Every home shop has small parts that need to be sorted in one way or another. Some people use drawers, others use cheap flimsy bins purchased from big box stores. I was looking for something more. I like the ability to see where something is before opening it. Building off that and the french cleat idea, these simple small parts bins were the result. They are more sturdy than most things found at a reasonable price while being able to locate what I need at a glance.
Step 1: Rip Sides
Rip the sides of the bins to the same height. I selected 2 1/2 inches tall for all of my bins.
Step 2: Rip Dado
Using a flat tooth blade, rip a dado the thickness of your stock for the bottom of each bin. Each dado should start 1/8 inch from the bottom of the side.
Step 3: Cut Sides and Back
Wanting bins of varying width, I used my crosscut sled to cut backs of varying sizes. These sizes include: 2, 3, 4, and 5 inches.
Once I had all the backs cut, I cut up the remaining boards to form the sides. These sides are all 4 inches in length.
Step 4: Cut Bottoms
Each bin will have a different size bottom depending on the size of the bin. Measure each bin from dado to dado to know what size to cut.
Step 5: Group Pieces
Match the corresponding sides, back, and bottom into individual piles. This will show any extra parts that need to be made before moving on to assembly.
Step 6: Assemble
Apply wood glue to the dados as well as the back seams of each bin. Use 5/8 inch brad nails to hold everything together until the glue dries. Use four on the back and one on each side toward the front to hold the bottom in the dado.
Step 7: Sand Flat
Using a disk or belt sander, sand the front face of each bin flat.
Step 8: Cut and Glue French Cleats
Cut french cleats just shorter than each box. Glue and hold each one in place with spring clamps until dry. Depending on how many spring clamps you have and how many bins you are making, you may need to do this in more than one batch.
Step 9: Make Backer Board
While the french cleats are drying, make the backer board that will hold all the bins. Make this the size that will accommodate the bins in the order you like. Cut these french cleats so that when attached the to bin they are tall enough to support the bottom of each bin while fully engaging the cleat.
I spaced these out so there is a quarter inch of clearance between each bin above and below. This will keep the majority of the sawdust out while allowing for easy removal of the bins.
Use spring clamps and whatever other heavy objects you have to glue the cleats down. Once dry, use a crosscut sled to square up the edges.
Step 10: Cut Clear Acrylic
I had some old acrylic laying around the garage that was pretty beat up from an old project. Cutting it into pieces just larger than each bin gave it new life.
Step 11: Attach Front
Clamping the piece of acrylic, drill four holes just smaller than the nails you plan on using. Then drill clearance holes through the acrylic. Lasly, drive four nails to hold the front in place. I found doing this in batches made it much quicker.
Clean up the edges of the acrylic using a belt sander.
Step 12: Bin Pull
Each bin needs a pull to help remove it from the wall easily. Cut enough 1/2 inch dowels to a half inch in length. Using a makeshift table on the drill press, drill holes that will allow short screws to hold them from behind.
Step 13: Drill Clearance Holes
This step would have probably been easier to do before attaching the acrylic to the bin (in step 11), but doing it in this order will ensure that it is centered on the bin. Drill a clearance hole in the center of the bin that will hold the pull created in the previous step.
Use a stubby screwdriver to attach the pulls to the bins.
Step 14: Attach to Wall
Locating the studs, attach the backer board to the wall and load up your bins!
I opted to build a small shelf above the bins to keep sawdust out of the top row.
Have you built any storage bins yourself? What changes would you have made to your own project if you were to make it again?