Hand Tool Cabinet: Walnut and Curly Maple

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Project by descolada posted 03-30-2015 04:04 AM 3903 views 12 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just finished up this welcome addition to my shop. My hand tools had far exceeded the capacity of the drawers under my bench and had crept into random drawers and shelves scattered through the shop. Everything now has a nice home and is very easy to get to and find. I may have gone a bit overboard in terms of materials and form, but I spend a lot of time in this shop and so I wanted this to be nice.

For all storage projects, and especially tool storage projects, there is the fine line between storing what you’ve got and leaving space for new things. With this project the top cabinet is mostly full, but everything inside is screwed or friction fit in place and so, if I need to reconfigure, it should be pretty easy. The drawers are mostly empty and so I can move things down there as needed. I’ve got Kaizen foam lining most of the drawers and so it’s pretty easy to keep things in place.

Everything in my shop is on wheels and while I don’t plan to move this too often, I will need to on occasion. This is a massive cabinet at 80” tall, 40” wide, and 20” deep and I’d guess it comes in at 250-300lbs empty and so needed some serious casters. I realized that the looks would have diminished quite a bit just standing 6” off the ground on orange wheels and so I wanted to put trim around the sides to hide it, but doing so would limit my ability to get in there and lock the wheels. I opted for a compromise and directly attached the front trim, but left the side pieces loose and held in place by magnets. If you look close you can see gaps in the profile, but otherwise it looks great and solves that problem perfectly

18 comments so far

View Pat3's profile


155 posts in 2730 days

#1 posted 03-30-2015 05:24 AM

Very well planned and executed, I like the way you think.

View johnstoneb's profile


3154 posts in 3023 days

#2 posted 03-30-2015 12:47 PM

That is really nice. I too like to have nice looking storage for my tools.
I have a cabinet similar to your mounted on the wall and the space under it is essentially wasted. you have just given me an idea of what to do with that space. Sometihing similar to your lower cabinet would fit perfectly and give me more tool and hardware storage.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View gashley's profile


116 posts in 3857 days

#3 posted 03-30-2015 12:58 PM

Great cabinet and nice design feature for the bottom trim. I like the solution and the magnets for attaching the side trim.
You also have a serious tool problem it appears. Looks like you’ve decided not to fight it and just go for it. I like that!

-- Gary in OP

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 3848 days

#4 posted 03-30-2015 01:22 PM

Top cabinet, eveything has its place. Much better than rolling around in drawers. Those look like fairly new tools, good to see you look after them well. Leaving room or adjustments for future is smart thinking. I’ve added “side cabinets” to my main tool storage I first made !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3194 days

#5 posted 03-30-2015 01:37 PM

beautiful wood

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3804 days

#6 posted 03-30-2015 01:37 PM

Nice work indeed.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View R_Stad's profile


428 posts in 2694 days

#7 posted 03-30-2015 02:23 PM

Beautiful cabinet. Design, materials, and craftsmanship are top notch. Having that piece in your workshop will serve its primary function, as well as inspiration to continue to do fine work. Well done.

-- Rod - Oregon

View recycle1943's profile


4705 posts in 2473 days

#8 posted 03-30-2015 04:37 PM

Very functional as well as fine craftsmanship, lot of thought and execution – pretty sure I’m turning green (envy)

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 4270 days

#9 posted 03-30-2015 05:51 PM

Beautiful work, and I love the casters and your method to conceal them.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View Joel Shappell's profile

Joel Shappell

95 posts in 2928 days

#10 posted 03-30-2015 06:18 PM

Inspiring work! Did you work from plans or your own design?


View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3278 days

#11 posted 03-30-2015 07:31 PM

A place for everything – And everything in its place. Beautiful work, and gorgeous tools.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View john2005's profile


1768 posts in 3029 days

#12 posted 03-30-2015 08:20 PM


-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View Tugboater78's profile


2796 posts in 3042 days

#13 posted 03-30-2015 09:50 PM

Very nice.. looks like it belongs in the house, not the shop!

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View descolada's profile


54 posts in 2648 days

#14 posted 03-30-2015 10:41 PM

Thanks for the kind comments all.

I originally was just going to make the top cabinet section as a wall hanging cabinet, but I’ve pretty much run out of wall space and didn’t have anything I could free up near my bench. So this is going up along the garage door (which is very close to my bench). In addition to being a large base with extra storage, having the cabinet attached to the chest gives me a nice 12” table in front of the cabinet when I have it open and this is very convenient for tool adjustments like swapping blades/cutters, attaching fences, and the like.

I came up with my own plans for this, but borrowed heavily from lots of places for inspiration. I can’t count how many times I looked through all the tool cabinet projects on this site looking for ideas in both overall structure and individual tool storage.

One of the motivations for this project was also to help me better protect these tools from rust. With my previous storage solutions I was constantly replacing the dehumidifiers and anti-corrosion emitters and every time I forgot I ended up with small amounts of rust starting to form (even though I clean and re-coat my tools every few months). With this cabinet I’ve actually built in some things that should help. In particular the plane-till is actually on a hinge and can swing up revealing storage space for very rarely used items and powered anti-corrosion targeted heaters. There are also a few vents that allow that warmth to get in the cabinet and keep anything from condensing. Hopefully this helps.

View jeffswildwood's profile


4580 posts in 2828 days

#15 posted 03-30-2015 11:47 PM

Just because it’s in a shop does not mean it can’t look nice. It shows pride. Great job!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

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