Working On My Shop With Plans and Hopes and Dreams #1: I Built Four Wall Cabinets

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by helluvawreck posted 01-05-2012 11:40 PM 8697 reads 1 time favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Working On My Shop With Plans and Hopes and Dreams series Part 2: Building a Wall Tool Cupboard »

Some of you probably know that I have mostly been carving in my shop nearly every weekend for almost a year, now. My shop was filling up with all of my woodcarvings and they were stacked everywhere. I believe my shop was getting jealous of my carvings. I don’t want to just do woodcarvings; I want to do all kinds of woodworking so I’ve been working on my shop for the last few weekends and I think that I am going to stay on it for a while until I get my shop in a little better order.I thought that I would keep up with it on this blog in case anyone is interested.

I keep most of my good tools in drawers or in my tool chest. However, on the west wall of my shop you can see a lot of odds and end tools hanging on plywood panels. Most of them are simply hanging by nails. You can see this wall in the picture above.

Incidentally, that is the glassblowing station that I have spoken of on another blog. It’s on the work table just below the window. I hate to give up that much space and certainly table space but I am getting along ok without it. My two sons in law use it and I want to learn something about it too. I love my two sons in law. They are almost like sons to me and I lost my only son, Charlie, about 13 years ago. So, I’m doing them a favor because I love them.

All of those tools on the west wall are taking up some valuable wall space so I have gotten it in my mind to hang some cabinets with shelves and figure out something else to do with these tools.

The next three pictures show the four cabinets that I have built for this wall. They are simple boxes with a face frame and are made out of solid poplar. They are made much like you would make ordinary upper kitchen cabinets. I have provided shelf support holes 1 inch apart up and down the sides. This way I can organize them for whatever I put in them.

I have not put doors on them for a reason, nor am I going to stain them. I don’t have many places to hang any of my carvings so I decided to paint these cabinets forest green and make some basswood doors later on and incorporate a different green man or wood spirit into each door. I thought that the stained basswood and carved green man with the forest green background would look good with each other. So the doors will be some projects for on down the road.

I have built three cabinets 26 h x 32 w with shelves 9-1/4 deep. The small cabinet is only 12 inches wide. It will go just to the right of my chop saw and next to the brick column..

It was under fifty degrees in my shop when I needed to paint these cabinets but my good wife allowed me to paint them on her kitchen table where it was warm. Do you have a good understanding wife that helps you out like this? If you do, you need to give her a whole lots of loving. So I didn’t loose too much time.

The cabinets were simply hung on the wall with screws driven through the built in hanging strips into the 3/4 inch plywood wall paneling.

I had to hang these cabinets without any help and while I was doing it I sort of felt like a one armed paper hanger except the cabinets were much heavier than paper. I cut a piece of 2×4 and drilled a couple of holes in it and drove tee nuts in the holes. I put a suitable bolt in each tee nut so that I could use the bolts as jack screws while holding the cabinet against the walls and each corner resting on a jack screw. I hung the 2×4 to the wall in the proper place and level so the screws could hold up each corner of the cabinet as I hung it. The cabinets were going to hold up a new 12 inch wide shelf and I certainly wanted everything level and square so it was a fairly tedious job for a 61 year old helluvawreck but I got it done. Before I hung the cabinets I removed the long ten inch wide shelf from the wall. I hung the first cabinet where it needed to go and then went to the next cabinet using two levels to keep everything square and level from one cabinet to the next. I could hold the cabinets to the wall with my chest and reach under the cabinet to work the two jack screws. This worked pretty good except it was sort of a pain in the ass to keep from dropping the drill or a level and hold the cabinet against the wall with my chest and drive screws at the same time. However, i manage to do it so all is well. I do have to be careful when doing stuff like this because I am 61 and I have two bad knees, a bad back, and my left elbow is sort of playing out on me. I suppose it’s from a joint injury.
After I got the four cabinets hung I put the new 12 inch deep shelf on top of the cabinet the next morning. At least I had a helper for this shelf. So all is well.

