Project: Wall Hanging Tool Cabinet -Start to Finish
This is probably a fools errand but here goes ...
No matter how large the shop, there's always a shortage of wall space on which to store stuff where it will be findable and accessible. A wall hung tool cabinet can effectively double the wall space it occupies AND it can keep dust off tools stored inside.
Here's the beginnings of a "Start to Finish" description of the process I went through to eventually end up with two wall hanging tool cabinets shown elsewhere. I've prepared this document to help me avoid some of the potential mistakes when making similar cabinets. What follows may also provide other newbies insights into one approach to things - from concept to finished piece with notes on initial considerations and issues which came up along the way.
If I state the obvious it's because it wasn't "obvious" to me at first. I hope this will be of use to others
- 32-36"wide (will necessitate 2 doors)
- 28-29" tall (has to fit in space with conduit below and garage door above)
- 8-10 " deep (deeper would interfere with sliding compound miter saw in front of the bottom of the cabinet)
- doors should have a minimum of 2" deep space to hold chisel racks or other "flat" tools etc.
- door panels should be made of 1/2" thick stock to permit attaching things to the inside of the doors
- carcass should be made if 3/4 - 1" thick stock since the cabinet may hold heavy tools (metal planes etc)
- the back should be 1/2-3/4" stock to permit attaching things to it
Door Panels Wood - 1/2" final thickness
- Light weight (doors will be 2-2 1/2" deep so weight will be an issue)
- Light colored wood (want to reflect light - shop never has enough light)
- Interesting but not overpowering grain pattern/figure (in addition to holding tools, the cabinet should be nice to look at)
- Inexpensive (this is after all shop furniture)
- Easy to work (forget curly or bird's eye maple etc.)
Found 3/4" Poplar boards that were almost white with a little beige figure and NO GREEN tinge, common with poplar
Carcass Wood - 3/4" final thickness
- Hardwood (this thing's going to hold a lot of weight and a 32 inch span on the bottom will need strength
- Light colored wood (never enough light in the shop - don't absorb any more)
- Interesting but not overpowering grain though not all that important since little of the carcass & door frame will be seen due to location
- Relaltively straight grain to minimize cupping on 7-8" deep carcass
- Not prohibitively expensive
- Easy to work (forget zebra wood)
Found 1" Ash boards that were 5 1/2 -8" wide. I needed 7 1/2" for carcass sides so 8" was perfect and I needed
2 1/4" for door frames so 5 1/2" was perfect - no glue up necessary - handy yes? Sometimes you get lucky - usually when you're doing what you're supposed to be doing - the Zen Thing
I examined my stock to begin deciding which parts will be which pieces. I turned them around and turned them over deciding on the "best face". I wanted them work together visually. For this cabinet, I want the door panels to go from darker on the sides to lighter towards the middle of the cabinet face and darker at the bottom to lighter at the top of the cabinet face. The inside face would be less important since I knew I'd be filling the inside of the doors with tools.
I decided to have the "best face" of the Ash for the carcass and door frames to be towards the inside of the cabinet. This choice goes back to my jewelers days. A Native American jeweler, Charles Laloma, makes the underside/back of his pieces even nicer than the outside/ front of his pieces. The idea is that only the wearer and perhaps a few close friends will ever know the hidden beauty of the piece. Turns out the inside of the cabinet carcass sides would be covered up later - but hey - it was a good idea.
Once I'd determined - more or less - what's going to be what, it was time to select and prepare my stock. I cut my stock to to final length PLUS an inch or two. Shorter boards are easier to "prepare" than long ones. More about stock preparation later - but first a parts marking system --->