Hanging Tool Cabinet - updated photos

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Project by Carey Mitchell posted 08-04-2016 03:08 AM 15989 views 45 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Some recent tool additions…............

This project took longer than expected, as do most of my projects – hand cutting the dovetails took forever (I quickly learned that dovetails on 7/8” material are a bit more difficult than 3/4” – amazing the effect of that extra 1/8”) and when it got to the stage for arranging and mounting tools, it slowed to crawling indecision.

The dovetails are hand cut. The cabinet and door sides are made from 7/8” maple. A new set of good chisels, well sharpened, made the dovetails much easier. By the time I finished them, I felt like a pro. The cabinet is 42×28 x 10 1/2” with doors 4” deep, that adds up to a lot of chisel work. This was a Fine Woodworking plan and Pekovitch specified 7/8” material.

Both doors house internal doors that double their capacity. The upper section of the cabinet has internal doors that provide additional storage. Sooo, I added more tools on the backs of the internal doors, and still have some space left.

I used birch plywood for the door panels to give some contrast against the bland maple (good grief – birch plywood from HD ain’t what it used to be). I added some character to the front by veneering the door panels with walnut. The finish is a coat of satin lacquer.

It is supported by a clever french cleat, which is really the 1/2” plywood back. The lower part of the back forms the part attached to the wall, and the upper back is secured to the cabinet. The joint is hidden behind the shelf that supports the plane till. Using the back as the cleat allows a flush fit against the wall. The shelf has through tenons into the sides for extra strength.

Someone asked for a better explanation of the french cleat. Instead of attaching a conventional french cleat to the back, here the back becomes the cleat. The back is in 2 pieces, divided by a beveled cross-cut in the middle. The joint is directly behind the 7/8” cross member behind the plane till. The crosscut is made at 45 degrees so the upper section overhangs the lower. The lower section of the back is analagous to the part of the conventional cleat attached to the wall; the upper part is the piece that would be attached to the back of the case. The lower section is screwed into the wall studs with 6 2-1/2” cabinet screws. The upper section is screwed and glued to rabbets in the rear of the upper case. The entire weight of the case hangs on the bottom section and additional cabinet screws added near the top. It allows the cabinet to be absolutely flush with the wall.

Hope that helps

One commenter mentioned the antique tools. In the photo, the Bailey#6 plane lying horizontally on the shelf, and the dividers on the right door belonged to my great grandfather (1857-1952) and date back to at least 1900 and probably before. I used them both on this project. Also have his level, a spokeshave, a very large brass plumb bob, a wooden clamp and a brace and a bunch of really rusty bits. The Stanley #48 tongue and groove plane standing vertically on the left has a patent date of of 1875 and works – needs some TLC but that is a winter project.

I also have a 12 oz. hammer and a coping saw I got for Christmas when I was 6 – I’m 73 now. I used the coping saw to remove waste on the dovetails in this project. I’ve had them for 68 years and still using both – good quality tools last forever!

33 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2654 days

#1 posted 08-04-2016 03:26 AM

Great job on a really attractive project! Also, glad to hear someone else ends up spending more time on a project than anticipated—something I can relate to only too well.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1815 days

#2 posted 08-04-2016 04:09 AM

Sorry that you are stopping collecting any additional tools … ☺

Very nice work tho.


-- Madmark - [email protected]

View BurlyBob's profile


6180 posts in 2627 days

#3 posted 08-04-2016 05:01 AM

That’s a really nice looking and efficient tool cabinet. Makes me wish I’d done something similar.

View Woodknack's profile


12773 posts in 2742 days

#4 posted 08-04-2016 05:40 AM

Very nice.

-- Rick M,

View oldnovice's profile


7475 posts in 3729 days

#5 posted 08-04-2016 05:48 AM

That is nice!
Did you stray far from the original plans?
I wish I had that much wall space in my shop.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Ken90712's profile


17659 posts in 3550 days

#6 posted 08-04-2016 07:48 AM

Nice work, looks great

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View MustacheMike's profile


263 posts in 2450 days

#7 posted 08-04-2016 09:36 AM


-- You can trust Mike -" because I will never pull your stash!" See my show weekly at

View johnstoneb's profile


3100 posts in 2534 days

#8 posted 08-04-2016 10:44 AM

Nice job. I made that same cabinet. It really does a good job.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1137 days

#9 posted 08-04-2016 12:44 PM

Nice. I should post mine, which is an original and much much simpler design. That one would take me 5 years.

View tyvekboy's profile


1893 posts in 3375 days

#10 posted 08-04-2016 12:57 PM

Nice job. I know you’ll enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View NCTurner's profile


53 posts in 1518 days

#11 posted 08-04-2016 01:09 PM

first rate cabinet and workmanship. Good job! Nice to have stuff that organized (I can only imagine….ha!)

-- One good turn deserves another!

View Valete's profile


99 posts in 1821 days

#12 posted 08-04-2016 01:50 PM

Great job. This cabinet is on top of my build list.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3228 days

#13 posted 08-04-2016 02:39 PM

This is a great collection of tools and you did a wonderful job on this cabinet.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View KelleyCrafts's profile


3701 posts in 1101 days

#14 posted 08-04-2016 03:06 PM

I made one similar, I love seeing how everyone hangs their tools. We all have our own thoughts of works best. I love it.

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View Andre's profile


2573 posts in 2168 days

#15 posted 08-04-2016 03:23 PM

Looks nicer than your last tool cabinet! I built one a while back not near as pretty and am still trying to figure out the best way to hang the tools inside. Going to borrow your idea for the coping saws and squares, Thanks.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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