Hand Tool Cabinet

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Once I’d accumulated enough hand tools to do anything useful I found myself in a very cluttered shop.  My tools covered every flat surface, and they were always in the way.  Since I’d read “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest”, I’d assumed I would eventually build a traditional tool chest to store my tools.  But I found myself without enough floor space to a tool chest, and ample wall space (well, after a lot of re-organizing and about a dump runs).

As it turned out, a wall-hiung cabinet met my needs better, and in an interesting turn of events I built it almost without using any hand tools.  I did “cheat” and use hand tools to dovetail the drawers.

Anyway, it all started with a SketchUp model.

Tool cabinet design -- without the doors

Tool cabinet design — without the doors

Construction was straightforward, although manipulating the think for glue-ups and finishing was a challenge.  It’s about four feet square, and with the doors about 15″ deep.  For a size check, that’s *one* of the doors on my table saw.

One door with a coat of shellac, the main body of the cabinet is in the background

One door with a coat of shellac, the main body of the cabinet is in the background

I spent several enjoyable hours making tool holders for the inside of the doors.  The chisel rack came out the best.  The rasp rack (well, the first version) I built was a near disaster, if you opened the door a little too quickly the rasps would fall off the holders.  They are expensive, and pointy, and I nearly skewered my foot the first time I yanked the right hand door open.

Freestanding Chisel Rack, hangs on a french cleat on the right hand door

Freestanding Chisel Rack, hangs on a french cleat on the right hand door

The drawers were great dovetailing practice, making six drawers that were half-blind at the front and regular dovetails at the back really helped progress my hand tool skills.  By the sixth drawer I finally had the proportions and fit worked out.

Drawers prior to installing the pulls and finishing

Drawers prior to installing the pulls and finishing

In the end, this holds all of my hand tools with ease.  I have more drawer space than I need, and I’ll need to make some organizers to go in the drawers someday to keep them from collecting junk.   I still want to make a traditional tool chest some day, and probably a dutch chest too.

Completed tool chest - before I added the drawers

Completed tool chest – before I added the drawers

(click here to see all the posts on this topic)

 

4 Comments

4 thoughts on “Hand Tool Cabinet

  1. Pingback: Blog Updates | McGlynn on Making

  2. Joel

    Can you share your sketchup cabinet model?

    • Hi Joel,

      Unfortunately I lost the final version of the design when my laptop crashed, the first draft is on the Sketchup 3D warehouse: https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model.html?id=8b4c17058ba44f4386a6cc708f841e38

      There isn’t a lot to it though, the main think you need to build it (or change the design in sketch up) is the dimensions in the picture above. I think I modeled this, at least initially, as a single object, not separate components. I often do that when I’m designing something in CAD, I do a simple 2D sketch and then extrude it to produce something that is representative of the part, without modeling it to reflect the way I’d actually build it. Once I;m happy with the overall proportions/sizing I’ll go back and re-create it properly.

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