Tablesaw Accessory Cabinet

Comments (0)

This article is from Issue 47 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Dedicated storage for your most-used machine

Overall dimensions: 18"w × 18"d × 30"h

Store pushsticks, wrenches, inserts, blades, and a dado set in one handy storage unit that fits neatly beneath your saw table. This simple case features a pair of drawers and 10 pull-out shelves for housing a variety of blades. Two fixed and two swivel casters let you pull the cabinet out for easy access right where you need it. Simple joinery allows for a quick build, while common home center sheet goods keep costs under control.

Drill three pocket holes at each end of two cleats using a pocket-hole jig and stepped bit.

Start with the case

1 From 3⁄4" birch plywood, cut the case sides (A), back (B), and bottom (C) to the sizes in the Cut List.

2 Cut the dadoes in the sides (A) for the bottom (C) using either a dado head at the tablesaw or a plywood dado bit at the router table. Now, readjust the tool’s fence, and cut the rabbets in the sides for the back.

Note: Because hardwood plywood measures slightly less than its nominal thickness, I picked up a set of plywood dado bits to cut the dadoes for the 1⁄4"- and 3⁄4"-thick plywood, and rabbets for 3⁄4"-plywood. The bit diameters measured 7⁄32" and 23⁄32".

3 From 3⁄4"-thick maple stock, cut the parts for the four cleats (D) to the size in the Cut List. Use a pocket-hole jig to drill the ends of two cleats through their top faces, where shown in Figure 1 and as shown in Photo A.

4 Using clamps, dry-fit the case parts together. Make any needed adjustments to achieve a square case at this time. Now, apply glue and clamp the sides (A), back (B), and bottom (C) together. Initially, dry-fit and clamp the top cleats (D) in place to serve as spacers. Let the glue dry and remove the cleats.

Press a heated iron on the edging to adhere it to the front edges of the case sides and then the bottom.
Start at one end and run the edge-banding trimmer along the plywood edge, shaving off the edging waste.

Clamp the top cleats in place to the case, and drive the pocket-hole screws with a square-head driver.

5 Apply 7⁄8"-wide adhesive-backed birch edging on the front edges of the sides and the front edge of the bottom for a finished look. Begin with the sides, using strips that are 2" longer than the finished lengths. Tack one end of the edging to the plywood with a heated iron using moderate pressure. Leave about 1" beyond the plywood end for trimming later. Now, slowly move the iron forward to activate the edging’s thermosetting adhesive and weld it to the plywood, as shown in Photo B. Follow with a rubber roller or hardwood scrap to press the edging flat.

6 Remove the edging waste along the plywood edge with an edge-banding trimmer, as shown in Photo C, or use a sharp chisel. Carefully trim the excess at the plywood ends and at the joints with a utility knife or chisel. Clean up the edges with a file and sanding block. Now, cut a piece to fit between the edged sides (A) for the bottom (C) and iron it in place. Trim and sand it flush.

7 Fit the top cleats (D) into the cabinet, and screw them in place with #8 × 11⁄4" coarse-thread pocket-hole screws driven into the pocket holes, where shown in Figure 1 and as shown in Photo D. Glue and screw or pin-nail the two bottom cleats to the case bottom. Later, you’ll use these for mounting the casters.

Add the blade shelf supports

1 Cut a piece of 3⁄4" plywood to 32" long and 14" wide to make the two oversized blade shelf supports (E).

2 From 3⁄8" scrap plywood, make the 9 × 9" router base jig shown in the Photo E Inset. Chuck a 7⁄32" plywood dado bit in a handheld router, and replace the base on your router with the base jig, locating the guide bar 1" from the perimeter of the bit. (I did this by drilling a centered clearance hole in the base piece for the bit and attaching it to the router. Then I measured and marked the location of the dado for the guide bar. I removed the base and routed the 7⁄32" dado 1⁄4" deep at the router table and cut and glued the 7⁄32 × 1⁄2 × 9" guide bar in the dado.) Now, adjust the bit for a 1⁄4"-deep cut, and rout the first groove in the workpiece, running the guide bar along the edge. Rout the remaining nine grooves, as shown in Photo E.

Fit the base jig’s guide bar into the previously made dado, and rout the next dado. Remove any packed debris in the dado before making the next cut.
Use a spacer to locate the blade shelf supports inside the case, and then glue and pin-nail the pieces to the case sides.

3 Trim the ends of the workpiece for the blade shelf supports (E) to remove any tear-out. Now, cut the blade shelf supports to the final size, comparing the length to the depth of the cabinet, or from the front edge of sides (A) to the back (B). Mark the bottom edge on each piece so the left piece is identical to the right piece.

