Sunday, August 5, 2018

Multi-Drawer Shop Cabinet, Part 1

In an effort to reduce the scrap wood cluttering my tiny shop and to better organize things, I decided to build a small cabinet that will fit in the existing shelving space in the shop.
The space above the toolbox will get the cabinet
The space is 25" wide, about 12" tall and 12" deep.  I'll make the cabinet to fit the height and width, but it's going to be a bit deeper an stick out about 2" from the front of the shelving unit.  After scavenging for and gluing up some pine and squaring it to the proper dimensions, I got to dovetailing the carcase.
Ganging the top and bottom to cut the tails
After cleaning up the tails, used the tails to mark and cut the pins - got a good fit (pine is so forgiving!)
The completed dovetailed outer carcase
Fitted a vertical divider using stopped dadoes
The plan is for 6 drawers on each side.  The drawer sides will have grooves that slide on runners that are housed in dadoes in the case sides and divider.
Laying out the stopped dadoes that will house the runners
Cutting these dadoes was a LOT of work!  There are 20 of them, each 3/8" wide and over 13" long.  The bottom drawers will just slide on the case bottom, so I didn't need runners for those.
The carcase with the runner dadoes complete
Here's where I did some thinking about wood movement and how best to install the runners.  I was concerned about gluing in cross-grain runners (though here in dry California I probably don't need to be too concerned), so I ended up making short pieces, gluing 6 of them in each dado and only gluing one end of each piece.
The center divider with runner pieces glued in place
I didn't take as much care as I should have when laying out these dadoes.  Because of that, each dado was not identical to it's neighboring dado and I had to fit the runner pieces carefully.  What a PITA.
The carcase with runners in place
Next time I'll write about the drawers and finishing.


  1. Nice dovetails, not sure about runners??. Why not just screwed, no glue? Should had been enough, with a bit wiggle room.
    But like you said, probably overkill in your dry climate..

    Bob, back home

    1. Hi Bob. I like to avoid metal fasteners whenever possible. It really makes me think hard about grain direction and movement. This was not necessarily an elegant solution, and it had its challenges, but at least it works.