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Deep and narrow tool storage

To fit an odd space

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Iain Downs19/01/2022 20:01:38
857 forum posts
751 photos

I'm struggling to squeeze all my stuff into my shed and am in the process of re-organising.

It turns out I have a space into which I would like to fit some drawers. The gap is about 46cm wide and 60cm deep and either 78 or 63 high depending on if my shop vacuum sits on top or not. I would prefer if it did .

I would favour many (relatively) shallow drawers over a small number of deep one.

The options I've found so far are

cabinets on wheels which are wide and not deep, that would need to go in sideways and pull out. This is feasible, but not ideal.

one (only) from halfords which is meant to be bolted to the side of a bigger system that would fit but I would lose quite a bit of space (35 wide x 45 deep).

ideally something 60 cm deep and close to full width.

Does anyone have any ideas or experience which will help? Oh - recent experience seems to indicate I have neither the time or appetite to make something.


JasonB19/01/2022 20:06:55
22751 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

The Bisley draws are always a good bet for workshop storage though a bit narrower than your space. Look for second hand as new are pricy though Ikea have similar for less.

Jon Lawes19/01/2022 20:44:52
927 forum posts

After waiting for some Bisley 10 drawer cabinets to come in second hand on the auction sites I gave up and used the same site to buy one new from Rymans. £90, but I've yet to find anything better suited to metal stock.

When it turned up it had a dent in the side, of worry if it was going in an office but a purely cosmetic issue for my workshop. I pointed that out to them and they refunded me £15, making it about the same price they go for second hand (but posted!).

Paul Lousick19/01/2022 21:28:33
2043 forum posts
722 photos

The drawers that I used on the stand for my mill are a similar size to those that you want and use telescopic slides to allow full access to the back of the drawer.

mill 2.jpg

Mark Rand19/01/2022 21:54:41
1274 forum posts
28 photos

I ended up making custom draws for my shed. Used 9mm ply for the bases, 15mm drawer-side ply for the sides (just because the wood yard had a load of it) and nice match cut maple for the fronts.

The draws slide on ball slides, which are screwed to silver steel dowels. The dowels on one side are glued into side panels and on the other can slide in larger silver steel sockets that're glued in, to allow for differential expansion.

All the joints were cut with a mitre lock router cutter:-


Frances IoM19/01/2022 22:08:44
1268 forum posts
28 photos
I too made my own draws (a table saw for timber is a great help) but from MDF offcuts and ply bases (all painted with clear floor varnish to avoid oil stains) and also used telescopic slides (mine came from Axminster sale) - there are tray inserts available for "really useful" boxes from places such a Rymans which if you choose the draw size can provide a very convenient home for small tools or components.
Ady119/01/2022 22:48:54
5091 forum posts
736 photos

Bisley every time, just look for one which fits closest

The old originals are best, very solid, newer ones not as good but they do an ok job

Derek Lane19/01/2022 23:37:25
762 forum posts
171 photos

You may not like facebook but sometimes they come up for sale on local for sale site. I missed two 10 draw ones they only wanted £25 for each

Edited By Derek Lane on 19/01/2022 23:38:12

Bazyle20/01/2022 12:03:51
6324 forum posts
222 photos

Your WxD are difficult proportions for drawers.

The small Bisley 10 drawer next to me at the moment is 11 1/4" wide and 18" deep including handles so not an ideal fit. Also it doesn't have slides, just metal on metal so I use it for lighter stuff, taps and dies mostly and the two bottom drawers that ended up with silver steel bars is too heavy to open easily. So I suggest roller slides if the weight will build up, eg with spanners. Also small drawers mean small things and down at ground level are awkward to sort through so a couple of bigger ones at the bottom are better.

Elsewhere I have plastic multicompartment boxes about 2 in high that better fit your WxD. Maybe a wooden shelf system for them?

JasonB20/01/2022 12:11:54
22751 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

One good thing about the Bisley not being on runners is you can easily pull one out and put it on the bench if you need to sort through an untidy draw. Would also help with the ones at the top of the 78" stack as you won't easily see into them.

All my own made ones are on full extension runners but you say you don't want to go down that route. 450mm width does not suit a couple of kitchen draw units either

SillyOldDuffer20/01/2022 13:03:27
8695 forum posts
1967 photos
Posted by Jon Lawes on 19/01/2022 20:44:52:

After waiting for some Bisley 10 drawer cabinets to come in second hand ...

I had the same problem. Second-hand Bisley's used to be common, but they'd disappeared by the time I needed any. I bought new: they're made of thinner gauge steel than the originals, but plenty good enough for what I need.

