Subtitle: The Conundrum
I completed a very public build of a wall-hung tool cabinet a few weeks ago and it is still essentially empty. There are more variations to filling such cabinets as Carters’ got pills, as my mother used to say, but I haven’t run across any treatise on wall-hung cabinets as omnipotent as Lysdexic’s one-time post. I’ve been running through some arrangements as time permits that attempt to match form with function, but referred to The Criteria (as I’ve been calling his points) enough in my head that I was forced to print the text for handy reference.
So this Entry is for you if you have a cabinet and are in need of input. Good or bad input. And put these Points under either heading, no big deal. :-)
I want a wall-hung cabinet that provides the sensation of Epiphany. It probably doesn’t exist. Yet, let’s talk about some design criteria.
—Weight: The heaviest tools from a load-bearing perspective should be closest to the wall or back of the cabinet. This will decrease the moment arm acting on the wall anchor – french cleat or otherwise. This is not as critical for a cabinet supported by a stand.
—Ergonomics: The heaviest tools should also reside approximately belly button height. We will all tire of reaching for a #7 in an overhead position. The lightest tools should go on the doors. These affect the moment arm the greatest. Think layout tools, chisels and such.
—Volume: Optimize storage volume. Attain this goal as directly proportional to overall weight and probably inversely proportional to accessibility.
—Accessibility: Put most-used tools at the ready. If you are going to add layers, ie: Studley, don’t bury your favorite square below flip out trays.
—Composition: Easily dismissed, but the arrangement of patterns, rhythm, color and texture will have an emotional impact every time you open the doors. This is obviously a matter of taste, but don’t plan to store your Hurwoods in a red, plastic Folgers can at the end of a row of T#13s.
—Flexibility: I avoid commitment and want the ability to change things up in the future. Mos’s T-track till is a great example. My marriage is not.
In running through several approaches this week, I came upon a couple of layouts to doors that I liked. When I showed the pics to my #3 son, he came back with a quick question: Do you use all of these tools? So I’ll add this to the Index:
—Pragmatic: Function trumps form. Cabinet space is a limited resource, so start with the big stuff, include tools for use and resist placing tools that strictly look good or solely fill space. This is a derivative of the tool chest theorem.
It’s not an index without a point system, so slap a 10-point scale on each of the points above and decide for yourselves where tool cabinets you like might rate. And in posts below, feel free to comment and suggest additional points as possible adds to the Criterion. It’s here as a reference, most of all. Thanks!
Points Taken from Comments Below:
While a number of these can be extended to the build out of cabinet, they are each considerations when deciding whether to build a cabinet at all, it’s overall dimensions / design, and material choices. And Don W’s Expandability metric draws the discussion towards the layout of an entire shop. Lots to think about, and as Andy pointed out, that may lead to analysis paralysis. so take it all in with a grain of sailt, as they say.
—Time: How much of a resource investment is needed to support your choices?
—Cost: What you build it from has a price…
—Value: A big part of determining an approach is deciding what’s important to you.
—Expandability: What if you need more? Collect more? Expand your skillset involving new tools?
-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive