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Tool Cabinet Mock Up in Foam Core

How do you take this

Panoramic Hand Tool Shot

Bad panoramic shot is due to user error not the Pano app I used on my iPhone.

and this

Panoramic Moulding Plane shot

More user error, but you get the idea of my moulding plane collection

and this

Hand Tools on the Wall

There are actually a lot more not pictured here, but you get the idea...

and fit it all into a 36 x 36 x 12 inch cabinet?

It must be time to build a tool cabinet! I’m drawing very close to the final project of my first semester in The Hand Tool School and the project is an heirloom quality tool cabinet. I thought hard about building a chest, but floor space is at such a premium in many of our shops and building something strong enough to hold all this hardware on a wall is a great challenge.  So hanging cabinet it is.

I have had the overall form of the design in my head for several years now, so lately I’m just figuring out the guts of the thing and how it will store the tools and still allow room for growth. This is a perfect example of form meets function. I started with the form based on the profile of a Baltimore style Federal card table and fleshed out the silhouette. From there I began to envision the moving parts, drawer placement and graduation, and other aesthetic aspects. Now I’m mocking up those compartments in foam core board to begin to figure out how the tools will fit efficiently and still make sense.

Tool Cabinet Mock Up

Mock Up of a side swinging compartment to hold my "milling" planes.

I thank Tetris for the experience to do this, but it is a little like filling a VW bug with clowns. Ideally the sheer volume of tools that come out of the cabinet should seem impossible. I don’t want to just stuff it full, but I’m hoping to retain some order and beauty to the whole set up as well.

We shall see, but in the meantime, I’m off to Target to buy some more foam board so I can mock up the drawer sizes.

This should be a really fun build and ideally it will combine all the techniques we learned about in the first semester.  The key word here is ideally…

How do you design your pieces to meet a desired functionality? Do you prototype it actual size or rely upon something like SketchUp to show you the way?

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