Making a chisel cabinet

I’m still working on getting the workshop organised, with all of the commonly used tools within a step or two from the workbench. There’s basically four main categories of tools I think should be at arms reach – saws, chisels, planes and marking/measuring tools.

To this end, I wanted to build a cabinet to house my chisels and the few carving tools I have. I decided to use magnetic bars instead of the custom fit holders I built previously as they would allow more tools to fit in the same space and would let me rearrange things if I up or downsize my chisels.

Firstly, I cut some 20mm x 90mm pine to length, two for the sides and two shorter pieces for the top and bottom. I’ll admit to using the dropsaw for this task as my sawbenches were in use elsewhere at the time.

Next I marked the centre ready for the biscuit joints to be cut.

I’m still working on the old bench as I havn’t finished the new one yet, and there wasn’t a lot of room to move on it so I make the mistake of not securing the pieces properly before getting out the biscuit joiner. In the end it all still fit together fine, but it does send a reminder – secure the workpiece!

I cut the joints in the ends of the other pieces, making sure they wern’t going to suffer the same problem with a couple of small clamps

Biscuit joints are great for this sort of work, you can go from start to having a frame assembled in about 20 minutes. Here it is partially assembled, with the last piece about to be put in place

Put some PVA glue into both sides of each joint, insert the biscuits, adjust until it’s all square then clamp it up with some corner clamps and let it dry for an hour. I like to put a few screws in still just to make sure it’s not going to come apart and drop my tools everywhere but it probably didn’t need it.

The next step is to grab the router and put a rebate inside the frame. You can do this with a rebate plane beforehand if you want to, but I was trying to get this done in about an hour so went the power way, which isn’t my normal path of choice.

Grab a wide bevel-edge chisel and square up the corners, and run a rebate plane inside the rebate to make sure it’s clean and square.

Cut some MDF to the width of the gap including rebate and lock it into place with some tacks or nails.

To mount the cabinet, I’m using locking rebates, so I rebated a length of pine for the top and cut a plane piece for the bottom and attached them to the frame.

Flip the case over and work out where you want to place the magnetic bars, this will be determined by the length of your chisels. It’s hard to see but there are pencil marks in the case, I worked out the spacing by putting my chisels onto the bars then moving them until I was happy with the locations.

Screw the magnetic bars into place, mount the cabinet on the wall and load it up. Here it is with my Marples and my still to be restored titans. I’ve got to add one more magnetic bar, they come in packs of two and I wasn’t sure how many I would fit so only bought one pack to start with. The third bar can hold carving tools.  Removing the tools for use then putting them back is easy, the magnets hold them firmly in place but as soon as you start to lift one it comes away easily. My wooden mallets have found a home on top of the cabinet so they are ready when needed, and I may end up storing a sharpening stone where the clamps currently are just to touch up the edges when in use.

My friend over at The Village Woodworker recently did a nice article on chisels so if you are looking for more information on how to start your collection have a look at it.

May your tools always be sharp


The woodwork geek


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