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Woodwork 

Winter 2013-2014

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A Giant Shop Cabinet

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Giant Shop Cabinet

Organize tons and tons of woodworking supplies with room to spare.

By Tim Johnson


If your workshop seems cluttered and your workbench is always covered with stuff, you need this cabinet. It packs 30 cubic ft.of storage, enough for all of those got-to-have supplies, from screws to paint cans. Everything is readily accessible, without reaching, because the big pantry-style doors open wide. We’ve packed a room-full of storage into a cabinet the size of a fridge—only 30-in. wide, 24-in. deep and 6-ft. tall. Best of all, this cabinet is easy to build.You and a buddy could whip together a couple of these beasts over a three-day weekend.

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1. Cut the cabinet's long pieces from the short end of full-sized sheets.You’ll need a buddy to help maneuver the ungainly sheet and keep the big offcut under control.With careful measuring, the cut-off piece will be exactly the right length, ready to be ripped to width.

Click any image to view a larger version.


2. Rabbet the cabinet sides for the top and back, using an auxiliary fence (Part X1) and a featherboard. By housing the dado set, the fence allows you to match the width of the rabbet to the thickness of the plywood top.The featherboard acts as a blade guard and ensures a consistent depth of cut.


3. Rout perfect dadoes for the shelves with a 1/2-in. straight bit and a T-square-style jig made from scrap. Make the wide dado in two passes, the second with a spacer held between the jig’s fence and the base of the router.


I forgot to stop! The phone rang just as I was ready to cut the stopped dado for the middle shelf. Distracted by the call, I went back to work and zipped right through my stop mark.

Oh well, it’s only a shop cabinet. The through dado won’t hurt anything but my pride. Had I thought of it, a clamped-on stop block, instead of a pencil line, would have kept me from screwing up.

Next time I’ll just let the phone ring. That’s safer, anyway.


4. Plywood clamping brackets keep the cabinet square and let you glue and screw it together, one side at a time, without big pipe clamps. We’ve included the eight brackets you need in the plywood cutting diagrams (Fig.D, Parts X2).


5. Gang the shelves together for dadoing. A backer board keeps the dado set from blowing out the backside of the last shelf. The auxiliary fence’s extra height keeps the stack steady.


6. Nailing the standards is a cinch because the dadoed shelves hold them in place for you. Needlenosed pliers are much better nail-holding devises than your fingers!


7. Clamp the doors in position before installing the hinges, using a shop-made stand, a perf-board spacer and a straightedge extending from the top of the cabinet. Make sure the edges of the door and cabinet are flush.


8. Mount the hinges with sheet metal screws. They have sharp threads that grip much better than the puny screws supplied with the hinges.Alternate the screws between the cabinet and the door so their heads won’t bind.


You won’t believe how much junk you can fit into this amazing cabinet.




















This story originally appeared in American Woodworker December 2001, issue #91.

December 2001, issue #91

Purchase this back issue.