Drawers and cupboard space for my drill press stand

Workshops are a bit like kitchens. Each is a place where physical ingredients, tools and learned processes are brought together to produce tangible results. As with kitchens there is the need to store the tools and the ingredients. Some of the ingredients like plywood, are long lasting and others like Danish Oil have a short shelf life and will spoil if not used in a timely manner. It is no surprise then that workshops — again like kitchens — are forever running out of storage space and constantly having to be re-arranged to make the most of the space. One of the easiest ways to optimise storage is to utilise the space beneath every surface. This can be done in many ways, from fancy fliptop and rotating units to simple bespoke cabinets with cupboards/drawers.

For a long time I’ve wanted to store my drill bits and related jigs with my drillpress instead of being in a in random spots around the workshop. The drillpress was in a central and useful position on the end of my main bench but had no storage at hand, and I didn’t have enough room for another free standing unit in the workshop. Then an unexpected opportunity presented itself.

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Parkside PNTS 250 B1

I recently bought a Parkside PNTS 250 B1 bench grinder from Lidl (made by Grizzly tools), which made me rethink where everything goes. This thing is cheap, unbalanced and will vibrate its way out of the room if not chained down, which quickly scrapped my plan of putting it on the stand I previously built for my Erbauer belt sander. Side note: I do not recommend this bench grinder.

Like many makers(1) my workshop stands are a mixture of things I have cobbled together quickly, re-purposed domestic tables, hacked sawhorses and so on. The stand was built to rely on the weight of the Erbauer sander combined with its lack of vibration, and these factors made it safe for that tool.

On the other hand the light Parkside bench grinder was positively dangerous on it. Even when bolted down the entire stand and grinder started wandering around the workshop in unison when I switched it on!

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Metabo KGS254M

This led to a workshop rearrangement:

  • Time to sell my almost unused Metabo(2) mitre saw. It occupied a large and heavy duty unit on castors, which is actually a recording studio rack unit from my music past.

  • Moved the Erbauer belt sander to the former mitre saw unit.

  • Mount the Parkside bench grinder on the 3/4” (18mm) ply base that you can see above. It now lives under my heavy workbench. It can easy be lifted up onto the workbench and clamped down when in use to stop it from going for a wander.

  • Moved the Parkside drillpress on to the stand the belt sander used to occupy and this is the one I updated.

2. The mitre saw is a Metabo KGS254M and is a great mid range saw and a solid jobsite workhorse but it was an impulse purchase for me. It is too big for my little workshop. I tried it in several positions but just can’t make it work without it taking up more space than I can afford to give it. I wish I had investigated more relative to my own needs and then invested the money more sensibly in a much smaller saw. I don’t need a 10”/254mm mitre saw with 305 x 92 mm cutting capacity at 90 degrees.

I still have a load of odd sized scrap 12mm OSB left over from the pallet wood kitty condo, so I decided to use as much of that as I could, which guided my approach in several places.

From the photos below you can see my starting point with the drill press in position on the former belt sander stand. My rough initial design was to have two drawers with a cupboard below, storing drill bits in the top drawer, small jigs in the second drawer and bigger stuff in the cupboard. Two drawers became three during the build as I realised that I could organise the drill bits more neatly in shallow tray-like drawers.

The first thing to do was to install a simple bottom shelf for the cupboard base and then I paneled both sides and the back of the stand. I flush mounted the panels to the inside of the legs for the sides and to the outside of the legs for the rear panel. Clamping these proved tricky but I managed to do it successfully with shims.

The drawers couldn’t be simpler, just glued and brad nailed together. You might notice that one is constructed differently and this was where the two drawers of my original design became three! The high tech plan on my whiteboard started out with two drawers but when I made them I realised that the top drawer was far too deep and would become a dumpster to lose things in. Using the tablesaw I cut it into a shallow drawer and an equally shallow open frame offcut (exactly the same as splitting a sealed box into its lid/box components) and then mounted a new drawer base onto the open frame off cut. The three drawer design change worked out a treat.

For the drawer slides. I made simple “L” shaped runners for each drawer, which saved me the expense of commercial slides. Each consisted of a simple softwood rail mounted on small panel of the same OSB. Each completed rail is the full depth of the drawer and the rails are attached by screws only, so they can be swapped out in the future if there’s wear or they don’t work well. I mounted them directly to the legs of the stand with a few screws each - more than enough given their light contents of drill bits and small jigs.

Clamping the bottom drawer in place to position and fit its slides:

With the drawers in place I measured for the drawer fronts. Originally I was planning to make simple block drawer pulls because I want something that won’t snag in my clothes while I’m using the drill but instead settled on integrating the drawer pulls into the drawer front design. Each is an enlarged edge band that sits atop the drawer front and overhangs just enough to be a comfortable drawer pull for the weight each drawer will hold. They’re secured with dowels for additional strength because the OSB I have is low quality construction grade stuff.

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Fitting Drawer Front

I was pleased with both the strength and final appearance of the doweled in drawer pulls.

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finished unit

I love my high tech design on the whiteboard.

I finished the whole lot with 120 grit sanding followed by a couple of coats of Danish oil.

I decided not to put a front on the cupboard, again to avoid it becoming a dumping ground. Instead I have some of my most often used boxes of screws and washers in there, so it will be constantly used.

The only tasks remaining are to make a couple of “block” drillbit holders to put in the bottom drawer and perhaps to make up some drawer dividers for the spare bits in the upper tray style drawers - I’ll see how I get on first.

1. Just a quick note about a word that I used up top. I dislike and yet subscribe to what the word maker has come to represent in social media. For me, a maker is simply someone who makes things across multiple trades and crafts meaning it’s not necessarily appropriate to describe them using an individual title such as joiner, metal fabricator, cabinet maker, DIY enthusiast, boat builder and so on, unless the individual chooses to market themselves within a given trade. To some “maker” is synonymous with “hipster DIY” and that can be true but for me that’s a bit insulting to the vast array of novice, amateur and professional craftspeople visible who demonstrate an enormous breadth of skills within those sectors and share what they do for the entertainment and education of others and — like me — as a way to remember what the hell I did last week.