Hand Tool Storage Cabinet

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Project by MrFid posted 08-03-2013 02:21 AM 5953 views 20 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well if this project looks hauntingly familiar, it probably is.

I based this cabinet on Rob Porcaro’s. Rob is a woodworker from Mass, and he keeps a great blog called Heartwood. His series of six posts (here) on his “Practical Tool Cabinet” is well-written, informative, and is probably where you’ve seen this cabinet before.

The gist of it is that this is a no frills cabinet designed to be cheap, well made, durable, and capable of holding a large amount of tools in a very small footprint. Mine and his have several differences, however. Mine is a bit less deep than his (mine is about 10 inches deep, 32” across, and 4 feet tall plus the stand). The sides, top, and bottom of mine are made of solid poplar rather than plywood. To that end, I dovetailed the sides of the cabinet, not because I really care what it looks like but because it had been a little while since I had handcut a dovetail, so I did it to keep my skills (what few I have on this front) sharp. The sides are from one piece of wood, and again I was careful here to grain-wrap properly (for mental practice… this piece is not a beauty pageant winner).

The doors are able to hold tools (I keep saws there now). Due to their construction there’s about 1.5 inches of useable depth there. My japanese saws and dovetail saw have their own bays and are protected. This eliminates the need for sheaths. As you can see, there’s still lots of room left in this especially on the doors. I keep adding stuff as I can find logical places for it.

The drawers are simple plywood jobs, and ride on 1/4 inch extensions of the bottoms in dadoes cut into the sides and a middle board. These took me more time than I care to admit considering how they came out looking. I turned handles on my lathe that are just cylinders. Low budget and fun solutions. It was a good chance for me to practice skills I don’t use a lot.

I have some more work to do on this, but it’s gradual. I plan on changing things around as I pick up more tools. Tool accumulation is slowing down, but I don’t think it will ever stop.

I welcome questions, comments, criticisms. If you don’t already, start reading Heartwood (blog mentioned at top).

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

15 comments so far

View steliart's profile


2895 posts in 3490 days

#1 posted 08-03-2013 03:53 AM

very nice tool cabinet

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View Sanding2day's profile


1015 posts in 2648 days

#2 posted 08-03-2013 04:32 AM

Nice cabinet… Looks to be a real organization asset!! Been seriously thinking about making some cabinet space out of my current shelving and thinking this layout could work pretty effectively, thanks for sharing…

-- Dan

View bobasaurus's profile


3644 posts in 3986 days

#3 posted 08-03-2013 04:43 AM

Nice job. I plan on building something similar soon.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Hawaiilad's profile


3374 posts in 3822 days

#4 posted 08-03-2013 04:50 AM

What a great looking useful cabinet

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2992 days

#5 posted 08-03-2013 12:41 PM

great cabinet,nice tool collection!!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3668 days

#6 posted 08-03-2013 01:33 PM

This is a real nice addition to your shop. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3094 days

#7 posted 08-03-2013 02:13 PM

Nice job.

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

View hoss12992's profile


4172 posts in 2694 days

#8 posted 08-03-2013 05:15 PM

Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View scarpenter002's profile


618 posts in 4706 days

#9 posted 08-04-2013 12:37 AM

Very nice new home for your hand tools.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott in Texas

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3456 days

#10 posted 08-04-2013 02:00 AM

The best thing about this is that there is so much room to grow. Adaptability in the shop is paramount.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Schwieb's profile


1900 posts in 4263 days

#11 posted 08-04-2013 07:42 PM

I’m betting you’ll enjoy this cabinet a lot. Thanks for the tip on the Blog.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2912 days

#12 posted 08-04-2013 07:55 PM

That’ll work well!

One very small tip…

If you use pocket screws on drawers, put the pockets on the outside of the front and rear box panels and use applied fronts.

There are two good reasons to do this:
- The front pockets are hidden by the drawer front, and the rear are not visible when the drawer is in the cabinet.
- The opening and closing force is carried across the screws, not in the direction of the threads

You’ll get lots of use out of your cabinet, and probably wonder why you didn’t build one earlier!

View MrFid's profile


906 posts in 2706 days

#13 posted 08-04-2013 10:03 PM

Thanks for the tip Barry! Always good to learn something new.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3869 days

#14 posted 08-05-2013 12:15 PM

Well done!! Very useful.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 4899 days

#15 posted 08-05-2013 01:07 PM

Looks very nice and very functional.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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