4 Cut a 51⁄2"-wide spacer from scrap and use it to locate the blade shelf supports (E) on the inside faces of the sides (A) and secure them with glue and pins, as shown in Photo F and where shown in Figure 2.

Make the blade shelf parts

1 From 1⁄4" birch plywood (my home center plywood measured 3⁄16" thick), cut 10 pieces to the size in the Cut List for the blade shelves (F). (To avoid sagging, I chose to run the face grain from side to side or parallel to the front.)

2 Mark the locations of the centered 1⁄2"-diameter recesses and 11⁄4" finger holes on the top faces of the blade shelves (F), where shown on Figure 3. Using a 1⁄2" Forstner bit, bore the recesses to 1⁄8" deep. Switch to a 11⁄4" Forstner bit and bore the finger holes. Back the plywood to prevent tear-out.

3 Use either a tablesaw crosscut sled or bandsaw to cut 1⁄2"-long pieces of a 1⁄2"-diameter dowel. Ease the top ends with sandpaper and glue the pieces in the 1⁄8"-deep recesses.

4 From maple stock dressed to 3⁄4" thick, rip enough strips for 10 blade shelf fronts (G) to width and make an extra test piece for router setups. Measure the outside width of the case, and then crosscut the pieces to final length. Mill the stock for the drawer fronts (M, N) at this time as well.

5 Install the appropriate straight bit in your table router to cut stopped grooves in the back faces of the shelf fronts (G) for the blade shelves (F). (I went with a 5mm bit [13⁄64" diameter] to best match my 3⁄16" home center plywood.) Raise the bit for a 3⁄8"-deep cut, and adjust the fence 1⁄4" from the bit. Finally, adjust the stops to cut a 131⁄2" groove that’s centered from end to end.

6 Placing the bottom edge of the test piece for the shelf front (G) against the fence and the trailing end against the right-hand stop, lower the piece onto the bit, and rout the groove in the test piece. Use pushpads to advance the piece along the fence to the second stop. Turn off the router, and clean out the packed debris in the groove (I used a screwdriver for this). Now, test-fit a blade shelf in the groove. If the groove is too short or long, adjust the stops and re-rout the test piece. You want a no-slop fit. Slide the dry-fit assembly in the case to make sure the shelf front is flush with front edges of the sides (A). Adjust the setup if needed, and then rout the grooves in the 10 shelf fronts, as shown in Photo G. While you’re at it, use the same setup to cut grooves in three 12"-long pieces of 3⁄4"-thick maple scrap for use as positioning jigs later when gluing the shelves (F) to the fronts.

7 Mark a centered hole for the pulls in the shelf fronts (G) and set them aside. You’ll drill these when you drill the holes in the drawer fronts (M, N).

With the blade shelf front against the stop and its back face down, lower the part onto the bit and rout the groove, moving from right to left.
Glue and clamp the blade shelf fronts to the plywood shelves, using grooved positioning jigs on the shelf edges to square the assemblies.

Assemble the drawers and blade shelves

1 Mill two hardwood boards to 1⁄2" thick for the large drawer box (H, I), and the small drawer box (J, K). (I used two 60"-long boards.) Rip the boards to the widths in the Cut List.

2 Using either a table router and straight bit or a tablesaw and dado set, cut the 1⁄4" grooves 1⁄4" deep in the boards for the drawer box parts, where shown in Figure 4 for the drawer bottoms (L).

3 Now, cut the drawer box parts (H, I, J, K) to length. Keep in mind that the total width of the assembled drawers should equal the width of the case opening minus 1", to account for the two 1⁄2"-thick drawer slides. (My drawers measured 131⁄2" wide.) Keep the cutoffs to test your joint setups.

4 Referring to the Lock Rabbet Detail in Figure 4, make the needed setups at your router table or tablesaw to cut the dadoes and rabbets. Use the 1⁄2"-thick scrap pieces to test the fit. Adjust as needed, and cut the dadoes in the draw box sides (H, J) and the rabbets in the fronts and backs (I, K).

5 Locate and drill the holes in the drawer box fronts (I, K) for attaching the false fronts (M, N).

6 Dry-fit the drawer box parts, and measure from groove bottom to groove bottom for the drawer bottoms (L). From 1⁄2" plywood, cut the bottoms slightly undersized. Rabbet the bottom edges of the bottoms so the resulting tongues fit in the grooves in the box sides (H, J) and fronts and backs (I, K).

