I’m in the process of building a tool and gear cabinet, with the frame mostly done. Drawer slides are in, and plywood is on the way and expected to arrive next week.
I designed and redesigned the frame numerous times, but cannot quite answer one very important question: how large should the drawers be?
This project is a sort of trial and error one, with planning for a larger tool cabinet and mobile workbench to follow based on its success.
The cabinet will have 2 drawer banks. The main dimensions are 24″ wide for one, and 18″ wide for the other. Drawer depth will be 15″, the frame is 18″ deep to accommodate a maybe 20″ top. The drawers will be inset.
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So 24″ wide x 15″ deep, and 18″ wide by 15″ deep. These are the constants so far, with drawer height being up in the air right now. Initially, I’m planning for a total of 14 drawers, but might not be able to fit them all in.
I’m working with a 30″ height, there are some losses per drawer due to undermount slide heights.
Obviously, the size of the drawers depends on what I intend to put into the drawers, which I haven’t quite decided on yet.
I’m thinking that the first bank can have mainly 3-inch drawers, but am currently rethinking that. I don’t think I’m going to be able to fit 8 drawers into 30″. At least not 8 drawers of usable height.
Maybe I’ll experiment with some shallow drawers, and if they work out my DIY tool cabinet will have a lot of them. That cabinet is going to have a much higher working height than the 36″ (plus worktop plus leveling feet) that this first one will have.
One of the main reasons for going with a narrowish cabinet is because I need dense storage and a narrow countertop will work just fine. Plus I can customize it perfectly. Once the 24″ and 18″ drawer banks are done, I can work out an add-on section of 18″ to 24″, or even larger, without too much trouble. And after that, maybe a corner unit to take advantage of often under-utilized space.
Back to the point.
For hand tools, 2″ drawers work really well. I’m just not sure it’s going to be space efficient in my current project.
3″ drawers are great for bulkier tools, such as mechanics tools, socket rails, and things like that. Hammers and other bulky tools work better in these deeper drawers.
4″ drawers work well for misc. catch-all kind of stuff, as vague as that sounds.
6″ drawers work better for power tools, bulky items, and a lot of general storage needs. But in an under-workbench cabinet or where high storage density is desired, they can result in a lot of wasted space.
If you built a tool or shop cabinet with drawers, what would be the size of the drawers?
In terms of width and depth, 24″ and 18″ are somewhat variable, but I’ve stuck with 15″ size because I want the cabinet to hug the wall of a room. That’ll give me a bit of extra floor space.
I’ve been thinking of narrowing the depth to 16″, instead of 18″, and the 15″ drawer slides will still fit, but I’d be more worried about stability and topple-potential. I could also decrease the overhang so that the eventual worktop is maybe just 19″ instead of 20″, or maybe work with zero overhang for 18″ depth.
Hmm… with inset cabinets, a zero-overhang worktop might not be so bad. I’ll have to experiment.
In a perfect world, I would go with 30″ drawer width and 24″ drawer depth. Or maybe even 36″ width! But realistically, this would require drawer reinforcement to prevent sagging, and probably stabilizers to prevent racking.