Standing Tool Cabinets

In some specialty woodworking trades the classic cabinetmaker's tool chest evolved from a trunk-like box to a considerably larger, though shallower, standing cabinet. In everyday use, a tall and shallow shape has obvious advantages. Orienting the tools along a tall, vertical surface allows many, if not all, of the tools to be instantly accessible. Unlike the trunk-type box, you don't have to lift or slide trays or a till of drawers to get at tools buried in a well below. And, as a blessing to your back, you don't have to scrunch over to get into the box—instead you can set the tools at a comfortable height above the floor. To make the most of a standing cabinet's ease of access, you should locate it close to where you normally stand at your workbench.

Unlike traditional cabinetmaker's chests, however, standing tool cabinets take up a lot of wall space. In a small shop (say a one<ar garage-size space), you may have trouble finding room for one. And if you do, you must be careful to place it so that it doesn't block precious natural light coming in from a window. The standing tool cabinet, when open, also exposes all your tools to dust-arid to view. I would have second thoughts about keeping my tools in this type of box if I worked in a busy shop filled with lots of workers and production machinery.

Standing cabinets are difficult to move. Unless you build the box rather small (which severely limits the number of tools it can contain), these bulky chests are definitely awkward to handle. Also, the same clips and cleats that make the tools easy to extract are often too loose-fitting to secure the tools properly during shipping. If you need to move your tools frequently, or even periodically, this probably isn't the best type of tool storage for you. Standing tool cabinets are discussed more fully in Chapter 6.

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