Building the shop - base cabinets

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Project by LeeInAZ posted 08-25-2011 06:18 AM 7919 views 23 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After building my pegboard wall cabinet, I decided I needed some more storage. One of the items on to-do list was to eventually build some kitchen/bathroom cabinets, so I figured I’d make some shop cabinets to get a feel for how to do it. I read a short pamphlet put out by Kreg on building cabinets with pocket screws which gave me a good start on what to do. I also read a series of posts by Tom Clark describing his very good book Practical Shop Cabinets. Mostly following Tom’s procedures, I designed and built this series of cabinets. All were made with 3/4” Baltic Birch plywood, with maple face frames and MDF/White Melamine tops. All the drawers are on 100lb full extension slides. The drawers were mostly made from 1/2” BB plywood with 1/4” BB bottoms. I used pocket screw joinery almost exclusively in both the cabinets and the drawers.

The ten drawer cabinet was my first. It underwent a few changes from initial design to final build, so the drawer sizes are mismatched. I am currently using it to store fasteners and a few tools. I like to keep a good supply of my commonly used fasteners on hand. I made this cabinet the same height as my table saw to give me additional flexibility in organizing my shop.

The second cabinet (four same sized drawers) was built to utilize the space under my drill press. It is on wheels and fits over the base of my drill press and extends only a few inches beyond the table. It is also the same height as my table saw, and gets used as an extension/infeed/outfeed table as needed. I store all of my drilling related tools in here.

The final cabinet was built to fit under the extension table of my Unisaw. The two upper right drawers hold my zero tolerance inserts, feather boards, and other table saw accessories. The large bottom drawer holds a dovetail jig, tenon jig, and other bulky items. The final drawer is for saw blade storage. I built several of these blade holders from 1/4” Baltic Birch plywood. Each has a 5/8 dowel glued and wedged to support the blade, with a pair of magnets to keep it secure. The holes in the back make it easy to remove the blade. I store my dado blades on three of these – one for the two outer blades, one for the 1/8” chippers, and one for the smaller chippers and shims.

I have been quite pleased with these cabinets so far. Tom’s book was very helpful and well worth the price.

-- Lee - Phoenix, AZ

12 comments so far

View Michael1's profile


403 posts in 3222 days

#1 posted 08-25-2011 07:03 AM

Nice looking shop cabinets. Shop cabinets are like kitchen cabinets. You can never have enough. I really like your saw blade storage drawer. Nice use of space

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

View SchottFamily's profile


105 posts in 3055 days

#2 posted 08-25-2011 08:48 AM

These are great! Storage is one thing that one can never have enough of. What made you decide to go with Melamine tops as opposed to hardboard? I’m torn on which way to go myself.


View DamnYankee's profile


3312 posts in 3124 days

#3 posted 08-25-2011 11:10 AM

Very nice storage. I too like the saw blade storage.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View ChrisN's profile


259 posts in 4336 days

#4 posted 08-25-2011 01:36 PM

I’ll third the saw blade storage drawer, what a great idea utilizing the magnets. I would also tend to hardboard tops…but that’s probably just a personal preference.

Nice job and thanks for sharing.


-- Chris N, Westford, MA - "If you won't eat something from your fridge that turned green...why would you eat something that started out that way?"

View ken_c's profile


335 posts in 3725 days

#5 posted 08-25-2011 01:37 PM

will you please show more pictures of your awesome blade storage. Nice job of the bases too…

View steviep's profile


233 posts in 3209 days

#6 posted 08-25-2011 02:23 PM

Great cabinets. I have a melamine top on some of my work surfaces. I like the fact I can easily get glue off of them and they stay flat. But like Chris said, probably just personal preference.

-- StevieP ~ Micheal Tompkins - you were not here on earth long but left a giant mark on us. RIP Brother

View LeeInAZ's profile


41 posts in 3038 days

#7 posted 08-25-2011 06:35 PM

I ended up with the melamine tops for a few reasons. They are easy to clean, the white tops brighten things up, and thicker tops were easy to fasten with screws from the bottom. I didn’t want to have to use adhesives to fasten the thinner hardboard or have fasteners visible from the outside.

I’ll post some additional pictures of the blade storage later today.

-- Lee - Phoenix, AZ

View MShort's profile


1798 posts in 3981 days

#8 posted 08-26-2011 02:57 AM

Great lookin’ cabinets. I like you saw blade till.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View LeeInAZ's profile


41 posts in 3038 days

#9 posted 08-26-2011 05:52 AM

Here is a sketchup rendering of a single blade holder. I basically cut this from 1/4” BB plywood, 12.5”x 10.5”. I cut a 5/8” hole 5.25” up from the bottom and centered. This gives me about 1/4” of extra space around a 10” blade. The handle is cut 1/2” below the top wide enough to be comfortable (3.5” or so) and the two 1.25” push/release holes are centered on each half. I countersunk the two magnets above and below the center support and glued them in with Gorilla Glue.

I used a plug cutter to make the 5/8” dowel. I cut a 1/4” deep kerf in it with the bandsaw. To securely hold the blade support, I glued it in, then drove a 1/2” #6 screw in the kerf to act as a wedge and firmly hold the center support in the holder.

I ran a 1/8” round over bit on all the edges to help prevent splinters. I didn’t bother to put a finish on mine, but most anything should work fine.

-- Lee - Phoenix, AZ

View IceCactus's profile


45 posts in 3256 days

#10 posted 08-29-2011 06:57 PM

Just curious but where do you get your baltic birch from in Phoenix? Awsome job!

View LeeInAZ's profile


41 posts in 3038 days

#11 posted 08-29-2011 08:05 PM

I usually get my BB plywood at Woodworkers Source (if buying 5 sheets or more), or Timber Woodworking (smaller quantities)

-- Lee - Phoenix, AZ

View Dusty56's profile


11854 posts in 4250 days

#12 posted 12-16-2012 06:38 PM

Very nice looking cabinets , and well organized : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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