I will continue in the next part of this blog. I sure do appreciate all of you that have visited my blog. Thanks for looking.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

23 comments so far

View mpounders's profile


875 posts in 2920 days

#1 posted 01-06-2012 12:27 AM

It’s looking great man! I wore myself out several days reorganizing and cleaning up my shop. Not as nice as yours, but it sure seems like I can get more done in it! Keep showing us pictures, so I can copy all your ideas!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3359 days

#2 posted 01-06-2012 12:36 AM

Hi HW. You’re shop is really shaping up well. Your cabinets look really good and I love your idea about carvings on the doors. It is a lot more inspiring to have a clean, well organized shop.

I know what you mean about having to hang shelves all alone. I use french cleats to hang my shelves because of that, but you need to have the cabinet tops wider than the case or have the backing recessed into the case to allow for the cleat. It also makes it easier to relocate cabinets later if you want. I realize you can’t do this now, but you might consider it for future cabinets.

I’m glad to hear that you have stayed with the carving and I have to say that I am really impressed with the quality of your work. I especially like the wood spirits and all the other stuff too. I can see why you are sticking with it, because you are so darn good at it!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7600 posts in 2826 days

#3 posted 01-06-2012 12:54 AM

Looking good… not as good as MY shop, but still good… :)

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3698 days

#4 posted 01-06-2012 12:56 AM

Neat idea, and looks good.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2643 days

#5 posted 01-06-2012 01:23 AM

I like the blog, Helluva, because it’s inspirational to see how others are managing the common denominator we all face: improving storage.

For example, I’ve wondered about putting a single shelf up high in my shop, like what you have. Do you get much out of it being there, or is it just another place to accumulate? I can’t decide how mine would go, but I think the latter is more likely.

Your cabinets are outstanding, what an excellent build. Crisp and oh-so-clean.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3458 days

#6 posted 01-06-2012 01:43 AM

I have cabinet envy! This is inspirational as I am thinking about building some cabinets in my shop to get the dust out of my tools… at least while I am not using them.
Keep the ideas coming!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Gabe C.'s profile

Gabe C.

288 posts in 2366 days

#7 posted 01-06-2012 02:28 AM

The cabinets look great! I especially love the shelving with all the storage bins. I have a couple buckets and trays full of screws and nails and the like that could use some organization like that.
I need to put some thought to the walls in my garage…

-- If I could just get this whole "Time/Money" problem figured out...

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2627 days

#8 posted 01-06-2012 03:11 AM

Wow! Very nice. Nice shop you have there and great looking cabinets! Best of luck with it and look forward to more carvings!

Be well


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 3581 days

#9 posted 01-06-2012 03:14 AM

Those cabinets look really great, nice looking shop too

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View bj383ss's profile


193 posts in 2387 days

#10 posted 01-06-2012 03:25 AM

Looks good H. I have the same bug as you right now shop organization. Thanks for taking the time to do a WIP.



View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3328 days

#11 posted 01-06-2012 03:30 AM

your doing a great job of cleaning up, nice cabinets, but….......i really want to know what you got cookin in that crock pot i see in several pictures, if that was me, id have some serious beans cooking in there…as the shop is perfect for that, beans, and a man alone in his shop…wont get any complaints that way..::))))...........:)

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10119 posts in 4077 days

#12 posted 01-06-2012 07:05 AM

Yes! It’s looking real good!

Now, where are you going to put all of your Woodcarvings?!
I, for one, would like to see more of them…

BUT… looks like you’re going to have room for the other stuff too.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View gul's profile


400 posts in 2987 days

#13 posted 01-06-2012 07:39 AM

Nice big shop! Cabinets look great. :)

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2945 days

#14 posted 01-06-2012 01:44 PM

Everything looks like it is coming along nicely. Great cabinets, as everyone else said! You can never have too many cabinets, can you? I like that idea so much better than to have the tools hanging. It is just nicer to have them enclosed and put away. The less clutter the better. I also can’t wait to see your other carvings too. You do such beautiful work and it is great to see your new creations.

Take care, Sheila :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3780 days

#15 posted 01-06-2012 04:28 PM


What a nice shop area- so much room! And all that hardware storage!! I’m sure the shelves are going to help organize but if you are like me, it’ll take a year to learn where every thing is located!!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

showing 1 through 15 of 23 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

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