom on each of left and right edges, as in pic 4. Red Oak runners not yet mounted to the cabinet walls will dictate head room above each tray. Now that I have the tool belt on the lower shelf I made a pencil mark on the sidewall for how much open area I need above the tool belt. I _should_ be able to put in a 24" deep tray, and 18" and a 12" and be be able to see the front six inches of each of those three trays without moving anything. Just grab and go.

    I am giving up the dust protection offered by the closed lid of a classic tool chest, but I will not have to bend over everytime I need a tool, and 24x30 is a smaller than typical foot print.

    I do have enough red oak 1x4 to also put on a wraparound dovetailed bumper on the base, and need to get that done ASAP. It will be a LOT easier to make once my layout tools are organized in the trays. I am planning to load up one side of the floor with clamps, the other side with lumber scrap in the 3-6 foot range. Haven't decided whether to use bungee cords, string or a built in handrail to support those.

    Material was one sheet each of 3/8 and 3/4 Baltic Birch. I wanted 3/4 and 1/2, but I didn't want to wait for 1/2 to come in. Assembly was West System 105 resin with 207 special clear hardener and #406 colloidal silica for the joints. I did chamfer the exposed edges of the plywood with an electric router, the finished box has three coats of 105/207 with no additives to protect the surfaces. I did donate one piece of 24x30 inch 3/4 BB to repair a piece of subfloor in the house, so the two fixed shelves at 15x24 were from other shop scrap.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    57,030
    Is there such a thing as an ugly tool?

    Seriously, 'never any harm in using what one has to make what one needs!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Fairbanks AK
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    771
    First look at the grab and go drawers. I must give kudo's to William Fretwell's post in Derek Cohen's draw #2 the skeleton drawer thread. William rang my bell with the line, more or less, "I take great delight in building drawers 1.5 inches deep if that is all that is needed. It keeps the customer from piling crap in there on top of whatever the drawer was intended for." Something like that.

    I got my plywood out for the 3 rapid access trays, and I can keep playing with them while I glue on slips and size them to the cabinet and so on. Just in the 45 minutes since I took this picture I have thought of three other tools scattered around the shop somewhere that need an at bat before I commit to Frenching in another plywood layer with tool cutouts above the structural 3/8 BB pictured.

    And I don't love, for instance, the marking knife I have. It is the best of the three that I own, but I am still 'looking for' as time and money permit, the one ultimate marking knife that meets all my needs.

    I _think_ I have figured out a way to store both the mortise gauge and the marking gauge at any setting. That way if I need to clean up mid project I can put them away without having to restore my settings later. Maybe.

    So at this point none of the pictured tools are fixed in place, but the playground is open.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    South Coastal Massachusetts
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    Given the current price of 3/4" AA grade plywood, this is heirloom quality. Maybe throw in a couple rows of shelf pins.

    Personally, I like easy access cubbies where I can see all the way into the carcass. Too many of my "I thought I had one of those?" moments arise from playing *Where's Waldo" with a seldom used tool.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Fairbanks AK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    Given the current price of 3/4" AA grade plywood,
    Yessir. When I started sketching in Jan/Feb 2021 I spec'd for BCX Doug Fir ply which should be plenty strong, with a little margin note "upcharge for ACX Doug Fir?" When I was ready to buy in April the homestore only had DDX Doug Fir in 3/4, tongue and groove for subflooring, and unacceptable voids in my opinion the way I used the panels. So I had to choose something else. I would expect this design built in AC or BC Doug Fir, assembled with wood glue and dry wall screws and covered with a decent quality housepaint on the exterior should last a life time or two.

    It was spring cleaning day in my garage today. As expected I have my circular saw on top of the black bag already, and my 3/8 drill on the shelf with the tool belt, along with my most used mallet. And I got my version of panel clamps on the floor of the unit to the left. Garage is only 2/3 cleaned up, but I am done for today.

    I do already wish the sides were taller or the fixed shelf for the joinery saw till was lower, but I am as tall as I am. I going to have to put some kind of hoop or roll bar up top to help protect the joinery saw blades where they stick up above the side and back walls.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    SE Michigan
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    Coming in a little here, Scott, but have to agree with the comments that if it works, itís perfect. We all want stuff in our shop to look decent, but fine furniture isnít necessary. I suspect the organizational aspect of the cabinet will far outweigh any aesthetic concerns. By the way, it looks pretty good to me. Enjoy it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    A little more progress today. With cut to length scrap holding up the back and two clamps at the front I got to just set the runners and panels in, no fastener other than gravity - and have more vertical space than anticipated.

