Works for me #11: Drawer Dividers

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Blog entry by Dave Owen posted 04-14-2010 11:19 PM 10241 reads 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Fence Clamps - Addendum Part 11 of Works for me series Part 12: Everything in its place »

Since I’m sure most of you are far better organized than me, this quickie shop project will likely be of little interest. In my shop, I’m fortunate to have a lot of drawers, but over the years they’ve become so cluttered and disorganized that I frequently have one of those, “I know it’s here somewhere” moments. Each time I do, I think about making drawer dividers – then I get busy on something else and forget it.

Yesterday at Lowe’s, I found 4’ x 8’ sheets of 1/8” tempered hardboard for $7.00 per sheet, and finally decided to get started on the dividers. The drawer shown below is in a heavy-duty, 10-drawer file cabinet I bought used from a hospital some fourteen years ago. It provides great storage for all types of hardware and other odds and ends.

The toughest part was deciding on compartment size and location. I think this design will work pretty well, but the next one will likely be a different layout. Notice that I put a 1/4” x 2” high strip of wood down each side of the drawer as a runner for a future 2nd level of storage. That might either be a lift-out tray or a half-drawer sliding tray. The divider strips themselves are 1-3/4” high, and are put together with half-laps cut with a 1/8” blade (a perfect fit). I put a couple of scrap pieces of white plastic laminate on the bottom of the drawer to make things easier to see. Everything is only ‘snug-fit’, and nothing is glued or otherwise fastened.

The 4’ x 8’ sheet of hardboard will provide enough material for at least seven similar drawers, so at a buck per drawer, it’s a pretty cheap organizer.

-- Dave O.

9 comments so far

View PetVet's profile


329 posts in 4130 days

#1 posted 04-14-2010 11:28 PM

Great idea Dave. I like the used file cabinet, I could use something like that in my cramped garage workshop.
Thanks for posting.

-- Rich in Richmond -- Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3717 days

#2 posted 04-14-2010 11:32 PM

Not to brag – but I am probably one of the more organized woodworkers on this site. I really do have a “place for everything”. Despite that, I still have more “I know it is here somewhere” moments than I care for. I spend way too much of my time looking for where I last set down the tape measure or pencil.

By the way – drawer dividers are nice but I am much more focused on small and medium sized plastic bins. The ones I prefer are stackable or you can mount them on the wall (which is what I prefer).

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4416 days

#3 posted 04-15-2010 12:55 AM

Looks good Dave. Once I get all my storage cabinets built I need to do something like this. I definitely believe in having a place for everything and everything in it’s place. Thanks for the inspiration.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View olddutchman's profile


187 posts in 4577 days

#4 posted 04-15-2010 01:04 AM

I think that it is the best type of storage, You can change the sizes to fit Your needs. I have deeper drawers, and they are next to useless. If You look at most things that You have to find place for, they can be stored in a two in deep drawer.

-- Saved, and so grateful, consider who Created it ALL!!!

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4273 posts in 3807 days

#5 posted 04-15-2010 01:06 AM

Nice work. I am a little like Rich, bins and drawers. I was down at the BORG last weekend and bought 5 new plastic drawer sets, to replace a couple of old, meaning about 30 year old acrylic things, and to mount some new organizers. But occasionally you have a bunch of unique categories with very few items in each. I think this is a good solution.

I am pretty well organized as well. And I see a few items there that I have that I put into the new drawers. However, your drawer dividers take up less wall space, and in my shop, that is at a premium. Screw, nails, bolts, nuts…....they need their own individual slide out box or bin. But for the miscellaneous items, this looks great.

Thanks Dave,


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4273 posts in 3807 days

#6 posted 04-15-2010 01:11 AM

You are a man in need of some totes. I have a measurement tote, holds pencils, tape measure, calculator, digitial devieces, compass, box knife, etc. You need some totes. I haul ‘em all over the shop. Check out my totes on my blog… a number….....

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4273 posts in 3807 days

#7 posted 04-15-2010 01:29 AM

Here is the measurement tote blog reference….....
Meaurement Tote

This is the most heavily used object in the shop…...I am constantly accessing tools from this tote, this may be the best shop object I ever built.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View jm82435's profile


1285 posts in 4384 days

#8 posted 04-15-2010 06:57 PM

Great Idea. i wish I was this well organized.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View Dave Owen's profile

Dave Owen

254 posts in 3716 days

#9 posted 04-15-2010 10:09 PM

Thanks for the comments, everyone! This has been a easy and fun ‘fill-in’ project, and will definitely be a great improvement to my drawer storage.

-- Dave O.

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