Tool Cabinet

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Project by Joe Brumley posted 07-24-2008 05:45 AM 2657 views 11 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ok so here’s one from the archives. This is my first and so far my only tool cabinet. It is still in use today and until I decide that I have enough time to warrant building another one this will probably be my last tool cabinet. I also now keep most of my hand tools on the wall behind my bench so that I don’t have to keep opening and closing the doors every time I want something. With this system I can see when something is missing and put it back right away. Anyway, I built the cabinet after getting a copy of the Toolbox book by Jim Tolpin from our local library. Since I was a beginner I chose to use pine and birch plywood as the bulk of the cabinet and use a little of the air-dried cherry and air-dried walnut that I had received from a buddy. He was not into woodworking but had a farm with some stickered wood located under an old shed at the edge of his woods. He estimated it at being about 20 years old.
Since this was my first big piece I decided to make it in a shaker style with the simple frame and panel doors and the graduated drawers. The doors are cherry frames with 1/4” birch ply panels, and the drawers are walnut with pine backs and 1/4” birch ply bottoms. I used a half-lap joing that I cut on the table saw to join the door frames and the drawers are hand cut dovetails. The pulls are generic hardware store pulls that were stained to somewhat resemble the walnut. The plane shelf is fixed and angled about 15 degrees. The three other shelves are adjustable. It is ultimately more utilitarian than stylish but I had a blast building it because I love woodworking. This picture was taken in 2001 but I built the cabinet in 1998/99. I just didn’t have a digital camera until after I got married (wedding gift).

-- Joe, Indiana,

13 comments so far

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 2576 days

#1 posted 07-24-2008 05:53 AM

That is one nice looking tool cabinet thanks for the inspiration, and I will need to look for that book at the local library myself.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Tom Adamski's profile

Tom Adamski

306 posts in 2593 days

#2 posted 07-24-2008 06:23 AM

Joe, very nice tool cabinet. I can’t see why you would want to make another…


-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsman can hide his mistakes.

View SteveKorz's profile


2133 posts in 2536 days

#3 posted 07-24-2008 06:47 AM

Very nice cabinet, great job!

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 2819 days

#4 posted 07-24-2008 06:59 AM

I like it! Great hand cut joints for the drawers. Tool cabinets are some of my favorite pieces…

How did you join up the carcase?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View beaudex's profile


64 posts in 2460 days

#5 posted 07-24-2008 12:16 PM

Very nice design. I have been thinking about trying a set of drawers with rabbeted sides. I have often wondered how they stand up under heavy use. I wonder if might comment on that.



-- Derek Tay, Venerate the Tree Design

View griff's profile


1207 posts in 2584 days

#6 posted 07-24-2008 12:58 PM

Very nice tool cabinet. very good build

-- Mike, Bruce Mississippi = Jack of many trades master of none

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 3148 days

#7 posted 07-24-2008 01:19 PM

your cabinet looks great.
I could use something like this…

View Joe Brumley's profile

Joe Brumley

68 posts in 2604 days

#8 posted 07-24-2008 03:41 PM

Thanks guys. You are all too kind.
Since it is a plywood box I just put a rabbet along the ends of the sides and a dado for the shelves and attached it with glue and nails. I edged the plywood with some cherry to cover everything up.

The drawers have held up very well. I don’t load them up with a lot of weight as they are only about 16.5 by 9.5 by 2, 3, and 3.75, but the one that holds my drill bits is pretty heavy and so far so good.

If you guys have any more questions please ask.

-- Joe, Indiana,

View Eric in Central Florida.'s profile

Eric in Central Florida.

3688 posts in 2398 days

#9 posted 08-23-2008 04:12 AM

Nice job Joe.
The joints on the drawers are sweet!

-- Retirement suits me fine !

View Karson's profile


34930 posts in 3222 days

#10 posted 03-15-2009 03:23 AM

A great looking tool cabinet. I guess you did post it and it slipped by.

Nice job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2495 days

#11 posted 08-11-2011 06:32 PM

Beautiful tool cabinet.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


10879 posts in 1440 days

#12 posted 08-12-2011 12:28 AM

That is nice. Creative joinery on the drawers that looks cool. A fine project, sad to hear it’s not getting much use…

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

View RGtools's profile


3314 posts in 1477 days

#13 posted 09-12-2011 03:54 AM

That’s a heck of a good start. The through dovetails are very tight.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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