Kitchen Pans Storage

In every kitchen, find­ing a way to store pots, pans, lids, and so on is a prob­lem. Well, maybe just pil­ing them all up in a low­er cab­i­net isn’t the prob­lem. That is, until you need the big, heavy one on the bottom!

To fur­ther com­pli­cate things in our kitchen, the big cab­i­net under the range has a gas line & elec­tri­cal out­let. We need to be able to reach both when need­ed but prefer­ably heavy pans aren’t bang­ing into them (espe­cial­ly not the gas line!).

My solu­tion was to sub-divide the cab­i­net into two halves. One in which the dividers are ver­ti­cal and there is space for han­dles. This would be used for fry­ing pans and the like. The sec­ond half would be in front of the elec­tric and gas and just use shelf pins for a few “tra­di­tion­al” cab­i­net shelves. This side would have a false back with a hand open­ing so the gas shut-off could be reached in case of an emer­gency, too. There’s no angle in the final assem­bly that real­ly shows this very clear­ly, but here’s the Sketchup mod­el for reference:

Sketchup mod­el of the pan stor­age system

The cen­ter divider is the full depth of the cab­i­net and was from 3/4″ birch ply­wood. This was main­ly just to give more space to rest the top shelf on. The shelf side of this has shelf pin holes drilled to match the exist­ing holes in the cab­i­net side. Also worth not­ing that this Sketchup is not entire­ly the “as built”. The top shelf was a very odd shape so it would cov­er the exposed ply­wood edge of the cen­ter divider. And there is no bot­tom to the right side; it’s just the cab­i­net bot­tom of course.

I used a dado stack to cut out the divider slots out of 1/2″ maple ply­wood. The dividers them­selves were just some 1/4″ hard­board mate­r­i­al. I also cut rab­bets along the edges of the sub-box top and bot­tom to give it some structure. 

Dry fit of the left side sub-box with dividers in place

I ironed on edge band­ing to all the exposed ply­wood fronts. I pre­fer to cut a large curve in the dividers so retriev­ing pans is eas­i­er, so the hard board edge was just left as-is. The spac­ing of these was entire­ly based on the pans we own now; thus the extra-wide slot at the end (bor­dered by the cen­ter divider) for the sauté pan. Here’s the dry fit of all the parts.

Dry fit of all the stor­age com­po­nents in the cabinet

It’s not just the angle of the pho­to: I man­aged to mess up the spac­ing of the shelf pins on the cen­ter divider. I was able to just use some dif­fer­ent style of shelf sup­ports which helps to lev­el it out. We’ve re-arranged things a cou­ple of times to bet­ter use the space, but this is a mas­sive improve­ment over the sys­tem before. This was very much engi­neered on the fly to make a lot of stor­age with the min­i­mal amount of parts. But we’ve been very pleased with the improve­ment to the kitchen. 

Pans in place

By Jason Coleman

Structural engineer and technical content manager Bentley Systems by day. Geeky father and husband all the rest of time.

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