Since buying new four or five years ago, I've only seen one second-hand Bisley for sale. I guess most offices got rid of them when they computerised, so for about 20 years surplus Bisleys were easy to find. Now almost everyone is computerised the supply of old Bisleys has dried up.


Iain Downs20/01/2022 16:37:37
857 forum posts
751 photos

Woodwork is not my thing.

However, I have had the thought that I could make a box with shelves in it (no precision required) and use plastic trays as the drawers. I've found some the right size at around 9 quid a piece.

I may still look at what I can buy ( I found nothing at IKEA), but most options seem to run to over 100 quid and that's more than I want to spend.


Iain Downs22/01/2022 18:14:42
857 forum posts
751 photos

I turns out that what I want to spend and what I have to spend are a fair bit apart.

I have found nothing off the shelf which comes close to fitting in the space I've got. In further review, the wheeled tool chests are too high and too narrow - not making good use of the space.

The only plastic trays I found (see above) are the about the right size for drawers, but the only web site that sells them (that I can find) doesn't work and in any event were going to cost quite a bit more than my final solution. In addition there is almost as much joinery in making the shelf unit they would need.

So. Despite everything, I have become a joiner again. The wood and runners are going to cost me around 100 quid which is more than I wanted to spend, but there you go.

So I expect to end up with 6 drawers, about 75mm hig0, 350mm across and about 540 deep. Good use of the space and perhaps I will learn some joinery. One drawer already made and looking better than I expected.

Thanks for the help and pointers.

I will post a picture when done if I'm not too embarrased.


Bill Phinn23/01/2022 03:06:34
755 forum posts
113 photos
Posted by Iain Downs on 22/01/2022 18:14:42:

The wood and runners are going to cost me around 100 quid which is more than I wanted to spend, but there you go.


The price of wood, as well as other construction materials, is going up at a ridiculous rate, Iain. And yet, all around me, people are having their houses extended with seemingly unprecedented enthusiasm.

Maybe the apparent stalling I'm seeing mid-way through some of these extension projects is down to builders having to increase their original quotes and householders finding they can't meet the increased costs.

Iain Downs23/01/2022 10:27:04
857 forum posts
751 photos

That and the short supply of builders who, in any event are still catching up with work promised at the peak of the pandemic.

But I was quite surprised at the price of the wood. Madam suggested I should use my upcoming welding course to make them out of a more durable material. Ignoring that my welding (currently at least) makes my woodworking look professional, the cost of sheet would have exceeded both the cost of wood and the cost of the premade tool chests - at least the cheaper ones.


Iain Downs29/01/2022 18:03:43
857 forum posts
751 photos

Good news and bad news.

Yes I did joinery up some drawers. Yes they do fit in the space as I expected. Yes the open and close without TOO much effort.

(That was the good news).

On the other side they're more than a bit wonky. I going to fallback to the second favourite excuse and blame the materials (though the author accepts that limited skill and experience hasn't helped.

The ply for the carcass and planed timber for the drawer sides, carefully selected in B&Q for their relative straightness all turned into bananas when they got to my shed.and everything went all over the place. I ended up by putting it all together, loosening the top and letting the drawers find their own level.

It's worked. I'm happy that it will do what I want, but I won't be putting it up for a show!


And in their resting place...


Yes there is a gap at the top and yes it is deliberate. Sort of.

Tomorrow will be tidying up and then perhaps I can get back to messing things up with metal instead!


Iain Downs29/01/2022 18:05:03
857 forum posts
751 photos

As a matter of interest I've been spelling these items Drawer and most of you have been spelling them Draw.

Is there a difference? Am I showing my lack of professionalism by using a domestic term?


Frances IoM29/01/2022 18:46:15
1268 forum posts
28 photos
MDF is more stable dimensionally and once varnished immune to damp. A saw bench allows repeatable accurate lengths to be cur - use a jig to pre-drill all screw holes and a simple jig to set the draw slides a uniform distance apart. If you use a screw on front then a very small gap can be obtained by using a single sheet of MDF tp fill the full case, then working from the bottom fitted drawer screw the draws to the front, unscrew the top drawer, run a pencil in the gap, then repeat working down the drawers and then cut along the pencil lines and refix the fronts
10ba12ba29/01/2022 18:54:34
44 forum posts
19 photos

Verbs and nouns eh Iain?


Don Cox29/01/2022 20:27:15
60 forum posts

I built an Ikea Helmer drawer cabinet under my radial arm drill. Okay for £35 I thought, although I paid for delivery because visiting the store drives me nuts.

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