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.
4 thoughts on “Shop-Grade Cabinets”
So, I got two full squares or four half squares? :-)
I’m glad you had some (half) squares left over to get that shop cabinet put together. That would have been a pain in the rear if you didn’t have enough to get that assembled!
Good job, Chris,
You’re right about the efficiency of a high speed drill. Kreg recommands 2000 rpm or better for drilling pocket holes with their stepped drill bits. And they should last longer.
Thanks for the info. I’ll check if any of my other drills run at a high enough rpm. Otherwise, Chris will go buy himself a new drill!
“Fortunately, I had originally bought eight assembly squares and still had four to use.”
Of course, if you wished, you could have had half a dozen more to use on this project. Just sign them out from your store!
creative clamping – Hey, send this + photo to you-know-who and get your reward. That’s a smart solution to a common problem with warped sheets.