Tool Cabinet

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Project by Grantman posted 12-08-2010 06:01 AM 10557 views 28 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

30 years ago, I quit my job thinking I would be an “artist.” Well, during the 2 1/2 years I didn’t have a conventional job I did some stained glass and started woodworking. The only thing of substance I built at the time was this tool cabinet.

It’s sustained a bunch of moves and a guy who didn’t know what the hell he was doing when he was building it. But, it’s served me to today and finally I’m adding a couple of plywood sheets attached to my workshop walls with french cleats to store stuff that simply won’t fit in the cabinet.

Birch plywood, walnut trim, oak plywood for doors, walnut drawer fronts, maple sides, and basswood for secondary wood.

After all this time, I only had to do one repair on it and it was just this past weekend. Not too shabby for a guy who had no flippin’ clue on what to do 30 years ago! Believe me, if I could do this…anyone can.

OK, I’ve updated this with a few more pictures showing some of the details. You’ll see the maple drawer glides, my sandpaper drawers (not enough of them) and the flat trays for my french curves, drafting triangles, and, well, flat stuff. The dovetail detail is the top shelf next to the Soss hinges. As I recall, that was a pain in the patootie to figure out how to do. All I had was a Sears router, some cheap bits, and a 6’ wallpaper straightedge. I like these hinges although I should have used four, not three. The bookmatched doors are from a piece of 1/4” oak plywood that just happen to work out fine.

I am very flattered by the comments below – thank you all for them.

20 comments so far

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 2963 days

#1 posted 12-08-2010 06:11 AM

That’s a cool tool cabinet. The best thing about it, it looks like it has been used well and shows the character to prove it. I bet every ding has a story to tell. Also, I bet the lessons learned in building that cabinet have served you very weill over the years.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 3336 days

#2 posted 12-08-2010 06:17 AM

MORE Pictures!!!!!!

I demand more pics of that wonderful chest.

That is really great!!!

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View AttainableApex's profile


347 posts in 2737 days

#3 posted 12-08-2010 06:46 AM

looks nice

-- Ben L

View a1Jim's profile


116902 posts in 3481 days

#4 posted 12-08-2010 07:58 AM

Wowsville so nice

-- Custom furniture

View Splinterman's profile


23072 posts in 3265 days

#5 posted 12-08-2010 08:53 AM

Real cool box…nice job.

View SgtSnafu's profile


960 posts in 3175 days

#6 posted 12-08-2010 03:23 PM

That is a fine looking cabinet, and I agree the time you have used it has just added character to it.. I too would like to see more pics of it…

Thanks for sharing

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 2944 days

#7 posted 12-08-2010 06:08 PM

Very Cool !!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View KevinH's profile


100 posts in 3711 days

#8 posted 12-08-2010 07:02 PM

I really like your project. You’ve combined elements of a machinist’s chest with a wall cabinet and it has served you well over the years. Thanks for posting.

-- Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance. --Kevin in Happy Valley

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 2980 days

#9 posted 12-08-2010 08:29 PM

I too would love to see more pictures of this jewel. I absolutely love seeing work horses like this that has stood the test of time. Ohhh the stories it tells.

I absolutely love this and definitely plan on building myself one soon. I hope in 30 years it looks as good as this. Thanks for sharing (and thanks in advance for posting more pictures.. Hint hint…lol)

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 3928 days

#10 posted 12-09-2010 12:39 AM

Very nice! I personally like the clutter – reminds me of my own shop. Lots of character there, and I too would love to see more.

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View kcrandy's profile


285 posts in 3336 days

#11 posted 12-09-2010 03:58 AM

Think Antiques Roadshow: folk art: mucho bucks!

-- Caulk and paint are a poor carpenter's best friends

View Grantman's profile


112 posts in 3929 days

#12 posted 12-09-2010 04:12 AM

OK, OK…more pictures will come. I’ll take some this weekend and post as soon as I can. Geez…who’dathunk a 30 year old tool cabinet would warrant such interest. I’m flattered, guys, truly flattered.

Thanks so much. No false modesty at all. Truly humbled by your interest.

As I recall (as best as a 30 year old memory can be accurate) I saw a bunch of tool cabinets in Fine Woodworking and thought I could do that. My guidebook was Tage Frid’s first book and FW. When you’re young, nothing is impossible and I had the time.

If you only knew the backstories of an 80 year old landlady who helped with the glue-up and more. She never understood what I was doing in the garage she was renting…but that’s a story for another day. Don’t ask about her two sisters who were older than she, or her son and my stolen tape decks….

View stefang's profile


15784 posts in 3238 days

#13 posted 12-09-2010 01:01 PM

A really great looking and practical tool cabinet Grantman. I too retired thinking that I would be artistic. It was quite a shock for me to realize how limited my creative abilities are. I still have fun trying though.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View BillyJ's profile


622 posts in 3107 days

#14 posted 12-10-2010 03:17 AM

That tool cabinet is a sign of a real craftsman and woodworker. A 30-year belated “great job.”

-- I've never seen a tree that I wouldn't like to repurpose into a project. I love the smell of wood in the morning - it smells like victory.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3095 days

#15 posted 12-11-2010 07:01 AM

first rate, I could really use that!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

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