Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lingering projects finally wrapped up

Two other projects that I wrapped up over the holiday break were a drawer unit and mitre saw stand. I needed to finish the drawer unit before working on the workbench so that I determine the proper height to set the workbench; I wanted the drawer unit to be able to slide underneath the workbench.

For both of these projects I had a a design constraint to only use wood that I already had on hand. I had a bunch of scraps and miscellaneous wood that had been in my wood pile for quite a while. The wood was actually very usable too; my buddy who owns Eaton Designs had given me a bunch of excess wood and I thought these would be good projects to use wood.

Here's the finished drawer unit.

For the drawer unit, I started by buying a base unit from Home Depot. The drawer unit had 4 drawers initially. I wanted to put an additional tabletop on the top of the unit and intended to put the drawer on wheels. Knowing that this would make the unit very high, I decided to lower the unit by removing one of the drawers. Using a circular saw I basically chopped off about 8 inches from the top ... and the 4 drawer unit magically became a 3 drawer unit.

I added the tabletop from some scrap wood and rounded the corners to prevent future injuries; I had plan to move this unit around from under the workbench on a regular basis. The wheels were secured with bolts to the bottom of the unit. I added an extra piece of wood below the bottom of the unit so that there would be a nice, secure base to fasten the bolts through - instead of going through one flimsy piece of chipboard that was the bottom of the unit, I was also now also going through 3/4" MDF.

The drawer unit I purchased from Home Depot wasn't really intended for workshop use, it was meant for use in a storage closet or laundry room. This was most evident in that the back of the unit being just a cardboard backing. It needed further structural reinforcement since I would be wheeling the unit around quite a bit. I took some extra pieces of MDF and attached them to the back of the unit.

Between the backing, the wood added at the bottom, and an extra piece at the top, the unit feels fairly strong at this point.

I had started the mitre saw unit over a year ago. I got the idea to have foldable side supports ("wings") from a "Shop Ideas" magazine I purchased a couple of years ago. I bought a base drawer/cabinet unit from Home Depot, reinforced using a similar technique as described with the drawer unit above and placed on wheels.

I made the side wings and mounted them to the side of the unit using extra wood pieces and standard door hinges to provide the pivot mechanism. The edges of the support and wings had to be routed so that the hinges fit flatly along the wood.

And there the project sat for the better part of the year. I never had the time to spend to precisely build the supports so that the wings would be even with the surface of the table saw. I had some elaborate ideas for having fold out legs with special locking mechanisms, etc., etc. but in the end thought that a simple support would be best (and would ensure that I actually would finish the project). I therefore took a couple of remainder 2x4s from the workbench project, made a couple of 45-degree cuts and had the supports that I needed.

I wrapped up the project by mounting the cabinet doors and drawer unit front.

It's good to have both the side-projects finally wrapped up.

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