Easy Garage Storage and Bench

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Intro: Easy Garage Storage and Bench

This instructable will show how to build a cheap and simple garage storage and workbench out of plywood that will allow you to store all of your tools or gear safely while doubling as a great work bench surface.

This is my first instructable so please be nice but also leave comments to tell me what you think.

Step 1: Determine Your Plan and Identify All of Your Needs

I had a 22ft long wall in my garage that is perfect for setting up a bench and storage.

I wanted a place to use my miter saw and lots of drawers to store my woodworking, gardening, and mechanics tools.

The bench would be designed to be 39" high from the floor and two feet deep.

I wanted to take the bench top from wall to wall and therefore would have room to tuck under my lawnmower, snowblower, table saw, shopvac, and cyclone dust collector.

The bench would be made by simple modular plywood cabinets that would hold the storage drawers. The floating portions of the bench top will be made by 2x4 framing.

Step 2: Cut the Plywood

Carcass:

I used sanded 3/4" Plywood from Home Depot for the main cabinet carcass and for the bench tops. 4 full sheets of plywood are enough to make 5 cabinet carcases and a full 20' length of bench top.

With a circular saw with a plywood blade and a Kreg Rip Cut saw guide; rip each sheet of plywood into two strips 2' x 8'.

I kept 3 of the nicest looking strips for the 20' of bench tops.

Each half sheet can make two sides, a top and a bottom for cabinet carcasses. I was planning making 5 cabinets so I cross cut into 28" lengths for the carcass sides. I cross cut strips into 23 1/4" lengths for the bottoms and tops of each carcass.

Drawers:

For the drawers, I used 1/2" Sande Plywood from Home Depot that was sanded on both sides. Similarly, I ripped all of the full sheets into 2' x 8' halves.

Each drawer bottom is the same 24" x 24". I cut 20 drawer bottoms to length and saved the rest of the plywood for using as drawer sides later.

About the tool:

The Kreg Rip Cut saw guide is definitely worth the money. I purchased this tool for this project and it worked great. I do not have a large table saw with outfeed table, so I have to make due with cutting plywood on the garage floor. The Rip Cut tool made this the easiest and safest plywood cutting job I ever had. The tool is long enough to rip up to 26" wide which is perfect for cutting down plywood for cabinetmaking.

Step 3: Cut the Drawer Guides

I designed each cabinet so it would have 4 drawers. 3 shallower drawers and one deeper drawer for larger items.

I used a 1/2" router bit in my plunge router to cut the guides. Only cut 1/2" in depth.

Cut the first one 1" from the bottom of the carcass sides. Cut the other three tracks at equal distance 5" from each other and 5 3/4" from the top end. I made temporary jigs for my router to easily line up the cuts so they are all the same on all the cabinet modules.

Step 4: Assemble the Cabinet Carcasses

Each box has two matching sides facing each other. They are butt screwed to a top and a bottom.

I did not put any backs on the cabinets since you would never see them but I did use scraps of 3/4 plywood at the tops of the back end to help square up the cabinet, and to provide a place to screw the cabinets to the wall.

Note, I wanted a place for my mitre saw so I make one cabinet 3" shorter than the other 4. I planned two shallower 3" drawers for this cabinet.

Once I had assembled the 5 carcasses, I attached them to the wall and to each other using screws. These are floating 10" above the garage floor.

Below the cabinet, I will have extra large drawer to store large or long tools and jigs. These drawers will simply sit on the concrete floor and slide out on carriage bolt heads. You could use casters but I found cheaper carriage bolts with a furniture felt pad worked fine.

Step 5: Fit the Drawer Bottoms

Drawers were a tight fit within each drawer track. Using an orbital sander, I slightly rounded the drawer bottoms so they would slide in the track more easily. In some cases, I used my table saw to remove 1/8" of material. Make sure each drawer bottom slides well in the tracks before you complete the drawer build.

Step 6: Make Lots of Drawers

Drawer sides, fronts and backs were made by cutting strips of the 1/2" plywood.

Using my plunge router and a home made jig, I cut a handle in the front of each drawer.

With my orbital sander I sanded each drawer part.

I assembled the drawers by using a brad nailer, and I added two drywall screws to the fronts of each drawer to give additional strength.

