Good resources for building shop cabinets?

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Forum topic by Paul D posted 12-09-2013 03:07 PM 3763 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Paul D

9 posts in 1888 days

12-09-2013 03:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cabinets shop drawers question

A recent issue of Fine Woodworking had an article about organizing your shop with roll around carts built for specific tasks (

Great idea, I thought – I am a pretty new woodworker and am still lacking both shop furniture (besides a bench which I just finished and an outfeed table) and I think it’d be a good skill building project where my mistakes won’t be a big deal.

Can anyone recommend any good resources online or in print for basic cabinet making? Anything that could give me the know how with regards to carcass construction, doors and drawers would be really helpful. There seem to be a million books on the subject but I thought I would see what people have actually found to be helpful.


10 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


4717 posts in 2344 days

#1 posted 12-09-2013 03:16 PM

PlansNOW is a good resource.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2964 days

#2 posted 12-09-2013 04:40 PM
Link to one of the best, easiest to build cart/table designs I have found.
I have made one of these and plan to build more.
Very strong and easily adaptable to different heights and sizes.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5653 posts in 2806 days

#3 posted 12-09-2013 04:47 PM

I think you will find all the information you need right here at LJ’s. Most cabinets are built from sheet goods with an applied face frame. The back can be plywood rabbeted into the sides. Drawers are either overlay, or inset. Full extension slides are a good choice.
I built these in a non-traditional way using solid oak legs. The sides are attached to the legs with dados.
There are many ways to build cabinets, the trick is finding the method that works best for you.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View 03rangerfx4's profile


2 posts in 1864 days

#4 posted 12-09-2013 06:18 PM

I bought this book, and love it.
They are simple and fast to make.

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 3472 days

#5 posted 12-09-2013 06:31 PM

Use your time building shop furniture to increase your design and build skills.

See what process method best works for you. I have learned much from trial and error in making out-feed tables and other mobile stands/cabinets.

This will help you learn a process that fits your skills, the tools you have and your available space.

Draw it out by hand with some rough dimensions and see how it goes.

Don’t get me wrong, I have many books that are dog-eared from reading, but the best outcome come from me knowing my strengths and weaknesses. I have the scraps to prove it.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View MT_Stringer's profile


3168 posts in 3224 days

#6 posted 12-09-2013 07:11 PM

You Tube has more videos than you can shake a stick at.

Or you could follow along with my Garage Makeover, Drill Press Table and cabinet blogs...or the mobile workstation...or the custom buffet. Just sayin’ :-)

Good luck. Post some pics.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Texcaster's profile


1281 posts in 1667 days

#7 posted 12-09-2013 08:11 PM

Keep in mind we only build boxes and frames, with two classes of joints, box and frame. A box is made stable with a back, a frame with a panel. Solid panel doors start to get tricky because timber movement must be accounted for. That won’t be a problem for what you have in mind.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Tom Clark's profile

Tom Clark

88 posts in 3014 days

#8 posted 12-11-2013 01:58 PM

Paul D,

About 30 years ago I was in the same position as you are now. I needed to build a shop but needed to learn how to build simple shop cabinets and to build them quickly. Shop cabinets are not kitchen cabinets, so the books I purchased served mainly to show me what not to do. I just started designing and building my own simple cabinets to fit my shop. Once you learn how it is very simple. Don’t build to plans. Design your own cabinets . You will get many ideas from photos in magazines and online forums, but you can easily customize everything to fit you and your shop.

At the urging of my woodworking friends I wrote “Practical Shop Cabinets” years ago. 03ranger posted a link to it above. On the web page are many more photos to give you more ideas for your cabinets.

-- Tom

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4212 days

#9 posted 12-11-2013 02:34 PM

For better or worse… I never follow plans. I look at books and plans to get ideas, but I truly think my best woodworking education has come from making shop furniture by trial-and-error. To me, there is not much that’s more fun than coming up with an idea for a shop cabinet, and figuring out how I’m going to construct it. There are always many ways to skin the proverbial cat. Like Scott said, it’s a matter of finding out which methods best fit your individual skills and tool collection.

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

View Paul D's profile

Paul D

9 posts in 1888 days

#10 posted 12-11-2013 08:44 PM

Thanks everybody, that has given my some good ideas.

Tom – I actually purchased your book off of your website at 03rangerfx4’s suggestion. It looks like it will get me pointed in the right direction.

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