Wall-Mounted Tool Cubby Cabinet

Pigeonhole storage for power tools and more

Overall dimensions: 371⁄4"w × 113⁄4"d × 13"h 

While larger shop machines tend to sit pat until moved by muscle and wheels, smaller tools need persuasion to stay in one spot. At times, drills, nailers, and sanders seem to sprout legs and scramble off as soon as you turn your back on them. If you’ve grown weary of playing hide and seek with your portable power tools, corral them with this handy multi-compartment cabinet. It won’t take long to build, and even less time to fill. Pocket screws eliminate the need for fancy joinery or an arsenal of clamps for assembly. Once the case is glued and screwed together, slide the hardboard dividers into the mating dadoes in the top and bottom to create custom storage nooks for tools and related accessories.

Cut the parts

1 From 3⁄4" birch plywood, cut the top and bottom (A) and side (B) panels to the sizes listed in the Cut List.

2 To cover up the plywood edges on the front of the case, cut the veneer edge banding about 1" longer than you’ll need. Working one edge at a time, set a banding strip onto its mating panel edge. (Note: If you don’t own a workbench, try sandwiching the panel between two 2 × 4s, as shown, below right.) After heating the iron just enough to activate, or soften, the adhesive on the banding’s back face, affix the veneer to a front outside edge, as shown in Photo A. Repeat the process with the remaining front edges of the panels.

3 Set a pair of panels on edge. Now, using a handheld router outfitted with a flush-trim bit, rout the excess banding, as shown in Photo B. Trim the banding ends flush with the panels using a chisel or utility knife. To finish up, lightly chamfer the banding edges with a sanding block to soften the sharp corners, and level any projections that might catch and tear if snagged by a divider.

Clamp the top and bottom together, and rout the dadoes for the dividers. The jig’s guide strips ensure that the dadoes are parallel and evenly spaced.
Use a sanding block to clean up tear-out and to break the edges.

4 Using a tablesaw equipped with a dado blade, or a router outfitted with a rabbet bit (or else, a straight bit and edge guide), rabbet the rear inside edges of the top and bottom (A), where shown in Figure 1.

5 Make the Dado-Routing Jig in Figure 2. Place the top and bottom (A) front edge to front edge on a benchtop with their inside faces up, flush the ends, and clamp the pieces together. Place the jig at one end of the clamp-up with the guide strips registering against an end, and secure it in place. Using a trim router and 3⁄16" straight bit, rout the first set of dadoes in the dividers. Next, fit the guide strips into the first set of dadoes, and rout the next pair of dadoes. Continue routing (Photo C) until you’ve reached the opposite end. Sand the surfaces smooth (Photo D).

Assemble the case

1 Referring to Figure 1, drill pocket-holes in the outside faces of the top and bottom (A), and then join the top and bottom to the sides (B) with glue and screws.

2 Measure the opening at the back of the assembly, and cut the back (C) to fit from 1⁄2" birch plywood. Next, apply glue and insert the back in the cabinet, nailing it in place, as shown in Photo E. (To correct a minor bow, I used a clamp to draw the top and bottom to the back panel.)

3 Measure and cut the hardboard dividers (D) to fit. (You probably won’t need to make dividers for every slot, but I suggest cutting a few more than you think you’ll need.)

4 Finish-sand the cabinet, and apply a finish as you desire.

5 To install the cabinet, screw the back to the wall at the stud locations using #8 × 21⁄2" screws. 

About Our Designer/Builder

An accomplished woodworker from Lubeck, West Virginia, Bill Sands is a regular contributor to Woodcraft Magazine, having built several projects. In addition, he teaches woodworking classes at the Parkersburg Woodcraft store.

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