How to Design a Workshop Cabinet

What You'll Need
Tape measure

A workshop cabinet can be a useful addition to any shop. You can use it to store items like screws, nails or bolts and it can also provide storage for tools. The most important part of any workshop cabinet, however, is the design. The more care you take over the design, the better your workshop cabinet will be. Don’t be hasty in your design plans.

Step 1 - Size

One of the first things to decide upon is the size of your workshop cabinet. Look at your workshop and figure out where you want the cabinet to stand and how tall you’d like it to be.

Measure to see how much space you have available and note the measurements down on a piece of paper. Ask yourself whether the area is readily accessible. Will you be able to get things from the cabinet easily? Take these considerations into account and adjust your measurements accordingly.

Step 2 - Use

What will you use your workshop cabinet for? This is the other primary consideration that will affect the design. If you’re going to use it for the storage of small items, you’ll need to build with the cabinet with many small cubbyholes that can hold drawers where everything can be kept neatly. If the purpose is to hold tools such as pliers and other larger items, your requirements will be different.

Step 3 - Sketches

Once you’ve made these decisions, you can set about making a rough sketch of the cabinet. Because you now know the amount of space you have, you should be able to come up with the outer dimensions fairly quickly. Some quick calculations will also allow you toplan the space needed for shelves, drawers or fold-up lids.

Make several sketches with different designs and look in trade magazines or online catalogs at other workshop cabinets that might offer inspiration.

Step 4 - Plan

After settling on a sketch that you like, and one that you can realisticaly make, you can go ahead and produce a proper plan of the workshop cabinet. Make it as detailed as possible. This will not only give you a blueprint to work from when you build the cabinet, but it will also help you discover any possible problems you might encounter later, as well as a way to resolve them.

Step 5 - Materials

Once your plan is complete, you’ll be able to calculate what you need in the way of materials. Always allow a little more than you actually need to account for mistakes and miscalculations.

At this stage, you should also come to a decision of exactly what materials you’ll use. Do you want to use plywood for the workshop cabinet, will you go with pine or maybe even a harder, more durable wood? How will you finish it? Again, it’s important to work all this out beforehand. Also think about whether you need to buy more screws or corner braces.

By having everything in place before you go to buy materials, you can save yourself several extra trips later on and speed up the construction of your workshop cabinet.