217 – Tool Storage Cabinet

Video - April 2, 2014

Tool storage is a challenge for any workshop. Even in my spacious 1800 square foot “warehouse,” I am constantly looking for ways to be more efficient and to prevent my tools from taking up more space than is truly necessary. My current dilemma is how to store my portable power tools so that they are out of their cases and accessible. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but I hope sharing my thoughts on this topic will at least get your gears turning so you can tackle the storage challenges in your own shop.

A Case of Bloat

systainerThe manufacturers of portable power tools tools usually provide a molded plastic case that allows you to transport and store the tool safely. Unfortunately these cases tend to take up 2-4 times the space of the tool itself. In addition, the cases tend to be various shapes and sizes which makes them very difficult to stack; Festool Systainers being the obvious exception. But even Systainers can suffer from space bloat, as you can see in the picture to the left.

Toddler Inspiration

organizerMy solution was inspired by my son’s playroom. My wife purchased a simple cubby system (she wasn’t about to wait three years for me to build one) to help organize my son’s toys. I often thought this form-factor would lend itself well to storing things like sanders, routers, jigsaws, etc. But storing these tools would pose an additional challenge, and that’s the storage of the various accessories that come with all of these tools. The Tool Storage Cabinet is the answer to that challenge.

The Solution

217The Tool Storage Cabinet features five rows, two of which are just wide enough to house Festool Systainers. Each row features an adjustable shelf for the ultimate in versatility. The top consists of a split lid that covers additional storage compartments. If you don’t like the idea of a hinged lid, consider converting the storage bins into full-extension drawers. Feel free to download the SketchUp file below and modify the model as you see fit.

Download the SketchUp File
Download the PDF Plan with Cut List

***Error Note*** The dimensions for the large lid panel are incorrect in the PDF cut list. They should be 16 1/2″W x 41 7/8″L.

Tools & Materials

The project consumes three sheets of 3/4″ plywood. You’ll have a lot of material left over on that third sheet so changing the dimensions or overall design could very well result in reducing the material to only two sheets.

This is a very Festool-focused build primarily because I wanted this project built quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality. But you don’t need a Domino and a track saw to build it! There’s no reason you can’t use classic cabinet joinery such as dados and rabbets, or even one of the other popular construction methods including biscuits, screws, and dowels. For cutting down the plywood, consider making your own circular saw guide for precision “track saw-like” cuts.

If you’re looking for the hinges I used in this video, click here!

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