Closet Storage Unit

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Project by Jeff posted 04-06-2007 08:20 AM 4844 views 12 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I created this out of necessity because the old brownstone we live in is lacking sufficient closets. KT and I have a good deal of open-air space and high ceilings but we sacrifice storage space. The loft has a small 5 foot wide (only 22” deep) closet augmented by an unfortunate particle board armoire. Previously, this closet had only one shelf spanning the length of the closet anchored to one stud and the corner joints. If you want the whole silly story, visit my blog on the closet.

I mistakenly estimated the sturdiness of the shelf and built a case to house my sweaters, shoes and miscellaneous items. I built it out of 1/2” Baltic Birch because I wasn’t totally oblivious to weight concerns. I just underestimated the installation skills of the previous owners. I am learning many things the hard way. But, I won’t easily repeat my mistakes.

Lessons Learned:
- Baltic Birch is great to work with;
- finger joints in BB are very strong but hard to fit if they are just a little tight (easy to rip out top layer);
- BB is very sturdy if the ol’ closet collapses… this case was very minimally damaged but the closet wall had to undergo significant repairs. The basic rabbet joints glued with Titebond II suffered NO negative effects from the wrenching and shifting required to get the case out.

- Slotted interlocking shelves for easier portability;
- drawers have box/finger joinery in the front for aesthetic purposes and rabbet joinery on the rear of the drawers;
- there are no runners or mounts for the drawers as they are meant to be loose in the case and easily and quietly pulled out while others are asleep.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

16 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4762 days

#1 posted 04-06-2007 11:20 AM

it looks great, Jeff.
I love the look of the drawers and the “silent” movement will be appreciated for years to come.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4912 days

#2 posted 04-06-2007 11:45 AM

Nice, tight finger/box joints, Jeff.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Wooder's profile


163 posts in 4787 days

#3 posted 04-06-2007 11:50 AM

Very nice design, Jeff. I actually have been thinking of something like this for 2 closets. You’ve given me some great ideas.
BTW, nice FJs in that BB!!

-- Jimmy

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4819 days

#4 posted 04-06-2007 02:27 PM

Nice design and joinery. Great job!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4698 days

#5 posted 04-06-2007 02:52 PM

Very Functional.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4915 days

#6 posted 04-06-2007 07:00 PM

Best built part of the whole house.

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4762 days

#7 posted 04-06-2007 07:33 PM

Wow, finger joints in plywood. This is tough to do, but they came out nice looking.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4694 days

#8 posted 04-06-2007 08:48 PM

Beautiful Jeff. The joinery looks great. Keep this stuff coming please!

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4695 days

#9 posted 04-07-2007 04:43 PM


Bill, it was challenging. Especially planing them flush after the glue up. The only way to go on that is a low angle block plane if you should ever want to.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4848 days

#10 posted 04-07-2007 09:30 PM

Pretty cool, good use of space and it looks very nice. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Karson's profile


35209 posts in 5002 days

#11 posted 04-08-2007 12:20 AM

Great Storage jeff. As I’m looking at your picture, the drawers that are on the computer table that I’m working on have drawer fronts the same as yours. They were built by the previous owner of the house.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View lclashley's profile


244 posts in 4715 days

#12 posted 04-15-2007 07:32 AM

I really like this design. I may steal it if you don’t mind. Most closet organizer projects I come across are either too complex, too big, or just don’t fit my needs. Something like your project may be perfect.

By the way, I enjoy your write-ups on your projects, caliper. They are quite informative.

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 4679 days

#13 posted 04-15-2007 09:05 AM

Jeff, This is a great job. I have not seen finger joints with plywood, but this is as tight as I have seen. Keep up the great work.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4701 days

#14 posted 05-24-2007 05:26 AM


I really like this project. I love the look that baltic birch creates. You can do some great modern/minimalist work with it. I love the simple drawers, same uncomplicated thought and design as the shaker bench drawers. I like working with BB myself.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4695 days

#15 posted 05-24-2007 05:58 AM

Thanks Todd. The first time I ever saw a 45 degree cut on the edge of BB board I was amazed. I had never know plywood could be so cool. Then I remembered, hey that’s what our desks and chairs were made of in grade school. Those things are tough! Thus, my desire to build with BB someday. Check that one off the list. :-)

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

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