Hand Tool Cabinet (A place for my Sweethearts)

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Project by LukieB posted 11-18-2013 05:02 PM 6680 views 30 times favorited 41 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Cabinet
So as many of you know, I have a Stanley Sweetheart fetish. It started with bench planes, moved on to specialty planes, and spiraled out of control from there. (I also love the original decals that came on this era of tools.) I have been working on this cabinet in my head for about 2 years now. And it was time to finally give all these sweet tools a sweet home.

The cabinet is mostly maple. Some plywood, but mostly solid. The only thing that’s not maple is the 1/2 birch ply that makes up the door panels and the back that holds all the planes. I put a veneer on the front side of the door panels. I wanted it to be pretty, and strong. The only 1/2” maple ply I can find around here has an MDF core, and I didn’t think that would hold the screws very well needed for holding the tools on the backside of the door. So birch ply and veneer it was. The only raw wood veneer I could find wide enough not have to deal with seams was this curly piece… curly maple it was. With the birch and the veneer, it still ended up costing me less that the sheet of 1/2 maple ply I looked at at Sears Trostel.

It’s 43”x 30” x 13” overall. The back is pitched at 15 degrees, which is what my bench plane til was done at. Even at that angle, and with their little custom holders, I was still concerned about tools falling out. Making that angle any flatter was going to result in a lot of wasted space, so rare earth magnets were my solution for some of the tools.

The cabinet is mostly put together with pocket screws. Dovetails were what I really wanted, but time was kind of an issue on this, cause I should be doing other things, and they’re fast and strong.

Doors are hung with piano hinge. It was kind of a bitch to get them hanging the way I wanted, the doors are very heavy.

This ended up taking way longer than I thought it would. I spent a lot of time working on all the little custom tool holders, and trying to pack in as much as possible in the space I had. It’s mounted to the wall via french cleats. I can’t tell you what it weighs full of tools, but I can tell you it’s a lot
The Tools

Like I said, I have a bit of a sweetheart obsession. Just about every tool in here has the heart stamped on it. There’s just something about this era of Stanley tools that I love. “The roaring twenties”, Stanley had made most of the advancements and improvements that they were going to make…and the quality of everything was yet to be affected by the depression or WWII.

So here’s a few more shots of the collection….

The Squares

The Braces

10, 10-1/2

The Scrapers

The double enders

The Routers

The Shoulders

You may notice there are still a few empty spaces scattered about. There are still a few SW tools on my wish list so I made some space for them. 97, 289, 20, 85, 212, and 164 all have spots reserved. Although the last few of those will probably Lie Nielsen versions….if I ever did have a vintage 164 or 212, I don’t think I could bring myself to use it : } Also room for a full set of chisels….always watching out for everlasting sweethearts, but they’re not real high on the priority list, since they usually go for quite a bit on Ebay and I’ve already got a decent set of users.

Anyway….Thanks for looking. Cheers!

-- Lucas, "Someday woodworks will be my real job, until then, there's this"

41 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17571 posts in 3899 days

#1 posted 11-18-2013 05:10 PM

Now I’m off to clean the slather off my keyboard…
Great work, great assembly of quality tools!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View bobasaurus's profile


3740 posts in 4465 days

#2 posted 11-18-2013 05:11 PM

This is absolutely fantastic. I’ve been drooling over these cabinets forever, and have plans to make one myself in the near future. They way you crammed in so many tools is amazing… I’ll have to copy a few aspects for mine. On the hinged sides, did you also use pocket screws to attach the face frame to the main box (I don’t see any in the pictures)? Also, where did you end up getting your plywood? I live in Lafayette, CO and the only source of bitch ply I’ve found is at Woodcraft, but it’s usually overpriced and warped there.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View AnthonyReed's profile


10184 posts in 3721 days

#3 posted 11-18-2013 05:15 PM

Wonderful Lucas. Terrific work and a wonderful collection.

-- ~Tony

View Don W's profile

Don W

20241 posts in 3849 days

#4 posted 11-18-2013 05:18 PM

super sweet!!!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View LukieB's profile


966 posts in 3611 days

#5 posted 11-18-2013 05:28 PM

Thank you. The door “frames” were put together with pocket screws,(you can see a pocket screw hole in the picture of the braces) but the faces of the doors are glued on to the frames. Every quik-clamp I had on that glue up. The birch ply came from The Wood Emporium in Loveland. Tiny little place, but the guys got a pretty decent lumber and plywood selection, and his prices are reasonable. I think the half sheet (2-1/2’ x 5’) I bought was like $30.

-- Lucas, "Someday woodworks will be my real job, until then, there's this"

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 4322 days

#6 posted 11-18-2013 05:31 PM

Very Nice !!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Mark E.'s profile

Mark E.

387 posts in 5024 days

#7 posted 11-18-2013 05:32 PM

Beautiful. Very nice collection.

-- Mark

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3879 days

#8 posted 11-18-2013 05:38 PM

You did a great job on this. Lots of great pics to look at. Inspirational.

View theoldfart's profile


12908 posts in 3732 days

#9 posted 11-18-2013 05:47 PM

Damn Lukie, just drooled on my laptop! “Sweet ” setup and fine collection. Thanks for showing it.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


9096 posts in 3858 days

#10 posted 11-18-2013 05:50 PM

Great cabinet Lukie!

View CL810's profile


4195 posts in 4269 days

#11 posted 11-18-2013 06:04 PM

I’m sure the tools feel honored – beautiful.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5378 days

#12 posted 11-18-2013 06:15 PM

Well executed. Great home for some nice tools.

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

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 3243 days

#13 posted 11-18-2013 06:21 PM

Wow that looks pretty sweet. Nice tool collection too. Stickers on the squares and screwdriver and everything.

View Hammerthumb's profile


3131 posts in 3256 days

#14 posted 11-18-2013 06:23 PM

Really nice Lukie! Makes me want to take the storage cabinets that I have off the walls and replace them with something like that. The problem I have is I don’t have any empty wall space. Of course, I don’t have quite the collection you do either. Fine job on the cabinet and cudos for the great collection,

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View 489tad's profile


4079 posts in 4293 days

#15 posted 11-18-2013 06:29 PM

Wow, nice job one the cabinet and what a collection. Congrats. I like that drill next to the brace. its cool.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

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