DIY File Cabinet Repurposed to a Yard Tool Cabinet.

Wow!  It’s been quite a few months since I’ve posted anything new.  Needles to say I haven’t been sitting around twiddling my thumbs… a house, work and a dog among other things always keeps me moving.  That being said I wanted to share with you a project for one of my favorite rooms in my house… the garage!

I think I spend more time in the garage than any of my other rooms.  The garage floor was stripped, pressure washed and epoxy coating applied.  Walls and trim were painted and all the essential components strategically placed i.e. sports equipment, dartboard, workbench, tools, storage racks, wall decor and most importantly… the beer fridge.  I just didn’t know where I wanted to keep all of my yard tools and I didn’t want to drill into the walls so I found this fantastic idea.

And I need to give full credit to the “Gardenista” as this was not my idea.  Her page for reclaiming a file cabinet for tool storage can be found here:

For this project, you’ll want to plan in advance what you intend on storing inside your cabinet and you’ll need the following items:

  • A file cabinet.
  • 4-6 caster wheels per file cabinet.
  • All-purpose primer.
  • Self-drilling metal screws.
  • Peg board.
  • Plywood.
  • White all-purpose gloss paint.
  • Paint (color of your choice).
  • Pain roller, brush, tape, drop cloth, etc.
  • And tools (drill, hack saw, Dremel, etc.)!!!
  • NOTE: During pre-drilling you may go through a few drill bits so be sure to buy a couple of extra.

If you don’t have the tools borrow them and the most expensive items you’ll have to buy will be the caster wheels and likely the file cabinet… the other items are nominal in price.

This is just a cool project for anyone to dress up their garage and it can be personalized for any color or theme.  You’re only limitation is your imagination.  Be sure to read this several times over before you proceed… or not as us men aren’t so good at following directions at times.  Yeah… you know who you are.

Cory PradoFirst, I acquired two four-drawer file cabinets for $15 each on CraigsList.  By the way, I got the extra deep file cabinets so the cabinet would be taller (52” tall x 15” wide x 26.5” deep).  After removing the drawers, I used a Dremel (or you could use a hack saw) to cut and remove any crossbeams I didn’t want to keep as I left several in to serve as compartments for storing different tools.  And the cut doesn’t have to be pretty, but you certainly don’t want to reach in there and cut yourself either so be sure you file down those sharp edges.

Now, we really start to see the project coming to life – it’s time to paint.  I wiped down the file cabinet with a generic all-purpose cleaner and applied the all-purpose primer.  And no I didn’t have to sand anything from the glossy finish you normally see on metal file cabinets.  I did however apply two coats of primer.  Next, I painted the pegboard a generic gloss white to match the racing strips.

Cory PradoWhile the cabinet and pegboard were drying, I measured the bottom of the file cabinet, which would be the back if it were standing up, and cut the plywood the same dimensions then subtracted ¼” on each side so the plywood would be slightly recessed when attached.  Now, measure, mark and install your six (6) castor wheels evenly spaced on each file cabinet.  Similarly, I measured the side (or bottom) of the cabinet for pegboard placement and cut it to the same minus ¼” on each side so it also would be recessed when attached.

Cory Prado

You can see where I taped off where my racing stripes “will be” and of course painted Polar Gray over everything else.

Just so you know, on most if not all file cabinets the bottom of the cabinet will have no bottom – this is where your pegboard will attach.  So I painted the file cabinet standing upright like it would stand if it were being used like… well a file cabinet.  You do however need to tape off where your racing stripes “will be” and you can just “eye” the placement although both strips should be of equal width and run the entire length of the cabinet and around all three sides.  You can see from the picture I actually taped where my racing stripes “will be” and painted Polar gray everywhere else.  And I did apply two coats of Polar gray.  TIME FOR RACING STRIPES!!!

Cory PradoBe sure the width “between” your racing strips is the standard width of any masking tape (I used one inch) and tape the racing stripes “outline” as shown in the picture below.  Because (and I know I shouldn’t start a sentence with “because”) I really wanted the white stripes to pop I applied three coats of glossy white paint.  Be sure that as soon as you finish painting and you’re certain you have nothing else to paint pull off the tape while the paint is still wet.  This way you get those nice hard lines without the paint being pulled off had you waited until the paint dried.

Cory PradoIt’s time to attach the pegboard bottom with caster wheels.  I flipped the cabinet over on a cloth to protect my paint, laid the plywood (with caster wheels mounted) on top of the cabinet, centered it and pre-drilled my holes through the plywood and the metal.  You do want to make sure that when pre-drilling you get enough metal from the file cabinet “lip” for the metal screws to catch so take some extra time in this stage.  You know what they say measure twice cut once… same concept.  Now, attach your plywood to the bottom using the metal screws spacing them appropriately as you see fit.  Next, do the same thing with the pegboard on the open end of the file cabinet.  Center it on all sides, pre-drill and attach with metal screws.

If you have the cabinet right side up on its wheels you’ll notice you can see the plywood and that ugly brown color.  If you’re a little bit of a perfectionist like me then you may want to paint the side of the plywood showing the same color as the rest of the cabinet… I painted mine.

Cory PradoAnd now… we’re done!  I have to tell you that you’re going to have more than one person envious of your new cabinet.  All of my parts, except the file cabinets, were purchased at Lowe’s.  Since I go to Lowes regularly enough to where some of the staff members know me by name, they thought the project came out quite nicely and asked me if I would build them a few.  Unfortunately, while I did enjoy building the cabinets I think two is my limit for now.Cory Prado

So load those bad boys up with yard tools (or anything for that matter) and enjoy yet another functional and aesthetically pleasing component to your man cave.

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