Swapping Drawers on the 44″ Harbor Freight Tool Cabinet

Thanks to some Christmas money, I was able to pick up a new tool cabinet.  This is one of Harbor Freight’s well regarded tool cabinets.  I like the cabinet a lot but wasn’t a fan of the drawer arrangement.  I ran across a post on Garage Journal that detailed how to swap the drawers.  So, I decided to do the same.

The tool cabinet is sold in several pieces.  I have the top and bottom pieces.  I’m not a fan of the deep drawers on the top and would prefer to have shallow ones.  The plan is to take four shallow drawers from the bottom and swap them with the two deep drawers on the top.

Before starting I’d like to point out that swapping the drawers, as I’ll show, will result in losing the ability to lock the swapped drawers.  There’s a way around this but I never lock my drawers anyways.

Anyways, here’s what I started with.

 

tb1The first step is to remove the drawers that you’ll be swapping.  This is done by rotating the plastic lever on the drawer slides shown below.  This disconnects the two pieces of the slides and allows the drawer to be removed.

tb2

The deep drawers on the bottom have two sets of slides (four total) per drawer.  The deep drawers on top only have one set of slides (2 slides) per drawer with the sides located at the top of the drawers.  So, we’ll need to remove the slide halves that are third up from the bottom on the bottom cabinet to be placed in the top cabinet.  The slide halves have tabs that fit into slots that bear the weight and use a single rivet to keep the slides in place.  This rivet must be drilled out to remove the slide half.  Once the rivet has been removed, the slide half will rotate up and can then be pulled out.

tb3

Part of what makes this swap possible is that the holes for the slides have already been cut into the top box as shown below.  This allows the slide halves from below to be easily dropped into the top box.

tb4

The rivet holes are a hair under 3/16″ and will need to be drilled to accept a 3/16″ diameter 1/8″ rivet.

tb5

With the enlarged hole, the slide halves can be riveted into place.   The rest of the slide halves are moved in the same way.  Using only the available drawer slides will result in the deep drawers being moved only having one set of slides.  This means that the top deep drawers will have a lower weight capacity than the bottom deep drawers.  This isn’t a problem for me as am storing lighter objects in the top deep drawers.  I’ve heard that replacement drawer slides can be ordered from Harbor Freight from the larger tool cabinets if you want double slides for the top deep drawers.tb6   Before the bottom drawers can be put into the top, the locking mechanisms must be removed from them.  As shown below, the bottom drawers have a silver piece riveted in while the top drawers have a small section punched out.  The silver locking piece can be removed by drilling out the rivets which hold it into place.  The drawers from the top, with the punched out locking section, will go into the lower cabinet with no modifications required.

tb7Finally, with all of the slide halves moved and locking mechanisms removed, the drawers can be put into their new spots.  This results in a drawer configuration that I find more useful.

tb8

If someone wants to swap the drawers and retain the locking mechanisms it can be done.  This would require modifying the drawers permanently unlike what I’ve done.

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