Work Bench Drawer v. Work Bench Shelf/Cubby Hole

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Forum topic by BGS posted 06-10-2010 01:59 PM 3375 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 3413 days

06-10-2010 01:59 PM

In a shop remodel that includes a 9’/5’ corner L work bench, I have a number of constraints to work around. The biggest has been an uneven foundation ledge that varies in height and width from the block wall of the garage/basement. In order to keep the height of the work bench in the 36”to 38” range I have had to cut and fit my bench base material between the 2×4 support studs that frame the work bench. It was just going to build up too tall. The studs are already just a 1/4” above the ledge in places. I have used 1” OSB subflooring that would support an elephant between the studs and apron. I will use glued up ash boards above this, likely half inch after planing. So the top is going well, if somewhat tediously.

I had wanted to put in full extension drawers on the long bench and theoretically have 9’x3’ of space to play with. But because of the variation in the wall at that level, the depth will be constrained from 13” to 8” depending on the position. I can get a consistent 10” from the top down to about 16” or half way to the floor. Below that it is very inconsistent along the length of the bench.

How useful are 10” full extension drawers? I am thinking that while it would be “purty” a bunch of cubbyholes and adjustable shelves would serve as well for boxes of hardware and power tools that need to be put away yet be handy to the work bench. I am ambivalent. And like a quarter standing on an edge, I looking forward to falling heads or tails.

The cost is something of a factor, why spend an extra hundred or so bucks on 10” drawers that add no value when cubbyholes for drills, routers, boxes of screws in the same size space would serve as well or arguably better. It is not like something would get lost in the depths of the space. But then again it would seem cleaner and maybe more pleasing to use if there were full extension drawers in place. I know, we should all have such weighty problems to solve. So, please join me in my ambivalence and share feedback and experience about the threshold length of work bench drawers versus cubbyholes of limited depth.

5 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3313 days

#1 posted 06-10-2010 02:47 PM

Something to consider is dust. Stuff stored inside a closed drawer will get a lot less dust on it. I have pretty good dust control in my shop but some dust still accumulates on everything in the shop. That is why I have an enclosed closet in my shop to store supplies that I would prefer to keep dust free.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4457 days

#2 posted 06-10-2010 02:59 PM

Rich said exactly what I was going to say.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3816 days

#3 posted 06-10-2010 08:45 PM

It depends what your storing a belt sander I have on a shelf most supplies are in a drawer.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3375 days

#4 posted 06-10-2010 09:18 PM

Drawers work best for me when they have a larger number of smaller things that I tend to use frequently one-at-a-time. I start collecting things in boxes and such when a) they are used infrequently, or b) when there are several pieces that are usually used together. The bigger the box, the better shelves work for me, and I cover shelves with doors to keep out the dust, and to keep out the wasps that like to build large mud nests in secluded spaces. And to hide the mess. So for me the optimum is some combination of both. In your situation maybe 1 row of drawers right under the top and shelves (with or without doors) below that.

-- Greg D.

View BGS's profile


15 posts in 3413 days

#5 posted 06-11-2010 03:10 AM

I found a guy willing to sell 20 sets of 10”full extension slides shipped for $93. The drawers will be shallow for the most part but I can make some with sufficient depth to swallow a large drill, router, or skill saw. But as I play with the drawings it is the Kreg and home made jigs, screws, glue, measuring tools, etc that can stretch out in their own drawers.

Like the MacDonald’s commercial of yore, I want to keep the hot, hot and the cold, cold and the sawdust out of as much as I can.

Thank you for the collective wisdom.

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