Planer Cabinet

      One of the stationary power tools that I have that needs its own permanent place is my planer (a Jet model JWP-12-4P, 15 amp, 12-inch planer).  When I first purchased it several years ago I used to store it on the ground beneath one of my workbenches.  That arrangement did not work well for many reasons: the planer got more dirty and dusty; it was heavy to move; I had no convenient place to store related attachments and accessories.  In the fall of 2005 I finally decided to build my planer its own mobile base and storage cabinet.  I've made similar cabinets for some of my other power tools (such as my drill press cabinet) and I thought this would be an efficient and attractive upgrade to my shop.


      I built the project out of 3/4" cabinet-grade plywood.  The box stands 36" high and measures 25 & 1/2" wide by 24" deep.  The top is also 3/4" plywood and protrudes over the cabinet by one inch on all four sides.  I also mounted four wheels on the bottom of the cabinet box making it easy to move around the shop.  Inside the cabinet, the cavity is split into two smaller areas by one fixed shelf.
      Cabinets like these are fairly simple projects but the fun for me is often in decorating them to give them each some personality.  My idea for finishing and decorating the cabinet evolved through three or four variations during the process but from the start it was always about aviation.  After all, this is a cabinet for my planer, right?  My brother, Chris (who also happens to be a private pilot), and I both thought that it was a clever idea to use that humorous play on words as the theme for decorating the cabinet... and we found it even more amusing when I remembered that mine is a Jet brand planer.


      Again, my plan for finishing the cabinet went through several evolutions but I finally decided on the following.  First, I painted the outside of the cabinet with a sky blue acrylic latex paint.  Then I added some clouds by dabbing on some white paint with an old handkerchief.  Next, I chose photographs of aircraft (all U.S. military aircraft) that I liked and I used these photos to adorn the outside of the cabinet.  I downloaded these photos from various internet sites and I had them printed onto photo-quality paper.  Then I cut out the exact shapes of the planes and I glued them to the sides of the cabinet.  Then I covered the sides of the cabinet with several coats of decoupage.
      When it came to finishing the top of the cabinet I decided to paint two runways.  (After all, what else should my Jet planer be sitting on?)  For the runway numbers I copied the numbers from two major runways at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada: 7-Right/25-Left and 7-Left/25-Right.  After all of the detailed painting was completed I finished the top of the cabinet with a few coats of acrylic laquer to protect the paint.  Of course, this hand-painted airport will rarely be seen because of the planer sitting on top of the cabinet, but it is still a nice detail.  And, even if nobody else ever notices it, at least I know it's there.


The Aircraft:

      Below are links to the original photos that I downloaded and used to decorate the cabinet.  There are 22 photos of 14 different aircraft.  Each side of the cabinet displays a different type of aircraft.  You can hover on the photos below to see the aircraft descriptions, or click on the photos to see larger images.  Enjoy!

Front of cabinet:  (Fighters)
The F-4U Corsair. The P-47 Thunderbolt. The F-117 Nighthawk (Stealth Fighter).
The F-86 Sabre. The F-22 Raptor. The P-51 Mustang. The F-6F Hellcat.

Back of cabinet:  (Bombers)
The B-52 Stratofortress. The B-1 Lancer. The B-24 Liberator. The B-2 Spirit (Stealth Bomber). The B-17 Flying Fortress.

Left side of cabinet:  (F-14 Tomcat)
The F-14 Tomcat. The F-14 Tomcat. The F-14 Tomcat. The F-14 Tomcat. The F-14 Tomcat.

Right side of cabinet:  (SR-71 Blackbird)
The SR-71 Blackbird. The SR-71 Blackbird. The SR-71 Blackbird. The SR-71 Blackbird. The SR-71 Blackbird.

The Quotations:

      One final detail I added to this cabinet involves the cabinet doors.  I found numerous quotations regarding aviation -- specifically about air combat and air supremacy.  These are quotes from pilots, and military and world leaders.  I selected my favorites (a total of thirty-six), adjusted the font type, size and spacing, and printed them.  Then I decoupaged those pages to the inside of the cabinet doors.
      I think these quotations are a fitting tribute to the strength, ability and attitude of military pilots and are also a reminder of how critical our air force is to maintaining our freedom.  The links below will show you the complete list of quotes on each cabinet door.  I hope you enjoy them.

Left Cabinet Door (Air Combat)

Right Cabinet Door (Air Supremacy)

      I hope you enjoyed looking at, and reading about, my planer cabinet.  And I hope that maybe it even inspires you to get creative and add a little more personality to your own workshop.  Thanks for stopping by and feel free to e-mail me with your comments or questions.

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