LEGOrganization, Part One

It feels so good to be woodworking again. I feel like I’m worth something again. I forget just how much I’ve shared about this project in the past, so I’ll go from scratch.

This project came about because of our expanding LEGO domain. We aren’t collectors or anything, but we do have quite a few sets. I have some from the late 80s and 90s that are currently in a bin needing spare parts. My youngest is now seven, and doesn’t destroy the sets quite like he used to. So, a few weeks ago I started thinking about getting the sets back together. To do that, I’d have to organize all the loose pieces and see if I had everything.

Of course, pieces get lost when they aren’t taken care of. So the last two weekends I did what I could sorting loose pieces and rebuilding the sets we had built over the past few years. Lots of the CITY line, some Elves and Friends. I still have quite a few pieces I can’t find, and a decent amount of pieces not spoken for.

We had one of those plastic drawer organizers that I moved from my bedroom closet, but it had partially collapsed, and was really no good for long-term sorting. I thought about doing some hardware inserts, but the front of the drawers are curved.

I found something suitable in the fishing section at Walmart. About $5.50 each, they are sectioned into four parts and able to be broken down a bit further. They aren’t perfect, but they had lids until I could get something built. I liked them so much I decided to incorporate them in the storage design.


I needed a drawer that was at least 14″ wide inside, and about 18″ deep. This would allow for two of these sorters in a drawer. So, I decided to largely wing it, skipping a lot of the design phase. The storage was predicated on a drawer dimension, so I decided to build the drawers first.

I grabbed a sheet of 3/4″, a sheet of 1/2″ and a sheet of 1/4″ ply from Lowe’s and loaded it up in the van. I bought a cheaper version of 1/4″, with markings on one side. No big deal to me, I’ll pocket the $20.

I thought about making the drawers with a different method than usual, going for a rabbet joint up front. Now, because I needed the width to be an absolute certainty, I did the drawers backwards to how you should really do them. I put the rabbet on the front, held with glue and brads. They may eventually come loose, but I’m hoping not.

I cut the sheet of 1/2″ ply in half, then cut about 3.25″ strips on the table saw. I then crosscut these at the miter saw, the sides at 22″, and the front and backs at 15″ I then used the dado on the saw for the first time and cut the rabbets to my marks on the front pieces. The rabbets are about 1/16″ too wide, and I’ll clean them up with a flush trim bit later. I then used the same dado setting to cut the slot for the drawer bottom. It is a perfect fit. I then trimmed up the rear strip to rest on top of the drawer bottom and fit between the rails.

The sides are attached with glue and brads, as noted. The bottom isn’t glued, and once I trim the panels up to be flush with the back panel, I’ll secure with a single screw. I’ve not done drawers like this before, but I like the technique. Next time I’ll probably do a rabbet dado on the back or something for extra strength. These drawers shouldn’t go through too much abuse.

As you can see, the containers are a perfect fit. I’ll remove the tops at some point so I can just reach in. I only have three containers right now, but I’m not sure exactly how much more I’ll buy. I want to do some larger piece storage that won’t fit in the containers, and I’ll also have at least one drawer that is for instruction manuals.

I have three drawers basically ready to go. Tomorrow, I work on the cabinet. I hope. I have to put that sheet of 3/4″ somewhere, and I still have a ton of the other two I’ll have to do something with.

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