Transformation from shelves to drawers. Another step towards my goal: a table that holds bits and pieces during a project, tools and supplies in drawers – and a place where my sharpening equipment stands at the ready at all times.
I ordered some drawer slides which is mounted underneath the drawer. They are easy to fit, and they maximizes the width of the drawer (you can even make the drawer wider above them if you want to). You can remove the drawer completely too, which might be handy if you want to just toss the whole drawer up on the bench while working – or when something is dropped behind the drawers…
With this type of slides, drawer construction becomes real simple. A box is fastened to a really sturdy bottom, forming a drawer. The advantage of this is that the drawer can hold a LOT of weight without sagging. It is really easy to construct, too. No need to cut a dado for the slides or the bottom.
They are self-closing too – just push the drawer, and on the last few centimetres it slides in on its own because of an incline in the slide track. This also keeps the drawers shut.
I cut some old storage shelves to size – they are 20mm pine. The slides supports 25 kilos, so I can load 150 kilos of miscellaneous stuff in there. Should be neat…
I then cut more of the old storage shelves into drawer front / back / side blanks, ran them through the thicknesses to make them a bit thinner and to remove that gastly shade of green. It almost make me hurl when I look at it…
I placed a drawer side onto the front and nicked the surface with the marking knife. This ensures a perfect measurement for a lap joint. I then made a knife wall…
…and marked the depth with the router plane. Neat trick – I’m using it to smooth the joint anyway, and it does a nice job as a marking gauge.
I then cut to the line with my hand saw.
I then chiseled most of the waste away. Place the chisel a smidgen over the line, angle it upwards and give it a little whack with the hammer. The waste pops off very easily.
The router plane takes the rabbet down to final dimension, and makes the bottom flat and smooth.
The drawer sides was cut to length and the ends planed square on the shooting board. I then marked the location for the screws, predrilled and countersunk for the screws. The assembled box were then screwed to the bottom.
The drawers are perfectly square, and the joint looks very tidy.
I then marked the centre, measured 5cm in both direction, 2.5 down and used a paper cup to mark the curve on both sides.
Some sawing, rasp work, a bit of hand file and a touch of sand paper, and the cutouts was finished. Rinse and repeat for the rest of the drawers.
The drawers are about 17cm deep, so they will hold a lot of stuff. At the back of the drawer I have cut down the sides and the back piece to 15cm. The sides are cut down 4.5cm towards the front. This is necessary with this kind of slides, if you want to be able to remove a drawer.
Originally, I had the idea to make the drawers a bit wider to use the space better, but decided against it. The effort was just not worth it as the drawers are plenty big enough for what I intend to keep in them. Besides, I would only gain about 15-20mm.
Now, you might be screaming towards the screen at this point about screwing the front to the sides and not the other way around. And you might be correct. HOWEVER: there’s six screws in there – plus four through the bottom. Nobody will be able to rip the front off of the sides if they are acting somewhat normal.
After a brief hiatus from this project (that lasted several months), I finally got time to finish the last three drawers.
I’ll probably paint them white inside (easier to see the contents), and I might add something to the bottom to keep the contents from sliding around. In the top two drawers, I’ve thought of adding a small tray that can slide on rails mounted on the drawer sides. Could be useful for various less-used measuring devices like protractors, compasses and so on.
This has been a fun project to do, and it did not cost me much. The drawer slides, screws, paint and glue are the only things I had to pay for, all the wood was free.
For now, I’m calling it a day on this project. In the future, I may add nice fronts to the drawers and add storage to the sides of the support table in some way. I’ve got several ideas!
The sharpening station / support table combo has proven to be a great asset. For the time being, the top is a bit cluttered – but as I continue to improve the shop infrastructure, all the thingamabobs will be removed. This table is intended as a space to temporarily hold various things during a project. For instance, a marking gauge set to a specific measurement, drawings, smaller parts, sub-assemblies and so on. And of course, the sharpening equipment stands at the ready at all times. It takes me less than a minute to freshen up the edge on my hand plane. Fifteen seconds tops for a chisel. No need to clear a space and bring out the diamond plates; two steps to the side and turn around, and there they are. Love it!
Spot that pink tool box? It belongs to my oldest daughter and have a small assortment of tools. Of course it must have a dedicated place in the shop! I can’t wait to start making projects together! The youngest will get hers when she gets a little older.
Making your own shop furniture is great – you can build exactly what you need for the space you have. Since it is functional furniture, there is no need to go crazy on the wood. Pallet wood, reclaimed stuff, free stuff… Use what ever you have on hand.
Now, you could just cut down some plywood and pocket hole the thing with a Gatling gun and be done with it. I prefer this method – relative construction where one piece is fitted to the other with very little regard to exact measurements. It is liberating! Bonus: I get to practice techniques. If I screw up, it’s for the shop. A not-so-tight joint will be the least of my concerns within a few months of use…
Pity I did not think of that mini fridge before though…