My Ten Year Old tool Cabinet

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Forum topic by mvflaim posted 12-20-2011 09:25 PM 6871 views 8 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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189 posts in 3086 days

12-20-2011 09:25 PM

Ten years ago I finished up my tool cabinet that I built based off of Greg Radley’s tool cabinet in the Taunton Press’s book “The Toolbox Book”. Made out of red oak and walnut the cabinet stands 77″ high by 32″ wide and has served me well over the years but has repeatedly taken on a different look inside.

As you can see, when it was done in 2001, it stored a modest amount of tools. I had a few saws and chisels with a small amount of hand planes. The cabinet was complete but to me it was somewhat bare inside.

Fast forward ten years and you can see the transformation it has taken. A lot of the tools are still in the same place but a lot more have been added.

Today the cabinet stores a lot more hand planes. A symbol of my expanding woodworking knowledge. As my skills increased over the years, so too has my collection of specific hand tools. Today I understand the difference between using one type of plane versus another so my collection of old planes has grown. I’ve added scraper planes, rabbet block planes, infill smoothers, low angle bench planes, beading planes, specialized spokeshaves, microplane rasps, etc….

I usually update the tool cabinet about once a year pulling out tools I don’t use very much and installing tools that I will use more frequently. Removing old tools from the cabinet is no easy task as I am often left with the scars of where the old tools use to be. Cleaning out the cabinet you can see old holes where pegs once stood, ripped veneer where the block of wood holding up a tool tore of the face of the plywood and mis-tinted stain as I forgot what color stain I used to originally finish the oak.This is one of the reasons I used red oak for the carcass of the cabinet. Had I used a more expensive wood like cherry or mahogany, I would have been too apprehensive to change the design of the interior ruining perfectly good wood.

Today I use a lot of rare earth magnets to hold up tools and keep them in place. It’s far easier to drill a hole and super glue a magnet in it than to design some sort of holding system to hold up a tool. I wish I would have used rare earth magnets ten years ago when I designed the interior. It would have made it a lot easier to redesign the interior.

How the cabinet will look ten years from now is anyones guess. I will never call the cabinet complete. To me, this tool cabinet is like a website, it’s never done just updated with more usable content.

9 replies so far

View helluvawreck's profile


31030 posts in 2861 days

#1 posted 12-20-2011 09:31 PM

It’s a fine looking cabinet and both it and your tools are beautiful. Congratulations.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3643 days

#2 posted 12-20-2011 09:32 PM

that is a very nice toolcabinet. I built a smiilar cabinet albeit smaller for my custom needs which is wall mounted, but always planned on making a free standing version like you have done in the future when I have the space.

it is true, those cabinets go through an evolution process and rearrangement of things as you progress in your work and your collection of tools increases/changes.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2349 days

#3 posted 12-20-2011 09:37 PM

If you have more tools than this will hold, should you not make a second for your lesser used tools?

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View mvflaim's profile


189 posts in 3086 days

#4 posted 12-20-2011 10:14 PM

TCC, I already do need another cabinet to hold more planes I own. The other tools just sit on bookcases but it sure would be nice if they had a nicer home.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10377 posts in 3642 days

#5 posted 12-20-2011 10:15 PM

That’s nice.

I’ve put-off building a fine tool cabinet for, well basically my whole
time in woodworking because I always had the excuse that
I didn’t have all the tools yet and I wouldn’t want to make the
cabinet too small or whatever.

That excuse is actually no longer valid. I should get going and
build one.

View Imgoodwithmywood's profile


5 posts in 2344 days

#6 posted 12-21-2011 12:04 AM

That looks great. I need to start on mine soon

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2946 days

#7 posted 12-21-2011 01:44 AM

Awesome timing, I am getting ready to build one of these my self. Yours gives me some good ideas, thanks!

-- Mike

View JSilverman's profile


89 posts in 2608 days

#8 posted 12-21-2011 02:34 AM

This is a very nice tool cabinet and tool collection-
but does anyone want to give your thoughts on a cabinet like this vs the recent surge/interest in chests being advocated by Chris Schwarz?

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2946 days

#9 posted 12-21-2011 04:03 AM

I am actually going to make both. I have two reasons for wanting both types of storage: First, you learn and develop skills necessary in the trade/hobby, especially for us guys who are using only handtools. Secondly, I want to have the ability of making my tools portable and want to be able to store them more efficiently at home.

Back in the day, tool chests were a right of passage for apprentice cabinet makers. Seems like those guys got it right.

-- Mike

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