Artist Flat File Storage

Sarah Brown
by Sarah Brown
5 Materials
When one needs to store paper, drawings, prints, tools or any other item and plastic totes or tool boxes won't do. I have seen flat files upwards of $2000; I built this for under $100, and used some recycled wood.

I built mine 19" deep and 30" wide and 12.5" tall. I decided on three drawers since that it what I needed, but with a few adjustments, more could be added or you could add dividers if you were to use it to store other items like jewelry, crafts, tools, or flatware. The possibilities are pretty endless. This is a steppingstone project to me for building a chest of drawers

Basic carcass of the drawer cabinet. You get to decide on how many drawers and what depths to make them. Just remember the drawers must be narrower than the cabinet to allow or the drawer glides to be installed.

I installed my drawer glides from the bottom and up, before installing the Top to the flat file. I used the lesser expensive, roller glides because of money and the ease of fixing then, should I have a problem in the future.

when building drawers make sure the back is shallower than the front, so you have height to remove drawers. Follow instalation instructions for the glides you choose carefully.

There are so many ways a drawer can be built. I tried two seperate ways to add a drawer bottom. One just gluing and screwing a bottom to my drawer box and the other I very carefully made a dado (shallow channel) with my table saw to hold the drawer bottom in place. The later method is more 'professional' but also more time consuming and involved my removing the safety guard on my table saw and adjusting the saw blade depth and more detailed measurements to do. I prefer to keep the guards on my saw.

Once I added the solid pine fronts to my plywood drawer boxes, they instantly looked more expensive and I used a small Japanese block plane to make it so the drawers fit flush to one another. trim was used to cover joints I did not like looking at.

Most flat files I see have knobs or pulls on both side of each drawer due to length. Because I made a more petite version, I opted for single knobs, that were stained to match.

Suggested materials:
  • 1/2" pine plywood 4'x8' sheet   (hardware store)
  • 1/2 inch birch/pine/maple/oak for carcass walls   (hardware store)
  • 1"x 3 " and 1" x 5" solid wood for drawer fronts.   (hardware store)
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