I volunteered to reorganize the seminar room at Lee Valley Tools Coquitlam, where I work part-time. Part of the reorganization/rethinking involved building a cabinet with drawers to house all the sharpening paraphernalia. It also needed a flat top at a suitable height to use the Veritas MK II Power Sharpener, Tormek T-7, 1″ belt grinder, and bench grinder. For mobility, I planned to equip the cabinet with four 3″ swivelling, locking casters.
I decided to build the cabinet in my own shop (where the sliding table saw is!). Then I brought the cabinet to Lee Valley and custom-built the drawers to fit the specific contents.
As with most of my shop cabinets, I chose to assemble this cabinet with pocket screws. The pocket holes were quick and easy to drill using a pocket-hole jig and assembly was just as painless using washer-head screws and my cordless drill utilizing the variable clutch. As usual, I omitted glue to allow the cabinet to be dismantled and the materials to be reused in the future.
I experimented using my old 3.5 amp Black & Decker drill and my new DeWalt 7.8 amp drill to bore the holes. I was surprised to find that the Black & Decker was more efficient but a quick check of the labels showed why – the more powerful DeWalt had a slower top speed of 850 rpm, compared to the 1200 rpm of the B&D. The drill that I use at Lee Valley tops out at 2500 rpm and at that speed, holes can be drilled in half the time.
I drilled all the pocket holes in the cabinet sides and back, and began assembly. To keep the cabinet square as I drove the screws, I wished for these assembly squares which I had shipped to Florida (in exchange for a slick) . Tom Iovino of Tom’s Workbench had been having troubles with out-of-square assemblies and thought that these would help him. (I didn’t tell Tom that what I was sending him were only half-squares. Sorry – bad joke.)
Fortunately, I had originally bought eight assembly squares and still had four to use. I used spring clamps to hold the plywood parts at right angles. Unfortunately, plywood is not always flat so some creative clamping was required to hold the panels flat as I drove the screws.
The 36″ x 30″ top was covered with a tough-wearing, plastic laminate and the corners were rounded. Unfortunately, I forgot that the sliding door to my shop didn’t open a full 30″. Fortunately, I was able to open the door enough after removing the handles.
The cabinet is now in the seminar room at Lee Valley and I am in the process of determining what should go in each drawer.