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Organizing a Dewalt Tool Chest For a Woodworker

Woodworking Tool Storage

Storing and organizing your various woodworking tools and gadgets can be a little tricky. We have always been a big fan of square feet versus volume of storage. More drawers rather than a few larger (deeper) drawers. Just like other professions, woodworkers have tools and gadgets that vary in size, shape, and frequency of use. We need to set ourselves up with storage that promotes efficiency in accessing those tools while keeping our space aesthetically pleasing. We are not sure about you, but we don’t work well in a messy shop. If everything had a home and things were put away, the space is more enjoyable and we can find the tools we require to complete the job.

Dewalt Tool Chest Storage

Usually, we have cabinets and cupboards that we jam our tools and supplies in. If we are lucky we may have some sort of organization within those drawers or cabinets, but most of the time we don’t. We recently brought in a couple Dewalt storage units to the shop. One of them is dedicated to woodworking items and a few items we struggle to store in cabinets or drawers. We enjoy using tool chests as they provide a lot of storage in such a small amount of space in your woodshop or garage. Some tool chests offer larger drawers for larger items while others offer more drawers for smaller items. Having one of each would be the best, but we have selected a tool chest with smaller (not as deep) drawers, but it does have more of them!

Upper Tool Chest

The upper tool chest has a flip open lid with a power strip that can be turned on/off. This is an excellent location for chargers and items that needs power, maybe your phone charger as well! In addition to a charging station, this location is great for anything you use often. Drills, impact drivers, drill bits, glue bottles, super glue, etc. Anything that you use on a daily basis should be located up here in a nice organized fashion. We have yet to nail down exactly what we want up here as it changes from time to time, but a sheet of Kaizen foam with cutouts will always maintain a properly organized space.

Items we currently have in the open lid: Two battery chargers, K.I.S.S. drill bit storage system, glue bottle, CA glue and activator, phone charger, drill driver and impact driver, and a utility knife.

Let’s take a look into the upper chest drawers:

Top Left Drawer – This drawer is dedicated to precision woodworking. Anything that relates to laying out joints is in this drawer. It also has a cabinet scraper and a couple Lee-Valley corner radius tools. All the items are neatly organized in Kaizen foam.

 

 

Bottom Left Drawer – This drawer is a combination of plastic templates that were picked up at a large craft store, the three hand powered staple guns that we use, and some additional staples. We use the templates for designing projects to help to layout curves and joinery. We don’t use the staple guns too often, but enough to justify them sharing a spot here.

 

Top Right Drawer – We have two sets of chisels, this top right drawer is dedicated toward the Stanley Bailey series set. They are the nicer ones of the two. With quality steel, the Tormek T8 sharpener provides a razor sharp cutting edge. These chisels are used for more fine woodworking.

 

Bottom Right Drawer – This drawer is dedicated to an off brand set of chisels. They are also sharpened on the Tormek T8 and have a razor sharp edge, but don’t keep that edge for very long. We use these chisels for a little bit rougher work.

Both sets of chisels are in Kaizen foam for fast and easy identification.

Bottom Center Drawer – This drawer is dedicated to various cordless tools that are used frequently. The two main drill drivers and impact driver are kept in the lid portion as they are used more frequently. But with larger projects, more tools make the project go faster. Various drill drivers and impact drivers are stored here, each with a specific bit. This saves of time from changing bits multiple times during a project. We also keep our 24 volt MAX Kobalt reciprocating saw here. We were really surprised how often we use this tool for rough work.

Ryobi’s 18volt hot glue gun and a couple woodworking mallets are stored here as well. With a deeper drawer, it’s perfect for these types of tools.

Lower Tool Chest

The lower tool chest is made up of two columns of drawers with varying depth, and a full width upper center drawer. We store both woodworking and “non-woodworking” types of tools here. The different depths of these drawers make it very easy to get small, medium, and large sized tools. Let’s take a look at what we have put down there.

