Woodworking is a passion for me. I've been remodeling and doing home repairs for 30+ years. I build furniture and play golf for my hobbies.
What You'll Need to Get Started
My cabinets were all 6' tall by roughly 2' in width and 2' deep. As you will see from the pictures below, three of the cabinet units open to reveal three different storage compartments, or what I call tri-fold doors. These three units hold accessories and small tools. One storage unit has just two sides, and I call it the bi-fold cabinet. I keep the power tools, such as saws, sanders, drills, etc. here.
These could easily be modified to be shorter, wider, or longer - depending on your needs.
Materials needed for the size cabinets like the ones I built would require the following:
1. Four sheets of 4' X 8' - 3/4" plywood - per cabinet. (5/8" plywood works too)
2. One sheet of 4 X 8' - 1/2" plywood should be enough for four cabinets. The plywood is for the cabinet shelves and dividers. (Depending on how many shelves and dividers you want in each unit).
3. 6' Piano hinges connect the sections of each cabinet unit. It will take two hinges for each tri-fold cabinet and one hinge for the bi-fold cabinet.
4. 1 sheet of 4 X 8' - 1/4" pegboard for inside the doors, sides, and center unit. This for additional hanging space using peg hooks.
5. 4-6 Medium-duty swivel casters per cabinet
6. Miscellaneous 1/2-3/4" wood screws, glue, and a screw gun or screwdriver (if you've got a tireless arm).
What The Completed Cabinets Look Like
Why Build Your Own Garage Cabinets?
After years of dealing with the frustration of trying to find needed tools, I finally decided to build these storage cabinets to organize my garage clutter. These cabinets had to be large enough to hold my power tools along with places for hanging all the accessories. Being a jack-of-all-trades means that I have tools that I use for plumbing, electrical, carpentry, auto mechanic, masonry, and more. Don't get me wrong; I'm not a professional at any of these things. Still, I never turn the opportunity to work at almost anything by doing that I've accumulated a lot of different tools. If you're anything like me, and I'm a pretty standard, mature adult male, then I'll bet you could also use some organization for all your accumulated hardware.
Below is a 5-Step guide to construct and assemble the cabinets.
When you have the lumber for whatever size cabinets you decide on, take the time to layout the measurements on each of the plywood pieces. Designate each section for a particular part of the storage unit, i.e., side, front, back, bottom, or top, and cut it out. Label it and set it aside until you have all the pieces for one unit cut. After cutting to size, I cut rabbets* along the sides for a more solid fit and this cut allows or more glue surface for extra hold. Please refer to the video below to see how it's cut. With that done, sand the pieces paying particular attention to the edges and corners to knock off the burrs and splinters.
* see terms glossary
Cutting a Rabbet Joint
Step 2 - Now is an excellent time to decide where you want to add shelves. Before you start assembly, lay the front and back (the long pieces) next to each other and mark where a shelf will be attached to each piece. Doing this will ensure the shelves are even and not tilted when you glue and screw the pieces together. With the pieces marked for shelves, I cut dados* on the inside to hold the shelves. (As shown in the video below) For my cabinets, I wanted to divide the upper and lower half with three shelves on top and pegboard for hanging items on the bottom. I did this for the middle section of the tri-fold unit. It's easier to see what I mean from the picture below. If you want shelves on the two outer wings, then you can mark them now as well.
* see terms glossary
Cutting a Dado Slot in Plywood for a Shelf Support
Step 3 - Begin assembly. Layout each of the three sections separately on the floor or table if you have one big enough and think of it as just putting a box together. Glue and screw the corners together, and add the pegboard being sure you put backer pieces behind it. By adding wooden strips behind will allow the pegboard to stand out just a bit for adding the peg hooks. Then add the shelves in their pre-determined locations.
Add the piano hinges to the back of the cabinets. You will probably need to cut the long hinges to size. A hacksaw is the best tool for cutting. Make sure the sections are lined up and tight to one another before screwing in place. You want the doors adequately aligned for a snug fit when closed.
Piano Hinge Installed
Install the casters on the cabinet sections bottoms before or after the hinges are in place. It makes little difference when. I did mine after assembly was complete just so that I could align the casters. There should be two casters on each outer section and one in the center section—six for the tri-fold units and four for the bi-fold.
Finished Cabinets With Casters Installed
6' Piano Hinge
- Piano Hinge with Holes in Stainless, Steel, or Aluminum 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 ft | eBay
Continuous/Piano Hinges with holes in Stainless, Steel, or Aluminum in multiple sizes.
Adjustable Dado Blade
- Adjustable Wobble Dado Blade Groove Cutter 789610648474 | eBay
Adjustable Wobble Dado Blade. For Use on radial arm and table saw. Adjustable from 1/8" to 3/4" wide. 5/8" arbor.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
miltom soward on April 15, 2020:
thank you richard for the great directions and pictures for the rolling cabinets. just what i need for my small workj space..
Richard (author) from Texas on April 11, 2020:
Thank you Eseyin O Daniel for reading my article and commenting.
Eseyin Daniel from Zaria, Nigeria. on April 10, 2020:
Richard (author) from Texas on April 01, 2020:
Thank you, Zulma. The cabinets have worked well for me. I hope things go well with your daughters' move. Your comments are always appreciated.
Richard (author) from Texas on April 01, 2020:
Thank you Peggy. Having the casters is really nice for cleaning underneath. It’s actually necessary to open them up. They fit nicely together side by side when closed but that’s the only time.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 01, 2020:
What a beautiful job you did in constructing these storage units for your tools. The fact of them being on casters and being movable is genius. Should you ever move, they could be moved right along with the rest of your possessions.
Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on April 01, 2020:
Richard, thank you so much for posting this. What a great idea. Our garage is just a hodgepodge of storage boxes. It's so disorganized that trying to find anything is a two-man job.
However, my daughter is moving out soon and taking many of those boxes with her. Your posting of this is most timely. I'll have to casually mention this to my husband. With enough subliminals, he might just incorporate these. We might even have enough space to put the car in the garage. How mind-blowing is that?
Thanks again for posting this. Have a great day and stay safe.