Drawers for Carving Chisels

A few years back, I built a small cabinet to hold the carving chisels I inherited from my Dad. Not knowing exactly what I wanted to do with the drawers, the project stopped until a couple of weeks ago.

~IMG_2809I was looking at a few potential ideas for how to prepare the drawers. As I pondered the different ideas, it became obvious that I could not leave the drawers as one large space – all the sharp edges would bounce together to cause problems.

A second thought was to create an inset that would be scalloped so each tool could rest in its own trough. To make that idea work, I needed something that would scallop, but not be so heavy and thick that it would eat up the not-so-deep drawer space. I considered using 1-1/2″-thick foam.

I wondered if I could cut the scallops as I could cut cove molding at my table saw – push the piece across the blade at a specified angle, raising the blade with each pass until I reached the needed depth. Then I decided that the top edges of the scallops would not hold up to the wear caused each time I reached into the drawers.

The idea that I finally ran with was to make a series of 1/4″-wide dados into which I could slide slats that would divide off the drawer space and stand up to a bit of abuse. The end result is what’s shown in the opening photo.

~IMG_2801To make the dados, I set up my table saw and dado as I would to cut dentil molding. With the two blades from my dado stack (and no chippers) installed at the saw, I raised the blade to cut 3/16″ deep. I set the jig to make cuts every 1-1/2″ – the distance between cuts is set by  the placement of the wooden square peg. Knowing that I needed extra length at the ends to fine-tune my fit, I ran the first set of cuts against the fence set appropriately 2″ from the end. To get full use of my blank, I ran a second dado on the opposing face. The dados were cut by placing the previous dado over the square peg and making another pass over the stack. I ran as many cuts as I could while staying about 2″ from the board’s end.

~IMG_2804The blank was then cut into four pieces 1″ in width, and taken to the band saw to be sliced into two 5/16″-thick pieces, one for the front of the drawer and another for the back. While at the band saw, I sliced another board into pieces that were also 5/16″ thick; these were the slats.

Each slat was run through my spindle sander, which was setup to be a thickness sander. One pass cleaned away the saw marks on a face of each slat, and a second pass – after a slight adjustment – cleaned up the second face and brought the pieces to the perfect fit for the dados.

I cut the dado pieces to fit into the drawer. I wanted a snug fit, but one I could easily remove and install. Plus, I had to make sure I kept the dados aligned. I then square cut one end of each slat piece, set a stop at my miter saw and brought each piece to length. Each drawer was setup, and my carving chisels nested just fine.

I do have a few steps left. One of which is to line the bottom of each drawer with felt. If and when the cabinet is fully complete, I’ll share a photo. Until then …

Build Something Great!

— Glen

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2 thoughts on “Drawers for Carving Chisels

  1. Great idea!!!! I may steal that one for some of my chisels. That Kaisen foam also makes a good liner instead of felt (I think it is made by FastCap). It gives it a bit of cushion.

    Also, my bandsaw broke and I needed new one. I read your review on the Laguna 14-12 and decided, with your recommendation, to go out and get one. I picked it up this weekend at my local Woodcraft and can’t wait to set it up this weekend. Thanks for posting the review on it. I appreciate it.

    Have a great week!!!!

    1. Nick,

      Great thought. I may look for a mesh foam for under the chisels. Also, my bet is that you’ll be thrilled with the Laguna 14-Twelve bandsaw.

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