Repurpose a card file cabinet

    card file cabinet

    Leaving the hardware store one day the 'Antique' store, which is in same parking lot, had these cabinets setting outside with a FREE sign. So naturally I wandered over. I briefly looked at them, each drawer had about dozen flip over metal dividers-somewhat like a photo album flipbook. I first though I couldn't use, started to walk away. I wondered how difficult it would be to remove the stuff in the drawers-hmm. So I turned around grabbed one and threw in the truck.

    Cabinets originally was 20" wide 9" tall with 2 columns of 6 1" drawers about 16" deep. Pulling the draws out I noted they have a lip so they can't be pulled out, but I realized it was to pull out and flip the drawer down and hang. This would allow 'browsing' thru what ever was kept in it. I assume some kind of customer info-card files? each flip over divider was about 5"x8". Back in the day this thing cost a lot. Can't say how old they are. It had a brass plaque, Don't remember the name-made in Chicago. I looked it up but company long gone. I've seen a lot of card files etc but nothing like this.

    As interesting as it was/is I'm striping. I have a lot of small parts these would work well to store. Was rather a pain. This lil thing is built like a tank. The drawer dividers had metal pins that pivot, a center rail held them in place-last one is on a piano hinge that's spot-welded. I cut the last one at the piano hinge to use a drawer stop-as they don't have ends. Drilled out the rivets on the 1st one and removed center rail and all the dividers. Took couple of hours to do all 12.

    next was the cabinet. I wanted to cut in half and stack as shown. There's just a ton of structure, can't believe how many pieces of bent/formed pieces of sheet metal and a bazillion spots welds. The cabinet is also double walled. In between the 2 columns of drawers was wide enough to cut. .

    Pieced it and welded cabinet halves together. Another couple of hours. But only because of how this thing was built. It's cool. Once I figured out how to make it useable I went back to get the other one but it was gone. Should have grabbed it but wasn't sure if it would work. Oh well.

    card file cabinet

    Went home and installed on bench. Remove a section of shelf board. Ran 2 2x4 stringers for cab to set on. Even removing 2/3s of the metal parts still weighs a lot. Screwed cabinet down.

    Put the drawers in and pretty much filled it up. mostly small tools that aren't used much or were on the pegboard or buried elsewhere like mini-files etc. Tablets and graph paper. Measuring instruments. Wouldn't have though a 1" drawer would be practical. However what you put in there doesn't't't get buried.

    Very handy when setting at the bench.

    card file cabinet

    Like it a lot-wish I could find another. Only thing I didn't like was looking at it so I made a door to cover.

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