Storage cabinet idea - cheap & simple - but will it work well?

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Forum topic by lump945 posted 07-07-2016 11:52 PM 297 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 105 days

07-07-2016 11:52 PM

Hi all,

I’m new to woodworking / cabinet building and have an idea I wanted to run past the old pros here. I’d appreciate critical feedback to identify any flaws with my idea.

I just hung up a wall full of Knape & Vogt (AKA John Sterling) “fast mount” wall shelving: 6’ tall by 8’ wide and 24” deep.

These are great heavy-duty wall standards and brackets that hold a LOT of weight, don’t break the bank, and made in USA. They look like this:

Small finished system:

20” deep supported bracket (300 lbs):

[B]My idea:[/B] attach a vertical piece to each side of the shelves to create a box. Then, cut a pair of dados about 1/2” apart near the edge on each piece (top/bottom/sides) and insert 2 or more thin pieces of plywood to create sliding doors for each row of shelving. Here is a photo of what the sliding doors would look like:

The purpose of my idea is solely to hide the contents of the shelves. I’m thinking that the sliding doors are simple and inexpensive compared to creating traditional cabinet carcasses and doors with hinges. Any flaws with this design?! Thanks for reading!

2 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


741 posts in 337 days

#1 posted 07-08-2016 02:06 AM


I see nothing wrong in your approach though I will offer some comments. While I do not know whether this shelf/cabinet system is for a garage and not in the woodworking shop or for the wood shop, I see two reasons for enclosing the shelves. One is as you mentioned, to hide the clutter. The second is to keep dust from settling on objects placed on the shelves. This second reason is less important for outside the wood shop storage, but is a big advantage in the wood shop where you may want to keep stored items relatively dust free.

I am not sure how easily the sliding doors will operate. Perhaps using some Ultra High Molecular Weight tape (slick tape) on the door bottom and/or in the track could help.

When you fit doors to access a single shelf, the door will then limit the adjustability of the shelves. Since it appears the sliding doors are bi-pass doors, removing items from the center of the shelves could become troublesome. The doors will be in the way when reaching for an item at the center of the shelf, so items on the shelf may have to be moved around to get that one item out. It is for these reasons that I personally prefer large hinged doors.

I am also puzzled why this shelf system was purchased and then enclosed, unless enclosing was a thought after the shelf system was installed (or a new requirement from the better half). The cabinet box could have been built more or less as you now plan with shelf pin holes drilled in the sides to accept shelf pins, making the shelves adjustable. Building a cabinet in this way would have saved the expense of the shelf system while offering all the features you want.

My last thought is provoked by the photo of the installed shelf system, where kerosene and gasoline cans are setting on the shelves. When these inflammables are stored in an enclosed space, enough vapors can escape into and confined by the cabinet to create an explosive hazard. Therefore it is safer to store inflammables in an unconfined location.

View lump945's profile


2 posts in 105 days

#2 posted 07-08-2016 03:46 AM

Thanks for your comments, JBrow.

These cabinets are actually for a utility room. No woodworking or mess making in here, so the doors are just for looks.

I thought about UHMW tape set within the tracks also. With that said, I have some furniture from the 1950s that use sliding doors like the kind we are talking about, and they seem to work just fine without any additional treatment.

I have thought about how the doors would limit adjustability, but don’t think this will be a problem. There will be 18” of space between each shelf. This should give plenty of room inside each section of shelving to add additional brackets for fine-tuned shelving if needed.

As for the bypass door problem: since the shelves are 8’ wide, the doors will also be quite wide at between 2’ and 4’, depending on how many I choose to do. This means that I may have up to 4’ of open shelving when the door is slid all the way open. Since I won’t be storing items larger than a couple of feet wide in these shelves, access shouldn’t be a problem. Additionally, if I need to, I can easily remove the door from the track temporarily if I ever need to get more access than what the sliding doors allow. With all that said, I would probably prefer large hinged doors, but the sliding doors are simpler and less expensive in comparison and better fulfill my requirements for this project.

I agree that the shelf system decision might not appear to make a lot of sense. Originally this was supposed to be a quick & easy wall mounted shelf system. But then the storage project turned into a total re-do of the utility room, and hiding the shelves contents has become an issue. Even so, I wonder if doing the shelving in this way will turn out to be less expensive, easier, and faster than building full-blown wall cabinets for a person with my woodworking experience and tools. Since the wall mounting system provides the structural integrity for the system, I don’t need to worry about strong joinery techniques, glue and clamping, racking issues, wall cleats, or building cabinet backs. All of those things require experience and/or tools that I am still acquiring.

Thanks again for all your thoughts. It really helps me think through the project and will hopefully save me from making mistakes!

PS: the first photo of the completed system is a stock photo from Knape & Vogt, so no worries about storing kerosene and gasoline here!

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