Workshop Dresser

Learn how to turn an old dresser or chest into your very own workshop.

Workshop Dresser


An old chest of drawers or desk can be transformed into a combination bench-and-tool cabinet. With the tools stowed away, it will take up no more space than it did in the days when it was used for clothing storage or as a home office. But when put to use, a compact workshop unfolds, like a pop-up scene in one of those clever children’s books.

Organize your tools into the drawers. Hammers, pliers, and screwdrivers in one, perhaps, chisels in a second, and planes and saws in a third. Do it logically: The tools you need frequently go in upper drawers, heavier ones below. Add dividers to protect the fragile cutting edges of planes and chisels.

A great flat-topped oak desk makes a perfect benchtop; it may even accommodate a woodworker’s vise on the front or side.

A benchtop table saw with separate stand (a Workmate will perform this and many other functions) can be stowed on top of the piece when not in use. If the surface is a comfortable height, you can even affix a radial-arm saw to its top. Saber-saw and router adapter tables can be fastened to the top of the piece as well, adding a built-in shaper and jig.