Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Abrasive Sheet Storage

For too long, the packs of A4-sized abrasive sheets (usually wet and dry paper) I occasionally buy have been in need of a storage solution. This first photo needs no further explanation, I’m sure! As I’m in between other jobs at the moment; trying to make the most of the materials I have without spending money; I took the time today to complete one job that will certainly have a positive effect on the organisation of my small workshop.

This is a dead-simple project that anyone can complete with a day. It took me just over four-hours, bearing in mind that I used hand tools to trim all of the components to finished size. Most of these pieces were beyond the capacities of my bandsaw and sliding mitre saw – another call for a table saw I can not afford, then!! This is not my own design and is inspired by a thread on UKworkshop by Lee J. I chose 13mm MDF for the main box and the shelves came from my stash of hardboard scraps (leftovers from the garage door job).

To determine the overall dimensions, I made the internal width and depth to be greater than a standard abrasive sheet (circa. 280mm x 235mm?) and added the thickness of the top, base and sides. For the height, I decided that eight ‘holes’ (each 25mm wide) would give me plenty of room to play with, plus the thickness of seven shelves. So, I started off with one long sheet of MDF, ripped roughly to width on the bandsaw. By routing the grooves in one continuous length, you can ensure that the grooves will line up between the two sides and the back, before you start cutting them to length. This worked well, even with a 3.2mm router cutter, which did mean I had to make two passes for each shelf (the hardboard was 4mm thick).

With everything then cut and trimmed to finished size (pair up any identical parts and hand-plane them together in a vice), I next decided to rebate three of the edges on the top and base, and also the rear edge on the side panels. This step isn’t necessary when you’re using screws and glue but, it’s something I like to do personally as it does aid the alignment of all parts when you come to assemble the box. I used 32mm drywall screws and cut a pilot hole for each one, starting 40mm in from the end of each sheet to prevent splitting the MDF at the edges (it worked quite well).

Fitting the individual shelves then took some time as I again opted to shoot these in by hand. I’ve pretty much depleted my supply of hardboard sheets, now. They’ve been in here for a good couple of years now and, unfortunately, some of them have become very damp where they’ve been stood up against the workshop wall (actually, it starts at the floor) so, some will have to be binned. Being lent upright for so long meant they weren’t that flat either. When I routed the grooves, I deliberately made them a tight fit. Glue, here, wouldn’t have added any advantage – they’ve gone in dry and I bet I’d never be able to get them out again, even if I wanted to!

Top Tip! Extractor hoses run smoothly over a rounded edge and won't catch or snag!

Now, I have somewhere to store those W&D sheets, along with the odd scraps of paper I accumulate [most of which are .pdf files of jigs from Steve Maskery’s DVDs!] and my all-important sketch book. Next, I need to get started on my sash cramps and to look at building a base for my Work Sharp grinder.

Thank you for reading.

I’ll also be revisiting my old workbench soon to make some minor changes to the design I built last summer. Plus, now that the dining table is finished and out of the workshop, I might be able to organise a workshop tour – look out for more on that, soon!


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