A Little Tool Cabinet
I built this tool cabinet to replace a 4′ square of pegboard that I had screwed to the wall. Originally, I had my workbench in that space and it made sense that the pegboard would be there to hold all my most used tools. When I moved my bench, that particular pegboard was more or less abandoned in favour of a new one that I put up over the bench at the new location. I later re-organized again and put my lathe under the old pegboard, but it proved inadequate for keeping my various lathe accessories in order, and I wanted a place to store those lesser-used hand tools that didn’t warrant a place closer to my bench.
The cabinet itself isn’t very interesting – it’s pretty ordinary maple plywood casework with solid maple where appropriate. The plywood is paint grade maple from a home centre that I picked up quite inexpensively from their off cut bin. The size of the cut-offs was a big factor in the size of the cabinets. The over-all dimensions are 42″ high, 34″ wide, and 6″ deep. The shelves are rebated and dadoed into the sides and secured with screws and glue. The empty shelves at the bottom are really supposed to be for drawers, but I wasn’t sure whether I was going to have clearance between the cabinet and my lathe so I have so far held off on making those. I’m thinking I’ll go back and make some simple drawers out of MDF soon now that I have the clearances sorted out and I have a good idea of what I want to store in them.
The doors are possibly of interest. They’re held on by piano hinges for strength. The doors are frame and panel construction with lap jointed corners, but with a small twist – there are two panels, and the panels are pegboard. I spaced the panels far enough apart to ensure that the peg hooks I have won’t scratch the back side of the opposite panel. Consequently, the rails and stiles are unusually thick at 1.25″. The pegboard panels are 1/4″ thick each, there is 3/8″ between them, and the groove for the pegboard is inset 3/16″ from the edge. The doors are pretty heavy, hence the piano hinges. There’s a block of maple on top of the bottom shelf inside the cabinet for some cheap spring catches which have worked alright to keep the doors closed.
I’m really pleased about how this improved my storage and organization, and I’m actually thinking about tearing down the three cabinets beside this thing and building another one of these in their place with adjustable height shelves inside in addition to the pegboard, and maybe 10″ deep. The cupboards that this would replace are something of a black hole of storage – stuff piled up and falling out on me when I open the doors…
One thing that I was somewhat concerned about was the idea of hanging things on peg hooks that move with the doors. I just have to be somewhat careful not to slam those doors. I’ve had the hack saw fall off the back a couple of times. The extra flexible storage this arrangement bought me is well worth remembering not to slam doors.