Ten years ago I finished up my tool cabinet that I built based off of Greg Radley’s tool cabinet in the Taunton Press’s book “The Toolbox Book”. Made out of red oak and walnut the cabinet stands 77″ high by 32″ wide and has served me well over the years but has repeatedly taken on a different look inside.
As you can see, when it was done in 2001, it stored a modest amount of tools. I had a few saws and chisels with a small amount of hand planes. The cabinet was complete but to me it was somewhat bare inside.
Fast forward ten years and you can see the transformation it has taken. A lot of the tools are still in the same place but a lot more have been added.
Today the cabinet stores a lot more hand planes. A symbol of my expanding woodworking knowledge. As my skills increased over the years, so too has my collection of specific hand tools. Today I understand the difference between using one type of plane versus another so my collection of old planes has grown. I’ve added scraper planes, rabbet block planes, infill smoothers, low angle bench planes, beading planes, specialized spokeshaves, microplane rasps, etc….
I usually update the tool cabinet about once a year pulling out tools I don’t use very much and hanging up tools that I will use more frequently. Removing old tools from the cabinet is no easy task as I am often left with the scars of where the old tools use to be. Cleaning out the cabinet you can see old holes where pegs once stood, ripped veneer where the block of wood holding up a tool tore of the face of the plywood and mis-tinted stain as I forgot what color stain I used to originally finish the oak.This is one of the reasons I used red oak for the carcass of the cabinet. Had I used a more expensive wood like cherry or mahogany, I would have been too apprehensive to change the design of the interior ruining perfectly good wood.
Today I use a lot of rare earth magnets to hold up tools and keep them in place. It’s far easier to drill a hole and super glue a magnet in it than to design some sort of holding system to hold up a tool. I wish I would have used rare earth magnets ten years ago when I designed the interior. It would have made it a lot easier to redesign the interior.
How the cabinet will look ten years from now is anyones guess. I will never call the cabinet complete. To me, this tool cabinet is like a website, it’s never done just updated with more usable content.