Introduction: Workshop Toolbox Sink
I decided to clean and upgrade the bathroom in my workshop. Part of that upgrade, was bringing the workshop theme into this room as well. I decided to ditch the old sink cabinet for something more industrial; a metal toolbox.
In this instructable I'm going to share some general guidance on how I made this sink and hope it inspires you to repurpose something normal into something awesome!
All the safety gear!
(1) Steel Tool Cabinet approximately 34" - 40" height
(1) Small Stainless Sink approximately 15" depth
Scrap Plywood, Plumbers Putty, Various Pvc Plumbing Fittings
Drill w/ 3/8" drill bit, Jig saw (optional) Grinder with Cutoff Wheel (optional)
Step 1: Removing the Old Sink
First step of course was clean the bathroom up and remove all the junk.
After all the junk was cleared out, I had to remove the sink. Sinks are pretty straight forward as far as plumbing goes. Here are the steps I followed:
*I always wear safety glasses because I personally like the way they look. I advise them to be worn throughout this whole project!
1) Turn off the water supply to the faucet.
On my sink, the hot and cold water lines had shutoff valves located under the sink. These are quarter turn valves, that once closed, I tested the faucet to ensure no water was being supplied.
Note: if your plumbing is old, be careful closing these valves. If you over torque them and damage them you will end up with a mess.
2) Disconnect the water lines from the old sink.
There will be water left in the lines. I advise putting a bowl or catch dish under the hoses so you can catch any water. If you don't care, a simple towel might work or just let it run! I do NOT disconnect the hoses from the faucet. It is difficult to reach in this cramped space and they are easier to remove later. You want to disconnect the hoses from the wall valves you just closed. Give them a min to drain and then move on. After you have the sink fully removed, the water lines can be easily accessed and saved to be reused if in good condition.
3) Disconnect the drain piping.
I accomplished this by removing the trap. This thing is kind of nasty, so if you don't like nasty, wear gloves. You will loosen the coupling nuts that connect the two parts of the trap, the sink tailpiece, and wall drain piping. As you break everything apart, you will also have a few poly washers and other gaskets. Keep all these pieces as you remove them. You never know what you might need later on.
4) Remove the sink and cabinet
Before moving forward, ensure there are no other connections your setup might have that mine didn't. I was removing the entire sink and cabinet, so I am not going to discuss removing the sink from the cabinet at this time. My cabinet was attached with screws and caulk. The screws were difficult to reach and I planned on painting and patching the wall, so I just muscled them out. If you look at the back of the sink cabinet, it will mostly be open. There will be one board that goes across the length of the back and this is where your screws are located.
To remove the caulk, I used a combination of a box cutter and a putty knife. Most of it scrapes off fairly easily. If you are too aggressive in this step you may end up with more repairs later on.
Step 2: Picking Out the Toolbox
There are several different brands and makers of tool chest. They come in all different color and configurations as well. Here are the reasons I picked the toolbox I did:
> Width: It needed to fit between the wall and toilet, which was 32". This ment my choice had to be narrower than 32".
> Height: The old sink was at 36" high. I wanted to be close to this but was either coming up too short or too tall. I did consider making a riser for the tool box to sit on, maybe raise the sink up a few inches, change the size of the wheels, or add another small box on top of this one. In the end, I'm short, and 34.5" was tall enough.
> Depth: Small sinks are not very common and not common can equal $$$. The toolbox had to be deep enough to fit the sink I found.
> Configuration: The plumbing for the sink will make most of the drawers unusable. This 5 drawer configuration allowed the bottom drawer to be fully functional where a 4 drawer style would not have. I also liked that the handle could be installed on either side of this toolbox.
> Price: This was an expensive project for me, so I did consider price point. This box was on sale at my local box store and in stock.
Step 3: Find the Right Sink
For the sink I wanted a few features:
> Stainless Steel: The days of my white porcelain or plastic sink being stained by 100 colors of paint were done.
> High Faucet Neck: Many of the entry level sinks I looked at had very small or straight out faucets. This wouldn't work in a shop setting.
> Small Footprint: The tool chest has a depth of 18". The sink had to fit inside that restriction.
I found a sink at the same store I found the tool chest that fit all my needs. It was stainless steel, had a high neck faucet, and dimensions of 15"x15".
**Note: The sink I chose does not have an overflow protection vent or a pull stopper. I was more concerned with size than these features.
Step 4: Prepping the Toolbox
The Point of No Return. The Voiding of Warranty's.
This is the step where it becomes real. I used painter's tape to layout where I wanted to install the sink. I noted that the drawer locking mechanism runs the depth of the tool chest and it had to come out. This was pretty straight forward. Just drill out two rivets and gravity did the rest.
