Pack-and-Stack Storage System
Mix and match drawer units in a space-saving organizer that really stacks up.
Build a set of these boxes customized for your current storage needs, knowing that you can easily expand the set as your tool and accessory collection changes. For example, start with a stack of drawers short enough to tuck under a tablesaw wing. Later, add more to make a mobile storage tower. Each drawer secures with a clever lock that doubles as a drawer pull, so units can become specialty tool boxes to carry where needed.
Use the same steps to make small, medium, or large cases and drawers. (Photos show a medium-size version.) Limit a stack to 48" tall for safety and ease of access.
Set a fast case pace
First decide the total number of units you want and in what sizes. Some case and drawer parts are the same regardless of height, so save time by making identical parts and ones with shared dimensions in a single saw or router setup.
1 Cut the case sides (A), top and bottom (B), and back (C) [Materials List, Drawing 1].
Groove and rabbet the sides, top, and bottom [Photos A, B].
Note: Baltic-birch plywood varies slightly from the nominal ½" and ¾" thicknesses. Adjust the dado and groove locations to suit actual thicknesses.
2 To accept the drawer lock (K), rout a slot in the bottom [Drawing 1, Photo C]. Finishsand the interior faces of the sides (A), top and bottom (B), and the back (C). Mask off the surfaces to be glued, and finish the inside faces. Then glue up the case [Photo D]. 3 Cut the fences (D) and feet (E) to size. Drill holes in the face of the fences for the handle. Finish-sand and glue the fences and feet in place [Drawing 1]. Finish-sand the assembly.
4 Drill through the sides (A) and into the fences (D) [Photo E]. Cut four 1½"-long brass pins [Sources]. Polish one end of each pin and secure them in place with cyanoacrylate adhesive.
5 Chamfer the ends of the case feet (E) and glue them to the case assembly inset ½" on the sides and ¾" from the front edge [Drawing 1]. 6 Cut the handle (F) to shape and drill the holes [Drawing 2]. Round over the edges and set it aside for finishing.
Build matching drawers
Like the cases, drawers come in three sizes but with the same bottoms (I). Save time by cutting all the bottoms in one setup.
Cut to size the drawer sides (G), front and
back (H), bottom (I), and lock fronts (J). Groove the drawer sides (G), front, and
back (H) [Drawing 3]. Then dado the drawer sides [Photo F] and rabbet the front and back. Drill a 3⁄32" countersunk pilot hole in the drawer front.
Glue and clamp the sides (G) to the front
and back (H) and bottom (I) [Photo G].
Bevel one end of each lock front (J) and
rabbet the opposite end [Drawing 3].
Glue the lock fronts (J) to the drawer
front (H) [Photo H], taking care to avoid glue squeeze-out along the beveled edges. 6 Cut the lock (K) ¼" overwidth. Measure the opening between the lock fronts (J) at
7 Rabbet one end of the lock (K) [Photo I] and drill where shown. Cut and shape the pull (L) [Drawing 5], then glue it to the lock.
Rolling to the finish
1 Cut the base trim (M, N) and plate (O) to size. Rabbet the top edges of the plate
[Exploded View]. Glue the trim to the plate. Apply a clear finish to all assemblies. (We
used a catalyzed varnish.)
Screw fixed casters [Sources ] to the rear of
the base assembly and swivel casters at the front.
4 Cut two 2"-long brass pins and start them in the holes in the fences (D). Insert cyanoacrylate adhesive into the handle (F) holes. Drive the pins into the handle and ensure that it pivots freely.
5 Drive a screw through the inside of the drawer front (H) to thread the pilot hole
[Drawing 3]. Remove the screw and file ⅛" off the tip. Insert the lock (K) between the lock fronts (J), and reinsert the screw to limit the lock’s travel.
6 Pack and stack the drawer cases on the base, keeping heavy contents as low as possible. Your shop-organizing efforts are on a roll.