Tool Storage

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Forum topic by Martini1 posted 07-26-2019 03:17 PM 1047 views 0 times favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 343 days

07-26-2019 03:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am looking for recommendations on shop storage. Namely smaller tools and accessories. I was considering building a chest of drawers for it. But adding up the cost of material, especially the drawer slides, it does not seem practical compared to buying a mechanics tool chest. Would I be the only one out there storing woodworking tools in a mechanics tool chest? Any recommendations on a good tool chest for wood working tools?

36 replies so far

View SMP's profile


1335 posts in 384 days

#1 posted 07-26-2019 03:23 PM

I have a craftsman tool chest that I use for tools of various types. I would suggest looking on your local craigslist, deals always come up as people give up their tools, retire/no longer mechanics etc.

View ibewjon's profile


901 posts in 3272 days

#2 posted 07-26-2019 03:34 PM

I use a craftsman chest in the shop also. I lined the drawers with rubber or foam liner. Or harbor freight, or Menards, or Depot. All have chests, pick the one with the drawer arrangements that work for you.

View JCamp's profile


997 posts in 1029 days

#3 posted 07-26-2019 04:05 PM

I second the tool chest. Check around on Craigslist, Facebook or any second hand places and you should b able to find some good used ones for a fraction of the cost of the new ones.
This idea is a little outside the box but u might find a old solid wood dresser, hutch or kitchen cabinets and make your own.

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View controlfreak's profile


136 posts in 80 days

#4 posted 07-26-2019 04:14 PM

I did get a tool chest and hate it. The large drawers have too much in them so I am constantly digging and a handle is always jamming the drawer. I always forget to close the lid so it fills up with sawdust. It takes up floor space and doesn’t add any work surface. I am thinking about doing something under a work table with various sized drawers and some racks for hand tools so they can hopefully encourage me to keep the workbench clear.

View pottz's profile


5956 posts in 1463 days

#5 posted 07-26-2019 04:31 PM

well i have both a craftsman tool chest that holds all my non woodworking tools and i have a large rolling bench with a hardwood top with multiple sizes of drawers for my wood working tools.yes a heavy duty tool cabinet will cost a fair amount of money but done right will last you a you can make it to be used as a work bench also.quality tools and equipment will pay for themselves.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View WoodenDreams's profile


707 posts in 389 days

#6 posted 07-26-2019 05:01 PM

Depends on what works for you. You may want to look at some of the workshops posted on LJ to get a idea of how others have set up shop. My shop is not all that large, so space is a premium. I have two sets of upper and lower tool boxes along one wall next to my workbench (a space and step saver). I have peg boards also on walls for easy reach. In my 6’x8’ storage closet I have that shelved out for power tools and supplies. None of my tools do I have to dig down into, to find tools. With the upper and lower tool boxes I prefer the ones that don’t have deep drawers.

View moke's profile


1410 posts in 3255 days

#7 posted 07-26-2019 05:09 PM

I have what I call a tool acquisition problem. I think it is very common with folks on this site. I am also 60 years old…..45 years of buying tools + tool buying issues = storage issues. I use many different methods,
-Craftsman tool chest 3-piece x 2
-Kennedy machinist boxes 3 piece
-Kennedy machinist box 2 piece
-104 feet of pegboard (36 feet is for lawn and bbq equipment)
-roller bottom with hand built storage for cordless tools
-multiple home built cabinets with storage for specialized tools
-a 72” cabinet w/ maple top with work space -

If I had it to do over again I would have 2 to 3 of the above. (and provided I had the space) They store a ton of stuff with added work space. The problem with mechanics tool cabinets is that for the most part they have thin drawers that are for ratchets and wrenches. Our stuff is not always thin, and can be a problem to store in them.
In the cabinet that I got from Sams, I have only lathe and precision tools. I position it perpendicular to the lathe so I have a work surface…but hang on the thing weighs 400 lbs empty!

A lot of us here have built some specialty cabinets too…ie; Table saw cabinets with storage for blades and such.
and cabinets built to nestle into a DP and so on….

As Woodendreams stated surf the workshops on this site to get ideas…...

-- Mike

View CaptainKlutz's profile


1750 posts in 1973 days

#8 posted 07-26-2019 08:36 PM


1) No tool storage method is cheap, does not matter if you make it or buy it made.
The costs are all determined by the requirements you set. If your costs are too high, lower your requirements. :-)
Most expensive part of making tool drawers is hardware. Insisting on use of ball bearing drawer slides can break the bank. You can use simple wood slides for most light weight drawers and save $10-15 per drawer. Make your own wood pulls and you save few more dollars.

