Introduction: Stacking Shop Hardware Organizer
For years I have used small drawers, bins, tin cans, boxes, and pill bottles. This is good storage space, but when it comes time to find a small part it is a nightmare. The drawers go from orderly to any place where there is room to put a part. The cans, boxes, and bins suffer from the same malady, space takes priority over orderliness. The pill bottles are opaque and all the lids have to be removed to find out what is inside. Also with age the handles break off the small drawers and they have to be pried open to get to the contents.
Searching the internet I found that case organizers with clear lids were the preferred method of storing small hardware items. Next was the cost to convert the cases they range from $5 on sale to over $ 60 each, I have 20 so far and have not complete sorting. I had over 300 drawers to replace, plus the bottles, cans, and boxes.
The next problem with cases is that if you just stack them it is difficult to restack the pile every time you look for a certain part. Several plans for free standing cabinets are on the internet, but you have to know depth of the organizers you will be using. I currently have two different depths 2 inch and 3 inch, and I am thinking of getting some 4 inch and 5 inch for bulkier items. Back to the problem of not knowing the shelf height which may need to change as different arrangements are made. .
I currently do not have room for a dedicated cabinet for small parts hardware. If I get rid of the small drawers I can use that space for these case organizers. Then I need adjustable shelves for an organizer, I decided to build a box for each case organizer. Then I can arrange the boxes in any order that is convenient.
Step 1: Building the Boxes
I decided to build the boxes similar to the stack bookcases I build in another instructable.
I have some scrap material that I decided to use. The sides are 1 inch pine boards and the slats are 3/16 inch pressed wood salvaged from a old piece of furniture.
The end pieces are either 3/4"x3"x13-1/4" or 3/4"x5"x 13-1/4 (you will have to make these parts to fit the cases you have). The slats are 3/16"x 1-1/2"x17" (again these are sized by what you have and the size needed)
Assembly is accomplished by using spacers to orient the slats. On top the first slat is glued and nailed to the front edge. Then a 1-3/4" spaces is placed next to the first slat, then a 1-1/2" slat is glued and nailed. This is repeated two additional time to complete the top.
The bottom is assembled similar to the top, but first a 1-5/8" spacer is placed on the front edge, then a 1-1/2" slat is glued and nailed. Then a 1-3/4" spacer is placed next to the slat, then another 1-1/2" slat is glued and nailed. This is repeated two additional time.
That completes a box. Stack them on the self and load with the appropriate organizer.
Step 2: Lableing the Organizers
When the organizers are stacked only the handle is visible and the low cost organizers have black handles making it difficult to label them. To provide a white area for labeling a piece of Melamine edge tape with hot melt glue was attached to the handle. The handle was prepared by scraping the handle flat and a heat gun was used to melt the glue. (my wife would not volunteer her clothes iron)
Step 3: Gathering Up Small Parts From Around My Shop
Next I started gathering up my small parts collection. I had 5-6 organizers on the workbench, screw. nails, bolts. bearing, electronic, hinged, corner brackets, grommets, rivets, plugs, pipefitting, tacks. brads. If items were organized they were left alone, in many cases I had multiples of items and they were combined. In other cases items were mixed and that will have to be a rainy day project to sort these items. Also I designated an organizer to tool accessories like router chuck collars, brushes for electric motors, and spare parts for portable shop tools..
As can be seen from the photos this is an ongoing project that will be completed over time. The photos are of the current progress. More boxes are needed (additional slat material needs to be identified). Additional labels to be made (more sorting of similar items), and more cases need to be purchased (waiting for a sale on the 3 inch cases)