Need some design help for my rolling tool storage

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Forum topic by ClimbOn posted 03-03-2011 09:13 AM 13423 views 4 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 2665 days

03-03-2011 09:13 AM

Hello gang,

I’m designing my new workshop (i.e. garage) and I’ve decided to go with a “roll-away” workshop design. The following link shows the idea I’m basing my design on, and attached is the workbench I’ve built.

The two designs I’m debating are roll-away carts based on Bill Endress’ design and New Yankee Workshop, Norm’s design of his rolling shop cabinet. The two are shown below:

Since I’m not an experience woodworker, what are the pro’s and con’s of each design?

Thanks in advance,


15 replies so far

View brtech's profile


1029 posts in 2946 days

#1 posted 03-03-2011 09:17 PM

I’m not seeing much difference. They both appear to be constructed of 3/4 ply, dado joints.

One has a hardboard over plywood top, the other has a laminate over particle board. That’s a preference on surface mostly: it’s a laminate vs hardboard choice, rather than plywood vs particle board.

One has more drawers, in two banks. The other has one full width drawer and an open shelf. What are you storing? I like more drawers, but it costs more and is more work. Drawers are not an easy thing to get right without experience.

One uses extension slides, the other uses wooden cleats. The advantage of extension slides is that the drawer can come out farther, and doesn’t fall out when you pull it all the way. The disadvantage is cost.

One nails the back on. The other appears to put a drywall screw into the edge of plywood. I’d use nails, YMMV.

View Dandog's profile


250 posts in 2798 days

#2 posted 03-03-2011 09:33 PM

a wall mount tool chest is a good one too,if you put your workbench on wheels you might want to use all 4 locking or make the wheels able to retract that way it’s more stable.I would put some storage under the work bench then do the tablesaw out-feed storage with a drop leaf.

-- life an woodworking is one big experiment

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5910 posts in 3218 days

#3 posted 03-03-2011 09:42 PM

Chuck, It’s hard to tell someone what to build or which one to choose from. It just depends on which style of cabinet you like best…. weigh the options, like brtech said. It’s personal preference mainly. Both will work, and I’ve built both pretty much like your drawings show… I agree that installing drawer slides can be a bit overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. It’s like anything else…you have to practice at it, like you do all woodworking. Everyday I’m in my shop, I’m practicing and learning, and I’ve been doing this for 26-27 years…
So it really boiols down to one thing…...choose your poison.!! Remember: The best project begins with the first cut.!!!!!!!!!............... Go for it…....

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5910 posts in 3218 days

#4 posted 03-03-2011 09:56 PM

One more little tidbit for you…. You can get plans from nearly all the woodworking magazines such as Wood, ShopNotes, Woodworkers Journal, Fine Woodworking, etc., etc., etc. You can also go on line and go to Plans Now for free downloads…..The results are endless…...Just do some homework…...

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View ClimbOn's profile


10 posts in 2665 days

#5 posted 03-04-2011 08:59 AM

Thanks for the input guys. My plan is to build three rolling storage units that stow away under my workbench (a la Bill Endress’ concept). One will be something on the order of 5-6 drawers for all my hand tools and loose items, and the other two will be split down the middle with six sliding shelves each (three per side) for my power tools and bulk items. This will help me with my storage problem, small space problem, and still provide worktop solutions like infeed/outfeed/etc.

So I’ll be designing my own plans to get exactly what I want (I’ve search the internet for months and have narrowed it down to these two designs) and I was trying to determine which of the two above is engineered best while still looking good (each unit will be roughly 25”x25”x31”). I liked Bill Endress’ design because as you move it around the shop, the box design looks good from all angles because there’s no real “back” as in Norm’s. But while Norm’s has an apparent front and back, his looks more solid with his joints using dadoes vs rabbets. Also because I’m trying to make use of as much small amount of space I have under my bench, Bill’s design doesn’t take up storage space with the use of a lip in his table top while Norm’s does. Bill seems to get around the lack of “lip clamping” by incorporating some type of opening to the cabinet that gives a clamping option.

