Project: Router Bit Cabinet with Pull-out Shelves
With this cabinet located in plain sight on the wall, you can corral all your bits into one place, near your router table.
The cabinet has five removable shelves that store twenty-eight 1/2"-shank router bits and thirty-nine 1/4" bits. Or drill the shelf hole arrangement differently to suit your collection. You could change the dimensions and add more shelves if you've got a really big herd of bits.
Constructing the Cabinet
Start building by cutting the top, bottom, sides and back (pieces 1 through 4) to size. The side panels have five 3/8"-deep shelf dadoes. I cut mine 9/32" wide to give the 1/4"-thick shelf tongues a bit of "slip" space. A shim, installed between the outer blades of my dado set, gave me just the cutting width I needed for a good fit.
Mill the dadoes using your miter gauge, outfitted with a long auxiliary fence as a backup board. I used a simple crosscutting jig made up of two miter gauges attached to a long fence board. That way, I could set a stop block to step off the five dado locations. Mill each dado on both side panels before setting up the next cut so the shelves will line up properly.
Notice in the Drawings at left that the sides each have a 1/2"-wide x 3/4"-deep rabbet along the back edge to fit the back panel. Reset your dado blade and cut these dadoes now.
I took an unconventional approach to assemble my cabinet. Instead of making a "box" from the parts and then installing the back to square it up, I attached the sides to the bottom with counterbored screws, slipped a spacer board temporarily into place where the top would go, and glued and screwed the back panel into its rabbets. The top came last. It's attached to the sides with glue and more counterbored wood screws. Position it flush with the back and with a 1/2" overhang around the sides and front. Cap your screw counterbores with matching wood plugs glued into place. Chisel or saw them off nearly flush, then shave them down the rest of the way with a sharp block plane.
Making the Shelves
The final construction step is to build your shelves (pieces 5). Cut five blanks to size, and set up your dado blade to cut 1/2" x 1/2" rabbets on their ends. Make sure to back these cuts up with an auxiliary scrap fence on the miter gauge to prevent splintering.
Drilling all those 1/2"-deep bit holes is tedious, but you'll want the holes to line up neatly, so bore them carefully. I drew a grid pattern on each shelf and used a piece of scrap as a fence clamped to my drill press table. Mark the fence to locate the center of the bit, then align your grid lines with it when drilling. Reset the fence for each row of holes to ensure that the rows are straight and parallel. I used a 17/64" bit for drilling the smaller holes and sanded my 1/2"-diameter holes slightly wider. That way, the bits slip in and out no matter how much the wood swells.
Screw a knob (pieces 6) to each shelf, add a couple of coats of finish, and mount the cabinet to a wall stud with three long deck screws. Hide them behind the first, third and fifth shelves. Now load the cabinet up, and your bits will be easier than ever to find.
Click Here to download a PDF of the related drawings and Materials List.