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Thread: How to deal with stem wall & cabinets

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    326

    How to deal with stem wall & cabinets

    Question for y'all. My shop is a detached garage with a concrete stem wall. The wall, including the sill plate and the interior foam board insulation, extends 8" above the floor and projects out from the wall above 3-1/2". I want to build shop cabinets along two walls but I am having problems visualizing the best way to build them. I am now regretting the stem wall, I built the garage myself and have realized it's causing me all kinds of problems.

    In a "normal" installation, like a kitchen, I'd build a separate toekick/support platform on the floor, level it up, and then build simple cabinet boxes to sit on the platform. However, most kitchen cabs have only a 3-4" toekick. I really do not want to waste 8" of space due to the stem wall. I have also considered setting the backs of the cabinets on top of the stem wall and then building legs underneath the cabinets, but that leaves 8" of space underneath them which seems to be a good place to lose stuff and collect dust.

    Another thought was to notch the cabinets so that the bottom 8" is 3-1/2" shallower than the rest. That seems like a pain in the butt though, and I still want the bottoms of the cabinets a couple inches off the floor. So I'd gain one extra 6" deep drawer space on the bottom.

    Final thought was to float the cabinets - set the bottoms on the stem wall and double french cleat the backs, but I have a couple concerns, one being that these cabinets may have a lot of weight in and on top of them, and second that I could just build the backs out of 3/4" plywood and lag bolt them to the wall instead. Still gonna be heavy though.

    I am leaning toward the "legs underneath" concept but was wondering if any of you had a similar situation and what you did to accommodate it.
    Jon Endres
    Killing Trees Since 1983

  2. #2
    I would notch the cabinets, set them on a ladder base and screw them to the wall. It's not that much work and will maximize storage space, support the boxes without beefing up the back or doing cleats, and keep out the dust kitties. If you want to simplify construction while losing some storage space omit notching the boxes and fill the holes at the ends with applied panels.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    59,290
    What Kevin said...with the addition of consider using that extra 3+ inches for a wider work surface if you want to. That space in the back inside the cabinet can be used effectively for a wiring and/or dust collection raceway, too. Turn the situation into an opportunity!
    --

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

  4. #4
    Shouldn’t have read this ost first thing in the morning. It has taken me on my own Trail of Tears of my good ideas in construction that followed me home. The dust collection piping idea is good. You can get flat profile 90* fittings that would fit in that space or very close to it. This could allow a bench top air sweep. Slide the door open, brush the debris in and close the door.

  5. #5
    A simple way to do under-cabinet drawers is to just space the main cabinets up off the floor with some legs, then add rolling boxes on wheels underneath. Basically, just drawers that slide on wheels on the floor instead of having to use drawer slides. It wouldn't look as nice as built-in drawers but it'd be quick and easy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    59,290
    Bert, that lends new meaning to "full extension slides"...
    --

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

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