Everything you need to know to build quality shop cabinets

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Review by LeeInAZ posted 08-30-2011 08:27 PM 7456 views 10 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Everything you need to know to build quality shop cabinets No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

If you are at all interested in building useful, sturdy, and practical cabinets for your shop, this is the best $13.45 you can spend. Tom takes you through the process of building shop cabinets using practical techniques and basic materials. Don’t expect exact dimensioned plans, but rather an explanation of the process you need to follow to design and build cabinets that will fit your work space and your tools. He has plenty of photos and details the entire process so well that even a first-time cabinet builder can turn out a quality product. The second project I ever built was a cabinet following his designs.

No special tools or materials are needed to build these cabinets. Hardwood plywood (I substituted Baltic Birch) in 3/4, 1/2 and 1/4” thicknesses, full extension drawer slides (I got mine from, and a saw – I used a table saw, Tom states in the book that he built his first with a bandsaw – are all that are needed.

The book is available direct here:

-- Lee - Phoenix, AZ

View LeeInAZ's profile


41 posts in 3388 days

9 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4028 days

#1 posted 08-30-2011 10:38 PM

thank´s for the rewiew Lee
I gess a handsaw can be used too :-)
does he write anything about making cabinets using wood
instead of sheetgoods


View rance's profile


4274 posts in 4073 days

#2 posted 08-31-2011 03:14 AM

And I thought Plywood was ‘wood’. Ha ha. :) I use whatever is handy(ie. whatever I find in the dumpster).

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 4020 days

#3 posted 08-31-2011 03:23 AM

I knew Rance had been here. I went out of build a fire for a wienie roast for the grand kids and ALL the scrap wood was GONE. Thanks Rance. lol

View Tom Clark's profile

Tom Clark

88 posts in 3934 days

#4 posted 10-04-2011 02:46 AM

Lee- Thanks for the nice review!

Dennis- There is nothing practical about building shop cabinets using solid wood. Plywood builds super strong cabinets unbelievably fast and they last forever. Some of my 25 homemade shop cabinets are now 25 years old and they are just as strong as the day they were built.
However, when building furniture for the house, I love mahogany…

Rance- Plywood is fantastic wood!

Tom Clark

-- Tom

View tom427cid's profile


294 posts in 3383 days

#5 posted 10-04-2011 06:20 AM

I’m with rance,there is a particular sence of acomplishment when you have “re-purposed” some cast off wood product. I have even used salvaged file cabinets and the like. Best part is I just love the cost -$0-!

-- "certified sawdust maker"

View Holt's profile


280 posts in 3542 days

#6 posted 12-20-2011 03:43 PM

I love the book. best use of less than $20 I have had in a long time. Only downside is that you nearly need to memorize it. I have a tough time trying to find the details on something I half remember. Even though it would be 180 degrees out of phase with the way the rest of the book flows, I’d love to have 4 or 5 appendixes in the back with a step by step set of pictures of several projects that contained references to pertinent page numbers earlier in the book. One for a “normal” cabinet with shelves, same project with drawers instead, repeat with sliding shelves, repeat with an open front (book shelf style). Would be a little redundant, but all the info for a particular style would be right in front of you.

I got started on my first cabinet this past weekend. Ripped a sheet of plywood more or less in half towards preparing the 23 1/2” sides, cut them down to 6’ height to fit the area where they will be installed. I’ll be doing the final trim to 23 1/2” on the two sides and the two leftover pieces tonight, then slicing the leftovers into the spacer strips for the drawer slides to mount. Think that will use almost all of that sheet of plywood other than the part that turns into sawdust, pretty efficient method that Tom has concocted!

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

View mtnjak's profile


55 posts in 3965 days

#7 posted 02-28-2012 01:40 PM

I think the emphasis is on the word “practical”. I picked up the book about two years ago now when I starting to plan out a better way to organize my messy garage. I have yet to build cabinets for my garage shop but after I finish my workbench I plan to start building cabinets. Since I’ve gotten into milling some of my own lumber I thought I’d use some of the black oak I have cut and dried to build the cabinets. However, instead of building entirely of solid wood to simplify the process I’m going to build the boxes with plywood and just do the faces and doors with the solid wood. I still wanted to encorporate the solid wood for the facing due to the fact that I milled the wood on from my own property.

View Holt's profile


280 posts in 3542 days

#8 posted 06-23-2013 02:55 AM

Great book with some nice methods for building quick, useful cabinets. Only draw back (to me anyway) is you pretty much need to commit the book to memory because finding some little detail you recall reading and want to review is difficult. On the flip side, the book is a nice read and can save you a ton on time and materials!

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

View EvanRyan's profile


5 posts in 994 days

#9 posted 03-06-2018 07:10 PM

I would like a copy, but the website is down, does anyone have the address where I can send a check?

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