shop cabinets

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by Belg1960 posted 09-13-2011 02:57 AM 2517 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Belg1960's profile


1170 posts in 4522 days

09-13-2011 02:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hey guys, I’m working on finally organizing my workshop, to this end I have started building some base cabinets. I need a little help with sizing, I plan on making 8 drawers, four on each side of the split progressively larger towards the bottom. Now for the question, the dimensions of these drawers will be 29 3/4” deep x 37 1/4” wide x what ever the individual height will be. Is this too wide for a shop drawer which will carry heavy weights? These will be made from 1/2” cabinet grade ply with 100 lb full extension guides. Thanks
Pics of the layout to follow if I can remember/figure out how to post them.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

14 replies so far

View willie's profile


534 posts in 3911 days

#1 posted 09-13-2011 03:17 AM

The only concern I would have on drawers this wide would be the possibility of the drawer bottom bowing and coming out of the dadoes. If you built more of an open topped box with the bottom firmly attached you could eliminate that problem. Make sure to anchor the cabinets to the wall as these drawers, fully extended, may cause the cabinets to tip over. (Don’t ask me how I know this!)

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 4440 days

#2 posted 09-13-2011 05:11 PM

Being that these drawers are almost square, I would suggest using 3/4” plywood for your drawers to carry the weight. The deeper drawers you may want to add a stiffener to help carry the extra weight for the drawer bottoms.

If you use 1/2” plywood for the drawers because you already have it. You might try building in drawer dividers that would be a structural part of the drawer to keep the bottom from sagging or falling out.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Belg1960's profile


1170 posts in 4522 days

#3 posted 09-15-2011 02:13 AM

After doing some more research I have decided to add another divider and will make 3 rows of drawers. After reading some horror stories about drawers bowing and sagging under the weight , that capped it for me. I only want to do this once more and will live with that til its my time to leave this Earth. Getting this large organization done now before I retire in 15 years will make my life so much more fun later.
Greg, Willie thanks alot for taking the time to respond to my questions and your advice. One question is it normal to get soo many views and only a few responses? I see so many great projects by more advanced woodworkers and newbies like myself that need guidance/help seem to get very little input from the pros. Am I asking in the wrong place, manner, not providing enough information?????

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 4703 days

#4 posted 09-15-2011 06:16 AM

There are a couple of reasons you don’t get as many answers. Sometimes people just don’t know the answer. I usually don’t post an answer if someone has already said the same thing I was going to say. I’m sure there are other reasons too, but those come to mind. It’s nothing you did or didn’t do.

Make sure you put a bottom support in or make another row of drawers. A drawer that big with heavy, shop type stuff in it won’t hold up all that long. : )

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 4525 days

#5 posted 09-20-2011 04:16 PM

Three rows of drawers is a good idea considering the space you have to work with. My personal philosophy is that multiple, smaller, drawers are more useful than single, large, drawers.

I would spend some time thinking about what you’ll put in the drawers and size the rows as necessary. No law says that they all need to be the same width.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5368 posts in 5417 days

#6 posted 09-20-2011 06:32 PM

I try no avoid drawers any wider than 36”. 1/2” ply bottoms will work. 3/4” drawer sides will look a little clunky, but will be best for shop use.

-- [email protected]

View Belg1960's profile


1170 posts in 4522 days

#7 posted 10-08-2011 03:10 PM

Well progress is being made, one section has the plywood drawer boxes build and installed. Second section has 4 of the 5 drawers build. Hopefully this weekend I will get all the boxes at least build.

Now for my next question, I would love to see your ideas on how to face the fronts with style, but with some cost conscious concerns kept in mind. I don’t want to make expensive stuff for the workshop and would really like to get the cabinet finished as my son is waiting for me to start/finish a project for him.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 3959 days

#8 posted 10-08-2011 03:46 PM

I think it is normal to have a lot more views than replies. Certainly, I often look without leaving my mark. As Karen said, it’s normally because I have nothing of value to add – but I always look because there is so much for me to learn.

That said, I think you have made a wise desision to add another row of drawers. As you say, that’s a lot of work to redo if it doesn’t work out.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 4307 days

#9 posted 10-08-2011 04:36 PM

Well sorry I’m late to the party here. I have some contrarian views but I don’t mean to suggest anything other than they represent a different way to do things.

First of all, 100# drawer slides, properly identified, are “100# class.” Just be aware of that. If the 12” slide will bear 100#, then the 22” size of the same model is called a “100# slide.” That said, I think you’ll be fine.

I have made many shop drawers, and if I think there is going to be much weight, I build with 1/4 bottom (and glue it in 4 dadoes) and then glue a second layer of 1/4 on the bottom of the bottom, no dado involved.

If I use 1/4 tempered hardboard, that is sufficient by itself.

For shop drawer dividers, I often wait until I’ve loaded in the stuff and then cut dividers that are a net fit and screw or hotmelt in a little block to attach them to.

Shop drawers, unless for things like rags, can be too deep pretty easily.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 4307 days

#10 posted 10-08-2011 04:50 PM

To the question of esthetics:

How about buying a sheet of shop birch plywood, one with lots of contrasting color, and then cutting it, vertical grain, so the drawers are sequenced?

You’ll want to edgeband these, either with iron on stuff or else with 1/4” thick strips. Needn’t miter the corners.

As for the aesthetics of drawer layout, here’s my trick: Algebra.

Let’s say I have 32 inches vertical space and I see 5 drawers. Let’s start with the drawers gaining an inch as you go down from the top. Here’s the equation (don’t let your eyes glaze over, this is easy):

Where X is the size of the first drawer,

X + X+1 + X+2 + X+3 + X+4 = 32.

Solving for X, 5X + 10 = 32

5X = 32 – 10 = 22

X = 22 divided by 5

X = 4.4 inches. Add an inch to each successive drawer.

You might want the top two drawers to be the same, which would make the equation look like this:

X + X + X+1 + X+2 + X+3 = 32

5X + 6 = 32

5X = 32 – 6 = 26

X = 5.2

OR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Instead of making the increment the unknown, you can start with the first and last drawer sizes and make the intermediate drawers cascade in the same pleasing way.

I hope I have not highjacked the thread. I just wanna be helpful!



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Belg1960's profile


1170 posts in 4522 days

#11 posted 10-28-2011 06:11 PM

Wow, Lee thanks for the great response.I’m sorry I didn’t see it til just now, and my drawers are all made and are well, eeehh not to these dimensions. My bottom one is about 8” and the next is 5” and the next 3 are about 4-5” each. My next question is I like a style of face frame which looks like this.

Do I adjust the rails to be narrower as I go up or do I just live with the fact that the flat section will be very narrow in the center?

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View Simatai's profile


5 posts in 3856 days

#12 posted 10-31-2011 06:23 PM

Great formula. Forgotten too much of my ole Algebra.

View Belg1960's profile


1170 posts in 4522 days

#13 posted 01-01-2012 06:16 PM

Well as time has allowed have made some progress, got all the drawers build, installed, spaced as needed for what I’m storing.(Many thanks to Lee for the formula if and when I build a more official piece of furniture will definitely use it) Have fine tuned all the adjustments and now comes making the faceframes, I had asked a while ago if you guys would reduce the faceframes in thickness/width as the drawers get smaller or would you maintain the same dimension on all drawers no matter how large?

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View RogerM's profile


811 posts in 3856 days

#14 posted 01-01-2012 11:59 PM

My procedure is to make the face frames first using the Sommerfielfd’s Own Cabinet System. If the face frame is made to fit the cabinets behind it will always fit. Check it out at

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

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