Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Getting a Grip

It must have been late-2009 when I made a plywood base cabinet to sit directly underneath my chip extractor (an Axminster ADE1200). Small workshops are all about making the most of whatever space you can find. As this extractor wasn’t very tall (no more than 5ft, to the top of the filter bag), I seized on the opportunity to increase its height by a good foot and to keep some of my ‘junk’ from off of the floor.

This extractor lives in a corner of the workshop, which makes it very difficult to access directly, when the time comes to change the bag. So, it’s often easiest for me to clear a space ahead and to roll the unit forwards. A problem occurs then because the weight of the unit is still on top, with the motor and so, attempting to drag of push the extractor out of or in to hiding often results in it tipping up. That’s why I decided to finally make and fit another handle lower down, which would allow me more direct control over the ‘weight-less’ half of the unit, directly supporting the upper load.

I started off with two more lengths of that American lime I was using in my previous post. This was the second project of the weekend where I cut in to my left over stack of this timber. There’s still some work to be done on the third mini-project.

I decided it would be easiest to keep each ‘side’ [what’s the correct term?] parallel in its length (64mm) and to then mitre the lower end of each. To make the machining process even easier, I held both halves together by wrapping them with masking tape. Normally, I’d use double-sided tape but, it can hold a little too well at times, making the two parts difficult to separate and sometimes leaving a residue that’s awkward to remove.

Once the top ends were rounded over at the corners, I fitted my router table with a ¼in radius round-over cutter and removed all the sharp edges. I did the same with the handle (32mm x 21mm), which just happened to be a conveniently-sized offcut of oak I found in the bin.

These were to be fixed either side of the cabinet, on the outer long edges of the top sheet, 18mm thick. There’s nothing complex about the construction or assembly; 1¾in screws with plenty of glue! Pre-drilling (pilot holes) are important when screwing in to plywood edges and I added a couple of scrap blocks (sycamore – less than 15mm thick) to sit on top of the plywood cabinet and to locate the new handle assembly.

And finally, a new (more attractive) handle in a lower position that seems to work quite well:

If I could go back a few steps and re-do one thing, it would be to fit a longer part of location blocks. In use, I’ve found that this new handle has a tendency to pivot slightly on the screws fixing it to the ply carcase. It’s not an impossible fix to put in to practise now, though. I only wish I’d thought of it earlier.

After shuffling around, I do also now have somewhere secure to store the unused tables, guard and fence from the jointer-half of my planer/thicknesser:

Thanks for reading.

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One response to “Getting a Grip

  1. Jeremy Cook 27/03/2012 at 00:50

    Wow, nice roller-thing! That was quite dirty before!

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