Easy workshop cabinets

Written by: roboguru

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These are three small storage cabinets I built for my garage workshop.

The cabinet cases are made from 3/4" plywood and the doors are made from some old road signs that I had.

Don't be fooled by the funky cabinet doors, though; the heart of this project are the simple cabinet cases, which are very easy to build. The doors themselves can be made from just about anything you want.

If you are in need of some simple workshop cabinets, perhaps this guide will give you some ideas. Thanks for taking a look!

Step 1: Design and cut list

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I had been reorganizing and changing the layout of my entire workshop, and in the process I wanted to add some cabinets to hold all of my small supplies like bottles of glue, boxes of screws, and so on.

My goal was to come up with some low-profile cabinets that didn't stick out too far into my open space, but that were big enough to hold a lot of stuff while making efficient use of purchased materials.

After some thought, I settled on cabinet cases that are approximately 32 inches wide, 24 inches tall, and 10 inches deep, with one middle shelf. The three cabinets required one full sheet of plywood, plus a little more that I was able to pull from my scrap pile.

See photo and diagram for cut layout.

I made all of the long cuts on my table saw, and the cross cuts with a sled on my table saw. With some careful marking and cutting this could be done with a circular saw.

Step 2: Assemble the cases

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I built these in a fairly quick and dirty fashion using 1 1/4" pneumatic brads to tack all the pieces together, and then 1 1/4" drywall screws fastened into pre-drilled and countersunk holes to hold everything together more securely.

See photo notes for assembly details.

Step 3: Route edges and sand

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I used a small trim router with an 1/8" roundover bit to route all edges of the cases.

I then sanded the edges lightly by hand with 220 grit sandpaper.

Step 4: Paint cases

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The cabinet cases were then painted inside and out with flat black paint.

Step 5: Road sign doors

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The doors for a cabinet like this can be made from almost anything . . . wood, plywood, MDF, pallet slats, you name it.

I happened to have some old aluminum street signs left over from my thieving days as a delinquent, troubled youth, so I used these.

Just kidding . . . I got them from a small-town road department by simply asking for any old or damaged signs. There was a pile out in a back lot that was never going to go anywhere, so they let me take as many as I wanted. I've been using them for projects like this ever since.

I spent a little while sorting through my old signs to figure out a layout I thought would look nice and balanced.

The signs were then cut to the needed sizes using a circular saw with a standard wood framing blade, and a straight edge guide. I wore full safety goggles and a dust mask. A grinding bit was then used in my dremel to knock down all the sharp edges of the door pieces.

Step 6: Attach doors and hardware

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The metal doors were attached to the cabinet cases with decorative strap hinges. This kind of hinge was the only kind I found that would allow me to bolt the thin metal doors to them as needed, but I love the finished look.

Handles were then added, as well as magnetic catches. The catch plates were epoxied in place (photo 4).

Step 7: Hang cabinets

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To hang the cabinets on the wall, I first screwed a straight board to the wall in perfectly level position where I wanted the cabinet bottoms to be.

Each cabinet was then propped into place and fastened with screws through pre-drilled holes into the wall studs. Then the bottom board was removed.

Step 8: That's it!

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Fill the cabinets full of stuff and you're done!

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