Shop Update – Cutting boards and Tool Cabinet

It was a pretty slow week from a shop time perspective but still had time to accomplish some work and contribute to a cause for kids illness. Some tool cabinet updates and cutting boards information on the way… 

Tool Cabinet

The tool cabinet has progress somewhat and represent my shop time, advancing the dovetails for the sides.  Both sides are cut and trimmed, ready to be transferred to the top and bottom of the cabinet

I also cut the rabbet in the sides, according to plan.  I originally did not cut them with the original build and can’t really remember why I did not cut them, but when I assembled the original carcase, I pretty much found why the rabbet exists…   Solidify the carcase itself when the back is put in place.  It is progressing but not as quickly as I would like.  This one is purely my fault… 

Cutting boards

I made some cutting boards a little while ago and decided to do a page dedicated to these projects as I build them, how I built them and if anyone is interested in the any of them, give me a shout.  Here is the link to see what I’ve done so far. 

I also decided to give out some of my cutting boards to a foundation that some friends are involved in for one of there Kids which suffers from the Rett Syndrom.  You can find more details here on there web site. You can also find more information on there facebook page.  Search for the “Jade la Peanut” keywords and you will find some publication there. 

Web Site

I’ve also spent some time to get the web site/blog site more up to date from a web perspective and getting some content up and running.  Got some ideas from both shop updates and projects that are coming soon.   Should be a pretty busy time. 

Stay Tune

Tool Cabinet – Outer Shell Redo

Here is the outer shell after the first glue up

Outer shell of the Tool Cabinet on edge

Tool Cabinet on edge

Well it is not anymore.  I was able to salvage the sides and top/bottom for different parts but for the outer shell, I had to mill more lumber to be able to redo it.

Why Redo the Outer Shell

There are multiple reason to have done this.

  • Not square from the get go
    • When I originally glued up the outer shell , it was not square although I did a dry run
    • the shelf was cut too long and not properly fitted in length when glued the outer shell together
  • Crappy dovetail
    • Personally, there gaps that I am willing to tolerate, but not that much.  I should of not glued it up like that from the get go and should of cut the strip to redo them

So back to square 1.5…. Not quite from scratch but pretty close.  But I am not really discouraged by this, just doing what I should of done from poor job and maybe trying to go too fast or too tired when cutting the joints or what ever the reason.

Even though this is shop furniture, I still like them too look good and don’t want to redo it in whatever time because I did a not so good job.  It does practice and shop time and good organisation of tools.

The lumber is now dimensioned for the outer shell and the dovetails are layout on the main vertical members and now time for sawing to perfection.

Enough writing, lets go woodworking.

Simple is better

Some times, simple is better.  Trying to overcomplicate things is where you loose time for something that is not really worth it.

Sometimes it is worth it to try a new technique or something that you are learning, but not this time for me.

Around Christmas time, I received some gift certificates for a local tool shop (Outils Pierre Berger) and had spotted some sets of screwdrivers that I had been looking for a while.  They are Wera screwdrivers set.  I had tried these screwdrivers and felt good in my hand and was the occasion to pull the trigger on them.

Installed the screwdrivers near the workbench

Installed the screwdrivers near the workbench

They came with sets of hangers that you can hand in different places.  Until I started redoing my tool cabinet to store the different tool set, I found that I did not really have a good place to fit it in.  Did not really want to make new tool holders to fit in the cabinet.

They have since been lying on my workbench without a proper place to hold them and when I was reaching for one of the screwdrivers, I always reminded myself that I had to do something to hold them properly.

So I started with French cleats and tried to arrange something with some scrap wood lying in the shop to construct the assembly and would be long enough to span between the studs.

Well I tried and failed with the french cleat.  I will not go into the details of the assembly that I tried but finally decided to abandoned this install and just found 2 pieces of wood that was big enough to screw 2 screws in the stud (so tall enough) so it would not move and have enough width so that the holder would fit on each of the piece of wood.

All that to say that it was a simple install, just procrastinated long enough and ultimately took about 5 minutes to install and 8 screws and now they are accessible and and I am very happy.

Shop Update – Hosting and projects

Changes in the hosting

This might be boring but I’ve changed my hosting company to support a local business.  I won’t go into the details of the what’s and why other then the fact that I was more or less happy with the provider that I had and was on the looks for changing company and decided to support a local business of the area.  If you are interested and are in the Montreal, Quebec area, give a shout to techno24 for all your needs.  The migration has been painless and could not have been any happier so far.

So most of my time lately has been on the task of moving my stuff over.


I was still able to fit in some projects, mainly some cutting boards for gifts that came by around easter time.  Some request from friends requested some specific dimensions and was pretty easy to get out the shop and customer was pretty happy with the end results.

It is amazing how much oil can bring the grain out.  I had some walnut that had pretty good grain figure and popped up with the oil was put on the cutting board.  I hope that the end customer is happy.

Shop updates

Been having some issues with the jointer.  I believe that I found the fix but will still call Delta for some confirmation on what could be the issue.  Been passing some time around the jointer for it’s tune up and can’t wait to put a Shelix head on this one.  Will be less maintenance then the straight knifes that came with the original head.  Will try to wait to replace the knives.  They are not due yet but If I can tough it until the replacement, that would be great.

Tool Cabinet

Updates on this one has been a bit slow with the above mentioned updated.  Will also  probably redo some of the carcase as I did not pay enough attention to the squareness of the overall case and now pay for it.  Not major expense in wood, but in time it will take up some redo.  But will need to slow down I guess, better joinery and taking time for the glue ups.

Also came up with some ideas for the internal guts of the cabinet to store the tools into the main cabinet and some other ideas for some of the other smaller tools that don’t belong in this main tool cabinet.

More to come.

Tool Cabinet – More Dovetails

I now have the main carcase done and can now have the official measures for the rest of the components of the tool cabinet and one main component that I wanted to address was the 2 main doors.

They are composed of 2 boxes with a frame and panel top that goes on top of the frame.  The joints for the boxe portion are through dovetails at the 4 corners.

Although I like to report on the progress of the build, I want to the the opportunity to discuss other relating topics to the build itself.


Well to cut proper joints, having the cutting portion sharp is pretty much essential and less dangerous.  This means that sharpening needs to become a habit for hand tools that are being used.

I Can only say to make it a habit to sharpen often, really.  To me, it makes it some much more enjoyable to work with sharp tools.  If you even doubt, go and hit whatever the media you use to sharpen and make it convenient to sharpen.

Same goes to the blades for power tools…  Although sharpening might be not convenient, make sure that you have sharp blades and can replace them when possible.

Dovetails Tutorial

I did follow a woodworking class a little while ago at the Rosewood Studio and we did touch cutting dovetail within the hand tool class, it’s always been a little bit of a challenge, for whatever the reason.  This is not the fault of the class that was taken, just not enough time practicing and making the muscle memory….

I lately looked at the online class at Finewoodworking about building the North Bennett street School in Boston and although I am still catching up, cutting the main carcase dovetails were pretty instructive and I believe I might pickup a few tricks. As with many things, stick with a method and keep at it for a while before changing anything.

So the case is progressing, not as fast as I would prefer, but still moving forward and I am woodworking.  And learning to practice and slow down from the fast pace of the other life.


Tool Cabinet – Structure

The tool cabinet structure is now finally built and glued up.  All 4 corners and the shelf that serves as the support for the plane till is all up and assembled.  Like many assemblies, some fun always arise close to the end and this is why dry assemblies are always necessary to find issues before applying the glue.


The structure has a shelf at about 1/3 from the bottom of the cabinet that also serves to support the plane till.  The joint are through tenons and was pretty easy to fit and drive within the sides.

