The Bastard Wall Cabinet (for tools!)

The Wood Whisperer Guild Winter Build is upon us, and for those of you new to the site, I'll be participating as loudly as I can. Rather than go Marc's suggested route of a fancy, nice piece of furniture to hang in the house and proudly display, I'm opting to make a utilitarian, sheet good tool cabinet. Call it my Bastard Wall Cabinet.

When a wall cabinet was first suggested as the next Guild build I knew I would turn mine into a tool cabinet. Yet, it wasn't until this passed weekend that I gave it any serious thought (and truth be told, I wouldn't even have thought about it yet, had it not been for Adam King's egging me on to share it). As I suspect that I'm not the only woodworker in need of a tool cabinet I invite all my fellow Guildites to bastardize their cabinets too. I'll share mine as frequently as I can, but let this serve as a warning: I'm not Marc & I'm not trying to co-opt his build. If you're turning your Guild cabinet into a tool cabinet, it's best you follow along with him and modify the Guild design as necessary to suit your particular needs (I'm guessing I'm the only one who need the final cabinet to be exactly 17 3/4" deep).

The original bastard.
My Design
The first design parameter I have to meet is the size of my current sliding storage cabinet. As the tool cabinet will hang on the wall immediately next to the sliding storage cabinet and I plan to build more cabinets to hang next to the tool cabinet, I want the tool cabinet to match the height (27-3/4") and depth (17-3/4" + French cleat) of the existing slide out cabinet. Since the cabinets will hang immediately against one another, I'm also forced to design doors which will open and swing without requiring any side clearance.

Understanding those parameters, I watched Marc's previous Guild video on the design of his tool cabinet. I was intrigued with the idea of storing the planes on their side. I went as far as to create a SketchUp using that storage method late Sunday night. As you can see, storing the planes on their side would be great if I could make the cabinet shallower than 17-3/4", but in my case it left a plenum of dead space behind. My first thought was to make the front portion of the cabinet pull out to reveal the plenum. After a good night's sleep and lots of consideration (and a helpful email exchange with Marc) I decided to scrap my first design. Making it pull out would not only be overly complicated, the clearance required for the slides and exterior frame would dramatically reduce the size and utility of the plenum they would be revealing.

The right side of the new bastard.
My next source of ideas was an article entitled "Tool-Cabinet Design" by Chris Becksvoort from the 2001 edition of Fine Woodworking Tools & Shops (it's a member's only article). In the article Becksvoort arranges his planes vertically on an inclined shelf that hinges up to reveal storage space behind it. I thought this would be a better and easier way to use my 17-3/4" depth and developed my second design.

One element that has stayed the same are the doors, with 3" deep recesses behind them. After seeing The Village Carpenter's shop, I plan to copy Kari and make removable racks for my chisels which will fit in the 3" deep recesses.

That's about as far as I've come with the design so far. I'll keep the blog updated as it evolves.

Who's inspired your tool cabinet design?
The left side of the bastard.