Cabinetmaker’s Tool Chest
by Robert W. Lang
If I were to make three lists – the tools I want, the tools I own and the tools I need – the last would be the shortest. When I decided to build a wall cabinet for my hand tools, I put my most-used tools close at hand and at eye level, along with plenty of drawer storage for tools I don’t need so often.
I spent time sorting through my tools and experimenting. I cut some pieces of 1⁄4″-thick foam core (plywood or cardboard would work as well) to pin down the size and shape of the cabinet and the layout of the tools. My goal was to store as much as possible in a compact and organized space.
Tailor the Plan
If you’re thinking of building a tool chest similar to this, I suggest that you alter my design and adapt it to your tools, your shop and the way you work. The results will be more useful to you, and you’ll be happier.
I let function lead the way, with a single door for hanging storage. The stiles were turned 90° to provide depth. I wanted to hang a framing square in a corner of the door, and a bit of experimentation led to an overall height of 30″ and a width of 22-1⁄4″. A survey of the tools destined to hang in the door led to an overall depth of the door at 2-1⁄2″ and I settled on a case depth of 11-3⁄4″.
Web Site: Learn how to win this tool chest.
Blog: Learn the tips and techniques that Bob Lang uses as he fits the drawers in his chest.
Blog: Learn how to transform a simple drafting square into a highly prized shop tool.
Video: Get a look inside one of the country’s most notable makers of machinists’ tool chests.
Plan: Download the SketchUp model and read a blog post about using it to plan this project.
In Our Store: Jeff Miller’s book “The Foundations of Better Woodworking.”