Design Proportions

After a seventeen year hiatus, it's finally finished.

LOCATION: Gibsonia, PA

    Viewing a classically proportioned example of architecture or furniture pleases both the eye and the sensibilities, satisfying both aesthetically and intellectually. The major dimensions of this tool cabinet follow the basic proportions typically associated with casework - 4:5 and 1:2. Design of the cabinet and base also affords an opportunity to apply the geometric system of five orders, in this case a column of the Corinthian order.
Ted's Tool Cabinet

    Construction began in 1986. The base completed quickly, considering the primary power tool I owned back then was a Shopsmith. Same for the solid wood sides, top, and bottom. Then, there were delays. After various corporate transfers, wasted years of tools sitting idle in storage, and child-raising priorities, when I did have my tools, construction resumed December, 2002. By then, happily, heavier duty power tools and many hand tools were available to join the effort. Finally, 17 years later in March of 2003, I completed the tool cabinet.
    I suppose few designs can expect to survive from 1986 to 2003, and this one was no exception. Originally, I designed the center section to hold only shelves; but after seeing Chris Becksvoort's tool cabinet in an issue of Fine Woodworking, two of the center section shelves gave way to a hand plane caddy. Three separate sections make up the plane caddy, each angled at 60 degrees and hinged at the top. Building the caddy in three sections rather than one makes it much easier to gain access to space behind, one need not remove planes to lift a single section of the caddy.
Hand Plane Caddy

    The three drawer sections, just below, also are separate for easy disassembly. Indeed, the drawer sections and plane caddy sections sit loose in the cabinet, to allow for seasonal movement of the solid wood sides. In the Classic manner, each drawer is deeper than the one above by a fixed percentage.
    The tool cabinet doors will look familiar to a number of reputable tool merchants, some of who are frequent WoodCentral posters. The left door is the "Lee Valley and Museum of Woodworking Tools measuring and marking" area, as well as the antique Russell Jennings drilling area at the bottom. The right door is the "Garrett-Wade screwdriver and file, Adria saw, Museum of Woodworking Tools chisel, Woodcraft hammer and chisel, Hiraide America chisel and Japan Woodworker chisel" area.
    This also goes with the hand planes. In the plane caddy, the left side belongs to Steve Knight and ECE; center section to Lee Valley, Lie-Nielsen, Record, and eBay Stanley; and the right section to Lie-Nielsen and eBay Stanley Bedrock. The St. James Bay Tool Company is working on filling the 1" deep shelf just above the hinges with small violin planes.
    Woods used are solid hard maple, with birch plywood for the back, shelf, and interior structures; bird's-eye maple plywood door inserts and plane caddy; and mahogany drawer fronts and tool holders. The finish is two or three coats of Watco Oil, in natural; drawer non-fronts are three coats of shellac.
    It certainly is convenient having one's favorites within easy reach.

. . . Ted Owen



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