Introduction: Three Shop Drawers for Saw Table in 6 Hours
This Instructable describes how I added 3 large shop drawers underneath my radial arm saw table.
I had been using the open space underneath my radial arm saw to store scrap wood pieces for a long time and it was getting very disorganized.
I started these drawers on a Friday evening and finished them by noon on Saturday.
I made the drawers out of scrap wood that I had in the shop, but I had to buy the 1/4" paneling for the drawer bottoms.
Approximate cost = $21
- $13 for the 5 mm birch plywood for the drawer bottoms
- $8 for the drawer slides
Approximate build time = 6 hours
Please see my Instructable on shop cabinets for more information about the tools that I used:
If you have any questions about how I made this, please post a comment or message me.
Step 1: Make Drawer Slide Supports and Attach Drawer Slides
To begin, I cut six 1-1/2" by 30" drawer slide supports out of 3/4" plywood (the depth of the radial arm saw table is 30").
Then I drilled pilot holes and attached the associated drawer slides, but then removed them to allow room for the air nailer to nail the drawer slide supports to the table sides in the next step.
Step 2: Attach Drawer Slide Supports to Sides of Table
I then attached the drawer slide supports to the sides of the table.
I made sure that the bottom support was at least 1/4" off of the bottom and level.
I wanted two larger drawers on the bottom, and a smaller drawer on the top.
I cut two 5" spacers and positioned the two upper drawer slides using those spaces.
I used glue and 2" nails to nail the drawer supports to the sides.
I then re-attached the drawer slides to the drawer slide supports using the pre-drilled holes as guides.
Step 3: Make Top Drawer
I then made the top drawer.
The top drawer is shallower in depth than the lower drawers, due to the dust collection piping that I've run to the radial arm saw (this will be the subject of a future Instructable). You can see the two vacuum hoses that are connected to the radial arm saw in a couple of the pics - one hose in the rear, and another hose in the front - which connects to the shop vac cart that is covered in another Instructable.
The width of the drawers is critical - too wide and they will bind, too narrow, and they will shimmy and perhaps fall out. The width of the drawers is approximately 1" less than the width of the opening.
I measured the opening at 44-3/16", so I made the top drawer width at just slightly more than 43-3/16".
I cut the drawer sides from scrap wood and drilled pocket screw holes in the front and back pieces. I then attached the front and rear pieces to the sides using pocket screws.
After making the drawer frame, I did a test fit and the drawer seemed to slide just fine.
I then cut the bottom from some scrap 1/4" paneling that I had and attached it with glue and staples.
I then attached the mating drawer slides, and inserted the drawer.
After confirming that it slid OK, I immediately filled the drawer with scrap wood.
This was a good stopping point for my Friday evening work session.
Step 4: Make Bottom Two Drawers
On Saturday morning, I went to Lowe's to get some 5 mm birch plywood for the remaining two drawers.
I had intended for Lowe's to cut a 30" section from the 4' x 8' sheet to make it easier to transport in my car. Unfortunately, the Lowe's cutting machine was out of service, so I had to put the whole 4' x 8' panel in my car. Fortunately, I had my handy Swap Saw kit panel saw at home that I could use to cut the 4' x 8' panel into smaller pieces for the drawer bottoms.
I followed the same basic procedure as the top drawer to build the bottom drawers, and immediately filled the drawers with scrap wood pieces.
When I did the test fit for the bottom drawer, I noticed the drawer slides would bind slightly when opening and closing the drawer, so I removed the pocket screws and cut off about 1/32" from the front and rear pieces and then reassembled and checked the fit again, and the drawer opened and closed without binding. I recommend that you always do a test fit of drawers - once the bottoms are glued and stapled on you really can't make any adjustments.
Now, I don't really know if I need that much in wood scraps - I'll need to revisit how much and what kind of wood scraps I want to keep on hand at future date.
I was able to finish the bottom two drawers and put them into service by noon on Saturday.