    I realized my trays are going to be little torsion boxes when the upper panel with the cutouts gets glued on to each tray, bought some poplar for the cross pieces for inside the torsion boxes today.

    Fiddled with the joinery saw till also, I have a little hydroplane hanging from the garage ceiling that cuts into available headroom.

    I went ahead and glued red oak to top and bottom edges of all the trays so I can stack them in there again tomorrow and reasses my vertical freedom. The 12" deep tray is hard to see as rendered today.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
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    Dec 2010
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    It was already perfect!

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winners View Post
    A little more progress today. With cut to length scrap holding up the back and two clamps at the front I got to just set the runners and panels in, no fastener other than gravity - and have more vertical space than anticipated.
    Neat freaks, Oy!
    you-ruins-it.jpg

  9. #9
    I am guilty of having grandiose plans for things for the shop but that take a lot of time. As a consequence, I have stuff on the floor or in cardboard moving boxes. I have just two more major projects in my shop to complete to get the final inspection and certificate of occupancy. Then, I will be free to organize the shop. I hope by then to have some sense beaten into me and will have scaled back to things that do what is needed and no more. Thanks for a gentle whack.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Fairbanks AK
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    I rearranged the shelf locations from yesterday and am more happy with this layout. It is all the same pieces, just stacked in there differently. Lot better visibility to the back of the 12" deep grab and go tray.

    The side runners of all the trays are cleaned up at the end that goes into the cabinet- and I found some bow as I was gluing down crosspieces to stiffen the tray panels. So probably I will have to plane a little more width off some of the trays when they come out of the clamps, no biggie.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Fairbanks AK
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    I am going to have to pause this a couple weeks. I brought in some red oak 1x6 to fill the gap between the highest (12" deep) grab and go shelf and the one shelf above that before the saw till. The 1x6 I brought in is quite dry, I am going to let it acclimate a couple weeks or so to get close to seasonal size before I commit.

    I will plan to have at least a few tools into one of the trays and the side pieces of red oak installed before I bump the thread again, but questions always welcome. Pic is +/- an eighth from current/ final plan. I know it is traditional to use this section for finished projects; but the playing with the drawer layout and arrangment idea seemed an important idea, and this thing doesn't fit well in either of neanderthal or general woodworking.


    20210518_181158[1].jpg

  12. #12
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    Finally bit the bullet and got my fixed oak pieces into the cabinet. I did vertical layout lines on the inside of of the case for where to drill holes, and then used 3M #77 and some clamps to hold the fixed red oak pieces in place while I was drilling pilot holes and tapered holes and installing screws. The tray edge blank from post one was planed a bit past smooth to make it thinner than the actuial trays, but using the edge sample to place the fixed pieces worked good, and I had all the actual trays planed to fit in 30 minutes or so.

    Once the trays were all planed to fit I went through with isopropyl alcohol to remove the 3M77 residue, let that air dry and, waxed the contact surfaces up real good with SCJohnson floor wax and I am off to the races. Full circumference bumper in dovetailed red oak is on the floor panel now, I am sure Monsiuer Roubo spins in his grave every time I reach for my dovetail saw.

    I got some adhesive magnetic tape from team orange, made in Castle Rock, Colorado, 1 inch x 10 feet, ten bucks. There is no grams per square cm rating or etcetera of it's strength on the package. It is good enough I am not going to return it in tears, but I will try the team blue product before I cut any more length off the team orange product. As pictured I have my most frequently used chisels at the front of that bottom drawer, but I can rearrange them to my heart's content, and the tray doesn't sag too bad today.

    I enlarged some of the gaps in the comb for the joinery saws, top of a framing square comes in at 89" in my shop, too tall to fit under the boat I have hanging from the ceiling. I think I will sell that boat.

    My plan is to finish plane the tray thicknesses so I can slide all the trays in late August and then find out in Feb 2022 how much red oak shrinks when it dries.

    20210530_173631[1].jpg20210530_173656[1].jpg20210530_173718[1].jpg20210530_173735[1].jpg

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Populated for now. I did get a spear point marking knife onto the last household Amazon order, but neglected to order any magnetic tape with a strength rating on it. Item is currently in service and exceeding my expectations. I am someone who doesn't want a tool tray on my benchtop and does like to have stuff put away. Chisel draw is out 11 inches.

    20210608_193956[1].jpg

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    SE Michigan
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    3,036
    Scott, I think you can officially remove the term ugly from your title. Looks great and very functional. Nice job!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Putney, Vermont
    Posts
    944
    I have to agree with Phil, Scott. Your new tool cart looks functional and practical. It doesn't need to look like a Gerstner tool box to do its job.

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