This step was the most time consuming because I needed to cut, route, and sand 112 drawer parts.

I built the extra-large drawers that sit on the floor below the cabinets. I made two drawers 4' long, and one 2' long. These lower drawers are only 20" deep to provide toe room for standing while working on the workbench. These are great for extra long items to be stored like clamps, jigs, and shop vac hoses.

Step 7: Install Bench Tops

The bench tops are another sheet of 3/4" plywood screwed on top of the cabinets.

For the floating portions of the bench, I created a frame in 2x4 lumber, and screwed the bench top to the 2x4.

With 2x4s and two layers of plywood over the cabinets, the bench top is really solid. I was able to install my bench vice.

Step 8: Finishing

I sanded all tops with my orbital sander and used Minwax Natural stain to stain all the plywood.

I added strips of red oak ripped to 1 1/2" and cut for the drawer tracks. I stained these in a Red Oak color.

Everything was covered in three coats of polyurethane.

Conclusion:

I was able to store tones of tools and supplies and was able to retire a dozen storage bins and tool boxes. I love my storage now.

If I were to do it all over again, I would have more 3" drawers. These are great for small tools and hand tools. Some of the 5" drawers are getting pretty heavy when they are fully loaded with tools, and the 10" drawers can be too big. If you are copying this idea, spend the extra time and money to make more shallower drawers and only make as many medium sized and deep drawers as you need for larger tools.

Total cost for this project was around $500 in material but the price will vary with the type and quality of plywood you will use.

4 People Made This Project!

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85 Discussions

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luxint

Question 4 months ago

"Each half sheet can make two sides, a top and a bottom for cabinet carcasses. I was planning making 5 cabinets so I cross cut into 28" lengths for the carcass sides. I cross cut strips into 23 1/4" lengths for the bottoms and tops of each carcass."

That doesn't add up to me, it makes 103 1/2". How can I get that from a 96" sheet?

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vince1ltd

1 year ago

Looks pretty good to me!

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sgbotsford

1 year ago

Thoughts:

If you are loading the cabinets heavily adding backs will reduce the tendency to rack.

Also, if you live in a wet climate, make the slides undersized. Give yourself 1/32 to 1/16 of an inch of play on both dimensions. Wood changes dimension in wet climates.

If you do have problems with drawers not sliding, try dusting them with baby powder. Talc is as good as graphite for low loads, and not nearly as messy.

Finally: You make want to make the slides out of high density polyethylene. You can often get scraps at a plastics fabricator for cheap. You want to use the original smooth face on the bottom, so you would need minimum 1/2" thick plastic. This stuff is tough. (I used to build dog sleds out of the 1/4 inch stuff, and the sleds would slide sideways on the crown slope of dry pavement.)

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marcjoli

2 years ago

Its been two years since I completed this project so sorry I do not remember how many sheets of plywood I needed for the drawers.

The cabinets are sitting on the back on the edge of the garage foundation which is a course of cinder block wall. Had I not had this foundation to sit the boxes on, I would have put a support under there, in the back.

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cchubb

2 years ago

You mention that you used 5 sheets of 3/4" for the box carcass, but how many sheets did you need of 1/2" for the drawers?

Also, am I correct in seeing that the whole thing is only hanging from the wall on the rear tie strips along the back of the edge? Is it also sitting on a support at the bottom rear? At least you put your vice near a vertical 2x4 leg. Once full, and with a load on top, this seems like a lot of weight to be hanging from the studs.

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markgrogan

2 years ago

That's an amazing storage bench for the store room. It looks like you're really going to have a lot of space for everything a person would need in the garage! Kudos to your courage to post this up and don't worry too much about the people in here, we're a generally friendly community! Haha!

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ghaines1

2 years ago

Comments: 1. The drawer bottoms is a good call because it allows you to put heavy heavy items in the drawers without fear of tearing out railings. 2. The red oak trim looks great with the lighter ply wood. Criticisms: 1. Some of the photos seem blurry. You're a internet star now, you deserve a nice entry level digital SLR. 2. Go do more Instrucables. This one is great.

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marcjolighaines1

Reply 2 years ago

The toe kick floor drawers and the larger drawers are really BIG. They get heavy to pull out and I tend to overfill them. Great for storing stuff you don't need every day, or stuff that is lightweight (shopvac hoses, bike helmets) but they should probably be smaller if your storage is going to be used for woodworking tools in an active workshop.

