Introduction: Making a Drawer Organizer for the Workshop

About: I like to build and make things with my hands. Think it, Build it, and repeat.

In the spirit of increasing workflow I had noticed a friend of mine had a messy tape drawer. About an hours worth of work and some scrap wood should help take care of that. This method is super adaptable and modular. It only took me and my buddy Jay about an hour to complete and now every time he needs to snag some tape he's not left looking for it in a piled up mess.

Step 1: Cutting Side Dividers to Size

The system basically just has two sides and some divider partitions. The piece of plywood I cut to act as the sides was cut to just fit inside the drawers depth and approximately twice the drawer inside height. More on that later.

Step 2: Cutting the Partition Grooves

You will need to cut some evenly spaced grooves for the dividers to slide into. This can be done numerous ways but I chose the table for the task. Not everyone has a dado blade set to make wider grooves and in some countries they aren't available. I didn't want to spend a whole lot of time on this project so we made a spacer that was the exact width of the table saw blade, in this case 1/8". Cutting about an inch off the end of this piece with a sharp chisel, we could then double-sided tape it to the end. This portion was going to act as a front stop to make cutting the 1/4" grooves much easier & without a dado blade.

Set your saw fence to whatever distance you want to have your spacing and set your blade height to 1/2 the material thickness. With the spacer in between your material and the fence, make your first cut. Then remove the spacer and make a second cut. Now you have a nice and even 1/4" groove. Slide the fence over your starting distance (1.5" for me) and repeat the process.

You can make grooves on the entire piece at this point but I opted to only do the front half and make an insert to cover the back portion without the grooves.

Being we made the sides twice as deep as the drawer earlier, we can now rip this piece in half and end up with two sides that are mirror twins. Super nice to get all the grooves to line up the same.

Step 3: Optional Tray Cutout

There are 100's if not 1,000's of ways to tackle this project. You could leave the sides shorter and have a sliding tray, you could opt for no tray at all and have many more dividers and so on. In this case there were a couple items that weren't suitable for dividers so I went with making a tray to insert into the back. You can remove the tray to access any bulky items below as well.

To make a spot for the tray to sit, I notched out each side over at the bandsaw. I made sure that the pieces were back to back and I ended up with a left and right side.

Step 4: Cutting & Installing the Dividers

The nice thing about this method is you really don't need to secure the sides to the drawer. The inserts keep them from moving much. In my case I had a brad nailer within arms reach so I shot one nail into each to secure it to the drawer side.

I cut a few inserts to final size on the table saw measuring to make sure they would fit between the sides. Then Jay added a cutout to each at the bandsaw. This makes it a bit easier to grab for things in the drawer. Then just insert the dividers where needed.

Step 5: Making the Insert Tray

The insert tray was nothing special. Some pieces cut to fit within the drawer, some quick floating tenons for the corner joinery and glued and brad nailed bottom. You could glue and nail the sides together as well and that would hold just fine for this small insert.

Step 6: Done!

The before and after speaks for itself. I was actually in a friend's shop for this build. Jay is super organized but a second set of eyes on his tape drawer was all it took for me to want to make this project. I suppose that's probably a good point to note. We may gloss over certain things in our own shops that could be improved. Having a second person around (if only for a day or two) can really help to stir up ideas for shop workflow and organization. If you guys are interested in what Jay makes in his shop click here for his stuff or you can see more of my shop adventures here. Thanks for checking it out and happy organizing!!

Before and After Contest 2016

Participated in the
Before and After Contest 2016