By Roger Smith


My garage workshop has served more as a storage place for the past year than as a workshop.  So, a few weekends ago I started trying to organize it better so that I can get back to building rockets. One of the things I did was to build a set of shelves designed primarily to organize storage of small parts and to provide a convenient place for charging batteries.. 

I sketched out a basic plan for the shelving unit on paper.  I included a number of slots for holding the medium and large Harbor Freight storage boxes and a shelf with a power strip for charging batteries.  I then made a list of the parts I would need to cut from the MDF.   

I started by purchasing a few 4x8 sheets of 3/4" MDF.  I used Kreg's Accu-Cut and Rip-Cut guides with my little Worx circular saw to cut the MDF into the pieces I needed. On the two side pieces, I refined the design a bit by drawing the layout of the shelves and dividers directly onto the wood pieces.



I cut several 1x2" boards into rails to hold the storage boxes and used glue and an nail gun to attach them to the side panels.



Bracha painted the wooden parts and I started assembling the shelves and dividers starting from the bottom. I assembled the parts close to where the unit would stand in the garage because it was going to be very heavy. 

Rather than carefully following the measurements in my rough sketch or the layout that I had drawn on the sides, I cut out pieces to use as spacers since it was more important that the distances on each side of the unit matched than that the distances were some specific values.

I used wood glue and the nail gun to assemble the shelves to the sides (and later used drywall screws to make sure it didn't come apart).




I attached a power strip to the back wall behind the charging shelf. On one end of the panel, I used a plastic grommet to cover the hole for the power cord. At the other end, I added USB charging plugs (because it looks cool and because I forgot that the power strip has two USB outlets).




And now ... because I forgot to take more photos ... here is the completed cabinet.

What you missed:

You didn't get to see me mess up. I had intended to work from the bottom up, but I had attached the rails to the inside vertical pieces before I got to that point and the measurement was wrong. So, I had to add an extra shelf a couple of inches above the shelf over the charging area. Coincidentally, a 1x2" board fit perfectly in the space to cover up the slot.

And, you missed seeing me maneuver this monstrosity into place in the corner of my garage. I used levers to tilt it up onto a furniture mover. That actually worked well and I was able to easily move it into the corner. Then the trick was to remove the furniture mover. I finally accomplished that feat with more levers and a little help from a hydraulic jack.




I am really pleased with the result. Having my collection of screws and other small parts organized where I can quickly find them is going to make life easier. And having a place to charge the batteries for my tools frees up a lot of space on my workbench.

Now ... back to building rockets!