Hand tool cabinet

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Project by DHS posted 552 days ago 4107 views 26 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Most of my hand tools are older than I am. But, I recently started to acquire some relatively new and shiny tools. My garage shop is a little damp and I built this cabinet in an attempt to keep those tools shiny. It was also a chance for me to put to use some hand-tool skills I’ve been practicing.

The cabinet is made from red oak. The drawer fronts are built from a single piece of English walnut that I picked up at a local lumber retailer after noting that it was just wide enough to span the width of the drawers. The drawer sides and back are maple. I dovetailed the corners of the cabinet and the drawers (my first attempt at dovetailing a project by hand after practicing on scrap wood for a few months). The shelves fit into stopped dados, also cut by hand. (Cutting them was fun.) The top shelf is fixed, but I drilled holes for shelf pins in the center section so that I can rearrange the shelves as my tool collection grows, assuming I behave myself and make Santa’s “good’ list next year. I finished the cabinet with a wiping varnish (3:2:1 mineral spirits, polyurethane, BLO). I like this finish because it is easy to apply and is pretty durable but it doesn’t look too much like plastic.

The first two photos show the cabinet assembled on my utility/assembly bench. The collage of photos shows some of the joinery in progress. The last couple of photos show the cabinet installed on the wall of the shop near my woodworking bench. In the first and second photos you can see a little green container stuck to the vertical divider. This is a VCI emitter that I purchased from Lee Valley. It emits volatile corrosion inhibitors that are supposed to diffuse throughout the cabinet, adhere to the metal surfaces of my tools and prevent oxidation. The manufacturers don’t specify what chemicals are wafting around my cabinet. But I am sure they are safe, harmless, healthy antioxidants (like Vitamin C?), keeping my tools healthy and shiny for years to come. Assuming, of course, I remember to put them back in the cabinet when I’m finished using them.

-- Dave S., Bellingham, WA

26 comments so far

View oldschooltools's profile


8 posts in 566 days

#1 posted 552 days ago

great show thanks for sharing

-- gary

View Matt W5MIX's profile

Matt W5MIX

28 posts in 990 days

#2 posted 552 days ago

Love the drawer fronts. Nice job!

-- Matt in Dripping Springs

View BTimmons's profile


2078 posts in 1090 days

#3 posted 552 days ago

Very nice. Those drawer fronts are really striking. That’s the best word I can come up with.

-- Brian Timmons, Big T Woodworks - -

View bbrown's profile


82 posts in 2157 days

#4 posted 552 days ago


-- Forest, Virginia ; My guitar scrapbook:

View whitebeast88's profile


3410 posts in 795 days

#5 posted 552 days ago

awesome job.great drawer fronts!!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View HillbillyShooter's profile


4380 posts in 897 days

#6 posted 552 days ago

Great looking tool cabinet.

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

View ShaneA's profile


5259 posts in 1203 days

#7 posted 552 days ago

It is like a box of goodness, lots of these cabinets are putting the pressure on a guy to build one himself. Well done, thanks for posting.

View DaddyZ's profile


2377 posts in 1645 days

#8 posted 552 days ago

Very Nice, I also think the drawer fronts look great !!!

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

View Crackerjak's profile


13 posts in 747 days

#9 posted 552 days ago

very nice…

View jap's profile


1225 posts in 659 days

#10 posted 552 days ago


-- Joel

View mbs's profile


1423 posts in 1545 days

#11 posted 552 days ago

Nice cabinet and nice joinery.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View paratrooper34's profile


760 posts in 1557 days

#12 posted 552 days ago

Damn fine job there! Beautiful drawers and great execution of tool placement. Bravo!

-- Mike

View Quaternion's profile


29 posts in 1296 days

#13 posted 552 days ago

Wow. I love the drawer fronts. I’m a long way from building my hand-tool cabinet, but when I do, I’m going to try to find a piece of wood like that.

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 1588 days

#14 posted 552 days ago

thats an awesome build. i do agree with other comments; the walnut drawer fronts makes the front

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 751 days

#15 posted 551 days ago

That is really nice work! A worthy home for your hand tools!

showing 1 through 15 of 26 comments

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