Weekend Project – Router Cutter Storage

Wednesday 11 July 2018

The Pocket Workshop has come along nicely but I couldn't help feeling there was something missing – my router cutters of course! Matt Long hadn't given me much space to play with, until my gaze settled on the door… well why not? I could fix a board on it and then a cutter cabinet on top of that. So there was my cunning plan, all I had to do was put it into effect.


I had various odds and ends of board to play with so I set up the circular saw and a clamp-on guide for cutting out the door panel, remembering the correct blade offset distance, of course, for each cut.


A quick notch out at the corner accommodates the rather basic surface mount lock case allowing for the bar when it is retracted.


I drilled and countersunk all the necessary holes for mounting it to the door. The panel was then held in place and pilot holes drilled to avoid splitting the door framing.


It is my eventual aim to insulate and line the shed so as I was boarding this section of the door I cut some waste pieces of foil wrapped polyurethane foam board to fit behind, before screwing it in.


The next job was to screw four strips of 15mm ply to the board about 125mm apart. They are less than the panel width as I didn't want a really big cabinet.


Next, some ply upstands were glued and screwed in place. These 'L' pieces hold the cutter racks securely on the door.


Each cutter rack is an inverted 'U' shaped trough, glued and screwed together. The MDF needs to be at least 15mm thick to accept cutter shanks in blind holes. The uprights must be slightly thinner in section than the ply strips screwed to the board on the door. The length should be 10mm less than the 'L' pieces on the door.


The cutter racks simply drop into the 'L' shapes and stay there. When choosing cutters you can lift the selected rack down from the door.


To keep the cutters safe and dust-free I made a cabinet around the racks. The sides were glued and screwed to the ends of the 'L' pieces.


The top and bottom are fixed in the same manner – all with pre-drilling to avoid any splitting. It's beginning to look more like a cabinet.


I returned to the cutter racks because, as you may have noticed, they don't have any shank holes yet. I made a series of lines at 50mm centres along each board.


You can make up a simple hole drilling jig to do one or both holes on each line. I reused an old jig I happened to have. Choose a suitable drill to make a hole for the guidebush needed, in this case it was 16mm. Then fit the desired cutter to drill the shank holes and set the depth of cut to no more than three quarters of the board thickness.


Each rack was given a quick sanding and the edges smoothed off at the same time.


There are four racks, two of which are loaded here. I drilled three racks to take 1/4in shank cutters and one to take 1/2in cutters as I have less of those. In the future the 1/4in rack would take even more cutters if I do an offset middle row of shank holes.


The cabinet door is quite unsophisticated as I simply cut a piece of ply to fit the cabinet front and then routed a frame shape to take glazing. I used Trend Loc Blocks to keep the cutter above the bench, moving them so they didn't get cut as I progressed around the door.


A rebate cutter then made short work of the glazing rebate, again with supports under the frame.


Purists will hate this: I just fixed hinges flat on the outside, they weren't even the right width but it didn't matter as it simply moved the pivot point back a bit.


The polycarbonate glazing was marked with a black marker pen, then a straight edge and knife were used to score it repeatedly until it neatly cracked on the line when pressed down hard.


The finished cabinet full of cutters already. The cabinet keeps the dust off and I can still see which cutters are which without having to open the door.