Shop cabinet done right
Earlier this year, there was a sort of reckoning here at Fine Woodworking. It seems that when you get a bunch of woodworkers together and give them a shop to use, they accumulate a lot of wood. And I do mean a lot. And that means that storage in the shop (even though it is big) was a problem, and you could find lumber in just about every nook and cranny of the shop. Personally, I had at least 100 bd. ft. in the shop. And a few guys had quite a bit more than me. So the word came down: get your lumber out. Once all of the lumber was out, bins were built, and we were allowed to bring our lumber back in, as long as it fit in the bin. I got most of mine in (the rest is at home), but a co-worker ended up with several pieces of birch multi-ply that he had no room for and so he gave them to me.
Oddly, the pieces seemed sized for a cabinet. So, I made a wall cabinet. As it was plywood, I decided to make a shop cabinet. It seemed I could make one just the right size to store my routers and router bits. As it turned out, I was right. I did have to scrounge up material for the door (rails and stiles were made from left over Douglas Fir T&G floor boards, panel is a piece of 1/4 in. MDF I had in the shop). I made the cabinet one Saturday a few weeks ago, and knew that I could’t leave it bare. Not only did the MDF and Douglas Fir door look…well, let’s just say it wasn’t attractive, but I also couldn’t stand the thought of having yet another piece of shop furniture that was either bare wood or wood finished in a quick coat of oil or shellac. So, I decided to paint the cabinet, and that gave me a chance to try out something I’ve wanted to do for a while: make a piece of furniture from plywood, paint it, and leave the edges bare (something that only looks good when you’re using multi-ply, with at least 7 plies). What did I end up with? A shop cabinet that really is nice enough for the house, and evidence that attractive furniture can be made from plywood. Perhaps the next one will end up in the house.
I’d like to hear what you think (as long as you’re civil!).
Yes, this is a shop cabinet. I know it looks like something you'd see in the house, but I just got tired of looking at bare wood furniture in my shop.
Plenty of room for routers. The cabinet isn't that large, but there is enough room for my plunge router (and its fixed base), my trim router, and a few trays for bits.
A modern detail on a traditional cabinet. The general lines of the cabinet make me think Shaker. I decided to give it a modern twist by leaving all of the plywood edges exposed (finished with a few coats of Danish oil).