Woodworking tribute to my grandpa
Some storytime, and something I just finished making...

About 15 years ago, I spent the first few years of my woodworking hobby working up at my grandpa's house in his shop every other weekend. He was generous enough to give me full reign of his tools, back when I had few to call my own. Looking back, I really treasured those years, not only for the fun creating things, but for really having an opportunity to spend a lot of one-on-one time with him and getting to know him better. We shared many a meal, laugh, and good conversation.

He passed away about 9 years ago. When we were clearing out his house prior to selling it, I came across a pile of his white oak that he'd likely been saving for decades with some special purpose in mind that he never got to (he saved EVERYTHING). 12" wide, flat sawn boards about 10' long. Unfortunately, some of it was fairly bug-riddled and had to be tossed, but I managed to cut around the worst of it and save a small pile (after making sure any remaining bugs were dead).

Well, I just finished a tool cabinet for my garage using it, and I made it with him in mind, kind of as a tribute to him. All the visible wood is from him (most of the drawer sides/backs/bottoms were pieces that I had on hand). The wood had been cut to dimension at a lumber yard with a circular saw, meaning they likely were using at least a 26" diameter blade. Instead of removing the saw marks, knots, bug marks, holes, and stains while I worked the wood, as I usually would, I left as many of those "features" in as possible, which is something that I think he would have done. He always liked to let the unique character of the wood speak, with each knot a treasure to cherish rather than throw out as waste. You'll even see a black streak on the right side of the bottom drawer. That goes through the wood and is caused by a screw that was embedded in the wood that reacted with the tannin in the wood. Luckily, I found it before it destroyed any blades, but there's a hole in the back of the drawer face where it used to be.

There are 17 full-extension drawers, with usable depths from 1"-5.5" (most are either 2" or 2.5"). They're about 29" wide and 19" deep. All the drawer fronts were made from six pieces of the 12" wide original boards, with the quantities in each set from top to bottom being 3, 4, 3, 3, 2, 2. Some are more obviously from the same board than others. These are meant to hold most of my dedicated woodworking hand tools (and a few small power tools). And hopefully help my clean up my garage! The project was also a chance to practice hand-cut dovetails, which is something that I've been wanting to learn for years (a Moxon vise was wonderful to have!). There are 68 sets of dovetails (34 sets of full dovetails on the backs of the drawers, and 34 sets of rabbeted half-blind dovetails on the fronts). I previously showed a few dovetails as I was doing them in the handtools section.

I plan to store things on top of the cabinet also, so I extended the sides above the top a bit to keep things from falling off. Also, I plan to add labels for each drawer. There are magnets embedded in the front right side of each drawers (from behind). For now, I plan to put some magnetic tape that I can write on with a sharpie on pieces of bar stock (this has been tested and works fine). Once I'm happy with the drawer contents/layouts, I would like to find a way to have some pieces of wood laser engraved to indicate the contents of the drawers (can also be attached with metal or magnets). That would just be a classier finish for the long-run.

I'll certainly think of my grandpa each time I reach for a tool in my cabinet!

Thanks for looking!






I love this. Thank you for posting. Many happy memories to you.

If those are the dovetails you make when you are new to dovetailing, keep doing them. Great work.
Aram, always learning

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Web: My woodworking photo site
Beautiful work, and I'm sure your Grandpa is bragging about how great a time he had with you!!
Love the wood, love how you left. Great project. Even greater tribute.
Very nice work and what a wonderful tribute to your grandfather. Great job on the handcut dovetails!

Great tribute.  Great looking cabinet.  Great job on the dovetails.
"I tried being reasonable..........I didn't like it." Clint Eastwood

What did you do for a finish?
Dave Arbuckle was kind enough to create a Sketchup model of my WorkMate benchtop: http://www.arbolloco.com/sketchup/MauleSkinnerBenchtop.skp
Awesome in every respect, thanks for sharing.

I've only had one...in dog beers.

"You can see the stars and still not see the light"
The Eagles: Already Gone
Very well done...thanks for sharing
Thanks all!

MauleSkinner Wrote:What did you do for a finish?
Just a few light coats of Arm-r-seal.


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