Working On My Shop With Plans and Hopes and Dreams #2: Building a Wall Tool Cupboard

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Blog entry by helluvawreck posted 01-09-2012 07:51 PM 5335 reads 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: I Built Four Wall Cabinets Part 2 of Working On My Shop With Plans and Hopes and Dreams series Part 3: Adding Tools To My Cupboard »

In this part of this blog I will show the preparation of what I call a wall tool cupboard. I would call this a carpentry project. In building this cupboard I am interested mainly in building something useful for the shop that is purely utilitarian in nature. With that in mind it was not built as though I were working on a piece of furniture. It’s a useful carpentry project – nothing more.

In the picture above on the right hand you can see the door entrance to the kitchen of our house. Incidentally, on the lower left of this door you can see where every dog that has belonged to us since I was 10 years old (I’m 61 now) has scratched on the door to gain entrance to the house. I’m a sentimental person, especially when it comes to dogs, so I’ve never painted or replaced this door. The scratches have been worn very deep.

In the center of the photo to the left of the lumber standing in the corner you can see another white door that goes into a small storage room that I carved out of that corner of my shop so my wife could have a small storage room. Aren’t I a generous husband? In front of that door you will see the cupboard that is the subject of this blog. It is essentially a 2×4 frame that encloses a 1/2 in piece of plywood in dados surrounding the 2×4 frame. It is mounted to another 2×4 with three door hinges and the 2×4 is securely fastened to the wall. This creates a door like structure that has a cavity on each side to store tools in. You will probably get a better idea of what this tool cupboard looks like from the next three photographs.

The two rectangular holes in the panel is for access to the plug and switch. They will be enlarged a wee bit more. On the front side of the door the storage cavity is 1 inch deep and on the back side of the door the cavity is 2 inches deep. So, these two cavities can hold a lot of stuff.

A thin sheet of plywood has been removed that covers the wiring in order to work on this project.

In the picture above you can see the 2×4 that is attached to the wall that the door hinges are mounted to. I countersinked holes along the length of the 2×4 and drove a number 12 wood screw thru each of the countersink holes into the stud behind. In addition to that I have placed Kreg holes on either side of the 2×4 and driven Kreg screws also into the 2×4 behind. So the cupboard is securely fastened to the wall.

In the pictures above and below you can see a group of storage cubby holes that I built when I framed the walls of the small storage room. As you can see these cubby holes have served me well for a good many years. I try very hard to make use of every square inch of my shop because it is not very large.

In the picture below you can see the cupboard door fully opened. You can also see the cubby holes that were built into the studs. The three small cabinets to the left are the subject of an upcoming part of this blog. A new electrical access panel will be added to cover the electrical wiring.

Since the door is wide open you are looking at the storage cavity that is on the back side of the door. It is a full two inches deep and the one on the front is one inch deep.

In the picture below you can see the Kreg holes on the side of the 2×4 and the countersunk holes on the edge of the 2×4. There are also Kreg holes on the opposite faces of the 2×4. So unless I hang way too much weight on the door it should be fastened well enough to the wall.

This cupboard essentially sticks out into the shop about 3-1/2 inches.

In the picture below you can better understand the reason for building this tool cupboard. So far this is what I have hung on this door. I use this T-square and all of these strait edges fairly often but it is hard to find enough wall space in my shop to hang a lot of things especially things that are this long. In addition, I have also hung a try square, a combination square, a sliding T-bevel, and a small depth gauge. This is near the center of my shop and whatever I hang in this tool cupboard will be in a central and convenient place. I have also hung a push stick and the wrench to my Table Saw arbor nut. My table saw is 3 or 4 feet away.
You can also see on the left side the doors to three other storage cabinets that will be the subject of an upcoming part of this blog.

The problem with a project like this is that it takes more time to figure out what you will put into this cupboard and how you are going to hang it than it does to build it.

The picture below shows another view of the door fully opened. This is the back compartment. It is 2 inches deep so should hold at least twice as much as the compartment on the front. You also get an idea of what the wall looked like before this cupboard was hung up. To get access to the cubby holes you can just open the tool cupboard up because they won’t be done away with. New panels will be made to cover the electrical wires. I will probably paint them red and a sign to indicate that there are electrical wires behind this panel so some bright guy won’t get the idea of driving a nail into the wiring. This tool cupboard will be very convenient to me. it will probably take me most of next weekend to decide what I need to put in this cupboard and how I will hang it.

Thanks for coming to my blog.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

11 comments so far

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2720 days

#1 posted 01-09-2012 08:02 PM

Pretty slick! I like the pass through for the switch;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3361 days

#2 posted 01-09-2012 10:08 PM

Good work HW. Storage is the biggest problem in the workshop (besides nothing ever coming out right) and you seem to be on top of it. It also reminds me how desperately I need a better space to hang steel rulers. Keep up the good work!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4054 days

#3 posted 01-09-2012 11:48 PM

Very clever. You doin good!

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2947 days

#4 posted 01-10-2012 12:32 AM

That is a pretty good use of space! Having things close at hand is key to efficiency, I believe. This gives you twice the storage in a single space and everything is easy access! Wonderful idea!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4079 days

#5 posted 01-10-2012 07:53 AM

You’re doing GOOD!

COOL solutions!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3700 days

#6 posted 01-10-2012 05:02 PM

Looks good!

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3782 days

#7 posted 01-11-2012 02:07 AM

Neat Idea!! Really does utilize wasted space.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3116 days

#8 posted 01-11-2012 05:45 PM

Clever way to make room for the tools.
Nothing like tools in the right place when we want them.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2645 days

#9 posted 01-28-2012 04:03 PM

My drywall T is never in the ‘right’ place storage-wise, getting beat up wherever it goes. I like your approach for putting all long straight-edges / such devices in the same place. And adding hinges to use depth is very clever. Nice work, and adds character the shop space. Thumbs up!

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

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2865 days

#10 posted 06-01-2012 10:44 AM

That is an interesting cupboard you built there! My problem would be PUTTING THE STUFF BACK IN THE DAMN CUPBOARD where it belongs. (Organization is not my strong suit. :( ) So, how’s the carving coming?

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View helluvawreck's profile


31393 posts in 2893 days

#11 posted 06-01-2012 11:36 AM

Hi, Kelly. Actually I haven’t carved in a while. I’ve been making boxes. I have been perfecting my techniques and all of my jigs for making boxes efficiently. Of course what I will do soon, I hope, is merge the carving and decorative painting into the boxes.

I sure do miss you on here. :) I see that you are getting ready to finish your floors. I’m assuming that that will be a really big undertaking. I hope that it all works out for you. How are your crafts and so forth going? I hope well. I’m sure that you probably haven’t done anything on your shop yet. I know how busy you stay

Take care, Kellygal, and stay in touch with me.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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