Shop storage - what do you think?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by fiddlebanshee posted 09-27-2018 03:26 PM 701 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View fiddlebanshee's profile


240 posts in 3550 days

09-27-2018 03:26 PM

Hi all,

Plodding along with upgrading my shop. My back wall is a mess – plastic shelving with no organization and everything is covered in dust. So I want to build a fixed cabinet 6’ tall and 8’ wide. Here’s two pictures captured from sketchup. Questions:

1. Is the 31” span in 3/4” plywood going to sag? It rests in the back on a slat that is screwed into the wall, and in the front it rests in a rabbet in the horizontal slats. It is also supported by two cleats, one at each side of the shelf. The shelves themselves are not screwed or glued. I was thinking that the horizontals on the front would be made out of ash that I have on hand and the horizontals in the back would be 3/4” plywood strips.

2. I am planning to join the carcass with pocket hole screws. (the verticals to the top, and to the slats). Will this be strong enough?

3. Is this possibly a bit too over-built? Can I simplify anywhere?

I am planning to keep all my smaller powertools in here (sander, jigsaw, drills, charging station for batteries, circ saws, kreg jig with base, biscuit joiner) as well as a lot of smaller stuff such as sandpaper, glue, finishes etc. I want to build custom holders and cubbies for everything that will go on each shelf.

The entire unit is going to be screwed into the wall at each of the horizontal slats that run at the back.

The whole thing is going to have sliding doors, probably 2 pairs.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

9 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile


609 posts in 1223 days

#1 posted 09-27-2018 05:18 PM

Q#1 – Search for sagulator. Great tool for figuring out shelves and spans.

I have no experience with pocket screws, but from all I’ve read, they should be fine.

If you want to simplify, I suggest you cut the face horizontals to match the shelves. The current design looks like you left out the stiles on a face frame.

-- Sawdust Maker

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


5605 posts in 2955 days

#2 posted 09-27-2018 05:41 PM

I think you will be fine with a 31” span as long as the plywood is reinforced front and back with the slats. Of course you need to consider how much weight you are going put on them. Sixteen inches deep is an odd size for the shelves. Unless you have a specific purpose in mind I think you will find that you will lose a lot of stuff in the back of those deep shelves. The standard for shelving is 11 1/2”. Why, because you can get 4 out of a sheet of plywood, accounting for kerf and trim., and it is not to deep to find stuff. To ease construction I would make the horizontals continuous and pocket screw the verticals. Use either cleats or dadoes on the sides to support the shelves. I would also add a plinth to get it up off the floor, or bring that bottom shelf up higher, you are going to have to lay on the floor to find anything in the back of the bottom shelf, esp. if they are 16”.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View fiddlebanshee's profile


240 posts in 3550 days

#3 posted 09-27-2018 05:55 PM

thanks for the suggestions. the 16”is kind of determined by the tools I want to store. I need to go back and measure each one individually. I may make them less deep. Good point.

the bottom shelf would hold stuff I rarely use, so I’m not so worried about that one.

I did check the sagulator and it seems I am fine with the length of the shelf.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

View CWWoodworking's profile (online now)


547 posts in 783 days

#4 posted 09-28-2018 02:11 AM

I personally like metal shelving better. Stronger, adjustable, and the wire shelves don’t hold as much dust. Also non flammable if you put thinners and such on them.

If you opt for wood, 31 is fine for span.

View WoodenDreams's profile


883 posts in 515 days

#5 posted 09-28-2018 02:53 AM

It’s sure nice to have a place to put tools and hardware. I have a 8’x10’ storage room with no door (like a walk in closet). My shelves are floor to ceiling on two walls. The 3 lower shelfs are 16” deep, above them are 12” deep, and I put some 4” deep shelves in some of the 11” high shelves on the back side. for the smaller items, instead of wasting a 11” high shelf for short items. My shelves are full and no dust problem. I do have a wen air purifier hanging from the ceiling about 4’ from the door.

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1094 days

#6 posted 09-28-2018 03:42 AM

You can check up load span tables, but unless you like your eyes to glaze over, there’s a handy calculator you can use.

I’ve put in your specs and based on 30lbs, even in the center, you should have no issues.

View fiddlebanshee's profile


240 posts in 3550 days

#7 posted 09-28-2018 12:32 PM

Thanks everyone! I will take the suggestion and decrease the depth to 11.5. I will measure some tools but I think it should be ok.

I am very grateful to all of you, as always, for answering my beginner questions. Even after 5-6 years of off and on woodworking I consider myself still pretty much a beginner woodworker. I hope to find more time, as my shop gets more organized, to create some more sawdust in the near future.

I love this community!


-- As if I needed another hobby!

View ArtMann's profile


1462 posts in 1420 days

#8 posted 09-28-2018 12:42 PM

In my old shop, I had some shelves that were 18 inches deep and 6 feet tall. That is far too much. The stuff at the back is not visible and is hard to access. I think you made the right decision to reduce the depth.

View Charlie H.'s profile

Charlie H.

395 posts in 1254 days

#9 posted 09-28-2018 03:15 PM

i built some shop bookcases out of the Home Depot bull nose MDF shelf material.
I sized them to be 24” edge to edge so I could rip a piece of hardboard (1/4” ply would work too) lengthwise and put a back on two units.
They are screwed together with pocket holes / screws and the back is nailed around the perimeter and across each shelf.
They are very sturdy, I have lots of hand power tools, hardware, and cans of finish stored on them for over a year and the shelves (~22” span) have not sagged.
The smaller individual units spaced 6-8” apart creates a very good place for vertical lumber storage.
If you ever need to move the storage the smaller bookcases are much easier to move too.
Of course what works for me may not work for anyone else.

-- Regards, Charlie in Rowlett, TX --------I talk to myself, because sometimes I need expert advice.---------

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics