Parts Cabinet Base for the workshop

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Project by unisaw2 posted 03-24-2016 08:13 PM 2166 views 18 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I thought the old adage “you can’t have enough clamps” was the key woodworking, but now I realize that “you can’t have enough drawers” is the key. These drawers are a variation on full extension drawers. I really like to pull the entire drawer out and set it on the bench to work with, just must be aware that they will pull completely out !


I built the upper cabinet 6 years ago. We use it all the time.

Design considerations: 18 drawers 15” wide x 18” deep. Drawer heights vary from 3-1/2” to 6-1/8”. Must be extra sturdy drawers, must be able to easily pull out drawer and sit flat on bench. Environment: Workshop, year round controlled humidity & temperature. Cost: Minimize hardware to keep costs down.

This is the “Michigan” drawer going into the “Lansing” runner. Got to know your States and Capitals! Runners are carefully screwed to plywood carcass with four #4×5/8” steel screws, and then waxed, no glue.

¾” Oak Plain sliced Plywood carcass
Quarter sawn White Oak yard tree air dried. ½” thick Drawer faces.
Pine and ash ½” thick drawer sides
Dovetailed sides to front & back or drawer 384 Tails and 384 pins!
1/4” birch plywood bottoms
Top is simple ¾” birch plywood. 48” wide x 30” deep

Groove the drawer sides on router table with 1/2” straight bit, ¼” deep. Line on blue tape is stop line so you don’t cut through the front. Run a second time to enlarge groove by 1/32” to 1/64”, test each drawer for fit.

Flair groove with a chisel at the stop and entry.

Thickness Drawer and till. Felt bottom.

Touch up drawer pulled out and set on bench to work with.

Project was quickly finished with pigment stain, & shellac. Hardwood runners and drawer grooves waxed only
This was a great project, but I filled the drawers immediately, so I still need more.

Thanks for looking.

-- JJ - Northern Illinois

17 comments so far

View trevor7428's profile


130 posts in 383 days

#1 posted 03-24-2016 08:46 PM

WOW! nicely done.

I really like the dividers in drawer.
Are you using a simple 1/8 or 1/4 round over around each drawer? Or what profile is that? (Its a great idea, hides any imperfection if things sent perfectly square) will deff try this on my next build
I need to start incorporating my own drawer slides like you do. Thank you for the idea of cutting the groove for drawer slide once the drawer is already built. (With dove tail jointery.)

Are you using the harbor freight dovetail jig by any chance? If so, how do you like it. I purchased one a couple years back, But didn’t have much luck with it. So haven’t touched it since.

-- Thank You Trevor OBrion

View unisaw2's profile


208 posts in 2458 days

#2 posted 03-24-2016 08:54 PM

The drawer faces are just a 1/8” round over bit on the router table.
For the dovetails I use an old Porter Cable Omnijig. I have had it at least 10 years. I like this one a lot, but it is set up for half blind dovetails only, and has a dedicated router to go with it. Like all these jigs, I have learned all this ones little idiosyncrasies, and I’m able to adjust it as necessary. After 100s of drawers you learn the jig!

-- JJ - Northern Illinois

View at anchor in Orlando's profile

at anchor in Orlando

41 posts in 649 days

#3 posted 03-24-2016 09:20 PM

nice project and great reminder for states/capitals.
I made (16) 4×11x15 drawers under a set of 4 barrister bookcases as my upper cabinets in my shop. I have an area that is ready for a project like this and a need for more drawers!

-- Jack "No plan survives contact with the enemy" (Helmuth von Moltke the Elder)... In my case, the enemy is often my lumber rack

View Matt's profile


182 posts in 840 days

#4 posted 03-25-2016 12:59 AM

wow, that’s too pretty for the shop!

-- I do this for fun.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


2302 posts in 1831 days

#5 posted 03-25-2016 01:15 AM

Nice work, dovetails even. Impressive build.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View dshute's profile


192 posts in 2108 days

#6 posted 03-25-2016 01:36 AM

Very nice work, seems like we all need more storage and organization in our shops. Never hurts to something nice for the shop.

-- dshute, Warsaw, New York

View tyvekboy's profile


1309 posts in 2435 days

#7 posted 03-25-2016 02:38 AM

Very nice storage. Nice shop too.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View helluvawreck's profile


22696 posts in 2289 days

#8 posted 03-25-2016 11:54 AM

This has got to be one of the nicest hardware and storage cabinets that I have ever seen for a shop. JJ, you have made a beautiful piece for your shop with this and you will always proud of it. Everyone who has a shop who has seen this piece will certainly remember it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View unisaw2's profile


208 posts in 2458 days

#9 posted 03-25-2016 11:55 AM

Thanks all for the comments and kind words.

Just one more photo. Leave the tails slightly high when routing, then plane them flush. Easy to plane the secondary pine wood with the grain, and cleans up any excess glue.

-- JJ - Northern Illinois

View Upgrayedd's profile


25 posts in 605 days

#10 posted 03-25-2016 12:19 PM

Encyclopedia of knowledge here for me. Thanks for posting.

-- Upgrayedd - spelled thusly, with two Ds, for a double dose of this pimping.

View BB1's profile (online now)


421 posts in 270 days

#11 posted 03-25-2016 12:31 PM

Have to say…wow. I struggle with putting together drawers although I love the utility when done. This system you have is impressive. Bit envious of all that great storage and organization. As always a quick check of LJ projects adds to my shop wish list! Thanks for sharing.

View CampD's profile


1464 posts in 2908 days

#12 posted 03-25-2016 12:34 PM

Wow! Love it, excellent build.

-- Doug...

View david38's profile


2394 posts in 1766 days

#13 posted 03-25-2016 01:22 PM

beautiful work

View NewCarpentER's profile


4 posts in 215 days

#14 posted 03-25-2016 03:04 PM

hey, this is very nice project. It is really high quality and of course it is beautiful..

View blackcherry's profile


3292 posts in 3245 days

#15 posted 03-25-2016 03:39 PM

VERY NICE! You have the woodworking bug to the tenth haha!

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