Hanging Tool Cabinet - updated photos

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Project by Carey Mitchell posted 08-04-2016 03:08 AM 9865 views 38 times favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Some recent tool additions…............

This project took longer than expected, as do most of my projects – hand cutting the dovetails took forever (dovetails on 7/8” material are a bit more difficult than 3/4”) and when it got to the stage for arranging and mounting tools, it slowed to crawling indecision.

The dovetails are hand cut. The cabinet and door sides are made from 7/8” maple. A new set of good chisels, well sharpened, made the dovetails much easier. The cabinet is 42×28 x 10 1/2” with doors 4” deep, so there was a lot of chisel work; the 7/8” stock made it more difficult.

Both doors house internal doors that double their capacity. The upper section of the cabinet has internal doors that provide additional storage. Sooo, I still have room for additional tools.

I used birch plywood for the door panels to give some contrast against the bland maple (good grief – birch plywood from HD ain’t what it used to be). I added some character to the front by veneering the door panels with walnut. Finish is a coat of satin lacquer.

It is supported by a clever french cleat, which is really the 1/2” plywood back. The lower part of the back, separated from the top by the solid shelf below the plane till, forms the part attached to the wall, and the upper back is secured to the cabinet. Using the back as the cleat parts allows a flush fit against the wall. The shelf has through tenons into the sides for extra strength.

Someone asked for a better explanation of the french cleat. Instead of attaching a conventional french cleat to the back, here the back becomes the cleat. The back is in 2 pieces, divided by a beveled cross-cut in the middle. The joint is directly behind the 7/8” cross member behind the plane till. The crosscut is made at 45 degrees so the upper section hangs over the lower. The lower section of the back is analagous to the part of the conventional cleat attached to the wall; the upper part is the piece that would be attached to the back of the case. The lower section is screwed to the wall studs with 6 2-1/2” cabinet screws. The upper section is screwed and glued to rabbets in the rear of the upper case. The weight of the case hangs on the bottom section and additional cabinet screws added near the top. It allows the cabinet to be absolutely flush with the wall.

Hope that helps

One comment mentioned antique tools. In the photo, the Bailey#6 plane lying horizontally on the shelf, and the dividers on the right door belonged to my great grandfather (1857-1952) and date back to around 1900. I used them both on this project. Also have his level, a very large brass plumb bob, a wooden clamp and a brace and a bunch of really rusty bits. The Stanley #48 tongue and groove plane standing vertically on the left has a patent date of of 1875 and works – needs some TLC but that is a winter project.

I also have a 12 oz. hammer and a coping saw I got for Christmas when I was 6 – I’m 73 now. I used the coping saw to remove waste on the dovetails in this project. 68 years and I’m still using both !

32 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2167 days

#1 posted 08-04-2016 03:26 AM

Great job on a really attractive project! Also, glad to hear someone else ends up spending more time on a project than anticipated—something I can relate to only too well.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1328 days

#2 posted 08-04-2016 04:09 AM

Sorry that you are stopping collecting any additional tools … ☺

Very nice work tho.


-- Madmark -

View BurlyBob's profile


5150 posts in 2140 days

#3 posted 08-04-2016 05:01 AM

That’s a really nice looking and efficient tool cabinet. Makes me wish I’d done something similar.

View Rick_M's profile


10833 posts in 2255 days

#4 posted 08-04-2016 05:40 AM

View oldnovice's profile


6479 posts in 3243 days

#5 posted 08-04-2016 05:48 AM

That is nice!
Did you stray far from the original plans?
I wish I had that much wall space in my shop.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Ken90712's profile


17539 posts in 3064 days

#6 posted 08-04-2016 07:48 AM

Nice work, looks great

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View MustacheMike's profile


260 posts in 1963 days

#7 posted 08-04-2016 09:36 AM


-- You can trust Mike -" because I will never pull your stash!" See my show weekly at

View johnstoneb's profile (online now)


2692 posts in 2048 days

#8 posted 08-04-2016 10:44 AM

Nice job. I made that same cabinet. It really does a good job.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View gargey's profile


873 posts in 650 days

#9 posted 08-04-2016 12:44 PM

Nice. I should post mine, which is an original and much much simpler design. That one would take me 5 years.

View tyvekboy's profile


1701 posts in 2888 days

#10 posted 08-04-2016 12:57 PM

Nice job. I know you’ll enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View NCTurner's profile


50 posts in 1031 days

#11 posted 08-04-2016 01:09 PM

first rate cabinet and workmanship. Good job! Nice to have stuff that organized (I can only imagine….ha!)

-- One good turn deserves another!

View Valete's profile


89 posts in 1334 days

#12 posted 08-04-2016 01:50 PM

Great job. This cabinet is on top of my build list.

View helluvawreck's profile


29764 posts in 2741 days

#13 posted 08-04-2016 02:39 PM

This is a great collection of tools and you did a wonderful job on this cabinet.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View KelleyCrafts's profile


2702 posts in 614 days

#14 posted 08-04-2016 03:06 PM

I made one similar, I love seeing how everyone hangs their tools. We all have our own thoughts of works best. I love it.

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View Andre's profile


1576 posts in 1681 days

#15 posted 08-04-2016 03:23 PM

Looks nicer than your last tool cabinet! I built one a while back not near as pretty and am still trying to figure out the best way to hang the tools inside. Going to borrow your idea for the coping saws and squares, Thanks.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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