Over the years I've picked up quite a few hobbies, and I've been accumulating supplies in cheap plastic bins. These come in a few sizes, the ones I find most useful are the 16-quart and six-quart sizes. I had these bins stacked in a corner, but I got tired of having to keep stacking and unstacking them whenever I was looking for something. These shelves hold a dozen of the 16-quart bins, and a half dozen of the smaller bins.
This project uses:
2 sheets of 3/4-inch plywood (I splurged and bought Baltic Birch for this project, but any plywood would do)
About a hundred Kreig Pocket Hole Jig screws (1-1/4 inch, fine thread)
Drill and bits
Enough sealer for two coats (one quart)
Step 1: Layout the Cuts
I designed the shelves around the number of bins full of junk that I already have, and I came up with three rows of four bins (16 quart size), and one row of six of the smaller size bins (6 quart size). From the pictures you can see that there is about an inch of extra space in the width, and the bottom three shelves have about an inch and a half of extra space vertically. Because these bins can be heavy, I wanted to leave enough room to keep from banging my knuckles on the next shelf when I’m sliding the bins into place.
Some years ago I found a set of four wheels at a yard sale. This project was finally an opportunity to put these wheels to use. Two of them even have locks on them. Initially, I was going to extend the sides of the shelves down to the floor, hiding the wheels, but then I wouldn't be able to use the nifty wheel locks. Also, by leaving the bottom open, the wheels can be placed closer to the edges of the shelves, adding stability.
First, cut three shelves 51-inches by 16-inches.
Cut the side pieces 34 3/4-inches by 16-inches.
Cut the top 52 1/2-inches by 17 1/2-inches (allows for 1-inch overlap on front, and 3/4-inch overlap on the back)
Cut the bottom 52 1/2-inches by 16 3/4-inches.
Cut three dividers 9-inches tall, by 16-inches wide (I trimmed a half-inch off the upper divider to make more room for the upper shelf).
Cut two horizontal braces 52 1/2-inches by 6-inches.
Cut four wheel-mounting blocks, about 5 1/2 inches square.
Step 2: Drill, Sand and Finish the Pieces
I bought this pocket hole jig a while back, and I've become a big fan of the simplicity of these joints. They are quick, easy, and strong. The reason they work so well that the system uses a flat-faced drill bit, and washer-head screws that really suck the boards together. I like these because there is a minimum of fiddling around to make the holes, then all you have to worry about is aligning things correctly when you screw the parts together. Think about where each board goes and how it connects to the boards it attaches to. Set up the pocket hole jig so that you are drilling diagonally into each board that buts up against another board. Be sure to drill from the side of the board that will be least noticeable. You can buy diagonally cut plugs to fill the holes, I don't bother with this, but if you're concerned about appearances, they are available. I drilled all the holes first, and then screwed everything together at the same time.
Because the diagonal hole drilling leaves burrs, do the drilling before sanding the boards. I greatly dislike sanding and painting, so I won't go into the details of that. Use whatever finish you prefer.
Note: the photos of the hole-drilling did not come out, so the photos shown are from another project.
Step 3: Mount the Wheel Support Blocks
Glue and clamp the four corner blocks to the underside of the bottom piece. These blocks add support for the wheels and allow longer screws to be used to mount the wheels.
Step 4: Make the Box
The top, bottom, and sides make a nice sturdy box. Just take your time and use a square to keep things square. Once the box is assembled, add the lateral support pieces, being sure that things are square before screwing them in place.
Step 5: Mount Interior Pieces
Adding the interior shelves and dividers is a straight forward process. Use a square to make sure that the box stays square.
Step 6: Mount the Wheels
Turn the shelves upside down and position the wheels on the wheel blocks, mark and drill the holes, then screw the wheels securely in place. If you're using locking wheels, be sure the wheels with the locks are attached to the front side of the shelves.
The shelves are complete. The top of the shelves is at a pretty comfortable working height, and I'm considering attaching a small vise to make this set of shelves into a light-duty work bench.