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Tool Cabinet

I spotted this October 2000 issue of American Woodworker.  Since my shop can only be as big as one half of a two car garage, I'm always looking for ways to get the most bang for the space. This project served several purposes and does them all well.  I wasn't able to actually build it until I moved back from Europe in June, 2002 but I think it was worth the wait.  It gives me a workbench, plus storage for 3 tools and rolls into the corner when I'm not using it.

The cabinet is made of MDF, which is basically sawdust and glue, squeezed together under high pressure and temperature.  It's extremely dusty when cut, so made sure you have good dust collection and probably a dust mask too.  It's flawless and gloss smooth (unlike plywood) but has no structural strength. It's also damn heavy and with 3 full sheets of it in this project, a scheme to support its own weigth and the weight of the tools had to be invented.

The tosion box below is that solution. A torsion box is a framework of half-lap joints and a LOT of glue.  In this configuration, and with the pieces standing on edge like I-beams, it has tremendous rigidity and load capacity. This part sits right on top of the casters and the rest of the box is built on it.

I use the three lower storage compartments for my chopsaw, planer and spindle sander.  When I need one of these, I plop it into the recess on the top. I mounted precisely cut blocks under the chopsaw and planer so the right and left parts of the table top act as supports and as infeed/outfeed tables.

The center section can also be left empty and used for a cutting space.  Note the three slots on each side - you can slide the head of a clamp in there upside down and then clamp something of any width down.

I also built the downdraft sanding box.  On the right I've got the dust collector plugged into a hole on the back of the sanding box and into the belt sander - no dust!