Quick High-Quality Shop Cabinets

– [Narrator] The Wood
Whisperer is sponsored by, Powermatic, Titebond, and
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware. – It's hard to believe that I've been in this new garage space
for about two year now and one of the last remaining things that I wanted to change was this alcove. The previous installed
cabinets were just too big. They were really tall, really deep, great for long-term storage
if this were just a garage, but for woodworking it
just wasn't appropriate. I need easy access to things. This is what I came up with. Let me give you the tour. In the right bank of cabinets,
I've got some double doors.

As you can see, a whole bunch of trays. In some cases for storing some things, I prefer a shallow tray over a drawer because it's actually
easier to get to things. The left bank of cabinets is
a little more complicated, but pretty easy to make still. I've got a bunch of drawers here. These are deeper but not too deep like the built-ins I had before. When they get this deep, suddenly the drawer's
just not as useful to me, but everything's on full extension slides so it comes all the way out.

Over here, I've got
some adjustable shelving and you could see I've got
some sustainers in there as well as these Stanley organizers. The cabinet's deep enough that this actually is two levels deep so there are four of these containers and four sustainers in this space. While not directly
related to the cabinets, the space between here is sized so that I could put my drill press there, or my original plan was to just
put a garbage can in there. I'll give you guys a plan for this, but ultimately the measurements here are just appropriate for my space so make sure that you
look at those numbers and make sure they make
sense for your space. Ultimately, I want you to see
the techniques that are used and the methodology to
build these cabinets and then you could apply that to any sized dimension cabinet that you wanna build for your shop. Let's get into it. – [Narrator] With the
old cabinets ripped out, I can start building a flat
level platform for each cabinet.

I want the platforms to be at least three inches tall to create
a reasonable toe kick. I set up a laser so that it's three inches on the high side of the slope. Measuring over about four feet, I can see what the height will be at the end of the first cabinet. Turns out it's four
inches so that tells me that the right platform has to taper a full inch over a length of four feet. I repeat this process
for the other cabinet. This one will start at four and a quarter and end up at five and a quarter. The platforms will be made
from tapered two by sixes.

I first cut them to length and the tapers will be based on my measurements. The short support pieces
are then cut to length and the width is taken directly
from the tapered pieces. I'll use screws to secure
the frames together. Because of the taper, there's a little extra material
sitting proud of the surface and I'll quickly knock that
down with a block plane. Now I'll drop the frames in place and check for level in both directions. I could then use shims to get the bubble where it needs to be. Since we're trying to
level in two directions, it could be a little fussy and I'm probably being more
picky than I need to be, but I'm here, I'm doing the work, I may as well make it
as good as it can be.

Once leveled, I can attach a piece of OSB. I want the platforms to be stable, but I don't necessarily
wanna drill into the concrete so I'll take each shim out and reinsert it with some
liquid nails on both sides. Like many marriages, this is a stable but not
necessarily permanent connection. At this point, the kids
discovered the two custom performance stages I
apparently built for them. Now let's get to the cabinets. I'm using three quarter inch Baltic birch. This stuff is pretty heavy so I find it easiest to cut the
parts down on the ground with a few styrofoam
insulation boards for support.

For the cabinet sides, try to find at least one square corner. The square sides are then
put against the fence to cut the panel to its final dimension. The support cleats are
also cut at this time. These will span across the side panels, bringing the whole structure together without the need for full
back panels or bottom panels. Next, I need to cut four shallow notches and a large notch for the concrete wall into each side panel, and
I'll do that at the band saw. Using the fence in conjunction
with a magnet as a stop, it's pretty easy to cut the notches systematically and accurately. The finished panels should
look something like this. Now we'll cut the dadoes and the cleats. I'll install my dado blade and bury it partially inside a sacrificial fence. The amount of dado
protruding from the fence should be the same as the
thickness of the plywood. The height should be set so that it leads a half inch of
material on the cleat.

When the cut is perfect, the cleat will set into the notch so that it's perfectly flush. All of the cleats will
receive the rabbit on the end. We have dadoes to cut in
the middle of the cleats and it's just a matter of lining up the pencil lines with the dado
stack and making the cut. By the way, when cutting dadoes like this, it's best not to bring the work back over the spinning blade. If anything shifts, you'll
widen your dado or worse, cause it to kick back. To locate the screw holes, I pre-drill from the inside of the dado where it's really easy to find the center.

On the other face, I can then use my countersink
and pre-drill for screws. Assembly goes quickly. I use clamps to help hold the sides up and I can then drop the
cleats in one at a time and attach them with glue and screws. Before adding the glue, I pre-drill into the panel
to help prevent splitting. Then I can slather on the glue
and drive home the screws. I could just keep flipping the case, adding the cleats as I go. The bigger of the two cases
actually has four side panels, with the assembly process as the same. And here comes my helper. I think most woodworking
parents can relate to having the kid running
around the shop in their diaper.

