Wall-mounted Tool Cabinet

  • Advertise with us
Project by brianl posted 03-27-2010 09:02 PM 6435 views 6 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I finally decided to create a shop cabinet so that I would have a place to put my tools. Previously they ended up scattered all over my bench, causing me to constantly fight for space. I got the plans from ShopNotes’ special Setting up Shop issue.

The body is made from 3/4” birch plywood. The edging is simple molding from a big-box. The piece is put together primarily with 2 in screws. It is secured to the wall using 3” screws into three separate studs. The project featured a large amount of rabbet work. There is no finish on it at this time. The lower drawers are made from 1/2” birch plywood, quickly knocked together with a brad gun.

I am still in the process of creating custom holders for my commonly used tools. Right now you can see a screwdriver/chisel holder, a combination square/tape measure slot, sanding block box, and a wrench rack. More to come as I decide what I often use. I still keep the majority of my uncommonly-used tools in a large toolbox.

Before this project I had never used a Dado set so that was an interesting learning experience. I also learned to use a router with a mortising bit to cut dadoes in the middle of long pieces of wood. The weigh of the piece was also a bit of a problem. Getting this sucker up on the wall by myself took a lot of time, patience, and planning.

I seriously butchered the shelf pins. I attempted to construct a jig to make it easier but I still over-drilled holes and mis-aligned them. I think before I do any further work I will purchase one of the commercial shelving jigs I’ve seen for sale from Rockler and whatnot. I think I will also drill the shelf pin holes before assembling the carcass.

After mounting the cabinet I realized that it would not open due to the garage door track. So, I unscrewed it, heaved the heavy sucker down and remounted it where I thought it would be okay. I then learned to my horror that I was 1/8” too high. That really enforced the “measure twice, move a really freakin’ heavy cabinet once” lesson.

Lessons Learned
1. Cabinet construction is harder than you think.
2. Dado sets are awesome.
3. If you ask the guys at the big box stores to cut a sheet of 4’x8’ plywood down for you, watch them closely. They butchered a lot of the cuts and splintered edges all over the place.

This was a really valuable learning experience for me. It took about 15 hours for me to make it and is really useful now. Now all I need is a real workbench!

-- Brian - Belmont, Massachusetts

4 comments so far

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 03-27-2010 09:20 PM

you can always buy commercial shelf standards and install those if the shelf pins are really bad, should be fairly inexpensive. Theres alot of plans for shelf pin jigs out there, I’ve seen at least half a dozen in the magazines I have for hand drills, drill press, and router (if you want I can dig out a few and send the articles)

one trick i learned when doing shelf pins (and drawer slides) is to lay both sides flat next to each other before assembly, and draw your reference lines across both at the same time, so they line up perfectly, rather than measuring each seperately, that cuts out alot of error.

like my grampa tol me, “no effort is wasted if you learn how not to f**k it up the next time!” lol!

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View Misesfan's profile


11 posts in 2962 days

#2 posted 03-27-2010 09:58 PM

Looks really nice. I definitely need to do something similar in my garage. Thanks for the tips.

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3256 days

#3 posted 03-28-2010 04:04 AM

I’m working on a hardware cabinet for my shop right now; I avoided shelf-pin issues by going with those steel strip-style shelf standards that you dado into the sides. They wouldn’t do for fine furniture, but for the shop, they’re fine (and a lot less error-prone).

Edit: Ha. Guess I should have read the replies first.

Oh, and look into French cleats. The only thing you have to hold up while you drive screws is the cleat. After that, the heavy cabinet just hangs right up there.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View EduWood's profile


57 posts in 3592 days

#4 posted 03-29-2010 07:52 AM

I really like your project. i wish i had the wall space in my garage.

Last summer I built an entire wall (22 LF) of cabinets for storage and a pantry. I purchased a commercial jig for drilling shelf pin holes. I was extremely glad I did. However, even with the jig and self-centering drill bit, care in use is paramount. On one set I neglected to clamp the jig in place assuming I could just “hold and drill” – after all, I had this neat jig and I’d just done several others without a problem. Well, that is when the jig shifted out of position and I had a problem. One of my cabinets now has an “extra” row of holes. I’m glad I learned that lesson on cabinets for the garage and not on a nice piece of furniture.

-- David, O.C., California

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