Square through tenons that will hold a shelf for the tool cabinet

Once the mortises were cut, I was able to derive the tenons through the shelf.  Yes yes normally, you would do the other way around.  It did not happen this way for this assembly and it still worked.

For the mortises, they are a little shallower then the thickness of the shelf by a total of 1/8″.  I chose to trim the tenons with a rabbeting block place with an edge guide and made sure that both side received an equal amount of shaving not to take too much from one side of the tenons.  Same amount of shavings were taken on both sides of the shelf so that side to side so that when the case would be assembled, the shelf would be level from side to side.

Piece of Walnut used as a edge stop for a rabbeting plane to trim the tenons

Piece of Walnut used as a edge stop for a rabbeting plane to trim the tenons


After a first dry fit, I found out that the shelf was too long in between the tenons edge and made the side bow and the dovetails would not close together.  So back to measure the side and indeed, a 1/4″ was too much. So no wonder that the case would not come together.

Back to the bench and was able to trim  the extra material and on to another dry fit and this time was perfect.

So came time to glue up and took my time and worked with the PVA open time so the dry fitting got my clamps all ready to the glue up time.  Applied the glue and measured the different dimensions and all was good.  Left it to glue for all night and here it is….

Tool Cabinet on edge

Tool Cabinet on edge

Tool Cabinet on edge

Tool Cabinet on edge

Tool Cabinet on edge

Now on to the other components where the dimensions can be derived from the tool cabinet structure itself.  The dimensions that are stated in the plan are pretty good reference and some parts were cut to rough lengths. Knowingly that they were to be adjusted once the structure was all assembled.

Tool Cabinet – Shelf install and fitting

As the main carcase now fitted, it was time to include work for the shelf that is located in the lower 3rd of the carcase of the tool cabinet.  It serves to stiffen the whole body with the through tenons joinery.

it also serves as the base for the plane til that will hold the various planes that will be in the case at an angle


As mentionned, the joinery between the shelf and the 2 sides are through tenons, protruding about 1/16 outside of the case.

Square through tenons that will hold a shelf for the tool cabinet

Square through tenons that will hold a shelf for the tool cabinet

The above picture shows the through tenons still needing a little bit of love to excavate the hole one on of the sides.  I drilled most of the waste with a hand drill and then chiseled the rest of the waste up to the layout lines.


part of the dimensions were derived from the plan and from the stock itself.  I mentioned in the last post that the shelf had an edge that was bruised somewhat and might have been concerned that it could affect the placement of the tenons on the shelf

Well, taking dimensions form the assembled tool cabinet case and with the layout form the plan, this was not a problem at all and will be able to have a full tenon without changing the original placement of the tenons on the shelf

Rough Layout of Tenons for a shelf

Rough Layout of Tenons for a shelf

The above pictures shows the layout for the 3 tenons.  Because the shelf is thicker then the tenons, I preferred to do the mortises before and fit the tenons accordingly once the mortises were cut and chiseled out form the side walls.

Just need to clean up a bit the shelf from the remaining glue line and fit the thickness of the tenons with what was cut on the sides then break out the hand saw for the other cuts.  Will remove the waste between the tenons with a small saw and sneak up to the line with the chisels from both sides of the board.

Once this is fitted with both sides, the carcase will need a dry fit and could then be glued up.

Cutting boards from scraps

I was making some cleanup and had some scraps to do some cutting boards from maple and black walnut that I could put together.  They are mostly of small size, perfect for small serving tasks for cheese and a few crackers.

The cutting boards

Rough Cutting boards

Rough Cutting boards

Here are the cutting boards in the rough state just out of the clamps not planned and dimensioned.  All of the these are glued with Titebond II glue which is FDA approved for indirect food contact once cured.

The wood species used for these cutting boards are black walnut and maple.  The most right cutting board also has external cherry strips.  It does not really show on the picture being right beside the maple.

The finish

The planned finish for the cutting boards will be mineral oil which is an easy finish that can be reapplied by the end users.  Apply with a small rag and wipe out the excess that would be left on the boards.

This is a small project that does not need to be too complex and can pass extra wood that still have the proper dimensions but could be a waste if going to the fire pit, unless if for cooking some meat on the barbecue.

It can also be simple to complexe patterns depending on your imagination or the customers taste.

Tool Cabinet – Carcase Assembly

Carcase Assembly

The past week was concentrated on completing the carcase assembly frame and have the joinery completed and fitted.  It is a cabinet carcase with dovetail at the 4 corners. Last post covered the dovetail cutting process all done by hand and now was time to fit all 4 corners of the main assembly.

Tool Cabinet Carcase dry fitted

Tool Cabinet Carcase dry fitted

Tool Cabinet Carcase

Tool Cabinet Carcase

It has been a while that I cut dovetails and it really showed and fitting them was a pretty experience.  A bit too much gaps to show but  still tight enough for the structural side of things.  It holds pretty as we speak and it is only dry fitted.

I checked for square in all 4 corners and all was good.  Just one corner that I saw some small amount of light, maybe 1/64 to 1/32 which to me, is not worth playing with, fearing to change something and make it worst.  Will adjust the dimensions of the other components if required.


Towards the lower end, there is a shelf that is through tennonned in the carcase assembly which will stiffen the whole assembly.  Although the main wood is cherry, I did not have wide enough boards to cover the shelf in one piece but had a maple board from another project that was a left over and for the most part, was large enough

For the most part, it was a clean board except for one corner that had a broken/damaged edge.  I decided to go ahead with the board as one edge was going to be going towards the back of the cabinet which will be hidden once all assembled.

tool cabinet shelf

tool cabinet shelf

I may need to adjust the placement of the tenons on that edge based on the plans but that should not be an issue.  It’s length was derived based on relative dimensioning of the carcase assembly that is now dry fitted

Next Steps

Next steps is to fit the shelf and the joinery with the through tenons in the carcase. Will then be able to glue up the carcase and start working on the external doors for the dimensions.

Will also be ordering the hinges for the external doors so that when they are completed, I will at least be able to hang them.  I may not be ordering all the hinges that the plan calls for as I have not finalized the tool placement inside the cabinet.  Some internal hinges I might forgo altogether as I might not be going with the storage options as is. Part of the customization of the storage based on the tools that I have.

Tool Cabinet – Tool Cabinet Carcase building

So I started the building process of my new tool cabinet.  First tasks to start looking into was the tool cabinet carcase or frame of the cabinet itself

Outer Shell

The outer shell of the carcase is a dovetailed frame of the four parts and a shelf around 2/3rd of the cabinet to stiffen the case.  The frame is built using Cherry that I was able to resaw to get pretty close to the 7/8 tackiness but not quite the width so I had to glue a small strip to make it large enough.  I wanted to keep the depth of the cabinet and was willing to glue enough to get the this dimension right.

For the shelf, I had a nice wide piece of maple, but with an edge that had seen some damage.  I was able to get most of it removed by trimming it’s.  Because of it’s placement, the not so nice edge will be towards the back of the cabinet and be covered with the plane till, so I don’t feel to guilty about it.

I will just adapt the placement of the joinery as it might change the distance from what the plan calls from.


The joinery between the sides and top/bottom is dovetails so the first order of things was to start cutting dovetails.  To save time, I ganged the 2 sides to cut the tails and to be similar.  I cut the dovetails using my dovetail saw following the layout that was done on both boards.

Dovetail Joinery Multiple boards

Dovetail joinery on multiple boards that are symetric

Once one end was cut, I flipped the 2 boards and tackled the other end.  I then removed the waste between the tails and cleaned with a chisel.  Once all done and was satisfied, I laid out the pins on the bottom and top of the cabinet.

It is now time for fitting the 2 sides and top/bottom together.  One thing to remember, get your tools sharp and I really need to practice sawing straight.  This should cut the amount I need to do with the chisels and should have better joint fitting off the saw kerf.