While I was inside the chest, I saw that the locking mechanism also consisted of pieces of flatbar with hooks. Since I would be cutting a hole back here for the plumbing, I decided to remove one of these as well. Make it easier on my saw later.
After I had my tape layout and lines drawn, I cut a hole in the top and back of the toolbox. **Note: this hole is sized big enough for the sink basin and installation channel, not the whole sink. You need to ensure there is enough area for the lip of your sink to set. This will be different depending on the type and style of sink you use.
I used an angle grinder with a cut off wheel. It didn't give a perfectly straight line, but it was very effective and fun at the same time.
I could have used a jig saw or several other cutting options, but I decided on the grinder. There is no one right answer here.
Step 5: Installing the Sink
I decided I did not want the metal sink sitting directly on the metal chest. I purchased a small, antifatigue floor mat from the box store and placed it on top of the chest as a liner. Simply cut a hole in the liner the same size as the hole in the tool chest.
Before dropping the sink it, I added two steps to make my life easier later.
1) I secured the tool chest to the wall by drilling a hole in the back and putting (2) 3" screws with washers from the back of the tool chest and into a wall stud. This will keep it from tipping over or walking away with someone.
2) I attached the old water lines to the faucet valves. I re-used the same lines from the old sink and attaching them now means I don't have to attach them later when space will be cramped.
My sink secured to the top of the chest with mounting clips which slide into an installation channel under the sink. I didn't want these putting pressure on the thin metal of the tool chest, so I added some scrap plywood between the clips and the top of the chest. Once all the clips were installed, I checked that the sink was secured and prepared for the home stretch.
Step 6: Connecting the Plumbing
After the sink is secured, the first step was to install the drain. A bead of plumber's putty around the drain will ensure it is leak free. The drain is secured by adding the washers and locking nuts that came with the sink kit.
... What didn't come with the sink? A tailpiece. This was the most difficult part of the whole install. The plumbing for the old sink was 1 1/4" pipe. The drain on the new sink required 1 1/2" pipe. I had to get creative to mate these two different sizes up in a way that wouldn't leak. I'm not going to give any detail because I don't want someone learning a bad habit from me. But just remember, it was important to keep all those old, dirty pieces I removed from the old sink.
After the drain pieces were connected, I attached the water lines to the wall valves, turned them on, and then tested my sink for the first time.
And it worked! No leaks, and the water came out just as intended.
Step 7: Making the Drawers Function
There are two options you can take with the drawers.
1) You can remove the drawer faces and make a cabinet door.
2) You can modify the drawers to work around the plumbing. This is what I chose to do.
Each drawer was unique so I followed these steps for all 4 of the drawers that the plumbing would impact.
1) Measure, Measure, Measure: I took measurements from the drawer slides inside the chest (both sides) to the piping and then from the front of the chest to the piping.
2) Make a template: I transferred these measurements to a piece of cardboard to make a template for my future drawer. Then I removed an additional 1/4" from the inside three sides to give a cushion. I checked my template and when I was happy, I was ready to cut the drawers.
**I'm going to tell you what I did, but there are other ways to finish these drawers if you do not have a welding machine
3) Remove the middle of the drawer: My side measurements tell me how much of the back remains from each side. What's left in the middle had to come out. I ONLY REMOVED THE VERY BACK. I used a jig saw to make vertical cuts on the back wall. I then bent this flap out and cut it off to leave a hole in the back. The section removed was small enough that I was able to use the remaining drawer floor as new sides in my U-shaped drawer.
4) Make new sides: I marked a like up the middle of the drawer floor that had to come out. Then I marked how much of the drawer could remain from the front. What I ended up with is a T shape marking to cut with my jig saw. I cut the floor the length of the leg of this cut and then off to each side so I could fold the floor up to make new sides. I hope my rough sketches show this step clearly.
I used a 2x4 scrap and a hammer to bend the floor vertical. This leave narrow drawer sides that will wrap around the plumbing.
5) Finish the drawer: I used the piece that I cut out the back to complete my new U shaped drawer. I welded it in place, cleaned up the welds, and then painted everything back black. If you do not have a welding machine, this step could be done with wood, plastic, even cloth. Any material to connect the two folded portions and keep your stuff from falling into the middle and impacting the plumbing.
Step 8: Finishing Touches
I added some drawer liners made from shelf paper from the box store, added a towel to the toolbox handle, and attached the old paper towel holder. I didn't need the medicine cabinet so I swapped it for a peg board and then added all the workshop accoutrements, like hand soap, paper towels, brushes, a first aid kit, and a fire extinguisher.
I hope you enjoyed this Instructable. If you'd like to see more of the process, check out the YouTube video I made of the build.
Second Prize in the
Modify It Speed Challenge