Monday, April 14, 2014

School Chest + Packing Cabinets

A while ago, I made the Joiner and Cabinet Maker Packing Boxes out of poplar, since it was the only thin stock I could find in the area. It turned out to be a good exercise on many levels, but the deepest lesson took a while to reveal itself. I now know how unstable poplar can be. The packing box lids are held down with a beefy batten and clinched nails... they should be quite strong. However, these warped like crazy. I had them nailed shut for a while, so they seemed flat, but as soon as I pulled the nails out, the doors sprung back into a saddle shape. This makes for an unsatisfying box.

However, it does not matter for shop cabinets!  The doors still do not close satisfyingly crisply, but I put some of those hokey cabinet magnets in them, and they work just fine. I realized that while I do enjoy working right out of the tool chest, I do not like working out of tool rolls. That has been remedied, as I now have a place for auger bits, gimlets, and eggbeater drill bits. The other cabinet is awaiting it's purpose, but I am certain it will prove handy.

The bit holder is maybe temporary, I simply drilled holes in a piece of pine. It might be ok. I would maybe like to add a support for the shafts of the bits, or maybe hang them. Dunno yet but I am glad I don't have to dig out the roll and unroll it each time I need one now. I will also note that I do use gimlets pretty frequently, at least the small ones. They are quite handy for pilot holes, and possibly faster than setting up the eggbeater drill. I would use the drill if there were more than a couple holes. I've also been thinking about improving my gimlets by adding some sort of loose sleeve to hold onto, their crude finish is not comfortable.

Here is the pair of "packing cabinets" in their newfound orientation:

And what is that overgrown School Box there, you say? What a great question. That is what I called the Anarchist's School Box  back in October when I started it. It is finally warm enough in the shop again so I have finished it up. Here is a closer look:

This is a bit larger than the J&CM School Box, and so I felt it needed lifts. After quickly flirting with some wooden versions, I felt that more elegant brass fit the bill a bit better.

This box is for a fountain pen collector, and so it has 3 tills for the pens, which reveal room below for ink, notebooks, and other supplies.

The top till has pen holders made of walnut. I simply bored 6 holes into a small scrap, which I then resawed to make it thinner, and then ripped those in half. The other tills are empty for the user to outfit as he wishes.

The body is made of cherry, while the tills have cherry fronts and backs with pine sides. The box bottom is cedar. I am pleased with how it turned out, and now want a miniature toolchest of my own! Instead of Anarchist's School Box, I think it might be more appropriate to call this a School Chest. I hope it is enjoyed, as I certainly enjoyed building it.


  1. Hi Rob,

    It's good to see you blogging again. That school box is just beautiful.


  2. Those are some great projects. I love the combination of the school box and tool chest. Whoever receives that is very lucky.

  3. Glad you enjoyed it. I'll be doing quite a bit more soon... It is now a question of which items to push down the list, rather than searching for what to add to it...


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