Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Necessary Storage Unit

  Through the winter I've become weary of carrying adhesives into the house from my very cold shop. I have three electric heaters, but running them all trips the breaker, and running one big one only maintains the garage at about 40ºF.  I don't leave heat on all night, so our Pacific NW chills of 20ºF at night don't do my finishes any good, either.  The solution was a heated cabinet for storage of all these shop necessities.

  I started with drawings to design a tall skinny cupboard to fit an available space. I had 60" in height, 15-1/2" in width, and 10" in depth to work with.  I did a lot of scribbling and gathered some plywood and old shelving salvaged from a kitchen remodel years ago.

  I cut pieces and added in the shelves, leaving 1-1/2" open space at the back and 1" open space at the front of each shelf for air flow to carry the heat throughout the cabinet.

  Then I turned four bun feet out of oak because it would wear well against a concrete floor.

And cut foam board to lay in for insulation on all inside surfaces.  The thermostat at the top of the cabinet is wired in series with the 60 watt light bulb at the bottom, so as I set the temperature it turns the light on and off.  (Credit goes to George for helping me with this.) The light bulb is protected by a wire cage taken off an automotive trouble light so if something falls, the bulb won't be broken.

All assembled and the hinges added on.  Four small rare-earth magnets hold the door closed. I still need a knob or handle on it.  The top overhang on the right side is to store four cam clamps I have nowhere else to put.  I'll be adding some hooks on the right side for various things, too.

And here is the inside with the light on, fully insulated with foam board.

  I've photographed it outside, and will be putting it in place after testing it all night as our temperatures drop.  I have an independent thermometer to place inside for a reading.

  It's such a sense of accomplishment to complete some new shop furniture.  I love getting my storage more organized and freeing up space where all these things are scattered around, and now drawn together in one place so I know better what I have.  

  So, enough with the shop organization for now.  On to some real projects!

copyright Barb Siddiqui, use with permission only


  1. Very cool idea. I need to build something like that in my shop! I live in New England and we get down below zero.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Glad you liked it, Todd. We were down below 19ºF last night, and it maintained a 55º protective temperature inside that small space. It works great.

  3. You are very creative. I think it can also be used for business self storage purposes.

  4. Thanks, Briana. I suppose it could be used for anything needing protection from the cold, within reason.


Comments checked for Spam; published on approval.