Gluing Caddy
Drill Press Mortising Fence

Custom dovetailed storage for glue supplies.


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Gather up all the glue bottles in your shop, and you might find more varieties than you expect — yellow, white, hide, epoxy, polyurethane, cyanoacrylate...and maybe even more. If that search takes more than a few minutes, they're probably scattered here and there. This easy project will give you a handy way to store and carry them all, along with your glue brushes, scraper and even a water pail and sponge. Finally, convenient storage at glue-up time! We'll join the corners of this caddy with half-blind dovetails, made with General Tool's all-in-one EZ Pro Dovetailer. If you choose other joinery, adjust the part sizes as needed to suit your design.

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The caddy requires the following seven parts, which you should cut to size as you build the project:

Front and back panels - 3/4" x 4" x 8"
Two side panels - 3/4" x 4" x 16"
Bottom panel - 1/4" x 7" x 15 1/2"
Handle - 3/4" x 9 1/2" x 11"
Crosspiece - 3/4" x 3 3/8" x 6 1/2"

Step 1: Cut the front, back and side panels to size.

Step 2: Set up your dovetailing jig to rout the tail pattern on the ends of the side panels. On the EZ Pro Dovetailer, one end of the aluminum jig is dedicated to cutting tails. It comes with a piloted dovetail bit, with bearings that follow "fingers" on the jig to create the tail cutouts. Rout the tail pattern on both side panels, after you verify your settings by routing some scrap stock (see Photo 1).

Step 3: Reset your dovetail jig, if needed, to cut pins and sockets into the ends of the front and back workpieces (many dovetail jigs cut both pins and tails in one setup). On the EZ Pro Dovetailer, the opposite end of the jig is engineered for cutting the pin pattern, using the same router bit and setting. Rout the pins on scrap to try out the technique, then cut the actual workpieces (see Photo 2).

Step 4: Dry-assemble the corner joints to check their fit. It's a good idea to label the mating parts of each joint with letters or numbers to keep their assembly orientation clear as you proceed.

Step 5: The bottom panel needs to fit into a groove cut into the four pieces of your caddy box. You can mill these grooves on the router table with a straight bit or at the table saw with a dado blade. Try to match the width of your bit or dado blade to the thickness of the bottom panel stock you'll be using (we're using 1/4-in.-thick plywood for the caddy shown here). Adjust the fence of your router table or the rip fence on your table saw so the bottom panel groove will be located in the middle of the bottom-most sockets on the front and back panels. This way, the tails on the side pieces will hide the grooves when the box is assembled. Rout or cut the bottom panel grooves in all four workpieces now (see Photo 3).

Step 6: Reassemble the box to double-check the final dimensions of your bottom panel. Cut the panel to size. Give the inside surfaces of your caddy parts a thorough sanding — it's easier to do this now than when the project is assembled. Spread glue onto the dovetailed surfaces and assemble the box (see Photo 4). Apply clamps to help close the joints, and check the box for square.

Step 7: While the joints are drying, you can cut the handle to shape. The narrower dimension of the handle workpiece will be the top/bottom, and the longer 11-in. dimension establishes the handle's height. We made the "grip" portion of the handle 1 5/8 in. wide, the bottom of the handle 3 3/8 in. wide, and joined these two layout lines with a 6-in.-diameter semicircle. Position this half circle 3 in. from the back edge of the handle. Use a band saw or jigsaw to cut out this shape (see Photo 5). Round the front end of the grip and the top back corner of the handle now, too.

Step 8: A crosspiece attaches to the front end of the handle base. It helps to lock the handle vertically in the caddy, and its top edge can provide a convenient place to store your glue brushes. Measure the inside width of the caddy box, as well as the depth to the bottom panel, to determine the final size of the crosspiece. Cut it to shape. If you wish to drill holes for glue brushes (we're showing acid brushes here, available in the plumbing section of home centers), lay out a hole pattern in your crosspiece. You can fit six holes, starting the pattern 3/4 in. in from one end and locating centerpoints for the holes every inch from there. Use a 3/8-in.-diameter brad point or Forstner bit in a drill press, and drill the brush holes 2 1/2 in. deep (see Photo 6).

Step 9: Sand the handle and crosspiece now. Ease the edges of the handle with a 1/8-in. roundover bit in your router to make it more comfortable to grip. Or, knock off the sharp edges with a file or sandpaper.

Step 10: Assemble the handle and crosspiece with a couple of flathead wood screws, driving them into countersunk pilot holes. Center the crosspiece on the front end of the handle. Then, install the handle/crosspiece in the caddy box with more countersunk screws driven through the sides and back of the caddy (see Photo 7).

Step 11: Give your new caddy a couple coats of protective finish, fill it up and it will be ready for your next big glue-up...and many more to come.

Make sure you've checked out our other Jig-Based Joinery Techniques: