Toolbox Drawer Liners

As you may know I am not a big fan of putting tools in drawers. One of the reasons for this is that every time you open or close them things slide around a little. To fix this I am going to line the drawers with felt. A bonus of this fix is noise reduction and aesthetics.

Before anyone asks, No Yeti does not make toolboxes. I had a bunch of these stickers in different colors so by putting one on each toolbox it gave me an easy way to color code the keys. I would have 8 identical looking keys otherwise.

toolbox with drawer removed
Step one remove drawer

I am removing the drawers to do this. I could do it in place, but this gives me a chance to clean and de-grease them thoroughly and work at table height while sitting. No reason to make this more difficult than it has to be.

wooden template on fabric
Forgot to measure the final size so I will have to do another fitting.

I originally cut a template out of a piece of cardboard and did a test fitting while the drawer was in place. Since I have a few pieces of 1/8″ plywood I will use that for the final parts until I run out of stock.

With the drawer removed I slowly trimmed the plywood to size until I was about 3/16″ under size in both directions, this will allow room for the fabric. I have enough plywood for 3 drawer bottoms, after that I am going to try using foam core. All the dividers will be ½” rigid insulation.

spray glue and roller on fabric
3M Super 77 will hold the face of the fabric to the wood

I sprayed the plywood with 3M Super 77 and waited for it to get tacky. Carefully laid the fabric on and smoothed it with my hand first, then a rubber roller to get maximum contact area. The fabric I am using came from a great local fabric warehouse in Auburn MA. All fabric in the store is just $2.99/yd. This is a medium fabric much like what is used to cover billiard tables, but way cheaper. I have no idea what it is made of and it does not really matter.

Thanks to Annie from Technocopia for turning me on to the Auburn Fabric Outlet. Annie is a fantastic teacher and her classes can be found in the “Tool Training” section of the Technocopia website. Highly recommended.

Joe B
tube of barge cement and spreader
Playing cards are plastic coated and make cheap mixing pallets

Once the main side had a chance to dry a bit I spread Barge cement along the back edges about an inch or so wide.

glue spread on edge of backing
Waiting for Barge cement to partially dry

Once that became tacky I carefully folded the edges over and trimmed the corners. I used pieces of gaffers tape to help hold everything until the glue dries completely.

tools on underside of project waiting for glue to dry

The drawers have small clips on the edges where the slides attach but they did not interfere with the installation. I am very pleased with the fit, although I forgot to measure the raw wood piece so I will have do the rough fitting and trimming all over for the next one. Oops.

drawer liner installed
Turned up corner and ripples are a trick of the light, sits flat and nice

Next steps are to do a deeper drawer and make some movable dividers. I will cover those in the same fabric. I am hoping I can get a nice friction fit between the pieces. All four edges are going to be covered too, won’t be as nice as a Kennedy machinist box but it won’t be anywhere near the cost either.

I used some of the 1/8″ plywood to make the outside edges of one of the shallow drawers. 3M Super 77 spray adhesive will do just fine for this. The drawer still has WAY too much stuff in it.

Still too much stuff in it !

Well, I tried an experiment and it is not working out as expected. I bought a sheet of ½” foam insulation thinking it would be easier to work with. In the end I am still using the table saw. The thickness does not sound like much but a ½” loss of depth and an inch of width and length adds up. I am going back to plan A and use 1/8″ ply for the bottom and edges and I will use the foam for making custom dividers.

Plywood is the better way to go

Author: Joe