I guess I like Bill’s design better, but I trust Norm’s design more. If I go with Bill’s design will it become rickety and fall apart?


View ClimbOn's profile


10 posts in 2665 days

#6 posted 03-06-2011 10:45 PM

Bump. Any carpentry advice on dadoes versus rabbets? Or how to ensure your rabbets are solid?

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


708 posts in 3297 days

#7 posted 03-06-2011 11:12 PM

Keep a safety issue in mind: the drawer slides. You need to select slides that will not come open on their own. If you were moving the cabinet around ans suddenly make a change of direction, the drawers may otherwise come fully open on their own. If they are full of heavy tools or supplies, the center of gravity may quickly shift and the entire cabinet may overturn.

I speak from unfortunate experience.

Good luck! Cheers!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View gerrym526's profile


274 posts in 3832 days

#8 posted 03-28-2011 09:05 PM

Either design will work for the carcases.
My suggestion has to do with the storage. For both drawers and shelves, get all your tools together. Then cut heavy craft paper (comes in a roll) the size of your drawers and shelves. Lay out the tools on them, organized by function, and trace the outlines on the craft paper. In the case of drawers, you now have a layout for dividers. In the case of shelves, you can organize the space effectively.
If you want to create a hanging tool cabinet and need some ideas, take a look at my workshop pictures in my profile.

-- Gerry

View ajw2250's profile


9 posts in 2619 days

#9 posted 05-18-2011 02:11 AM

I am considering a similar “Bill Endress” style workbench in my basement shop, with rolling cabinets.

There seems to be lots of information on how to build the rolling cabinets – great!

My question is how exactly did Endress build the workbench with only vertical plywood panels supporting the bench? I’m sure it’s simple once someone explains it, but I can’t quite get my head around the concept.

-- Anthony in Ottawa,

View MrRon's profile


4793 posts in 3267 days

#10 posted 05-19-2011 10:52 PM

It depends on the size of tools you have. I would personally buy a roll-around tool cabinet The steel construction and heavy duty drawer slides accomodate heavy tools better. If you do decide to build, make sure you get high quality casters. The el-cheapo casters most stores carry don’t roll easily on concrete or rough floors. The best casters have ball bearings on the axle, not just on the swivel. You will lose 4-5” in height so take that into account when establishing the working height of the cabinet.

View ajw2250's profile


9 posts in 2619 days

#11 posted 05-20-2011 01:39 AM

I think I wasn’t clear in my question:

How do I build the workbench with only vertical plywood panels supporting the top?

-- Anthony in Ottawa,

View bemace's profile


2 posts in 2563 days

#12 posted 06-13-2011 03:16 AM

I’ve been wondering about this too. I’ve done okay so far figuring out how to build the carts, but I’m not really sure how to build the bays they go into.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2699 days

#13 posted 06-13-2011 05:12 AM

I don’t think you got the question answered about the verticle plywood panels supporting the top. In the top picture you will notice they cut dados and rabbits then they simply glued and nailed the top in place. You don’t get much strength like this so wrap the box with a 1×2 band and glue it in place. Do this after you decide what kind of top to use. If you choose hardboard for the surface install it and then wrap it with the band. If you choose plastic laminate then you would wrap it then install the laminate. I would probably design something like this for the bottom also. You could install the wheels inside it. This would really tie the box together at the corners. Do leave enough room for a kick space or toe space. If you don’t you will be running into the cabinet all the time. I have a similiar cabinet that is reclaimed from a kitchen job. I use it all the time and enjoy it.

View bemace's profile


2 posts in 2563 days

#14 posted 06-13-2011 07:27 AM

Sorry, I’m still fairly new at this. I don’t get how you’d put a band around the bottom without interfering with rolling the carts into the bays. Can you maybe elaborate a little more?

View Michael's profile


11 posts in 2138 days

#15 posted 05-02-2013 04:36 PM

I’m curious about the New Yankee Workshop design: what’s the benefit of pulling in the back dado by half an inch? Why not place the back panel in a rabbet so that it’s flush with the back edge?

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