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Forum topic by Tony1212 posted 07-24-2015 01:52 PM 928 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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190 posts in 1735 days

07-24-2015 01:52 PM

I’m about to start building replacement cabinets in my shop and I have some questions about the designs in my head.

Cabinet Carcass

I want big cabinets – I’m thinking two 4ft by 4ft by 2ft deep cabinets. But I’m afraid that the carcasses won’t be strong enough to support the weight of all the tools, fasteners, finishes and assorted other items that they are supposed to hold.

I was thinking 3/4” ply for the sides and 1/2” ply for the back with a permanent 3/4” ply shelf in the middle with hardwood supports. I figure I can screw all that into the studs in the wall. Then add some more 3/4” adjustable shelves with hardwood supports to prevent sagging across the 4ft span.

Will that hold the weight? Any better ideas on how to do that?

Integrated Tool Chests

I want the bottom 1/3 or 1/2 of the cabinets to be tool chests with a variety of drawer sizes. I use a metal toolbox now, but my vision expands on that idea to hold even more. I find them very convenient and wish I had more. The toolbox currently sits on my workbench, but I’d like to get rid of it so I can use all of my workbench and move the tools into the cabinets.

My main concern is that the cabinets are going to be 2ft deep and I don’t think a 2ft deep tool chest is practical. But if I make them narrower, there’s a lot of unusable space behind them.

Any ideas on how to make that better?

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

8 replies so far

View pjones46's profile


1001 posts in 2643 days

#1 posted 07-24-2015 03:20 PM

The shelves would be my concern as to the amount of sag where you indicate quite a load. I would use the Sagulator app to check this with your projected material and sizes. If you are concerned you may wish to strongback the shelf from the underside.

-- Respectfully, Paul

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2997 days

#2 posted 07-24-2015 03:44 PM

Before you build, take the time to watch Ron,s videos on utube. He is building mobile storage in trailer. These cabinet ideas will work in stationary shop as well. He maximizes space.He builds them modular therfore you can add or change anytime. My next workspace is going to have some of these ideas.
Go to google.
“Ron Paulk mobile toolbox”

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Redoak49's profile


3250 posts in 1989 days

#3 posted 07-24-2015 04:19 PM

Those are huge cabinets and will have some issues to solve. Plywood is rarely completely flat and over a 4 ft length could be a problem. The shelf sag as already mentioned is something you should calculate. Are you making doors for the front. The larger the door the more difficult to build IMHO.

I just think that you should consider carefully. Maybe do a mockup with cardboard to get a better feel for them.

I built cabinets for my shop and made them 24 w x 24 d x 32 h which makes efficient cuts out of sheets of 3/4” plywood. It is a size that one can move. Some of the ones I built are drawers and others with cabinet doors.

I looked one time at building a large cabinet for the garage. I ended up buying some some of the heavy duty steel shelving racks that were 24 deep, 96 w, and 72 high. These can hold any weight and for the size priced comparably to a wood unit.

View Tony1212's profile


190 posts in 1735 days

#4 posted 07-24-2015 05:21 PM

So after looking at the Sagulator, I think the cabinets would be best at 24” wide and I’ll just have more cabinets.

One thing that I forgot to mention in my OP was that on the left side, I want to add a pantry type pull out that will hold all my nails and screws in plastic bottles.

One idea that I had for behind the built in tool chests was to make a channel to hold thin stock, like quarter round and dowels and such. But my pull out pantry idea gets in the way of that. So I’m still stuck with unusable space behind the tool chests.

I need to store my wheeled workbench underneath the cabinets, so there can be no supports to the ground. That means no shelving units either. And I do want doors.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View skatefriday's profile


418 posts in 1483 days

#5 posted 07-24-2015 06:07 PM

I think you’d be better off building two 24” wide cabinets.
Height wouldn’t be a problem, but I’d use a strong faceframe
to stabilize it all.

Bob Lang’s book talks about cabinet dimensions and the
problems you can have if they are too wide.

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1028 posts in 1575 days

#6 posted 07-24-2015 07:01 PM

If your building floor cabinets, make one towards the middle a couple inches shorter to fit the table height of a miter saw.

View Tony1212's profile


190 posts in 1735 days

#7 posted 07-24-2015 07:05 PM

There will be no floor cabinets. Only wall mounted cabinets so I can fit my workbench underneath them.

Also, I don’t have a miter saw.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View rwe2156's profile


2926 posts in 1481 days

#8 posted 07-24-2015 09:17 PM

Yeah, they are too wide and too deep for uppers.

I’m thinking 36 max. 30 is ideal and 24 acceptable too.

Depth: 8-12”

If you want a deeper tool type cabs, I would consider making the doors 6”- 8” deep and the cab 12” deep.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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