Workbench Tool Cabinet

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This article is from Issue 54 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Get more bang from your bench with this easy-to-build box.

Overall Dimensions: 161⁄2"w × 393⁄4"l × 17"h

This under-bench cabinet offers super-convenient storage without sacrificing additional floor or wall space. Designed to be built and put into service quickly, the cabinet employs simple joinery and requires only a small handful of hardware. Once installed and stocked, the case and tools within will provide extra mass to your bench to help keep it firmly planted when working with hand tools.

This cabinet is intended to complement the Compact, All-Purpose Workbench (page 48), but if the cabinet fits (or you alter the dimensions to suit) it can serve as a fitting upgrade to almost any workbench.

Note: Baltic birch (used to build this cabinet and drawers) is manufactured to metric specifications. For best results when using this material, refer to the metric measurements listed in parentheses beside their imperial equivalents, for example, 3⁄8" (9mm).

Start with the case

1 Cut the top and bottom (A), sides (B), and center partition (C) to the sizes listed in the Cut List.

2 Install a 3⁄4" (18mm) dado set in your tablesaw, attach a sacrificial fence to your saw’s rip fence, adjust the dado height to 3⁄8", and then rabbet and dado the top and bottom (A) for the sides (B) and center partition (C), where shown in Figure 1. Next, bury the dado head slightly, and then cut the 1⁄2" (12 mm) rabbet in the rear edges of the top/bottom and sides for the back (D).

3 Adjust your dado set width to 1⁄4" (6mm) and cut the dadoes for the drawer bottoms (E) in the sides (B) and center partition (C), where shown in Figures 1 and 2. (To ensure that the dadoes line up, cut each matching pair of dados before adjusting the fence.)

4 Dry-assemble the case and cut the back (D) to fit. Using the back to square the case, reassemble the case with glue. Attach the back to the case with 3⁄4"screws.

Make sure that the bottom lip projects evenly on both sides; then shoot a few nails to hold the parts together.

Make the drawers

1 Cut the drawer bottoms (E) to fit your cabinet. Now cut the drawer fronts (F, G, H, I), sides (J, K, L), and backs (M, N, O) to the sizes listed in the Cut List. At the drill press, drill the finger holes in the drawer fronts, where shown with a 11⁄2" Forstner bit.

2 Install a 1⁄2" (9 mm) dado set in your tablesaw, adjust the dado height to 3⁄8" (12mm), and then dado each drawer front (F, G, H, I), where shown in Figure 3, to fit the drawer sides (J, K, L). Attach a sacrificial fence to your rip fence, and adjust the fence as needed to rabbet the bottom edges of the drawer fronts, where shown in Figure 3.

3 Assemble the drawers with glue and pin nails, as shown in Photo A.

Measure the hinge-to-edge distance on a piece of scrap to set the drill press fence.

Make and hang the door

1 Cut the door (P) to the size listed in the Cut List. At the drill press, drill the finger hole, where shown in Figure 1.

2 Draw a pair of lines, on the hinge side of the case and door, where shown in Figure 4, to locate the centers of the hinges.

3 Chuck a 35mm bit into your drill press, set the fence as shown in Photo B, and then drill 7⁄16"-deep hinge cup holes on the door using the reference lines as guides. Press the hinges into place, and then drive the supplied screws.

3 Attach the hinge mounting plates to the inside of the case, where shown. Now attach the door to the case by clipping the hinges to the mounting plates.

Finishing up

1 Remove the doors, drawers, and hardware, inspect the parts, and finish-sand as needed. Apply a clear finish.

2 Cut and attach the cleats (Q) to the case bottom to prevent the cabinet from sliding out when moving your workbench.

3 Reinstall the drawers and the mounting plates and door. Finally, round up your favorite tools and stock your cabinet.


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