Hanging Tool Cabinet - updated photos

  • Advertise with us
Project by Carey Mitchell posted 08-04-2016 03:08 AM 9598 views 38 times favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Some new photos of 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 plans and video came from Fine Woodworking magazine, and were first rate. I design almost everything I build and rarely use published plans. it was a pleasure not to spend a lot of time in design – and worrying that things might not work out – and coming up with corrections when they don’t.

I decided to hand cut the dovetails. The video showed some nice ways to do them with the table saw and router, but I wanted to do it the hard way. 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 to give the bland maple a little color (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. It is composed of a 41×27” piece of 1/2” plywood, crosscut directly behind the horizontal shelf below the plane till. The crosscut is 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 case is hung (sans doors, etc. due to the weight !) on the bottom section and additional cabinet screws added near the top. I would have never thought of this – 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 2132 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 1293 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


5072 posts in 2106 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


10646 posts in 2220 days

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

View oldnovice's profile


6435 posts in 3208 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


17527 posts in 3029 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


259 posts in 1929 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)


2643 posts in 2013 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


862 posts in 616 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 2853 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


49 posts in 996 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 1299 days

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

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

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


29220 posts in 2707 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


2681 posts in 579 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.

-- - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View Andre's profile


1497 posts in 1646 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.

showing 1 through 15 of 32 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics