A back for the Saw Till

I’m feeling a bit like Dr Who here, jumping back and forward in time with posts while I try and catch up. This one is actually from this afternoon, as I got a bit of time to play in the workshop today.

One of my first big workshop projects was a saw till, way back in April 2012. It’s had minor work done on it since that time, but nothing too major was needed as I got it pretty much right first time around.

One thing I didn’t do was put a back into it, even though I’d routed the frame ready for it. Here’s a picture of it emptied out earlier today. You can see the cross pieces that support the saw blades, but there’s no back and all you see behind it is ugly brick wall. I’d always meant to do it, but like a lot of things, if it ain’t broke I won’t spend the time to fix it.


What changed is that there’s been quite a lot of rain recently and as my wet car often shares the garage with my tools I’ve decided to try and close in some of the cabinets to stop things rusting. A while back I was given a few good bits of 6mm ply that happen to be perfect for the groove I’d already routed in the case and there’s enough to make a door as well, so I decided to get to work.

The first thing I had to do was make the cross rails flush with the rebate at the back, as I’d rushed installing them and they were about 1mm proud of the rebate.

Before Sanding
Before Sanding

A few minutes with a power sander fixed this though.

After Sanding
After Sanding

The next step after this was to unscrew the cleat and spacer so that I could get good measurements for the back piece. Turns out that it was 375mm x 920mm, the original box was 900 x 400 according to my original post so obviously my measuring skills were lacking back then! (actually, I just didn’t take into account the top and bottom, so it would have been 940 x 400)



I took the opportunity of the till being off the wall to remove all the old brass nails I’d used as tool hangers but no longer needed, and gave the frame and rebate a sand to clean them up.

The next step is to cut a piece of plywood for the back, so I marked up the size I needed using my saw guides like a square, and got ready to cut


Here’s the first bit done, then just do the long side after this and you have the backing piece.



My saw moved away from the guide during one of the cuts so as usual the piece didn’t quite fit at first attemp


A little work with a block plane fixed this up, but then I found that it still didn’t sit quite right. Apparently I didn’t clean up the corners of the rebate back when I originally made the till


All it took was a few seconds with a sharp chisel to fix it. Even if you exclusively use power tools in the workshop, a chisel or two (or 30!) is a handy thing to have around for adjusting and cleaning up machine cut joints like here.


Time to see if the back will fit now, and it does!



Take it out again and put some glue into the rebate and on the backs of the cross pieces.


and then put the back into place and clamp it. I only bought the grey clamps the other day and they are already coming in handy.



After the glue dried I put the cleats back on, and also put some small nails into the cross pieces from the back to make sure it was totally secure. It got a light sand at this point as well. Make sure you nail punch the nails below the surface before sanding or you’ll tear up your sandpaper and possibly sander pad.



I turned the case over, scraped out any glue that had overflowed and gave the inside a sand as well


Here is it back on the wall empty. The door will wait until another day, and I might put a small shelf back in as well up the top. I won’t oil it again until that’s done as it just makes it harder to get glue to stick.



and finally here it is with the saws back in it. It’s only a minor improvement for now, but once I get the door made it will be totally enclosed to protect the tools properly.






2 thoughts on “A back for the Saw Till

  1. I like the dowel at the bottom. I never got around to making a saw till myself, I don’t use a panel saw and my joinery saws I just keep in the tool box. But I would like to make one to keep my carpentry saws safe.
    Will you make a frame and panel door or just solid? And will it be inset or front mounted? Maybe you don’t know yet? I’ve made a couple cabinets for my garage and nothing was planned until the last minute, so maybe you woodwork like I do.
    Good job.

    1. Hi Bill

      Thanks for the comments!

      I’m thinking frame and panel, it would be lighter and look nicer. I don’t know for sure yet though, like you said, things tend to come together at the last minute!

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