Shop Cabinets 102 - Building Drawers, Doors, and Shelves

In this post, I stepped through the process of building basic plywood cabinet boxes. Let's finish up those cabinets for the Infinity Cutting Tools shop.  I need to make the door, drawers, and shelves. I'm going to go fairly simple on these since they are utilitarian shop cabinets. One of the biggest challenges new woodworkers face is the desire to go overboard above and beyond your current set of skills or more than necessary for the project. Yes, you totally can hand-cut dovetails in your shop cabinet drawers if you want (it will totally look sweet and I'll be thoroughly impressed). Or, you can make simple rabbeted drawers if you want to concentrate on other things (like building furniture). Neither is the wrong answer.

I wanted to get this cabinet built quickly, so I am making simple pinned rabbets on the drawers. As a side note, the next shop project is going to be to add drawers to my rolling carts to store router bits and shaper cutters. I am going to build every drawer in those a different way (dovetail jig, hand-cut dovetails, finger joint, drawer lock joint, etc.) just to show all of the different styles that we can do.

The first thing to do is mill the lumber for the door, door panel, drawer fronts, and shelf nosing. I decided to resaw some lumber since I had a bunch of 8/4 stock laying about. Resawing creates thinner stock out of thick stock, as shown below. Using the Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence makes this very easy.  Sometimes you can draw a line down the length of the workpiece and follow it, as below. But you'll want to make sure the workpiece is thick enough that it doesn't want to tip during the cut.

When you "open" up the two resawn pieces like a book, you'll see mirror images of the grain pattern. This makes a nice book-matched pattern for the door panel.

Cut the pieces to make the stiles and rails.  I used a crosscut sled and the Infinity Super General 40T Saw Blade to make some nice clean precise cuts.  Save your cutoffs and rout the stile bit profile on these as well.  You'll use these for setup blocks later.

A crosscut sled on the table saw helps get accurate, square cuts. A stop block clamped to the rip fence ensures consistent part lengths.

Now over to one of my very favorite tools in our shop, The Infinity Premium Router Table Package. Go make your life easier and buy one, that table is super sweet.

I used the 3-Pc. Cabinet Maker's Shaker Router Bit Set. These bits have a shear angle design and three-wing slot cutters that provide an impressive finish. The set-up for the stile is super easy. Set your fence flush to the bearing using a straight edge. Raise the height to your desired profile face depending on the thickness of your wood and start running your material through face down.

Setting up your coping bit for the rails is where most people have a difficult time.  Let's try to make it easy for you. I flush up my bearing to the fence.  Bring over my coping sled to the bit with the rail clamped down for greater accuracy, and raise the bit until the top relief edge aligns with the groove in the stile.

Grab your scrap cut off and go to town and check your fit.  You should either fit or be very close.  If you are close, raise the bit either up or down to tweak in your fit and then go to town.  It really is this simple.  So, to reiterate, set the fence to your bearing (this is very important), eyeball very closely your piece up to the bit, test cut.

The coping sled is a super important part of this.  Have or make a good one. I use the Infinity Tools Professional Coping Sled and it works like a charm.  Three quick-adjusting hold-down clamps.  Large, comfortable push grip. Accurate CNC milling.  Polycarbonate visor that runs along the fence.  It even looks awesome on your router table.

Use a backer board and rout the ends of the rails. The backer board helps prevent chip out as the bit exits the workpiece.

And in just a few minutes, we've made a door frame!

Now on to the raised door panel.  I glued up some of my resawn pieces and used the Shaker raised panel bit from the router bit set.  When running the raised panel bits, always use the slowest speed setting on your router and take smaller passes at a time.

Now on to the raised door panel.  I glued up some of my resawn pieces and used the Shaker raised panel bit from the router bit set.  When running the raised panel bits, always use the slowest speed setting on your router and take smaller passes at a time.  Going slow helps ensure a cleaner cut and a safer experience.  I always rout out my end grain first to minimize tearout on the edge grain.

I am using a 1/2" overlay hinge for the doors (because I had some lying around in a drawer).  These are pretty quick to install using a 35mm Forstner bit.  The offset from the edge of the door is typically 3mm.

I use my small 4" iGaging Double Square to align up my hinges.

Before installing the drawer slides, I need to add some spacers to the interior cabinet sides.  I'm using a medium-duty, side-mount drawer slide which will hold up to plenty of shop use.

For the drawer boxes, I set up a sacrificial fence on the table saw rip fence and used a backer board to cut rabbets using the 6" Dadonator Jr. Dado Set on all of my drawer sides. Next,  I squared, glued, and pinned my drawer boxes together.

I am making a couple of adjustable shelves for the upper unit.  We decided to add a profiled edging on them since there were no doors on the unit yet. This Ogee Router Bit fit the bill nicely, it's our part #46-825.

How do I make all of those shelf-pin holes so evenly spaced and perfect? A shelf pin template makes this work much easier, and more accurate!

And I think this is a nice addition to the Infinity Cutting Tools shop. Hopefully it will work as well in your shop!