Wall Hung Tool Cabinet #1: Deciding on design and starting the cabinet

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Blog entry by johnstoneb posted 03-23-2014 03:51 PM 2560 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Wall Hung Tool Cabinet series Part 2: Making the Doors »

Last spring I built a new 16’ x 24’ shop. This was a little smaller then my 2 car garage I had been working out of. I no longer had to push tools against the wall to get vehicles in and it had a full loft with a 6’6” ceiling. I could use the loft for finishing some projects, tool, hardware and lumber storage. For finishing, hardware and lumber storage it works very well. I found that having to climb stairs to get and store hand tools was becoming very time-consuming and inconvenient. I needed some tool storage downstairs.
I had been looking at tool storage cabinets in magazines and on line for quite a few years but nothing got me really excited. I had to get serious and find something. I finally resubscribed to Fine Woodworking after many years away. They sent the 2013 Tools & Shops edition as my first magazine. In it was an article on a tool storage cabinet. It needed some modification to fit my needs but its design was conducive to modifying.
I finally found a tool cabinet that would work for my needs. The first thing I needed was to make it bigger. I upsized to 48”H x 36”W x 15” deep. I could get a #8 in the plane till and have an angle so that it wouldn’t tip out. I decided to build out of soft maple an baltic birch ply and to use hand tools where I could. I still will use power tools for dimensioning and for some other tasks.

After glueing up and cutting the cabinet sides to size time to cut the dovetails. I just finished some drawers for fishing rod racks using hand cut dovetails. I needed more practice and this was the perfect project for that.

Marking and cutting the tails. I have to mark the wood to be removed, if I don’t I cut to the wrong side of the line.

Pins cut

Joint fit. A lot better than my first ones but still room to improve.

The cabinet fit together. If you start with square stock and mark and cut carefully the cabinet is square when it is fit together.

Rabbet cut for the back with a #78.

Shelf mortised in and case glued up.

The back installed. The back is 1/2” baltic birch plywood. The cabinet will be hung using the bottom of the back as a french cleat and the joint will be hidden by the shelf. If you look at the top of the back I measured wrong twice and made the cut had to put a 1 inch piece to fill the gap.

Tomorrow we will start on the boxes for the doors.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

4 comments so far

View BioNerd12's profile


5 posts in 1691 days

#1 posted 03-31-2014 07:13 PM

Thanks for documenting your build! I am planning on building this cabinet as well.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2646 days

#2 posted 03-31-2014 07:20 PM

Wow, looking good!

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

View Duojoe's profile


21 posts in 1909 days

#3 posted 05-04-2014 12:39 PM

Really looks great!

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1896 days

#4 posted 05-04-2014 12:44 PM

Very attractive. Keep em coming!

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

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