Overview: Time, money and materials
Do you spend too much
time looking for tools
on shelves scattered around your
garage? If so, this grab-and-go tool cabinet
is the answer. You corral all your
power tools and accessories in one
place and roll them around your garage
or shop. The pullout table is great for
doing quick repairs, prepping tools and
sorting parts. The drawers are removable
totes that you can carry to your
You'll also like how easy it is to
build. All the parts are glued and
screwed together with simple butt
joints and overlays. Just build the top
section of tool bins first, then build the
lower shelving unit to slide under.
You can easily build the cabinet in one
weekend and then apply the finish and
install the hardware the next. Figure on
spending about $375 for the entire project
including hardware and finish. We
chose 3/4-in. birch plywood for the
main structure and 1/2-in. plywood for
the backs and drawer sides. You'll also
need hardwood for the drawer fronts
and the edges of the pullout work surface.
You can dress up the look with
simple moldings to cover the exposed
Figure A: Tool Cabinet
60-1/2“ tall x 61-1/4“ wide x 17“ deep
You can download and enlarge Figure A, a Materials List and a Cutting List in Additional Information below.
Meet a Pro! David Radtke
David is a custom cabinetmaker,
home design consultant,
freelance editor and
home restoration specialist
in Minneapolis. He enjoys
woodturning and cycling—
whenever he's not standing
behind a table saw or sitting
in front of the drawing board.
Step 1: Build the upper bins
Cut the plywood parts according to the
Cutting List above. Assemble each of
the three bins as shown in Photo 1. To
make assembly faster, we used self-drilling
screws, which means you
won't need a pilot hole or a countersink.
However, drill a shallow starter
hole with a 3/32-in. bit to keep the tip
of the screw from wandering off the
mark as you start to drive the screw.
When you join the three bins (Photo
2), you'll need a work surface that's
absolutely flat; an old flush panel door
on sawhorses works perfectly for this.
Finish the bin unit by gluing and nailing
the top into place (Photo 3).
Step 2: Assemble the drawers
Measure the openings in the bottom
of the bins and then downsize the
drawer about 1/8 in. in total height
and width. Since the drawers don't
have slides, this will give you just the
right clearance. Take into account the
thickness of the plywood drawer bottom.
Sometimes “1/4-in. plywood” is
actually 3/16 in. thick.
Step 3: Build the lower shelving section
Measure the width of the top assembly
and then cut the parts for the
lower shelving unit so it'll be exactly
the same width. “Three-quarter-inch”
plywood isn't exactly 3/4 in. thick;
it's actually 23/32 in. That's why it's
critical to measure. Use the Cutting
List as a guide, but measure carefully
to be sure.
Screw the sides to the shelves using
Figure A as your guide. Install the lower
partition (H) halfway between the bottom
and middle shelf. Cut the 1/2-in.
plywood back and check the assembly
for square, then glue and nail it to
the back of the sides and shelf.
To reinforce the bottom shelf, rip
3-1/2-in. strips of 3/4-in. plywood
(parts P and Q) and glue and nail
them to the bottom of the assembly.
Screw the casters to the strips.
Step 4: Combine the two sections
Mount the drawer slide that will support
the pullout table (Photo 5). Then
lay the upper unit onto its back and
glue and screw the outer sides (R) to
the bin sides (A). You may need to
shim underneath to bring the sides
Next, slide the lower unit into the
upper until it contacts the spacers
(W). Align the faces of the lower
assembly with the outer sides (R) and
drive the screws from the inside.
You'll need nine screws per side.
At this stage, the project has
acquired considerable heft, so get
someone to help you tip it upright.
Back to Top
Step 5: Assemble the pullout table and trim and apply a finish
With the unit nearly finished, you can
now make the pullout table. Carefully
measure the distance between the
side spacers. Subtract 1 in. from this
measurement (1/2-in. clearance for
each drawer slide) and build the table
to this precise width. Now you can
cut and screw the drawer faces to the
front of the
sure you have
the bottom of
the drawer faces
and the pullout
table. Align the
edges of the
faces so they're
even with the
Tip: To make sure your
drawers don't get
trapped inside their
openings before you
install the fronts,
press a strip of masking
tape onto the
inside front of the
drawer and let it
hang past the
drawer. You can pull
on the tape if you
For a fast, easy finish, use a wipe-on
polyurethane or Watco oil. Use a
brush to get into tight areas and then
a lint-free rag to wipe the finish. Let
dry and give it a second coat.