Fast, Inexpensive, Strong Drawers

This might be metalworking or wood working. I'm seriously thinking
about removing the work benches from along the back wall in my shop and
replacing them with a single continuous monolithic steel plate top work
bench. Beveled, welded, and ground flat at each joint. Apx 54' long.
Ok, that part is definitely metalworking.
Here is the part I am undecided about. I want drawers from the bench
top to about 3 inches above the floor from end to end. No. not a 54'
long drawer. LOL. Banks of drawers, to eliminate all my roll away tool
boxes and sort a lot of tools with their related parts. ie: Snap rings
with snap ring tools, etc...
Appearance is a non issue for me. Strength and speed of assembly
probably rank 1 & 2 for importance with cost coming in at number three.
Not all drawers would need to be super strong of course, but I would
like to make them all the same. Right now I am thinking about wood
drawers or folded/welded sheet metal drawers. I have a decent finger
brake and various metal cutting processes in my shop. I also have all
the wood working tools I could need for making wood drawers. No matter
which way I go I'd want to make them all the same way.
I looked at roll away bottom cabinets as an option under the bench, but
they are either way to light duty, don't have drawer configurations that
I like, or way to expensive.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
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My "workbench" is a thrift store office desk. Cost me ~$15. Has a large shallow drawer above my legs and over the right side drawers. Two nice sized drawers on the right and two on the left. At work I had a nice (Haworth) two drawer filing cabinet which was the same height as my workbench. These all have heavy duty roller slides. Bottom drawers in my desk have drill motors, angle grinders, socket sets, impact tools... and still work great.
So... I would watch for used office furniture on the cheap that satisfies your bench height. Lateral files could work for larger items.
Reply to
Leon Fisk
Have a look at office equipment filing cabinets as they come in various draw depths and heights. I have about 7, 4 of which fit under my bench nicely for storing various tool categories and the other 3 about the same height form a work storage surface and I store various items in the drawers. I have another smaller cabinet which has drawers about 1" deep and 10" wide which I store things like taps, dies, reamers, drills, and many other items in. All where acquired free as they were being chucked out and I was in the right place at the right time.
Reply to
David Billington
Along those lines I used to work about 10 miles from the State of Maryland surplus store and got sent up there once to get some used filing cabinets for our offices. They had many, many filing cabinets for sale at cheap prices, both 2 and 4 drawer models. I just had to pick through them looking for the nicest ones, but I didn't have to find matching units. Some universities also have surplus stores if you live near a large campus. Maybe alternate 2 or 3 regular drawer units that you build with 1 or 2 filing cabinets for deep drawers, then more regular drawers. Throw in a full height knee hole every so often for roll-around equipment or a workstation.
Reply to
Carl
I built a rolling storage rack for heavy stuff using surplus roller slides for 19" relay racks, with angle iron uprights and shelves cut from exterior-wall steel stud remnants. The slides are for electronic equipment that could be quite heavy; my 1970's RF spectrum analyzer weighs 60 lbs.
The shelves can be moved by drilling new holes in the uprights. If you find surplus relay racks and cut them down you can use the pre-drilled mounting holes.
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Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Might be like these which I used recently on a sliding table for cutting glass
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. They seem to be the same as those in the 19" rack unit I converted into a drink cabinet, kept the slides, replaced the metal shelves with laminated glass.
Reply to
David Billington
I have made my drawers out of 1/2" cabinet grade plywood. On the sides I cut a 1/4 inch dado a 1/4" in from the edge, the front and back dado cut leaving a 1/4" x 1/4" tongue. Sides and backs get a 1/4" dado a 1/4" in from the bottom edge, the bottom gets wait for it a 1/4" removed all around. Glue and nail together, make a stronger bottom than just 1/4" ply.
Reply to
Markem
For 54' of drawers, I'd take neither of the routes you named. I'd go straight to an industrial source of pre-fabricated drawers and buy what I need and then adapt the framework of the bench to suit. Maybe in the case of some that need to be extra strong I might do some reinforcement but no more than absolutely necessary. Metal drawer boxes with decent slides are already plenty strong for most uses.
Reply to
John McGaw
In the 1980's I rearranged my shop and bought some cheap yard sale painted wooden chests of drawers to cut down for temporary tool and pipe fitting storage under a bench, until I found something better. The knobs broke and needed stronger replacements but the drawers stood up to heavy loads very well.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Leon Fisk on Fri, 4 Oct 2019 16:38:54 -0400 typed in rec.crafts.metalworking the following:
Mine is a solid core door. Actually, I have two, free for the hauling. And two more which are top and bottom half of a "Dutch door" configuration. Now if I just had the space to deploy all of them.
Neat.
I've several sizes of file cabinets. Two of the two drawer size work well to hold "Yet Another Door" bench top. That one is in the back serving as a shelf for storage.
Reply to
pyotr filipivich
"Jim Wilkins" on Fri, 4 Oct 2019 18:01:54 -0400 typed in rec.crafts.metalworking the following:
Hmmm, I have this collection of Hollywood bed frames. All that angle iron, just setting there ...
Reply to
pyotr filipivich
Bed frame can be some really nasty stuff to cut and drill. Supposedly the dregs of metal mixtures. You may drill a hole or two just fine and then another in the same piece is hard enough to ruin the drill bit...
So plan on it being a hassle and maybe you'll get lucky :)
Reply to
Leon Fisk
Bed frames may be recycled railroad rails, with a higher carbon content that makes them stronger but tricky to work with.
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Reply to
Jim Wilkins
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Yesterday I read that Stephenson's original track gage was 4' 8", he had to add 1/2" later to the tracks but not the wheels to make them run more smoothly.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Another bit of useless RR trivia: the steam locomotive was an American invention.
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However, as with Fitch's pioneering steam rowboat, history instead remembers the men who made crude earlier inventions practical, Stephenson for the locomotive and Fulton for the steamboat.
It seems the Founding Fathers knew about submarines (Bushnell), steam locos, high capacity assault rifles (Girandoni) and air mail. Washington personally handed the first US airmail letter to the balloon pilot.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Two of mine are solid core doors. The one I use for assembly has a 3/4" sheet of melamine as a "dress" top. The benches are wrapped in a 1x4" ash band, holding the finished top in place (glued to the door, not the "dress" top. The other, for cutting (track saw, usually) has a loose MDF top that sits 1/4" proud of the banding. The "dress" tops of both are loose, so they can be replaced easily.
I've done that for my computer desk, in the past. The one I have now just has hair pin legs. I wish I could find a decent used office furniture store. All of the used office furniture I've seen lately is incredibly expensive. The crap the office stores sells would never hold up in a shop.
Reply to
krw
Many of the answers are certainly fast and cheap. Some may be fast, cheap, and strong, but they won't be made hte same. Of the specs fast, cheap, and strong cheap was 3rd in level of importance. Also I indicated that I wanted them to all be made the same (look the same). I guess appearance is slightly more important than I made out to begin with. There are certainly a few ideas worthy of consideration. Thanks everybody.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
If I had a better answer I would have posted it, and maybe bought some myself since my Sears-flavored tool cabinets need repair. The second-hand tool store that rates cheap and customer-proof well above pretty uses Vidmars for the heavy cutting tools and racks of sheet metal bins for the lighter stuff.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
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I wonder whether the tool cabinet bases from HF are any good. I am going to be faced with downsizing my shop in the next couple of years, and will be up against the same questions (though on a smaller scale).
Reply to
rangerssuck

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