2) Tools are not stored when you use them.
(Think hard about this one)
This makes the location and quick accessibility of the stored tools a key factor in deciding how or where to store tools. Keeping tools close to where they are used also reduces the labor involved in cleaning up the tools.
Example: you don’t won’t your tools hanging on pegboard at the wall, or tool cabinet in the corner; when your hand tool bench is in middle of room. You will quickly get tired of walking across the shop all time, and just leave all the tools on top of the bench. :)

3) Everyone has different number of tools.
When you only have a few tools, having a small tool box on top or under your bench is usually the easy solution. But when you get old and collect tools for 40 years like many of us old buzzards; you need great many tool storage places. This usually results in separate/different storage methods; with them strategically next to each work center in your shop.
- Put your hand wood working tools (planes, chisels, saws) on wall above your bench, or in drawers below it.
- Build a router table cabinet with all your routing tools and bits in the drawers under it.
- Put a storage cabinet under or next to the table saw for blades, wrenches, ZCI, and jigs.
- Build a rolling storage rack under your drill press to hold all your drill bits, and powered hand drill stuff.
- Put your automotive tools (sockets, wrenches, etc) in a rolling cabinet that sits in corner, until you need it to work on vehicle, or fix a borked tool.
- etc, etc, etc

If you need examples of myriad of different ways to organize wood shop storage, suggest you check out back issues of Shop Notes Magazine. The magazine is no longer published, but you can buy (or steal) access to all back issues easily. They have a very large collection of low cost DIY projects to help organize your tool collection. It is not the only source for this kind of information, but it has largest number of shop tool focused storage projects of the publications on wood working.

Storage is personal problem and requires individualized solutions,
best luck figuring out what works for you!

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Monty151's profile


79 posts in 320 days

#9 posted 07-26-2019 08:49 PM

I am in the process of building a MOAT (mobile out feed/assembly table). Being that I use half of a two car garage I don’t have much floor space to work with. Within my MOAT I am constructing a sort of chest of drawers to house my tools. This keeps them close to my working space, and I can put them away when not in use.

View bilyo's profile


818 posts in 1581 days

#10 posted 07-27-2019 02:04 PM

Mechanical drawer slides can certainly add significant expense to shop made drawers; particularly the heavy duty full extension ones. However, not every drawer requires these. Don’t overlook the low cost ones that are nothing but a rail with roller wheels front and back. For light duty use, these work fine. Also, don’t overlook shop made wooden drawer slides. All of my shop drawer slides are of this full extension design. They can be made to hold almost any amount of weight you need.

View OleGrump's profile


451 posts in 823 days

#11 posted 07-27-2019 03:10 PM

Whether you choose a premade mechanics style tool chest or buy a dresser from a thrift store and mount it on casters, it would be a good idea to go to your local Dollar Tree and buy a couple of rolls of their black rubberized “shelf paper”. This is great stuff, because things don’t slide around on it, and it will protect the edges of your tools. Certainly, it’s cheap enough!

-- OleGrump

View Knockonit's profile


601 posts in 681 days

#12 posted 07-27-2019 03:52 PM

Oh my kingdom for the holy grail of storage, no matter how much i organize (well attempt to) i never seem to have enough storage for those little things, and then when i do eventually figure out a storage spot, i seemed to forget where that is, even labeling is tough, darn labels aren;t large enough to put all the info on them, lol

good luck, its those little things that seem to find a never find me spot
Rj in az

View Eric's profile


80 posts in 716 days

#13 posted 07-27-2019 04:11 PM

I punted and bought two Harbor Freight tool cabinets to hold all my hand tools. I’m happy with them and my storage problems are solved.

-- Eric

View BlasterStumps's profile


1390 posts in 918 days

#14 posted 07-27-2019 08:35 PM

I built a rolling storage cabinet that is about 24” x 24” x 75” . It has five good sized drawers, two big shelves above and the three tall sides for hanging those long tall tools like levels and straight edges, etc. I got my drawers from Habitat Restore. The glides were a 5-pack on Amazon. I used a couple sheets of cheap plywood to build it from. Besides the drawer storage, it gives me about 6 more feet of tool hanging space which I needed badly for clamps and straight edges and levels, etc.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View Peteybadboy's profile


1009 posts in 2428 days

#15 posted 07-27-2019 08:42 PM

I built 3 8ft tall 2ft deep cabinets with doors with Kreg pocket hole jig. I also have 2 rolling craftsman chests. I would agree with someone that shallow drawers are better. the 8 ft cabinets was a sheet and a half to build each. They come together fast with a Kreg jig if you have the angle clamps. I used galvanized hinges and hasp. Love those.

-- Petey

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