Tool Cabinet and Surround
Comments 14

New Tool Cabinet: Working on the Inside

So far, this project has been full of challenges, which isn’t a bad thing. There are times when woodworking problems are no fun; but problem solving which comes with errors can be rewarding. Take for example an issue I have been dealing with – warped plywood. One of the reasons I like using plywood is usually it is stable. But after cutting a full sheet of plywood into smaller components, I noticed some parts warped – which had me thinking about using solid wood. Woodworking keeps me thinking a lot; maybe I should have used some quarter-sawn lumber for the web frames.

The arrow in the photo above shows a gap between the stacks of web-frames. If these boards were flat, there would be no gap. The front edge of most my web-frames have a bow along their length (wood can warp in four ways: bow, cup, twist and crook). I need the web-frame’s front edge to be flat because I want the front edge to mate well to the face frame. I initially tried to force the plywood flat by clamping a straight edge to the bottom of the bowed board and then locking it flat with pocket screws into the face frame. This didn’t work, so my next idea was to employ a method Norm Abrams used many years ago.

Note the grooves in the under side of the web frame.

Note the grooves in the under side of the web-frame.

Cutting grooves in the bottom of the web-frames helps them bend better. After doing this and using five pocket screws along the leading edge of the web-frame, it goes in flat. But, I’ll have to apply a support along the back of the web-frame; at least for the drawers which don’t use slides. Without support, the weight of the items in the drawers will likely cause the back of the web-frames to sag.

An illustration showing components which support the drawers.

An illustration showing components which support the drawers.

To fill in the space between the drawer sides and the inside of the cabinet, I’ll need to add blocking seen in the image above. I use scrap 3/4″ plywood for this. I resaw some of the small blocking on my table saw to get the thickness I need.

Blocking for the lower drawers which use metal slides.

Blocking for the lower drawers which use metal slides.

Drawer blocking for the drawers without metal slides.

Drawer blocking for the drawers without metal slides.

The two large bottom drawers will utilize expensive metal slides. They are so expensive that the smaller drawers, which will not be as heavy, will not get metal slides. These smaller drawers will get blocking with an additional 1/4″ piece (shown in the second photo above).

Three web frames in place.

Three web frames in place.

Note the center drawer divider which separates the cavity for the smaller drawers. My process has been to install the bottom web-frame and then work my way up. This gives me the most room to work on each web-frame as they are installed. I’ll add some blocking along the back later; I’m not yet sure how deep I want the smaller drawers to be.

A close-up from the front.

A close-up from the front.

You can see the pocket screws used to secure the front edge of the web-frames to the face frame.



I’ll continue to add web-frames in the coming days (and weeks). With each blog post, I get a little more excited about my new tool cabinet. I think the cabinet is looking mighty good.

A SIDE NOTE: When my website was at Blogger, I developed a way to add decorative drop caps to my blog posts. Since I have a thing for page layout and typography, this was a fun way to jazz up a blog post. But, the same method did not work when I moved to WordPress and it was not until this past weekend that I figured out the fix. I saw the proper code at a site called The Daily Drop Cap run by Jessica Hische. The “drop S” you see at the top of this post is one of Jessica’s designs, but the code shown with each letter provides the needed HTML which will enable me to make my own drop caps (since Jessica’s designs have kind of feminine look to them). For now, Jessica has a number of attractive options which you can possibly use to style to your blog entries.

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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. I do enjoy the content of your blog, Now the project coming on stong it will be really nice add on to the shop. Have you started thinking about the next project or you taking a little holiday.

  2. Chuck says

    Sure is looking good!

    I have recently been disappointed in the quality of the Baltic Birch Plywood available locally. I was using it as the core of an oak dining table. (Later, it would be laminated with a Formica-like material that had a wood grained pattern and color to match the stained oak trim.)

    I discovered late in the project that the plywood was not flat as I have come to expect over the years. I used a similar technique to compensate for the warp. However, I filled the kerfs with “Bondo” auto body filler. That stuff really comes in handy.

    Thanks for going to the trouble to post your work. I enjoy watching the progress.


    • Chuck – yes, the quality is getting pretty bad. I bought a half sheet yesterday at the home center for a separate project and the quality was noticably lower than I remember in the past.

      I have not thought of bondo, but I did think to use epoxy.

  3. There are a number of WordPress plugins that allow drop caps without any coding. Simple Drop Cap is one. (

    I concur on the quality of some plywoods. In my area, baltic birch is notoriously wonky, particularly in the thinner varieties. Shop birch is also bad, with the added “bonus” of numerous laminate voids.

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