DIY Workshop Storage Unit

  •  Workshop Storage Unit

Shelves and drawers are a good way to add storage space to a workshop, but they must be sturdy if they’re to handle the weight of power tools.

It costs about $240 to build one of these boxes and four drawers, plus a plinth. 

You’ll need two sheets of 2400 x 1200 x 19mm plywood and one 1200 x 600 x 12mm sheet, as well as pine for the plinth.

For a wall of storage, build more boxes and a full-length plinth. Separate them with open shelving and add a worktop.   

DIY TIP Use a tablesaw to cut the parts to width and a circular saw with a straightedge guide to cut them to length.

Building tips 

  • The tough drawers and the boxes they are housed in are built from plywood. The drawers come in three sizes to hold a range of tools and materials.
  • Cut the shelves from 19mm ply. Position the base shelf on the plinth and attach cleats to the outer box sides to install the rest without screws.
  • Countersink all screw holes on the outside of the boxes and fill all screw and brad holes before staining. Seal the drawer faces with polyurethane.  
  • Lay the box sides next to each other with the most flawed surfaces face up. These will be on the inside of the box. Arrange so the best edges face the front. 
  • The length of the worktop depends on the number of boxes, while the depth will be 590mm. We cut a sheet of 2400 x 1200 x 19mm ply in two to make the top.
  • If you build several boxes, you‘ll need to make one big plinth to stand them on. Create a toe space by making the plinth 60mm shallower than the boxes.
  • When all the boxes are in position, secure to the plinth and to the wall studs with 75mm x 8g screws.  Add the shelves and attach the worktop with screws.

Take A Shortcut 

Make a simple handle jig.

CUT 19mm ply to 110mm wide and the length of the drawer faces.

SECURE a 40 x 19mm ply scrap flush with the top edge of a face, marking the handle ends and post hole centres 80mm and 50mm from each end.

CLAMP the jig and glue the dowels to hold them in position until the handles are bolted on. 

workshop drawers, handyman magazine,
Organise your garage with drawers designed to hold all your tools and equipment

Make the box and drawers 

Step 1. Secure supports

Mark the top of the drawer supports on the sides of the boxes 355, 660 and 965mm from the base. Apply adhesive and position the supports on the lines 12mm from the front edges. Tack in place with brads, securing with screws.

Step 2. Assemble the box

Apply PVA adhesive, then tack the top and base to one box side with brads. Drill 2mm pilot holes and secure with screws set at least 40mm from the edges. Add the other side and secure using adhesive and screws.

Step 3. Secure the back

Use a builder’s square to check the box back is cut square. Apply adhesive, then position the back and use brads to tack down one side only. Use the back to square up the box, securing with screws spaced 300mm apart.

Step 4. Attach brace

Measure the distance between the centre drawer supports, then cut the brace to fit exactly between them. Clamp it 100mm from the front and 1mm below the top of the supports, securing with adhesive and screws.

Step 5. Build drawers

Lay out the pieces for each drawer with the best edges face up, assembling with adhesive and three screws at each joint. Cut the bases to the exact size and use them to square up each drawer, securing with screws.

Step 6. Add drawer faces

Starting with the base drawer, cut the faces to size, with 3mm side gaps and 5mm in between the drawers. Shim the drawer faces to ensure the gaps are even, then secure with adhesive and brads in each corner.

Step 7. Install handles

Round off the edges of the handles and cut the posts to length. Clamp the handle jig to the drawer face and attach the dowels. Hold the handle in position and drill 8mm clearance holes, then secure with bolts, washers and nuts.

Step 8. Build the plinth

If assembling more than one box, measure the space and calculate the number of boxes and shelves needed. Cut the plinth to match. Secure the sides and add a brace every 1200mm. Paint the plinth to match the boxes.

Step 9. Hang shelves

Secure each box to the wall studs and the plinth with screws. Install the base shelf on the plinth, then secure 550mm cleats to the box sides for extra shelves. Cut the top to fit over the boxes and shelves. Secure with screws.

Click on the diagram

Click on the diagram to see each component of the box and drawers in this workshop storage unit.

Click on the materials list

Click on the materials list to see what materials you will need for this project.

Click on the cutting list

Click on the cutting list to see what sized pieces of CD plywood, pine dowels, pine and treated pine you will need.

Click on the fastener list

Click on the fastener list to see what fasteners you will need for this project.

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