Top  Center Drawer – As mentioned previously, this drawer runs the full width of the unit and has a medium depth. Being it offered a lot of room for tools, we decided to put all our “cabinet” style assembly items here. Most of the items are from Rockler and consist of Right Angle Clamping Jigs, Three Way Clamps, and Drawer Slide installation guides for both the carcass and drawer. There are also 3-4 jigs that are dedicated to installing the hardware on cabinets for both hinges and drawer/door knobs. We decided to include most of these items here so when we are assembling a cabinet/carcass or installing hardware, we can simply keep this drawer open and rotate between the jigs and items we need.

Top Three Left Drawers – The top three left drawers are dedicated to the “mechanic’s” style tools that we have in the shop. Now we don’t work on vehicles or anything like that, but we surprisingly use the sockets and wrenches quite often in our woodworking shop. From assembling new tools to maintenance, these items have found an essential spot in our woodworking tool chest. These are a set from Kobalt and came in a nice and neat tool box that was somewhat cumbersome to store. It was on the floor next to our drill press, but we decided to get it up off the floor and get it into the tool chest where we could easily identify what we needed without having to bend down. All the loose items that didn’t have a hard storage tray were put in Kaizen foam.

Bottom Left Drawer – This drawer is the largest drawer of the Dewalt unit. We use this drawer to store some of our larger corded and battery operated tools. From a power hand planer to a couple circular saws (one cordless and one corded), this drawer has proven adequate to getting a handful of larger items off the shelf and in a dust free drawer. We also have Ridgid’s 18volt light that we use from time to time to light up the interior of cabinets and darker spaces.

Top Right Drawer – Back to a skinner drawer and smaller depth, this drawer is perfect for our set of files and rasps. They are sitting on a sheet of Kaizen foam and will eventually be cut into, but we are going to make handles on the lathe for each tool. We want to complete that before cutting into the foam so we can prevent any ugly mistakes.

Middle Right Drawer – A medium-large depth drawer is perfect for our hand planes. We have 4 hand planes that range from a small block plane to a larger bench plane. We have a Stanley shoulder plane and a wooden coffin plane that was Andy’s Grandpa’s. In addition to the hand planes, we have a can with some shop rags that are soaked in oil. We give our planes a quick wipe down each time we grab them. This drastically reduces the friction and keeps the plane from rusting. We got this trick from Paul Sellers!

Lower Right Drawer – This drawer is just as deep as the lower left hand drawer but a little less wide. We decided this was a perfect location for our two cordless Bosch jigsaws. At first, we would lay them in the drawer on top of each other but quickly realized that was horribly inefficient and not the safest, as we keep the blades in the tools. We built a small platform with a slot in it for the blade to go through. The platform is high enough so the blade won’t touch the bottom of the drawer. We didn’t make it the full depth of the drawer, so we had room for our extra blades. This has been one of our favorite customizations to the Dewalt storage unit. We can grab the jigsaws and go!

Exterior

The exterior of the tool chests are often overlooked. With store bought magnetic tool storage solutions, you can increase the capacity and also the readiness of these tools. We decided to attach a couple of our Woodpeckers framing squares to the side, without the handles. We are still trying different things for the remaining exterior of the space but have yet to make a decision. Our simple word of advice is: anything that’s put on the outside, make sure it is secure. We have done this in the past and have had issues with bumping things off.

Conclusion

Often times we think tool chest types of storage are only for the garage, but that is far from the truth. With some effort and some customization, we can quickly load these storage chests with our woodworking tools, gadgets, and miscellaneous items. These types of storage units offer a ton of storage in a small amount of shop space. We are not huge fans of the opening lids as it will take up additional wall space and prevent shelving or cabinets from being placed above the units. Our units are being placed in the middle of our shop so there is no concern.

Our first suggestion is to review the items you would like to place in a tool chest, then decide what drawer sizes you will need. Review the options out there, and select something that fits your requirements.

 

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One Response to “Organizing a Dewalt Tool Chest For a Woodworker”

  1. William Townsend #

    I am inspired by your work and got some great ideas. Thanks and keep sharing 🙂

    July 8, 2018 at 3:26 am Reply

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