Monday, February 1, 2016

Tool Drawer Cart

Not too long ago I helped a friend of mine demolish an old kitchen and rebuild it with new cabinetry.


Demolishing was fun!


As partial payment for helping, my friend allowed me to keep whatever leftovers I wanted, so I made off like a bandit keeping a number of solid wood drawers...


... and cabinet doors.


Almost immediately I measured all the drawers and cabinets and began designing new workshop tables.  Below is one of a few designs I came up with using the drawers and doors.


Unfortunately my garage is already full of tables and carts, none of which I want to get rid of just yet.


Also, building a series of 6-foot long work tables will be a bit on the costly side.


So I would have to build something a little smaller for the time being.  So I came up with a cabinet that will use 5 of the same size drawers. 


This cabinet will not require as much material to build, which will keep the price of construction down.


Also for the sides, top and bottom I think I'll use particle board.


I went out and bough the material needed.


I began working with the particleboard.  I measured the boards...


...and cut them with my table saw...


...and circular saw.


Then I marked the positions where the shelves will be.


Next I began drilling pocket holes into the sides...


...and attached them to the top and bottom with pocket screws.


And before long the carcass was assembled.


Now to start on the supports for the drawers.  I began by measuring and marking the wood strips...


...and cutting them on the miter saw.


Before long all the wood was cut.


Next I drilled pocket holes in all the wood pieces that needed them.


Then I started making all the shelves for the drawers.  I used a face clamp to hold the wood together while I screwed in pocket screws.



It didn't take too long to make all the supports.


I also assembled the face frame, but without the middle parts. I'll add those shortly.


In order to get the supports in I needed to drill some more pocket screws into the sides of each support.


Then one by one I lined up the supports with the guides I drew on the sides of the carcass and began screwing each support in.


And now all the supports are in!


I placed the face frame on upside-down and lined up the middle trim with each support.  Then I screwed the face frame together.


I flipped over the face frame and glued/nailed it to the rest of the cabinet.


Next I tested to see how each drawer fit.  The top drawer and the second to last drawer were a bit too tight.


So using various tools I shaved down some of the trim until all the drawers fit in perfectly.


Next I added some casters to the bottom to make the cabinet more mobile.


Now it moves around nicely, and for the most part it was done.  I just need to attach the back.


But before I do I want to make this thing a little better.  Having the casters will make it easy to move around the cabinet, however once this thing is filled with tools it will be heavy.  So I want to make some handles for it so it will be easier to handle when moving around.  These handles will run vertically on the sides, but in order to make them flush I need to trim a little of the face frame edges.


To do this I'll use a flush trim bit on my router.


It took a few passes at different heights on my router, but now the face frame edges are flush with the sides.


Next I cut 2 pieces of trim to the height of the whole cabinet.


Then they were glued and nailed to the sides.


Now I have 2 handles on both sides.


Frequently I test the drawers to make sure they fit and slide well in between each step.  While removing one of the drawers the back broke off.  I don't know quite how old these drawers are, but I decided to fix and reinforce them so that they'd last.


While the drawers were drying I proceeded with the cabinet.  I used my belt sander with coarse grit sandpaper (60) and leveled the edges of the face frame.


Then I used medium grit sandpaper (120) on my orbital sander and went over everything.


Next I attached a chamfering bit onto my router...


...and routed all the edges of the face frame and handles.


Then I sanded once more with fine (220) grit sandpaper on my mouse sander.


This thing looks great with one exception:  I forgot how ugly particle board looks.


So I decided to cover the top and sides with some plywood.  So back to the store I went and picked up some plywood.


The sides will get thin 1/4" plywood which I cut to size with my table saw.


Then they were glued and nailed in place.


The top received a 1/2" thick piece of plywood which I also glued and nailed in place.


But instead of cutting it to fit I simply reattached my flush trimming bit into my router and trimmed the top with my router.


One last addition I decided on was to put blocks on the side of the cabinet to hold some of my clamps.  I have something similar on the wall of my garage.


These blocks will also be made out of leftover 2x4 studs.


I cut angles on the side to make them look nicer.


Then I sanded each one to make sure the surfaces and edges were smooth.


Then I drilled 3 pilot holes with counter sinks in each block.


Then I glued and screwed the blocks onto the sides of my cabinet.


Now I can hold clamps on both sides.



The last step in construction was to cut the peg board I got down to size with the table saw.


Then I simply used screws with washers to attach the back.


Next I gave the whole thing one more good sanding with fine sandpaper.


Construction complete!


At the time I finished building this I hadn't decided if I wanted to stain the cabinet.


No matter what the drawers will not completely match the rest of the cabinet unless I paint it to match.


At the moment I do not have any hanging hooks for the peg board back, but once I get around to picking some up I'll be able to put stuff on the back as well.


I rolled the cabinet against the wall for the time being.


The next day I decided against staining.  Since this is purely utilitarian I think the unfinished wood looks nice enough.  


I put my case with all my assorted screws, bolts, nuts, etc on the top of the cabinet.


On both sides are my various clamps.


The top drawer holds assorted blades, screw drivers, a sharpening block and a tray with fixtures to my grinder and power multipurpose tool.


The second drawer houses my chisels, files and pliers.


The third drawer has my ratchet set, Allen keys,  punches and wrenches.


The fourth drawer has my drill bits, drum sanders and nails for my nail gun.


The last drawer has an assortment of stuff - mostly block planes and my small pocket hole jig.


On the bottom shelf I have a strong box.


For the peg board back I picked up some hooks...


...and I attached some of my other tools to the back - such as my T-Square, a rubber mallet, a crowbar and a cleaning brush and pickup.


This is a great addition to my workshop and will help me keep my garage organized for some time.


A few months later I decided to revise the cart slightly by adding an extra shelf to the top.  This shelf was the same height as the other drawers, but slightly less wider.  So I filled the space with a small piece of wood.  I also created extra runners inside for this shelf, plus the shelf that was moved to the bottom space.


Then I decided to stain and paint the whole thing.


Thanks for reading!

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