I may as well put her to work. Just like that, both
cases are constructed. Now let's measure for our
drawers and sliding trays. The drawer boxes and trays will be an inch narrower than
the size of the opening. The left cabinet will
have a bunch of drawers and the right will feature
shallow trays and a set of doors. That's a lot of small
parts so let's get cutting. With the dado blade and
the sacrificial fence, I can cut rabbits in the
drawer and tray sides. That's the fit we're looking for. The bottom panels will be
made from quarter inch ply so I'll use a dado stack
to cut the perfect groove. Quarter inch plywood
is never a quarter inch so I'll need to use
shims in the dado stack to get a nice snug fit. Next, I'll measure for the bottom panels. I take the inner dimensions and add three quarters of an inch since the grooves are three eighths of an inch deep.

Now we can assemble. I insert the bottom panel
into one of the sides, then add the front and back pieces. I'm using brad nails to
help hold things together, just until the glue dries. That's an old norm joke. Each drawer is pre-drilled and screwed together to reinforce the rabbit. That's one. Many more to go. And the trays, although smaller,
are assembled the same way. Now we can install the slides. I like to mount slides flush
with the bottom of the drawers. That makes it easier to mount on both the drawer and the cabinet. For the drawer, I work on a flat surface and use a piece of scrap
as a stop at the front.

I could then extend the
drawer portion of the slide and drive a few screws
to secure it in place. Now I can remove the
cabinet side of the slide and drive the remainder of the screws. No measuring, no marking,
just good old dummy proofing. These particular slides are from Accuride and are sold as low profile slides. That just means that they
aren't quite as wide, but they're still a half
inch thick like most others. Installing them on the trays
is exactly the same process. Now that's a gaggle of drawers, or maybe a herd, or possibly a murder. Who knows, it's a lot of drawers. Now let's install the
cabinet side of the slides. In my plan, I decided
where I want the bottom of each drawer box. Then I cut some spacers for a repeatable way to index each slide. The slide just sits on
top of the plywood spacers with the front of the slide about a sixteenth of an inch back from the edge.

Once the top slide is attached, I can take the top spacer off
and attach the next slide. The bottom slide is mounted a quarter inch up from the bottom. Also notice how I have to
use a shorter slide here because of my concrete situation. Now I just have to repeat
that on the other side and twice again for the right cabinet. This is the part where I think maybe I should tape these together or use thicker stock, but I persevere. Even if the fit is perfect, the drawer is always a little bit rough the first time you insert it, but once you push it in all the way, it'll slide in and out very easily and most of you who know my sense of humor know how hard I'm fighting
my instincts right now to make a joke about this, but I won't. Must be mature! Oops, my helper's back. My mind's out of the gutter now.

This is the point where I start getting excited about all of
these new storage opportunities as they become a reality. It's probably a good time to attach the cabinets to the bases. Just a few screws into the bottom cleats and a few into the wall. The rightmost compartment
of the left cabinet will feature adjustable shelves. I'll use Rockler's shelf
pin jig to get the job done. I've had this jig for over 10 years now and it has never let me down. Just line it up, hold
it in place, and drill. Before building the doors,
let's look at the hinges. Most European cup hinges result in a door that protrudes into the opening. That means it would be
in the way of any trays and we'd have to mount
the slides for those trays on cleats in order to avoid a collision. Thankfully I found these sweet zero protrusion hinges that put the door outside of the tray's path.

Just as a bonus, they kind
of look like a metal cricket. Before we can do anything with the hinges, we'll need some doors. Sorry about the bird flip there, unless you're the person
that thumbs down my videos just seconds after it's posted. In that case, take it at face value. The rails and styles
are then milled to size.

The panels will be quarter inch plywood so I'll cut a groove in all
the pieces at the table saw. Two passes, flipping the
work piece in between, will result in a perfectly centered groove of the exact width. I'll use the domino to
knock out the frame joinery. To make assembly easier, I'll pre-glue the tenons into the rails. The inside and outside
perimeters of the door will have a nice little chamfer. The rails get the chamfer all the way across the inside edge, but the styles have to
stop before the end. Otherwise, we'll have a
chamfer where two pieces meet, which would look really weird.

The panels are cut from some
quarter inch maple plywood. The assembly's pretty easy. Throw some glue in the mortises and smack everything together. After the glue is dry, I sand the entire frame
and clean up the mill marks and level the joints as needed. Remember how we stopped
short with the chamfers? Now's the time we have to finish
those off with the chisel. To install the hinges, I mark
the locations of the brackets. I'm not too picky about this, but I obviously have to
navigate around those slides. Using the adjustable square allows me to lock in a setting and
transfer that to the other side. Here's a little jig that's
preset for the hinge bracket. I just line it up with my center line and pre-drill with a self-centering bit. To get the hinges in the
correct locations on the door, I'll clamp a piece of scrap
to the bottom of the cabinet.

