I built 3 large wall cabinets for the workshop side of my garage in
an attempt to get a lot of the seldom used tools and supplies out
of the way. I'm a fan of storage behind doors because they hide
clutter and keep the dust off everything. These cabinets will hold
and protect a lot of items while keeping them somewhat accessible.
Each cabinet is 36 x 30 inches with 3 shelves. The project took
a little more than 2 sheets of 3/4-inch pine plywood and a couple
lengths of dimensional lumber. Most everything is assembled with
After the cabinet parts were cut, I attached the sides to the top
and bottom with pocket-hole joints. A 3/4-inch spacer temporarily
held the bottom up from the edge so that the face frame would
eventually sit flush with the bottom shelf. This worked well for
shop cabinets, but my method for flushing up the bottom and face
frame needs refining.
I arranged the boards so that the best side would be the most
visible and free of pocket holes. The top board has the pocket
holes turned up towards the ceiling while the bottom has the pocket
holes turned into the cabinet. Similarly, the best faces of the
side boards are turned towards the inside except for the two on the
ends of the row.
I used braces across the top and bottom instead of a full back.
The top brace has a 45-degree bevel cut on the bottom edge so that
it acts as a french cleat for hanging the cabinet. These braces
are glued and pocket screwed to the cabinet.
The face frames are made from 3/4-inch thick strips cut from the
edge of a 2x6. I was able to get 6 boards from the one 2x6 working
from edge to edge. The face frames were put together with glue and
pocket screws, and then attached to the cabinets using glue and
To hang the cabinets, I first attached 30" long french cleats to
the wall using #10 cabinet screws. I then hung the cabinets on the
cleats and screwed them together using 1-1/4 inch screws. Finally,
I screwed the cabinets to the wall structure.
If I had to do it again, I would make the cleats more like
20-inches long so that there would be more side-to-side adjustment
during hanging. I
don't plan on moving these cabinets, and so the french cleats only
acted to help hold the cabinets up while I screwed through the
braces into the wall structure.
The doors are plywood boards trimmed with thin strips from the same
2x6. The edging was clamp to the plywood using tape and then
trimmed flush using a guide on my table saw after the glue
The doors are hung using simple overlay hinges. I clamped a cleat
to the edge of the cabinets to hold the doors straight while I
screwed the hinges to the cabinet. The doors are a little close
together, but they close OK for occasional use shop cabinets.
I sealed the outsides of the cabinets and both sides of the
doors with a very thin coat of shellac while they hung on
the wall. In retrospect, I think it would have been better to have
either used a thicker finish or apply the finish while the cabinets
were down. The thin finish dripped down on everything
below the cabinets, and made a mess.
The shelves are just lengths of 5/8" plywood with narrow strips
of 3/4" plywood glued under the edges. Boards cut to the desired
height are used instead of shelf pins to support the shelves and
give some adjustment. I did it this way because it was faster than
drilling a bunch of seldom used shelf pins, but it has the
disadvantage of passing all the weight through the cabinet bottom.
My gut tells me the sides would be better able to hold this weight,
but it seems to be OK.
These turned out very functional, and they've already made a
difference in my organization. The goal of installing these was to
move seldom used items up high, and gain some floor space. As you
can see in the picture, I was able to move a lot, and was even able
to remove a free standing metal shelf that was in the way.
Feel free to send me any comments, suggestions, or questions through my Contact Page