Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Keeping Cables Tidy

Temperatures have been soaring this past few days, with the mercury rising in the daytime close to the 20°C mark – and to think, I had to scrape thick frost from my van’s windscreen on Monday morning! That hasn’t deterred me from spending some time in the workshop these past couples of days and I’ve keeping myself busy with a few little things, all of which I’ll update you on in the coming days.

First up, I have a solution for keeping machine cables and leads tidy. If you’re anything like me and need to keep your kit mobile in order to maximise you’re restricted floor space, you’ll know too well the pain of having to plug-in and unplug your tools on a regular basis. Tripping over leads, damaging the plugs – that doesn’t have to an issue, with this simple-to-make solution…

I only wish I could remember where I first saw the idea, as it certainly wasn’t one of my own. It was either on another blog or website or, it may well have been in one of my many woodworking books…

It all started with some strips of timber, prepared to match a 2p coin in width (26mm), finished to 18mm in thickness. This came from some more of the American lime that I’ve been trying to make use of and, over the winter months, it seems to have absorbed a lot of moisture and felt quite damp. As I’m sure I showed you in another post recently, even the end-grain had gone slightly green.

I counted that I had just seven machines in need of this solution so, I’m glad I over-compensated and made eight of them, as I later realised that I’d forgotten to account for the mitre saw!

That two-pence piece is used to mark out a radius on each end of the longer strips, which I cut to 300mm. There are also as-many shorter pieces, 180mm in length.

These ends were roughed out on the bandsaw and finished on my disc sander.

Once they were finished, I screwed and glued the shorter lengths in a position parallel to the longer ones and with an equal spacing at either end. So, they’re central, basically.

With all the sharp arrises and corners of the wood removed, you’re ready to mount these ‘cable tidies’ to your machine or workstation. Then, it’s only a question of how you’re going to do this…

My bobbin sander’s base cabinet is made from 18mm thick MDF, meaning that I could secure its cable tidy with nothing more complex than a couple of long screws.

I did the same thing with both machines on my newly-complete (and, for sale) table saw/router table station, opting to rotate the saw’s tidy so it hangs vertically, without fouling the lower dust extraction port.

Again, this cabinet is made from plywood, which I can easily drive a several screws in to without having to first drill pilot holes. On cast iron machinery, you’d either have to drill and tap and thread to screw in to or, drill through the casing and bolt the tidy on from the inside. What I did on my planer and thicknesser though, was to attach them with a couple of rare earth magnets (10mm diameter, 7mm thick), glued in to the wood.

That’s all there is to it!

Having use lime for this quickie and, for two other small jobs over the weekend, I’ve just about depleted my long-term supply of this pale, soft stuff. You’ll be able to read all about what else I’ve been up to in the next couple of evenings. Not that I have any more space available to store new wood just yet! 😉

Thanks for reading.


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