Utility Storage Cabinets

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Project by Builder_Bob posted 09-04-2012 10:15 PM 2660 views 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

No fine woodworking to be found here, just a built in utility storage cabinet. Plywood carcass, face frame, drawer boxes and separate draw fronts. Straight forward and actually, I farmed out the doors, drawer fronts, and three of the drawer boxes.

It’s hard to photograph this big piece in a small room! The unit was built above an existing heating register. I turned some funky legs (made from a 4×4 fence post) to cover up the plywood sections that extend to the floor and support the cabinet. The shoe cubbies were an interesting idea. Can you tell that my wife teaches preschool?

I learned a few interesting things during this project that I thought I’d pass along.

Sketchup – I’m an almost retired electrical engineer and have used CAD programs for many years, but not 3D drawing CAD. I tried to use Sketchup a few times before, but I just couldn’t get my head into it. Push me, pull you, what are they talking about?

I was able to use it here for the first time. All the parts are really just rectangles. What a difference it made! I could fuss with the design and get a thumbs up from my better half. I was able to order all the fronts before making the first cut.

I’ve already started a coffee table for my daughter and we are able to tweak the design despite the 350 mile distance between us. We even got a model of her sofa and built a room with her wall, rug, and fabric colors to see how it would all look together.

Lakeside Molding – I didn’t want to make the five piece raised panel door and drawer fronts. I’ve ordered these before, but the ones with MDF centers and wood frames can really get costly.

I stumbled onto Lakeside Molding in Mississippi ( and wow, what a great solution for this project. All the fronts were custom made to my sizes, CNC routed from one piece of MDF. Any front up to 36” by 36” is $12.95. I also ordered three custom plywood dovetailed drawer boxes as seen in the photos. $16.00 each! The work was done quickly (they advertise four business days). In less than two weeks they were Fedx’d to my doorstep. Good packaging, no damage. There are shipping costs and their offerings are somewhat restricted, but I was thrilled! I’ll be back!

e-Box – The original concept was to get the wireless printer out of the dining room. Somehow the whole project ballooned into this cabinet. The double door section of the cabinet contains the printer. I repurposed some wire shelving and installed electrical outlet strips to collect our other e-junk. Sliding closet door guides worked well to support laptops. I ordered some stick-on battery powered motion sensing lights which I’ll try tonight.

This section of the unit is so popular I haven’t been able to finish it! I declare it to be done!

-- "The unexpected, when it happens, generally happens when you least expect it."

6 comments so far

View Kopac's profile


79 posts in 4113 days

#1 posted 09-05-2012 08:42 PM

Nice work! looks really nice, I love the dovetails! Check out we make your sketch into a 3-D drawing if you ever need a hand quickly and its pretty cheep.


-- Follow me to see more at Instagram.Com/KopacDesign !

View hjt's profile


906 posts in 4478 days

#2 posted 10-13-2012 02:52 PM

I must say I love Lumberjocks, but sometimes I’m baffled by the amount of comments or lack of comments projects get. I this case you’ve told a great story – did a fantastic proct and 38 days later… I’m the 2nd comment.

Bob you do beautiful work, my gosh, this is amazing. I like so many facets of and very impressed with the turned legs made from 4×4’s Certain looks as though you have mastered SketchUp as I’ve seen this and your coffee table project. I’m now just beginning to use it.

-- Harold

View JSB's profile


737 posts in 3418 days

#3 posted 10-21-2012 01:23 AM

I agree with hjt. Not enough comments on this one. Good job on the cabinets Sir. The MDF doors are a great option to cut down on some time as well as knowing its going to be right. I live in Mississippi and am not familiar with that company but do know of 2 others that do the same. Mississippi is largely furniture industry. Anyway, good job on the project :)
- Jay

-- Jay -

View Matt Donley's profile

Matt Donley

27 posts in 3586 days

#4 posted 01-01-2013 04:24 PM

Nice Sketchup work. Did you use any plugins for this, or is it just pure Sketchup?

-- I create Sketchup Tips, Tricks, & Tutorials at

View Builder_Bob's profile


161 posts in 4399 days

#5 posted 01-21-2013 06:10 PM

Pure Sketchup. It’s frustrating in the beginning when simple tasks seem terribly difficult, or a part you made can’t be edited because of some construction flaw.

For me it was just plugging away until a few “ah-ha” moments simplified the task. Online videos are abundant, which is a big help.

-- "The unexpected, when it happens, generally happens when you least expect it."

View Matt Donley's profile

Matt Donley

27 posts in 3586 days

#6 posted 01-23-2013 12:42 AM

Yeah, as long as you’re religious about using groups, you can retain “editability” pretty nicely, without screwing up other parts of your model.

-- I create Sketchup Tips, Tricks, & Tutorials at

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