Tyler’s (Krenov Inspired) Tool Cabinet

June 28, 2011 by
Filed under: Articles, Series, Tyler's Tool Cabinet 

Tyler's Tool Cabinet
Tyler’s (Krenov Inspired) Tool Cabinet
Project completed on June 5, 2011

  • Constructed for 5 year old grandson
  • Casework Material Walnut
  • Casework Stand and Exterior Door Frame Material Ash
  • Interior Doors and Draw Fronts Material Spalted Maple
  • Completion Hours 280

Finally after 280 hours, the final touches have been made to the tool cabinet designed and constructed for my 5 year-old grandson Tyler.   The design inspiration for the cabinet was a chest-on-stand design, generally accepted as James Krenov’s style.  In addition, as did Krenov, I worked from sketches often making changes as I went.  Krenov often worked in this manner and called it “improvisation or composing”.  However, the cabinet is of my own design with elements taken from other tool cabinets I’ve observed.  The cabinet will be kept in my possession until Tyler is ready to out on his own (approx. 16 years).  I plan to fill it with woodworking hand tools.  Some have asked, “what if he doesn’t want to be a woodworker”?  If that is the case, he can use it to store other collectibles or use it as an armoire.   However, so far he loves working in the shop with his grandpa and I will continue to encourage and foster that attitude at ever opportunity.

The hand cut dovetail drawers were a challenge for me!  I’ve cut many multiple dovetail drawers using a router with a typical dovetail jig and fixture.  However, this project called for so much more from me.   So I purchase Rob Cosman’s DVD on how to make hand cut dovetails and got started.  All the joints are of an acceptable quality.  It only took me 32 joints to finally have them fit straight from the saw with little or no chiseling.  The saw used was a rip-tooth dovetail purchased from Lie Nielson for about $125.  What a wonderful tool!  The drawers were made from Aspen with 1/4″ maple and recycled cherry plywood bottoms.  The bottom drawers were constructed with blind dovetails and the interior drawers have through dovetails with applied drawer fronts.   The drawer fronts as well as the interior door panels are made of spalted maple.

The back is solid walnut using frame and panel construction.  I know that the new method of keeping raised panels centered in the framed opening is with the use of space balls.  I used the old fashion method of pinning the panel with a small brad at the center of each panel at the top and bottom.  If you ever decide to use this method, I strongly suggest you drill a small pilot hole to prevent the splitting of wood near the edge of the frame.

The cornice or crown (along with other details) of the cabinet was the source of many discussions with Steven Todd and Scott Barton.  I finally settled on a design that almost is exactly what I had sketched months earlier.  However, collaboration was essential for me to be satisfied with the final outcome.  Many thanks to my good friends!

Two years ago, Tyler gave me a “Special Black Rock”.   I promised him that I would keep this rock for the rest of my life.  I carried it in my pocket for about a year and then decided that I better keep it in a more secure place.  Surprisingly, from time to time Tyler would ask me if I still had the special rock.  In telling this story to my friend, Scott Barton, he suggested that I incorporate the rock into this project’s design.   Scott called the rock a touch stone.  Back in the day, these hard dark colored stones of jasper or basalt were used to test the quality of gold or silver.   The term touch stone now represents something of authenticity or high standard.

The drawer pulls were made from rosewood.  I generally incorporate a design element into my projects that recognizes the  Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) from which all gifts flow; including woodworking.  In this project the bottom drawers have three 1/8″ brass rods installed through each drawer pull from the top to provide additional support and to praise our Lord (Soli Deo Gloria, Glory to God Alone).

Please leave a comment on this project or any articles, PowerPoints or videos you see on this website.

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2 Responses to “Tyler’s (Krenov Inspired) Tool Cabinet”
  1. Kim says:

    Hey Jay
    I just wanted to say how much I admire your work. I saw you at the show this weekend and saw your session on segmented bowl turning. You’ve really inspired me to “up” my work. I’m also really impressed with this tool cabinet and how you included the Trinity.
    Do you ever have classes to sign up for? I’d love to learn more!

    • Jay Helland says:

      Woodcraft has approached me with an opportunity to possibly teach a segmented bowl class in the fall for them. Unfortunately, my insurance agent has directed me to stop teaching classes from my home studio and they won’t offer me a rider to my home owners coverage. I’m looking into other insurance companies who would cover this type of activity.
      I’ll keep you informed.

      Thanks for the feedback on the demo!

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