I can then place the door on the scrap and transfer those center lines. Whenever doing detailed work like this, I always try to think of ways that will take the stupid
human out of the equation. Quick! Look busy! Here comes the boss. To drill for the cup side of the hinge, it's Rockler to the rescue again. This is another jig I've
had for over 10 years now. Just line up the center line and drill. With the hinge in the hole, I square it up and then
pre-drill for the screws. Now I can snap the hinge parts together. With the second door installed, I could see that I've got a little bit of contact in the middle, so I trim the doors down just
a smidge at the table saw.

That's much better. I originally planned on using solid alder for my drawer fronts, but the boards just aren't wide enough so I'll opt for plywood
trimmed with alder. The trim will be three
quarter inches square. This means the edging will be slightly proud of the surface when it's glued to three quarter inch plywood. I start by gluing the long edging first. When the glue is dry, I sand
the proud material flush, and then I can trim the fronts to length and attach the edging to the ends. After sanding the edging flush, I trim the overhangs at the
table saw using this cool trick. A piece of scrap between the fence and the work piece allows me to
trim one side safely. Once one side is trimmed, I can trim the other side
just using the fence as usual. The drawer fronts get the
same chamfer as the doors. Now I can drill for the poles by centering them on the drawer front. Always use a piece of
scrap under your work when you're drilling 'cause it really helps prevent tear out. To locate the drawer fronts, we'll employ another trick
to make our lives easier.

With another piece of scrap
clamped to the bottom, I could stack the drawers with one sixteenth inch shims as
spacers between each one. If the drawer fronts are too big, now's the time to fix them. Using the holes we drilled, I drive a couple of pinhead screws to temporarily attach the fronts. By the way, I definitely
didn't invent this trick. It's something I read about years ago but always seemed to forget
when I'm doing false fronts. Thanks to several folks on
Instagram for the reminder.

With the drawers removed, I could then countersign for screws and firmly attach the
fronts from the inside. Now I could remove those pinhead screws, drill through, and attach the hardware. The doors get the same hardware. Since there's only two, I just lay them out and
install the boring way. Now let's work on the tops. I'm gonna use two layers
of three quarter inch MDF as the core. With a whole bunch of glue
smeared on the surface, I drop the second piece in place. Notice that the top piece
falls short of the width. This is because I didn't wanna buy additional sheets of MDF to satisfy the greater than 24 inch width, so I'll just put some
filler strips in the back to take up the space and
no one will ever see this after the installation. I'll use the track saw to make a nice, clean cut on the front and sides. To protect the edges of the top, I'll use inch and a half wide alder.

The corners have to be
mitered so with one side cut, I could line it up and
then mark the other side. Now I'll attach the pieces one by one. By the way, this is never
a one cut thing for me. I always have to sneak up on the fit and make multiple trips to the miter saw. 21 gauge brad nails
will secure the edging. After flushing up the top surface, I'll add a little chamfer. This is also a good time
to fill the nail holes. For the finish, I'm using OSMO Polyx. It's a pretty expensive finish, but I had some leftover
from another project and using it in the shop gives me a great reference with regard to durability. I did two coats with a
light sanding in between. I actually forgot to do this earlier. In the back we need a couple of pocket hole screws to help secure the top. Now with the tops in place, I'll drive screws through the front cleat as well as those pocket
holes we just drilled. For the open cubby, I'll install two pieces of scrap to make the bottom more usable.

For the adjustable shelves, I'll use some leftover
MDF and put a little edging on the front. This is a minor detail, but see how I'm using a
small cleat for this glue-up? The cleat makes sure that all of the pressure is where we need it. If I didn't use the cleat, this type of clamp would put pressure on the top of that piece of trim which would create a gap where
the pieces actually meet. Worst part is you probably
wouldn't even notice this until you turn the thing
over and the glue is dry. Now I can install all the hardware. I've got a lot of organizing
to do but for now, I'll install some power strips
and my bit storage case, which we have plans for by the way. How about we do a little drawer organization while we're at it? Does this look familiar? I'm gonna try to tame this mess using Rockler's new lock
align organizing system. The starter kit that they sell comes with quite a few components, but I'll need to use
their wide tray pieces to fill out this wide drawer.

The first row goes in easily. The second row will need to be cut. That's easy enough to do using the lines on the back as a guide. If you cut along a line,
everything just lines up perfectly. Now I can put my stuff back in, utilizing the dividers
and the little trays that they include in the kit. Perhaps the best part, you can just pull the components up and change things around if you need to.

Now that tickles me in a special place. – It may seem like it's a lot of effort to put into shop cabinets
and things like that, but ultimately I spend
a lot of time in here. This is not only the
place where I make money, it's my refuge, it's where I take a break. I love my family but sometimes I need a little bit of time off, and I spend most of my time in here alone. This is my fun place so I
want things to look nice, I want them to be functional, and I want my time in this space to be efficient and fun.

Hopefully you'll take the time to build your own shop cabinets using some of these techniques. We'll see you next time. (upbeat funk music).

As found on YouTube

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