Workbench storage advice

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Forum topic by kennedy posted 08-07-2011 12:00 AM 1656 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View kennedy's profile


16 posts in 2714 days

08-07-2011 12:00 AM

Topic tags/keywords: storage

So I recently aquired a steel framed bench that weighs about a ton which Im in the process of converting into a do it all bench. Being new to woodworking and well still only 20 years young, my collection of tools etc is still small. With expansion in mind the plan is to deck out the steel framework with shelves at one end and draws in the two bays without doors. My issue is how big do I make the draws. I plan to use half inch ply and reclaimed steel runners to construct a selections of sizes. I hope to store hand tools, power tools and everything else a budding woodworker may need now and in the future.

Which is where you, the good people of LJs come in. The picture shows the space I’ve got to work with and the draws could go anything up to 26’’ back into the framework. Should I have many shallow draws or fewer deep ones? Or a mixture of both? What depth would be best for different tools?

I guess what Im really asking for is hindside. It would be a shame to make these draws and buy a tool that doesnt fit or to make a uselessly deep or shallow draw. There is so much experience floating around this side Im sure you could point me in the right direction.

7 replies so far

View StephenO's profile


44 posts in 2568 days

#1 posted 08-07-2011 04:58 AM

Plan on your workspace evolving as you add new tools and learn what your specific needs are. I spent an afternoon building a single large drawer under one half of my main bench to store my most-used power tools in, and within a month I changed my mind and built shelves on the wall for them. The drawer now holds jigs and miscellaneous loose stuff. Such is how it goes!

-- -Steve, Seattle

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3181 days

#2 posted 08-07-2011 07:15 AM

Get yourself a book on workbenches at your nearby library. Between that and the Internet you’ll see plenty on workbenches, drawers, and what people generally put in them. Shallow drawers are generally for hand tools such as chisels, gouges, carving tools, hand saws, measuring/marking tools, rasps, etc. Medium drawers would hold things like hand planes, safety equipment, sandpaper/disks, router/drill bits, etc. Tall drawers might house hand-held power tools, saw blade racks, and jigs.

Really, it depends on what you see yourself doing and whether or not you plan on using pegboard and/or wall cabinet storage instead. Lots of people prefer their chisels on the wall out in the open. Similarly, some people like having their drills, routers, and sanders sitting on a shelf, plugged in, and ready to go. So, you kinda have to know how you like to work.

That bench frame is just awesome though. I would be inclined to build some open shelves and a variety of drawers. I don’t find much useful for cabinets in a workbench since they typically waste space unless they have partitioned storage. I like to keep my cabinets high to house things that aren’t used all the time, like your finishing supplies, drywall tools, electrical supplies, extra tape/twine, etc.

Hope this helps!

-- jay,

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2662 days

#3 posted 08-07-2011 10:04 AM

I saw “draws”, then I saw drawings… confused at first.

Do they call them draws in the UK ? Like half the painters in Georgia say “cork” for caulk and they WILL NOT BE CORRECTED. ;=)

That’s a really sturdy looking frame you have there. Nice find.

Only you can decide how many / how tall your drawers should be. I personally like a larger one on the bottom and two smaller ones above that. Suffice it to say that two drawer sections is a good thing in a shop. Good luck with your project.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View kennedy's profile


16 posts in 2714 days

#4 posted 08-08-2011 05:07 PM

Thanks for the advice guys. I’ve since been through my current tools taking some measurements. I think I’ll go with three or maybe four two inch draws for chisels, screwdrivers measuring and marking equipment. Then one deep enough for planes and the rest much larger for power tools etc.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2937 days

#5 posted 08-08-2011 06:05 PM

I would, personally, make use of the existing doors and that would suggest to me that shelving would be a more useful combination. My 2-cents…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View kennedy's profile


16 posts in 2714 days

#6 posted 08-08-2011 10:16 PM

Sorry it would appear I’m unable to spell drawer :S

View jackthelab's profile


313 posts in 2716 days

#7 posted 08-11-2011 01:04 PM


Excellent find! You know I wouldn’t modify that drawer area much at all. Build to fit. I think in the long run you will find that you really want a decent set of shelves – the more the better for storage. Keep us posted on progress.

-- Dave in Minnesota - If it ain't broke, improve it!

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