Tool Cabinet and Surround
Comments 15

New Tool Cabinet: Creating The Face Frame

This is my first blog post of 2016. It has been about six weeks since my last blog post and I am afraid this frequency of blogging will only continue for the foreseeable future.

I have been operating this blog since 2009; a long time for a blog. During this period I have seen a number of really good woodworking blogs go dormant. I actually thought about walking away from blogging. One truth about running a blog is the more you write, the better your traffic will be (assuming you are doing all the right things to promote your blog posts). For me, keeping a regular posting schedule requires constant creating. I write almost exclusively about what I am making – I don’t write philosophically about woodworking, so my posts are a result of me being able to get shop time so I can build something.

And, I have been active in my workshop, but there is pressure to conclude the next step in a build process so I can write about it here on my blog; keeping my traffic up. It is this self-imposed pressure which I have decided to rid my life of. Each blog post usually includes a SketchUp illustration. There are photos to tweak (because the light in my shop is still poor) and each post has a story of sorts which I write, then edit, and edit again (and again). Creating the actual blog post is a lot of work.

But, I like blogging so I will continue to write, but my blog posts will only be about once a month unless something unusual pops up.


In the time since my last post, I have made some big progress on the tool cabinet. I have been working on the face frame which has been harder than I had expected. The face frame is made of cherry which means I have had to break down large boards into smaller ones, run everything through my planer.

Once boards have been broken down, a woodworker should let them settle or acclimate to their new home in my workshop. The idea is that once boards are broken down, they may warp a little. I never do this mainly because I am always in a hurry. These cherry boards did warp afterwards, but I just planed them straight; a mostly successful process. But, I am getting ahead of my self. Lets look at some photos of what has been going on…

Breaking down the cabinet so I can create a rabbet on each side.

Breaking down the cabinet so I can create a rabbet on each side.

This rabbet will allow the back to fit between the case sides.

This rabbet will allow the back to fit between the case sides.

Jointing a straight edge on a cherry board.

Jointing a straight edge on a cherry board.

Here, I am using pocket hole joinery to bring face frame components together.

Here, I am using pocket hole joinery to bring face frame components together.

The face frame about 80% completed and the back in place.

The face frame about 80% completed and the back in place.

The tool cabinet positioned under the stairs and the face frame clamped in place.

The tool cabinet positioned under the stairs and the face frame clamped in place.

The face frame still needs rails for the upper drawers before I permanently attach it in place. Using pocket screws isn’t fool-proof. I had to re-make at least three joints due to the boards shifting while driving the screws. But, all in all, pocket screws are a fast way to join two boards.

* * * * *

Have a question or comment about this post? Leave me a comment below; but I also like email. Use my contact form to send me an email (click here).


  1. Jeff, I agree that it is tough to post frequently. I’ve been bad about posting on mine, but read your blogs whenever they come up. Keep it up.

  2. Jeff, you have made a good bit of progress and its looking really good. Its tough to let wood aclimate to the shop. I’m guilty of skipping that step on many, many occasions. 😉
    This is going to be an awesome tool cabinet!

  3. Blogging is something I enjoy doing but who knows why! Could be my 31 years in the classroom so while I work I’m constantly thinking “how can I explain this to the student’s?” My enjoyment from blogging happens when someone either likes the blog or asks me questions — guess I’m a teacher at heart. Like you and Greg, I too very rarely have the luxury of letting the wood acclimate to the shop situation, figure it’s been out of the tree a long time before I got it! Keep up the progress on your tool cabinet, like how you utilize the space.

    • Hey John, I like showing my family and friends what I am working on in my shop and blogging lets me do that. I also like comments as well as trying to push my abilities to add graphic design ideas to a post. For example, I was originally going to put the introduction to this post in a box of some sort to help separate it from the rest of the post. I could not figure out how to do it, but I know it can be done. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Chuck says

    I have always admired your ability to hold a job, work in the shop, and then take the time to blog. I don’t blog, but when I write I take my time doing it; so I know how time-consuming writing can be.

    About the pocket hole alignment problem: I have had that problem forever. I am one of the early adopters of Kreg Jigs and have used them for many years. However, I have to compensate for their tendency to pull out of alignment. (That never seems to happen on the TV shows or videos?) Just clamping them down isn’t enough. The angle of the screw has to pull the pieces together across the joint. One of the things I do to help mitigate the problem is, before driving the screw to join the pieces, I drive a screw through the hole into space and then back it out again before doing the final driving. This accurately completes the hole, which prevents chunks of wood piling up between the pieces when you drive them together. Sometimes I will put one or two playing cards under the receiving piece before I clamp it to receive the screw. That way it will pull itself into alignment. That takes some trial and error.

    By the way, I know it’s too late to mention this, but I am concerned that they could twist under the stress of opening and closing the drawers. I hope you have glued them; that makes a difference. I have tested the Kreg joints with and without glue, and glue really makes a difference. You might want to invest in the micro Kreg Jig. That would give you room to have 2 holes in those narrow rails.

    You do great work!

    • Thanks Chuck. I have seen one woodworker pre-drill a hole for the screw on the mating piece. I did that and it helped. But just putting maximum clamp pressure using more than one clamp seems to have taken care of the problem.

      On the twisting, I have not used glue, but all of the rails and the center stile will be backed up by more wood which will have glue. When that happens, twisting should not be a problem (I hope).

      Thanks for the comment.

      • Chuck says

        That sounds like you will be OK.

        Writing also hurts my back. I spent too many years bent over a keyboard writing computer programs.


  5. We have seen a couple of folks bow out of their podcasting roles to pursue their lives. It is all completely understandable. My sincere hope is that the “maker movement” has caught fire and will not be extinguished. It is craftsman such as yourself that make and have made great contributions and I look forward to reading your work once a month or as your time permits. Best!

    • Art – I know who you are talking about when you mention podcasting. Thank you for saying I have made a great contribution. Makes me feel good. 🙂

  6. Sarah says

    I always appreciate seeing a new blog post from you. Whether brief or long, I know I will learn something. The quality of your posts are something that means that regardless of frequency, it will be something worth reading. I have long known this blog would be a ‘quality over quantity’ scenario and frankly, most of the blogs I have followed that have been rapid-paced entries have either declined in quality or burn themselves out. Keep taking care of you and yours.

    • Sarah – thank you. One of the reasons I have not writting a blog post in six weeks is because I want there to be substance when I do write, so I appreciate your comment. Thank you.

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