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Thread: Base shop cabinet width

  1. #1

    Base shop cabinet width

    I'm putting together a plan for my shop cabinets. Currently, I'm thinking of going all drawers and, until now, was thinking I would each section about 24" wide. Two of the bases would be 36" for lathe station and for a router table.

    After looking at several other builds online, I see quite a bit of variation, but many seem to be in the 20" or less range.

    I'm curious why your opinions would be on the width of the drawers. Is 24" too wide for all of them?
    2019-10-02.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I see no issue with 22-23" wide drawers at all. (which is what you effectively get with 24" base cabinets) It's a pretty common size. Standardization on the widths gives you a lot of flexibility with your layout since then the only difference will be drawer height. IMHO, you only need 2-3 "standard" heights max and the largest size is best on the bottom for heavy things.

    Bravo for choosing to do all drawers. They are SO much more functional than cabinets with doors for "most" applications. There are always exceptions, but...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    I tend to prefer wider drawers. They are easy to subdivide for organization, but also can accommodate things like 24" rules and squares, etc. Granted, one tends not to have many of these longer tools, but it is frustrating to me to have to store longer tools away from related items solely because they don't fit in the same drawer. Wider cabinets also mean you need fewer of them for a given space, so the build goes a little faster.

    OTOH, you will want to think about efficient material use and choose your part dimensions so you don't have a lot of wasted plywood (or whatever).

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by David Clarke WA View Post
    I'm putting together a plan for my shop cabinets. Currently, I'm thinking of going all drawers and, until now, was thinking I would each section about 24" wide. Two of the bases would be 36" for lathe station and for a router table.

    After looking at several other builds online, I see quite a bit of variation, but many seem to be in the 20" or less range.

    I'm curious why your opinions would be on the width of the drawers. Is 24" too wide for all of them?
    2019-10-02.jpg
    I don't see any reason wider drawers couldn't be used if you want. If you look at kitchen cabinets often there is two large drawers under a cooktop that the opening is 30" and 36" wide. Now having said that a larger drawer usually gets more junk put in it and there can be an issue with the bottom sagging. To prevent this make the drawer bottom 1/2" up from the bottom of the drawer box and put a couple of 1/2" hardwood strips under the drawer bottom for extra support.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I built an entire wall of cabinets with base and top for my shop. I made them all 24" wide and were Euro style 32 mm. Since they were shop use and heavy load they were built with 3/4" Aruaco Ply. The 24" made it easy and efficient for cutting from a 4x8 sheet.

    Shop Cabinets All B.JPG
    Last edited by Larry Frank; 10-03-2019 at 8:17 AM.

  6. #6
    Good call on the larger drawer bottoms. I will add plans to accommodate that.

  7. #7
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    David, I use nominal .5" material for drawer bottoms for heavy drawers with no issue including for the tack trunks I build for equestrians. They are darn strong. While I agree with one of the above posters that some wider drawers are helpful, considering material utilization for the majority of your cabinets is going to help with your build-out costs. A typical 97x49 nominal sheet of plywood (the good stuff from a plywood supplier) plays nicely with certain cabinet sizes when you lay things out.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
    Thanks Jim, I had thought to use 1/4 on some of the shallower drawer bottoms but I think, instead, I will just go with 1/2” on all of them. What’s 1/4 inch among friends, right? 🤪. I am currently thinking of building the bases in sets of two - three side panels per set at 24” on center and 23.5” deep. I haven’t laid that out yet to check material efficiency but I’m guessing that will work well.

  9. #9
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    My wider drawers (18")with 1/4" masonite bottoms have had the bottom sag from the tools weight. I need to cut it out and replace with 1/2" ply raised panel. These drawers are only 3-4" tall, but loaded with taps. dies etc. Almost all metal no wood or plastic handles even.

  10. #10
    Most commercial shops shops build drawers with 1/2 bottoms..... I wouldn't use 1/4 except on small drawers under 16"

  11. #11
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    The nice thing about using 1/2" material for the drawer bottoms (and sides) is that you can glue and screw (I use trim-head screws for this) with butt joints and they are not going to come apart in your lifetime. It makes the drawer box assembly extremely fast and with no grooving for the bottom, you don't lose any depth...it's the same as a 1/4" bottom in typical groove. I've never had a failure with them on any of my tack trunks and I assure you folks don't take care of them all that much once they are at the barn.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
    That’s good to know. I was going to ask if you dado’d the back on the larger drawers for extra support. I guess that answers that question!

  13. #13
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    Titebond III and inch and five-eigths trim-head screws with a good tight fit makes for a very strong drawer box for utility use. The glue and screws is darn strong. If the front and back panels of the drawer sit inside the sides, the only visible indication of your joinery are the flush countersunk trim head screws and if you space them regularly, rather than randomly they don't look bad at all. The screws for the bottom get hidden by the slides.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    We have never used titebond lll in the making of Commercial drawers. I have rarely used titebond lll in any cabinet making in 36 years...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack duren View Post
    We have never used titebond lll in the making of Commercial drawers. I have rarely used titebond lll in any cabinet making in 36 years...
    It's not required. I was only saying what I happen to use. It's just plain easier for me to have one glue type since I do a variety of things and don't use a ton of glue. Some of my work, like the tack trunks, are in "moisture prone" places. IE ... barns. I don't do much cabinetry. So for the OP's application Type I or Type II is also perfectly valid and will work the same way.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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