Storage drawers plans

Right. I’ve decided I need a dedicated way to store/display ammo and I’m thinking drawers. And being a kiwi I have to try and do it myself. I think it might even be law.

So I’m thinking:
A desk with a 1200mm(W)×700mm(D) top and 900mm high (vinyl topped)
Drawers 50mm(H)×500mm(W)×300mm(D) (single set) or 250(W) with a set on each side
Made from MDF (5mm for base of drawers, 15mm for rest and table top).
Unsure of runners yet (either nylon with routed slot in side of drawers or metal runners with bearings. Think nylon might be cheaper and easier)
I remember someone talking about corrugated plastic (I think it would be better than cardboard). Any idea where I could find it? Craft shop?
Power points mounted on the table.

So thoughts/ideas/comments?


There are some manufactured cases here: and I also like this wooden one here which works for cartridges if you get the corrugated liners for the drawers:

DKConfiguration–The Collectors cabinets at the first link are nice, but pretty expensive. It would take several of them to house even a modest collection. While I have not actually done the comparison, I would bet that the cost per square foot of drawer space would be less expensive with a metal blue-print file. And if you shop around you can get a used one. I just bought a used 10-drawer metal unit with 42 x 35 x 2 inch drawers for $300.

The wood cabinet at the second link, I would not recommend as it has OAK veneer. Oak is a well known cause of lead oxidation.

I figured the cases in the first link would be good for showing cartridges at a show, while the cabinet in the second link is best for home.

my 2 cents

I am a dedicated user of metal blue print file cabinets, (used ones!!) (which have become more and more readily available as companies transition to digital storage). I find them on internet auction sites, college and office business close out used furniture outlets…new units have always been too expensive for my taste. I buy used and repaint them and have routinely built them into a wall or added a “table top” to them. (as you can see…many times I only need to repaint the front faces). We (where I am located) can generally find them with drawers from 1” to 2.5” deep depth…and a “zillion” cabinets widths and depths.

I line the bottoms with single sided jumbo flute corrugated cardboard. Plastic corrugated has always been allusive to find…and when folks do, it is generally the “small flute” (and I am dedicated to the jumbo flute). It seems easy to find small sixes of corrugated plastic drawer material, but for these cabinets you need big sheets.

One thing to consider is the bearings (or drawer slides) you use (or come with the drawers)…as the weight of the contents increase…so does the friction and I find a drawer that needs to be “jerked” (out or the final closure) will unsettle the carefully aligned contents. The Cadillac are ball bearing slides and the metal cabinets are readily found with those.

The biggest dilemma with such cabinets is the size and transport of them when you find them.
(I look to pay around $200 for a unit…which could be 5 drawers…or 10-12 drawers)

As to a custom look, I found desk columns at a used office furniture shop and they were able to re configure the drawers to my liking (took out the tall ones, and added multiple thin drawers)

As here (the thin dark handled came from a used office furniture shop)

Built in the wall

With a Formica home made top

Jumbo flute card board


I bought the lefthand one of these some years ago, and haven’t managed to fill it yet: … drawer.php

The company is called “Bisley”, which is where they are made - seems appropriate!

for what ever reason, craig’s list in my area has an ample supply of metal blue print file/map cabinets such as pepper displayed. they may be old, may be a little bit dirty, but a little elbow grease and they’ll be ready for one’s old cartridges.

Chris–Just be sure to stay away from any wooden files, especially oak. Years ago (1950’s) many of us were using old oak spool cabinets from old hardware and dry goods stores. They were really nice as the had nice shallow drawers with perfect 1 inch wide fluted insides for all the spools of thread. We soon started finding our lead bullets were turning to white lead oxide powder. It was traced to the tannins from the oak. Some of us tried to seal the drawers with varnish, etc., but it didn’t help much. Ended up pitching mine.

Tony Williams–What I am going to say next, in light of my warning in my previous post, may seem strange.

I have 2 cabinets ( an 8 drawer and a 12 drawer) similar to the Bisley ones you mentioned. they have drawers that measure 9 x 11 x 3 1/4 inches. Obviously they are deeper than needed for most cartridges. I made trays of wood to fit inside. I can stack 3 trays in each drawer, thus tripling my storage.

I don’t know what species of trees are commonly used in England for lumber, but here in the U.S. it is commonly Douglas Fir, White Pine, Red Pine, Yellow Pine and Ash. With the exception of the Red and Yellow Pine, the others are low in resin. I have used trays made from the others for 30 years with no damage to my lead bullets.

Here is how I make the trays. Again, I do not know the dimensions of lumber in England, but here in the U.S. a 1 inch plank is actually 3/4 inch thick. I start with a length of 1 x 12 plank and rip 1/4 inch thick pieces off the edge so I end up with strips 3/4 x 1/4 inch. I then nail together a frame of a size to fit my drawers. For the bottom I use 1/8 inch paneling normally used on walls and comes in 4 foot x 8 foot panels. I end up with a tray 7/8 inch deep (outside dimension). I use some small nylon cord with knots tied in each end and staple it in place on each end of the tray to act as lifters to remove the trays from the drawers.

For larger cartridges (12 ga., 20mm, 22 boxes, etc. I use 1/4 inch strips cut off the sides of 2 (actually 1 1/2 inch) x 10’s to make the trays. I can get 2 of these in each drawer.

I’ve had a look round and can’t find anything that meets my needs and stays in my budget so I’ve got to build. Actually I haven’t seen anything that meets my needs exactly.
I’m liking the Jumbo cardboard. Any thoughts on my dimensions?

With so many libraries going to electronic card catalog, the storage drawers for the file cards make a nice set of cabinets to store cartridges, just put in corrugated cardboard layers. I also used the styrofoam test tube pkg. to hold the bullets in place vs rolling back and forth. Vic

Pepper is so very right about finding older drawers of the blueprint flat-file type at bargain prices.

Here is what one of these 5-drawer units cost new: ($907)

And here’s a guy on Craigslist local to me who I found selling the same thing and I was able to get just this morning for $300! : (He listed for $750, but I talked down to $300)

Of course it came with a Rotolite SL 42/15F blueprint machine with all the peripherals and blueprint paper, and an HP Deisgnjet 200. As near as I can tell, I should be able to sell these on Ebay for at least $200 for each of them if listed correctly, leaving me with a blueprint drawer set, plus $100.00. Wheeee!

Craig’s List can be a good source. Clear back at the beginning of this thread I mentioned I had just got a 10 drawer unit for $300 (But I did not get all those other things with it). The difference was I posted a wanted ad on Craig’s List asking for a flat file. When this guy called he said he wanted $500, but I ended up with it for $300. So, as Pepper said, they are out there, especially right now. My unit has 10 drawers 45x36x2 inches and that is a LOT of metal storage for $300. Plus, I plan to add 2 layers of wood trays like I described above to not only double my storage, but to break down the space into more usable smaller areas for organization and ease of being able to remove a smaller subunit for study.

Can someone fill me in on Craig’s List? I’ve heard the name but don’t know anything about it.


Ray–It is a HUGE nation-wide Classified Ad’s list, like in the newspaper. The nice part is you can designate what area you want to cover. For instance, for my ad looking for a Flat File I said I just wanted to cover the Lansing, MI area (within 60 miles). Saves from getting replies from 1000 miles away. Just type “Craig’s List” into Google. BTW, it is all FREE.


What is Google???

Only kidding. I’ll take a look at Craigs List. Thanks for the info.