Workshop tip: Modular storage system adjusts to fit cargo
Quick-to-make, adjustable cabinets will hold a variety of tools and equipment.
Like most woodworkers, I have a place for every machine but no good home for my large stash of power tools: sanders, routers, saws, drills, and so on. After years of tripping over stacks of cases, I got frustrated enough to do something about it.
I wanted everything in one central, easy-to-access location. I also wanted my storage system to be adjustable, since it’s almost impossible to know what tools I may add or subtract down the road. These quick-to-make cabinets fill the bill perfectly.
The modular system is made up of simple plywood cabinet boxes that can be of any size, screwed together in any array. Rows of 1/4-in. dadoes inside each box let you slip in 1/4-in.-thick plywood panels that act as adjustable shelves. I drilled a fingerpull hole at the front of each shelf to make it easy to move.
While cabinets like these can be as tall as your plywood is long, it’s more helpful to build them in two stacked banks, letting you alter the depth and width of the bays to suit the contents. In my case, there’s an upper, 60-in.-tall bank of five units, sized to fit my large collection of Festool Systainers and similar aftermarket cases for other tools; and a lower, 40-in.-tall bank of four wider units that holds everything else.
The cabinet sides and backs are 3/4-in. (18mm) Baltic-birch plywood joined with glued-and-screwed rabbets, and the shelf dadoes are slightly oversize for easy sliding. I cut all the rabbets with one setup on the tablesaw using a stacked dado head, and I cut the shelf dadoes on my crosscut sled. Before screwing the boxes to each other, make a simple toe-kick base from plywood strips, level it with shims, and screw it to the wall and/or floor. Then set the cabinet boxes on top, join them with 1-1/4-in.-long screws, and anchor them to the wall.
To make the shelves better looking and easier to adjust, I gave all of the edges a 1/8-in. roundover—including the 1-3/8-in.- dia. finger pull—running them over the router table in all directions to create fully rounded edges.
The system has worked well, and can be expanded as far as your wall space will allow.
—CLARK KELLOGG, Houston, Texas
Illustrations by Dan Thornton
From Fine Woodworking issue #287