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ghaines1marcjoli

Reply 2 years ago

I wonder if there would be some anti-friction thing you could do (like those discs that let you slide a couch on the floor. Maybe those discs and cover the drawer shelf with remnant carpeting to give it something to slide on? Or maybe some industrial slick film or something...I'm trying to come up with something that doesn't cost a lot... they might raise the drawer and you would have to cut it down. Now I'm just causing work... Really liked this Bench Plan, though!

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Lovetraghaines1

Reply 2 years ago

At harbor frieght I found in the casters section some very small flat like roller barings and put six of then under an old drawer I screwed to a 1/2 inch of used plywood for strength and roll it under a bench in my garage with some really heavy stuff in it. Made the handle with a piece of rope run through a cut off of garden hose, and knots tied inside slider drawer. It is very low to the floor, very durable and very usefull although done on the fly is isn't very pretty but very usefull.

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marcjolighaines1

Reply 2 years ago

The friction wood on wood channel has not been a problem yet and its been 18 months and two winters since I built it. I did sand the drawer bottom entensions smooth and rounded them a bit so they would have a bit of give.

Adding any tape or plastic sliding material is an issue waiting to happen when that tape starts to break down and or gum up. Maybe having some sort of metal channel or angle would help but you may as well use heavy duty ball bearing sliders if you are going to spend money on hardware.

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Shiseiji

2 years ago

I saved these when you posted them as they looked so good, and then relooked at them today when Instruables included them in an email. They still look just as good!

For consideration on the slides: HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) Plastic Sheet 1/4" x 12" x 48" On April 28, 2016 it is USD $27.21 a sheet free shipping in the US (I have one coming in early next week I hope. 4" is for my table saw fence, I knew I'd come up with something for the rest :-) ). By cutting 1/4" X 1/8' strips, 12" will provide 96 each 48" long. Enough for 48 + drawers depending on the drawer depth. Since they will be sitting in the dado there is plenty of support and they only require ~3 small countersunk screws to hold them to the case carcass.

An inexpensive jig for safely ripping the strips is a block that goes against a table saw fence with a sacrificial push support on the left simply screwed perpendicular, think like a carpenter's square with the short leg to the left, into the end of the block. The support gets cut away with the strip. This will permit safe ripping of the strips.

Thanks for the 'structable!

Ron

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TeresaM7

2 years ago

Wow, I really need to do this in my shed! Eventually. One day. ARGH!!! Too many projects! :)

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dart70ca

3 years ago

Nice project, thanks for posting.

Only issue I see is the top being too shallow for a sliding compound saw or radial arm.. Radial arm would fit but cut width slightly compromised. Sliding compound will need more room out front or a pocket in the back wall. Maybe the upper drawer under the saw could have a false top that you can pull the saw forward onto as needed? Or the section of benchtop it rests on could slide out in dadoes like your drawers do and the top drawer could catch dust.

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marcjolidart70ca

Reply 2 years ago

Yeah when I upgrade my saw I will probably need to modify that first drawer, or create a platform that can sit on top of the first drawer while it is half extended out.

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donb1951

2 years ago

Looks like one I made years ago. The work top was deeper than the drawers ( they would have been to heavy when full) so I made the sides of my drawers longer than the drawer itself. By doing this I could pull the drawer out all of the way to access the contents and the drawer didn't fall to the ground or dump everything out.

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marcjolidonb1951

Reply 2 years ago

Good suggestion but alas I can never leave out out usable space in my design.

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CarbonManMKE

2 years ago

Great workbench! Been doing a ton of research and this is it! Thank you! I love the two tone finish on face. I also like the comments about waxing to allow drawers to slide easier. Great work and thanks for sharing! I really need to get my 1st instructable done!

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Callie Lea

2 years ago

Wonderful project and great photos and instructions. This is just the work surface and storage design that I've wanted for years. My father sold his drug store when he retired and the new buyer didn't want his old - make that antiquated - storage, so we have a multi-drawer (small drawers) to store small things in. We really need more and larger storage space to replace our original work benches and your design is perfect for what we want. Thank you for sharing your project!