Does this cluttered shelf look familiar? You probably have at least one. Maybe it's house paint, or the dreaded spray paint stored 14 rows deep, or as in my case, boxed screws and nails. Whatever the item, the one you want, is of course in the back ... and probably on the bottom. It never fails! No matter how I arrange them, the one I want has taken cover in the back of the stack.
As with most organizational problems in my workshop, my solution came in the form of plywood and hardboard. My outstanding sketching abilities also played a minor role.
Step 1: Cutting the Dadoes and Rabbets
It's easier, quicker, and far more accurate to cut dadoes in two sides of a cabinet/rack/shelf, while it's still one piece. Also, since I'm really not sure how many shelves I can get out of this scrap plywood and have no desire to work out the math, overall length will be determined at the end of this step.
The first task was to set my blade height. I went with 2 plies by eye, but you could use a depth gauge if desired.
Second task was to cut the location of the top rabbet. I set my fence at 5/8" because the 1/8" blade kerf will give me the overall desired 3/4" depth.
Third task was to move the fence over 2 1/8" (I want 2" spaces and I need to account for the 1/8" kerf which has just been cut), take a pass, nudge the fence 1/16", take another pass. These two passes combined give me a 3/16" dado to accomodate the thickeness of the hardboard.
Repeat step 3 until you either run out of board, or get your desired number of shelves. Remember to accomodate for the bottom 3/4" rabbet and then trim off any excess.
Step 2: Drilling Holes
I want easily removed boxes ... none of this trying to grab an edge with a fingernail, or screwdriver, or knife nonsense. I want cut outs for quick, one-handed retrieval.
Just like the dado process, it's easier, quicker, and far more accurate to drill a complete hole/circle, than it is to drill a semi-circle.
I found the center of each section, marked the hole with my shop made awl, and then drilled out with a 1 3/4" Forstner bit. Seriously, if you don have a set of Forstner bits, treat yourself … you deserve it.
A drilling method I use consistently for clean holes is as follows:
I lower the bit till it just touches my backing board, lock the depth stop, and drill my hole. Now, when I flip the board over, I'll have a small pilot hole, which is perfectly aligned for guiding the Forstner bit. Drilling from both sides like this eliminates ALL blow out on the finished surface. Perhaps others don't get blow out with a backer board, but I haven't experienced consistent results.
Step 3: Additional Rabbets and Separation
I wanted rabbets on the back edges to receive the back hardboard panel. These rabbets are at the same depth as before and also 3/16" wide. I also cut this rabbet on the top and bottom pieces, which you'll see in the next step.
I could've cut these during the first rabbeting session, but since I wasn't sure of my overall side depths, I left it for later in case I need to trim this panel down. As it turned out, I didn't, and nor will any one else since all my final dimensions are listed at the end of this Instructable.
With the holes finished, it's time to rip this panel in half to form the two sides. I got pretty dead center, but to make sure they were identical, I ran both pieces against the fence after separation.
Step 4: Assembly
Dadoes and rabbets make assembly pretty simple since everything aligns and slides into place. I glued and brad nailed the sides to the top and bottom, slid the hardboard shelves into place, and then glued and pin nailed the back panel. I was thinking ahead and had already cut a quick french cleat out of scraps, which was also attached with glue and brad nails. A few clamps were added to keep everything in place, but they really weren't necessary.
Step 5: Finishing
After a bit of sanding, I finished with 50/50 boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits and then branded the back hardboard panel.
Step 6: Complete
All finished and hung on my tool wall. Now I can actually see that I'm out of 1" screws ... good thing I built for expansion.
Note: This could easily be scaled up/down to accommodate larger/smaller boxes of screws .. or any other like sized items you might want to organize.
Starting panel for the two sides: 23 1/8" x 7 5/8"
Finished Side panels: 23 1/8" x 3 3/4"
Top and Bottom panels: 5 5/8" x 3 3/4"
Hardboard Shelves: 5 5/8" x 3 1/2" (Close to 3 3/16")
Hardboard Back panel: 22 3/4" x 5 5/8"