Shop Cabinets

Finished wall cabinet with doors closed
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 pocket screws.

A spacer was used to hold the bottom back from the edge
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.

Cleats along the top and bottom are pocket
		hole jointed to the back.
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.
Face frame constructed from 1-1/2 inch boards
		cut from a 2x6
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 brad nails.
Cabinets were clamped together before being screwed together
			using 1-1/4 inch screws
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 were trimmed with 3/4-inch thick strips that were
			flushed up on the table saw.
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 dried.
The doors were hung using overlay hindges
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.
Spacer boards are used to support and adjust the shelves
			instead of shelf pins

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.

Finished cabinets with the doors open
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.
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Copyright 2016 by Joseph Bobek, all rights reserved.