Need some help designing garage storage cabs

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Forum topic by hiptech posted 05-12-2013 08:17 AM 1285 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 2717 days

05-12-2013 08:17 AM

I’ve had cheap particle board storage cabinets for almost 20 years and due to age and moisture they are literally falling apart. My goal is to build something sturdier out of plywood but being a novice I’m having difficulty deciding on how best to proceed. I do like the idea of floor to ceiling cabinet system which is similar to my current setup.

That said, I came across this YouTube video from a fabricator in Tucson and like the idea but not sure how to go about building it. Are the shelves fastened to the wall and then it’s surrounded by the frame which is decorative?

Thanks for any help…

7 replies so far

View jackthelab's profile


313 posts in 2717 days

#1 posted 05-12-2013 11:37 AM

I guess after a quick look at the video this is a relatively simple design and very easy to put up. It looks like the shelves are attached to the wall with a simple face frame around the unit to hold the doors. Probably the ends are covered with one piece of sheet goods. This is a great design, simple to build, strong, and made with dimension lumber. This would last forever. I was able to dismantle a similar setup at a local school. I saved all the lumber and rebuilt in here. I would go for it.

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

View hiptech's profile


10 posts in 2717 days

#2 posted 05-14-2013 02:17 PM

Appreciate the info but not clear of some fabrication aspects like where the face frame meets the shelves. I can visualize vertical studs (2×4”) running behind, front and outside of each shelf but this would create gaps between the back wall and rear of shelves as wells as between each shelf and the face frame.

Assuming the the structure were constructed of 2×4”, there would be 1 of 2 ways I can visualize. One is to construct the shelves first (sandwiched with plywood). Build the structure from 2×4”s, attach it to the garage wall and install the shelves and face frame. This method would create the undesirable gaps mentioned.

Or, I could fabricate everything in place including the shelves and incorporate the vertical studs so that they intrude into the shelves (back & front) but are flush with the shelf faces. This way every shelf is flush with the back wall and face frame and eliminate any gaps. The downside to this method is each shelf would have a small intrusion (notch) where a vertical 2×4” intersects the shelf.

Some clarification please:

1. Does the 2nd method only eliminate the gaps or would it make for a stronger structure?

2. Fabricate out of 3/4” plywood for all walls or use 1/2” for back wall and top & bottom of each shelf?

3. Is it possible to maintain the structural strength without having the cabs resting directly on the floor (i.e., build it on elevated metal or PVC tubes)?

I don’t want these cabs touching the ground. I long ago epoxy painted the garage floor and whenever I wash it down water would “wick” up the walls of the cabinets.

4. Controversial question: what is the consensus for building this, using pocket holes or cutting dados and adding cleats?

Sorry for all the questions but I want to get this right. Besides I bought a lot of tools in preparation for this but my experience is limited and I haven’t done much woodworking over the last several years… and LOL my wife doesn’t think I can pull this off)...

Thanks again…

View hiptech's profile


10 posts in 2717 days

#3 posted 05-27-2013 11:20 PM

Can anyone comment on the merits of building this purely from 3/4” ply (dados & rabbits) vs. skeleton (2×4’s) and covering with 3/4” ply?

Had horrible issues with old setup of particle board and trying to figure out if the best solution for heavy load capacity especially with regards to shelf bending and walls bowing out…

Appreciate any input,

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2817 days

#4 posted 05-28-2013 12:40 AM

Your situation sounds all to familiar. I made these. First try at cabinets. I used 3/4 plywood for the cases and osb for shelves. I did use dados for the shelves. These will outlast me for sure.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View MNgary's profile


301 posts in 2441 days

#5 posted 05-28-2013 01:03 AM

Cutworm, that’s a humble shop ??? I won’t ask you to describe mine!

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2888 days

#6 posted 05-28-2013 01:05 AM

My guess is the vertical 2Xs are likely notched on inside. Perhaps 1/2” deep. The horizonal 2Xs fit into the notches and tops are covered with ply. Unit is attached to wall studs with lag bolts. There is no right way to do this.

View hiptech's profile


10 posts in 2717 days

#7 posted 05-28-2013 02:06 PM

RonInOhio I think you “nailed it” with your suggestion, I hadn’t considered “notching” the vertical members, somehow the concept eluded me…

Thanks everyone, really appreciate all your input!

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