7 Glue and clamp the box parts together, checking for square.

8 Dry-fit a blade shelf (F) to a shelf front (G), and slide the assembly into the lowest set of grooves in the blade shelf supports (E) in the case. Now, measure from the bottom edge of the case side (A) to the bottom edge of the shelf front. Subtract 3⁄32" for a fine reveal to determine the large drawer front width. For the small drawer front width, slip the shelf and front assembly into the uppermost set of grooves in the shelf supports, and measure from the top edge of the blade shelf front to the top face of the front cleat (D). Subtract 3⁄32". Now, using the milled stock, rip the false drawer fronts (M, N) to width and crosscut the parts to length.

Drive screws through countersunk holes in the cleats and into the top assembly to attach it to the case.

9 Mark centered holes for the pulls in the outside faces of the drawer false fronts (M, N). Now, drill the pilot holes for the threaded ends of the pulls in the false drawer fronts. Retrieve the marked blade shelf front (G), and use it to set up a stop on your drill-press fence. Drill centered holes for the pulls in these parts.

10 Install a chamfering bit into a table-mounted router, and rout 1⁄8" chamfers around the front ends and edges of the shelf fronts (G) and false drawer fronts (M, N). 

11 Glue and clamp the blade shelves (F) to the shelf fronts (G), checking the assemblies for square, as shown in Photo H.

Note the use of the grooved positioning jigs made when routing grooves in the shelf fronts. These serve to stiffen the thin panels for the clamping operation and for holding them parallel to the benchtop. I also employed parallel jaw clamps here to keep the shelf front from cocking under pressure. Hold off adding the false drawer fronts (M, N) to the drawer boxes at this time.

Add the top

1 Cut two pieces of 3⁄4" MDF to the size in the Cut List for the top (O), plus 1" in each direction. Glue and clamp the pieces together face to face and let dry. Next, trim two opposing edges of the lamination to the final width of 161⁄2".

2 Cut enough 3⁄4" maple stock for the end banding (P) and front and back banding (Q). Rip the pieces to 19⁄16" wide, and then crosscut the two end banding pieces to 171⁄2" for now.

3 Glue and clamp the end bandings (P) to the trimmed edges of the lamination, extending the pieces beyond the lamination at each end. Using a tablesaw sled or miter gauge and extension fence, trim the ends of the banding flush to the edges of the MDF panel.

4 Install a flush-trim bit in your table-mounted router. Next, stand the top assembly on its edge, and trim the end bandings (P) flush with the laminated top (O).

5 Glue and clamp on the front and back bandings (Q). Carefully trim these flush with the end bandings (P), and flush-trim them even with the laminated top (O) and end bandings (P).

6 As with the blade shelf fronts (G) and false drawer fronts (M, N), rout 1⁄8" chamfers around the edges of the top assembly (O/P/Q), where shown in Figure 1.

7 Flip the empty case upside down on the bottom face of the top assembly (O/P/Q). Center it between the end bandings (P), and align the case back (B) with the seam between the back edge banding (Q) and the top lamination (O). (You want the top assembly’s front edge to overhang the drawer false fronts [M, N] and blade shelf fronts [G].) Now, secure the case to the top assembly, as shown in Photo I. Turn the case and top right side up.

Use a ratchet to secure the casters with lag screws and washers.

Finish up

1 Install the drawer glide hardware to the cabinet and drawer box sides, following the manufacturer’s instructions. (I allowed for 1⁄8" clearance between the case bottom (C) and the large drawer, and 1⁄8" clearance between the top edges of the blade shelf supports (E) and the small drawer.) Now, hang the drawer boxes.

2 Sand the blade shelf fronts (G) and the false drawer fronts (M, N) to 220 grit. Next, screw on the pulls. Slide the blade shelf assemblies into the case.

3 Now, matching the spacing between the blade shelf fronts (G), adhere the drawer false fronts (M, N) to their respective drawer boxes using double-faced tape. Guiding off the holes in the drawer box fronts, drill pilot screw holes in the false fronts. Strip off the tape and screw the false fronts to the drawer boxes. Test-fit the drawers in the case.

4 Remove the blade shelves and drawers from the case and flip it upside down. Working at least 1⁄2" in from the ends of the cleats (D), set the casters in place and mark hole locations for 1⁄4 × 1" lag screws. Drill 7⁄32" pilot holes and then install the casters, as shown in Photo J. Place two swivel locking type casters at the front and two fixed casters at the back.

5 Finish-sand the tablesaw accessory cabinet through 220-grit sandpaper, and apply a finish of your choice. (I wiped on two coats of Enduro-Var satin.)

6 To hang a miter gauge, bend the top ends up of two 3" L-shaped corner braces in a metal vice, creating 1⁄2"-long stops. Then use 1" screws to fasten the braces to a cabinet side.


Write Comment

Write Comment

You must be logged in to write a comment. Log In

Top of Page