Hand tool caddy

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Project by DHS posted 09-09-2016 06:16 PM 973 views 10 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this hand-tool caddy as a way to practice some hand-tool skills (proud dovetail pins and through tenons, half-blind dovetails, string inlay) and to have a convenient and portable tool cabinet that would not take up too much space when sitting on a workbench. The cabinet is walnut with maple inside the drawer boxes. The inlaid abstract tree is made from holly and the little round leaves at the ends of the branches are cherry and birch. The cabinet sides are joined by dovetails at the base but the top is attached by through tenons that I shaped to match the dovetail pins at the bottom. The cabinet holds tools I would expect to use at a wood-working class or if I were to do some hand-tool work at another shop. These include jack and smoothing planes, a couple of block planes (including a rabbet block plane), dovetail, carcass, and tenon saws, a mallet, a spokeshave, and some marking and measuring tools. The drawer box holds two more boxes. One contains more marking and measuring tools and the other contains four chisels. Card scrapers fit at the bottom of the drawer box.

The cabinet holds a lot of tools. But, it turns out to be just semi-portable. After filling it up with tools I discovered that it is so heavy I can only carry it about 30 feet before I have to stop and rest! So much for portability… At least it is pretty.

-- Dave S., Bellingham, WA

13 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13569 posts in 2037 days

#1 posted 09-09-2016 06:25 PM

I’ve been working on tool caddies myself (big cabinet, many months, but that’s a story for another time), so this is very timely and feeds my need to see the work of others in this area.

Beautiful work Dave. Wood choice is excellent, arrangement also nice. Love the drawer and inserts too. All around great stuff!

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

View carter choate's profile

carter choate

19 posts in 2473 days

#2 posted 09-09-2016 06:27 PM

a most beautiful cabinet. handsomely done.

-- poor folks have poor ways-m. choate

View majuvla's profile


8685 posts in 2286 days

#3 posted 09-09-2016 07:36 PM


-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View theoldfart's profile


7933 posts in 1869 days

#4 posted 09-09-2016 09:56 PM

Nicely done, the line and berry work is quite the touch. As far as portability goes I hear you, I made a Dutch chest to take to woodworking classes and the thing is going to give me a hernia someday.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Mean_Dean's profile


4932 posts in 2566 days

#5 posted 09-09-2016 11:50 PM

” At least it is pretty.”

Well, it’s definitely that!

I like everything about this cabinet—the walnut looks great, I like the overall shape and look of it, and the string inlay is really well done!

-- Dean

View swirt's profile


2106 posts in 2390 days

#6 posted 09-10-2016 01:16 AM

Really nice. Did you put a french cleat on the back so you can hang it on the wall too?

-- Galootish log blog,

View Lou319's profile


6 posts in 2437 days

#7 posted 09-10-2016 12:04 PM

Wow…very nicely done! The design, the inlay, and wood choices are well thought out. Great job!

View Purplelady's profile


51 posts in 378 days

#8 posted 09-10-2016 12:48 PM

That is absolutely beautiful! I love the stringing.

-- Marsha, Northeast Ohio

View bkseitz's profile


293 posts in 728 days

#9 posted 09-10-2016 01:03 PM

Beautiful piece of work. Too nice to be a tool caddy. You are definitely a fine craftsman

-- bkseitz, Washington "if everything is going well, you've obviously overlooked something"

View GR8HUNTER's profile


975 posts in 131 days

#10 posted 09-10-2016 02:43 PM

very kewl looking ….......nice caddy …...... professional ….....GREAT JOB ….....GRATZ TOP 3


View NDVermin's profile


93 posts in 1988 days

#11 posted 09-10-2016 08:33 PM

Beautiful proportions and love the simple, elegant tree inlay

-- Scott - and

View BurlyBob's profile


3456 posts in 1684 days

#12 posted 09-11-2016 01:13 AM

That’s fantastic and the stringing is wonderful.

View Fraxinus's profile


25 posts in 150 days

#13 posted 09-11-2016 01:28 AM

I’ve been incoherently thinking about a design for a portable tool cabinet, nice to see one in “real life.” Very well executed. I like the tree inlay.

I’m currently building the small Dutch tool chest. It’s a heavy little bugger even without the lid installed yet, and it’ll be stupid heavy once it’s filled with tools. While technically portable it won’t be something I want to carry up a few flights of stairs.

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