Looking for advice on cabinet design

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Forum topic by SPHinTampa posted 01-26-2011 09:12 PM 1060 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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566 posts in 3107 days

01-26-2011 09:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: garage cabinet

After my built in closet project, I am about to embark on building some garage cabinets. I would appreciate some insight from your experience on basic cabinet design.

My goal is to build a set of cabinets along a 12 foot section at the back of my garage. I am looking to build both base cabinets with a working top and wall mounted units with under mount lights. I am comfortable making the top cabinets 36” high and 12” deep and the base cabinets 24” deep and 32” high (sitting on a 3 1/2” leveling base).

However, I am wondering about the width of the units. Most of the designs that I find in woodworking references suggest building individual cabinet units that are between 24 or 32” in width and then assembling together. I assume that these dimensions are based on units that are easy to handle and to lift. If I have a wide open garage and a strong helper, is there any disadvantage to building 6 foot wide units with internal walls at 24” intervals rather than smaller separate units?

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

6 replies so far

View FMG's profile


65 posts in 2703 days

#1 posted 01-26-2011 09:32 PM

Shawn, Nice built ins. Sounds like you have a pretty good plan. Having only built one garage cabinet though I’m no expert.

-- FMG- Woodworking is 90% mental the other half is physical

View childress's profile


841 posts in 2964 days

#2 posted 01-26-2011 09:50 PM

”is there any disadvantage to building 6 foot wide units with internal walls at 24” intervals rather than smaller separate units?”

you basically nailed it. Weight with the ease of handling and installing. Usually cabinets are built at a shop and then trucked to the site and installed by an installer. Keeping them 24”-32” in width or less just makes it easier for everyone. Shop guys and the installers. I’ve built cabinets both ways and do rather like to keep them small, but you do save on materials doing it the other way and if it’s right there (at home) really isn’t any reason not to do it that way….

-- Childress Woodworks

View cabmaker's profile


1473 posts in 2231 days

#3 posted 01-26-2011 11:32 PM

Your assumption is accurate. If access is good I would buiild with a 2 pc. base and a 2pc upper only to lend in easier installation. Where the cabinets join I typicallly run a narrowoer stile so as to stay in the spirit of overall appearance.

View CampD's profile


1462 posts in 2908 days

#4 posted 01-27-2011 12:25 AM

I would build 2- 3’ wall cabs, a 6’ could be done but you would still have to have some kind of center support any way, especially in the shop.
as far as base cab’s, that can be done with a 6’ box and just do the face frame broken in to sections how ever you want.

-- Doug...

View SPHinTampa's profile


566 posts in 3107 days

#5 posted 01-27-2011 05:21 PM

Thank you for your responses. Judging by the projects you have posted, it is clear you guys know this space. I drafted out plans for two 60” base units with 3 dividers and three 40” wall units (I know that these are wider than the max 36” recommended so I will do fixed vs adjustable shelves). I will probably blog the construction when I start.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3196 days

#6 posted 01-27-2011 07:16 PM

I would build two six foot sections, top and bottom. Each top section would be divided in half. Each base section could be divided the same. One half could be a bank of drawers. You can use 3/4”adjustable shelves up to 36” I always put a piece of 3/4” X 1 1/2” piece of solid on the fronts.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

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