Evolution of a Shop #13: Tool board over workbench

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Blog entry by Cory posted 09-14-2010 05:07 PM 11889 reads 24 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: Table Saw Accessory Cart Part 13 of Evolution of a Shop series Part 14: 2 years on Lumberjocks »

I’ve never really been a big fan of pegboard, but it’s incredibly functional and cheap. So, like most shops, mine has some pegboard in it. I really wanted to do something different, though, to hold my tools over my workbench. I was watching some old Wood Whisperer videos the other day and saw his french cleat system on a piece of plywood. Then, I was looking through this web site: and saw his french cleat system throughout his shop. I’ve used french cleats for hanging a bunch of stuff, so I set out to make a tool board like Mark’s and Phil’s (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?). Here’s what I came up with:

I used cheap 1/2” plywood for the back and pine 1×4s for the frame and cleats. They’re all glued and nailed together. The cleats are ripped in half and spaced 2” apart. The overall size of the tool bard is 80” x 34”. Now I’ve got plenty of room to hang everything and I don’t have to look at the pegboard!

Here are some of the tool holders I made the other night:

I found that by adding a little piece of 1/4” plywood to the cleat it was much more stable. These are simply the cleat and a piece of ply with a dowel glued into it. I made these in several different sizes.

A quick holder for my tape measures….now I know when my neighbor “borrows” my tape!

Some times you don’t even need a fancy holder, just a nail.

A simple shelf for bench cookies, etc.

Thanks for looking.


-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

12 comments so far

View Cato's profile


692 posts in 2615 days

#1 posted 09-14-2010 05:19 PM

Nice alternative, I like it.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

4938 posts in 2497 days

#2 posted 09-14-2010 05:23 PM

Greetings Cory, Again….. stellar job on the shop improvements…..The French cleats will work really good. One thing about F.C…. you can re-arrange the tools and things any way you want them….. I’ve built a couple of f.c. once to hang a couple of shop caninets on that I built…... And like you, I don’t like pegboard on the walls…. at all… I keep all my hammers, saws, marking tools, tapes, etc. in the drawers under my workbench…That way I get no dust all over everything…It will accumulate bad. I need to build a couple of more cabinets, and may go the f.c. route this time…Keep up the good work…

-- " At my age, Happy Hour is a crap and a nap..."

View Cory's profile


754 posts in 2722 days

#3 posted 09-14-2010 05:38 PM

Rick: Thanks for the compliments. You’re absolutely right: dust does accumulate quickly!!!! I wish I had the drawer space to hold all my tools. I think that’s probably the best way to keep everything organized and dust free. When I grow up and have a shop like yours I’m going to build a 12’ long bench with nothing but drawers!

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

4938 posts in 2497 days

#4 posted 09-14-2010 06:00 PM


There you go..but like lot of things, it takes time..You’ll have one someday, hopefully. A 12’ bench with drawers….. that should just about hold all your essentials… lol. One thing about dust…. you can never outrun it…...One thing about drawers….you can never have enough, and the kind you wear too…... One thing I’ve learned….a good dust collection system is a necessary evil in a woodshop…Keep it up..

-- " At my age, Happy Hour is a crap and a nap..."

View sawblade1's profile


754 posts in 2329 days

#5 posted 09-14-2010 06:33 PM

Great idea, and job on the tool holder :)
Thanks for posting :)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 2285 days

#6 posted 09-14-2010 08:52 PM

Great idea on the tool holder. I hate peg board too. yours is a nice alternative. thanks for the photos

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2417 days

#7 posted 09-15-2010 01:32 AM

it sure looks good with such a system infront of a workbench or a table
but realy its not a pegboard so out with those nails now !! donĀ“t cut corners now :-)

now you have forced me to check out the rest of the blogserie to see were ells you cut corners :-(

naa kidden you , but I will look thruogh them to see what ells there can be learned :-)

best thoughts

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1077 posts in 2276 days

#8 posted 09-16-2010 02:59 AM

Cool, really like it and will do the same….some day
Thanks for that link, really nice shop there.

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2975 days

#9 posted 11-01-2010 05:28 AM

That looks so neat, I like it.

View RandyMorter's profile


227 posts in 1993 days

#10 posted 04-06-2011 08:55 PM

Very nice. Will you do my shop?

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View Cory's profile


754 posts in 2722 days

#11 posted 04-06-2011 08:56 PM

Sure, no problem, Randy. Fly me out to Phoenix and I’ll build you just about anything you want!

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View RandyMorter's profile


227 posts in 1993 days

#12 posted 04-07-2011 04:51 PM

I was afraid there’d be a catch.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

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