I've had a fascination with gaming miniatures from the first time I was introduced to them at around age 10. Twenty-three years later, I started buying some of my own and with some modification experience under my belt I plan on trying my hand at modeling my own some day. However, I've come to a realization that if I am going to continue in this hobby, I'm going to need some storage space, to keep my little gaming corner tidy-ish looking, if nothing else. One solution I decided on (and got the go-ahead for ;) is to install some drawers into some sections of our games shelf.
The vast majority of projects I take on are heavy in reused products. Usually it's wood and usually I am breaking down objects completely for my builds. This time, though, I thought I might be able to use some pieces without having to dismantle them first: four dresser drawers for which the dresser box was coming apart.
One of the kids' dressers, a dump find from a few years ago, was finally coming apart. I put it out of its misery and used the long sides for a custom shelf build for Lego storage. The drawers were still in solid shape though and I've just been holding on to them trying to decide whether to build a new dresser piece with them or tear them down for something else. Then this idea formed.
Here's how I made it work!
Note: I only offer here a general outline of what I did. Someone running with a similar idea is likely to have a different set of parameters and components to work with. For that reason, I do not offer specific measurements or plans.
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Step 1: Scrounging Parts and Making Sure Things Fit
There's one glaring question when you are marrying two items that already exist, but were not specifically made for each other and that is, "Will they fit together well enough to work?"
I already knew I'd have to cut the tops off of the drawers in order to fit the three that I wanted in the space. But would the drawers be too narrow? And what was I going to support them in the with?
The latter question was answered on a trip to the dump. Someone had tossed a mass-produced, Swedish-type flat-pack dresser composed of water-swelled MDF components into the burn pile. It had those metal slides with rollers that looked about the right size for my project and I took what I could find above the snow, being unable to find two drawers.
The drawer width and the added width of the slide assemblies was still 1/4" too short to fit the shelf space. Luckily, I had a scrap piece of 1/8" acrylic sheet I could cut up and use as spacers.
To re-cap the materials I had:
- one cubby hole wanting drawers
- three used drawers from broken dresser
- three pairs of metal drawer slides
- scrap piece of 1/8" acrylic sheet
- fasteners (I just used what came with the slides)
So with everything I thought I'd need, I set out to put it together.
Step 2: Drawer Modification
I took the handles off of the drawer fronts.
Set my table saw width to the height I wanted the drawers to be (2 x 4" and 1 x 3 1/2") and carefully cut each side of the drawers (please use care with power tools!).
I then cut spacers for the front and back of each shelf (twelve in total). I don't have a drill press, so I put each piece in a small vise to hold it while I drilled a hole.
To attach them, I used the hardware that came with the slides, so it was those screw-in dowel type fasteners. This required that I matched a drill bit with the holes in the Swedish-type drawer pieces so that I could properly pre-drill my drawers to receive them.
After getting the slides on, with spacers, I cut handles into the drawer faces, which you can see in the pictures in the next step.
Step 3: Installation
Using a spirit level to help, I put in the slide tracks. I started at the bottom and slid in the drawer to help gauge where to put the next drawer up. Ended up having to shorten the top drawer a bit more to have room to get it on the track, but it still works well.
All that remained was to introduce my miniatures to their new home!
I hope to find the other two MDF drawers at the dump so I can strip them of their tracks and hang up two more here.
Thanks for reading!
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