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Project Information

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).

Gallery

Comments

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535 Posts
very nice tool cabinet
 

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345 Posts
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…
 

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2,212 Posts
Nice job. I plan on building something similar soon.
 

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841 Posts
Nice job.
 

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264 Posts
Great job
 

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215 Posts
Very nice new home for your hand tools.

Thanks for sharing.
 

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2,806 Posts
The best thing about this is that there is so much room to grow. Adaptability in the shop is paramount.
 

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

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1,136 Posts
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!
 

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

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9,509 Posts
Looks very nice and very functional.
 
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