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Hand power tool management

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Project by Gittyup posted 01-21-2015 03:26 AM 3116 views 7 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have a few tools that I use all the time: sanders, drill, driver. For a long time I just left them plugged in and piled up on a lowboy tool chest. The problem was they always got tangled up. I’d pick up one tool and pull two more onto the floor. Also, My power tools are plugged into the wall about 4 feet from my bench. Many times their standard cords are just a bit short. So, I looked and looked for ideas to manage hand power tools and found some good solutions. But none were quite what I needed: a way to add short extension cords to about 6 tools without getting them all tangled up. This is what I came up with, hoping to help someone. Or get some better ideas from others.

I made a false wall having 6 channels about 4 feet high. I closed the whole thing in except for the top of each channel and mounted a shelf in front of it to hold my tools. I purchased short (9’) extensions cords and attached one to each tool and dressed them into a power strip. I push the extension cords down into the channels and then the tool cord. This way each is always separated from the other when stored. I pull out as much cord as I need, with each tool having about 15’ of working cord (plenty to reach anywhere on my bench). When finished the cords easily push back into their channels.

The second photo shows the shelf location relative to the workbench.

The only drawback is you have to watch what you hang over top. If you drop something in, it would be a real PITA to get out. So, I tried to place large things and things I seldom use over the channels.

What do you think?........ honestly.

-- tel





14 comments so far

View scarpenter002's profile

scarpenter002

584 posts in 3367 days


#1 posted 01-21-2015 03:39 AM

Great idea, great design and great build. Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott in Texas

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

19172 posts in 2137 days


#2 posted 01-21-2015 03:47 AM

I like it.
I like to keep all my tools “at the ready”.
You have accomplished that, in a compact & well organized manner.
Good job & thanks for sharing this.

I’ve only thing I would change/recommend.
I would keep the bottom of the channels about 6” above the floor….
and make them bottomless. This way anything that fell, would fall to the floor.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Gittyup's profile

Gittyup

87 posts in 1418 days


#3 posted 01-21-2015 03:51 AM

I also wanted to point out that it’s not so easy to find good, short, inexpensive 3-prong power cords. I had to order on the internet. HD had 15’ (too long and too expensive for my needs), or 2-prong 9’. But no 3-prong. I don’t know why they still make 2-prong when 3 prong will work for every tool rated less than 1500 watts. I guess I do know: money. Copper is not cheap.

-- tel

View Gittyup's profile

Gittyup

87 posts in 1418 days


#4 posted 01-21-2015 03:53 AM

Thanks Randy. I thought about that, and I can still open them up if need be. But, I didn’t want the power cords to get caught up on the opening . I guess the first time I drop something in, I’ll be opening them up at the bottom. :)

-- tel

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 948 days


#5 posted 01-21-2015 04:05 AM

Yeah buddy. I keep 2 dremel tools plugged in all the time among other things. Nowhere near as neat as your setup.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View sfrenchfry's profile

sfrenchfry

22 posts in 1762 days


#6 posted 01-21-2015 05:33 AM

What about another shelf above the plug strip to catch any falling objects? One that maybe extended to about 3/4 of the “well” openings. Then if you drop something it lands on that shelf. One can never have too many horizontal flat surfaces either. But good looking out on the overall design. I like it.

-- TIme in the shop is time well spent.

View Gittyup's profile

Gittyup

87 posts in 1418 days


#7 posted 01-21-2015 01:01 PM

I like this idea. A shallow shelf would be easy to install and would probably work perfectly to prevent things from falling in. I’m going to do it.


What about another shelf above the plug strip to catch any falling objects? One that maybe extended to about 3/4 of the “well” openings. Then if you drop something it lands on that shelf. One can never have too many horizontal flat surfaces either. But good looking out on the overall design. I like it.

- sfrenchfry


-- tel

View JonH's profile

JonH

80 posts in 3548 days


#8 posted 01-21-2015 07:48 PM

Great idea! Is your false wall hollow all the way to the bottom? If it was, anything that fell in would go to the floor and you could just reach under or roll your cabinet out to get it. I like frechfry’s idea of a small shelf to hide the opening also. I would also recommend a retractable cord that hangs from the ceiling. Those are great and they don’t cost that much.

View Gittyup's profile

Gittyup

87 posts in 1418 days


#9 posted 01-21-2015 09:12 PM

Yes, it goes all the way to the floor but is currently closed shut. It would be easy to open.

On the retractable thing. I have on of those. They are $40 to $70 each, and are huge. I would need one per tool because it’s impractical to attach multiple tools to one reel, as they all must be within a few feet of each other at all times. I couldn’t leave 2 tools on the shelf while using the third. My reel is like 15” in diameter and 4” wide that I bought off of Craigslist for $35. Most of these reels have 30 feet or more cord in them. I looked and looked for small ones (say 10 feet of cord), something akin to the retractable clothesline, but could not find them. I even thought about buying the clothesline and trying to reel on power cords. Then I started adding up the costs. I think a reasonable TOTAL cost for each would have to be like $20 or less. . If you have a source for such a thing, please pass it on. All the one’s I looked at were big and expensive. I do like the one I have, but it’s not appropriate for this application. The power cords I used cost $7 each delivered to my door. They are nice 13A GE cords. Little 10 feet reels containing 3 conductor power cords for a reasonable price would be awesome. I’ve seen some made for Xmas lights and such where you plug it in and reel out a “power strip” of 4 receptacles. But those aren’t appropriate here, and they aren’t very well made either.


Great idea! Is your false wall hollow all the way to the bottom? If it was, anything that fell in would go to the floor and you could just reach under or roll your cabinet out to get it. I like frechfry s idea of a small shelf to hide the opening also. I would also recommend a retractable cord that hangs from the ceiling. Those are great and they don t cost that much.

- JonH


-- tel

View Gittyup's profile

Gittyup

87 posts in 1418 days


#10 posted 01-24-2015 03:19 AM

I added the deflector shelf this afternoon. No photo, but looks like it will be an added layer of protection.

-- tel

View WhattheChuck's profile

WhattheChuck

223 posts in 3022 days


#11 posted 03-22-2015 12:17 AM

I’m struggling with the thought version of this problem right now. Built a hand tool chest for my workbench, and that really helped a lot with getting rid of bench top clutter. Seems like your idea isn’t bad—but might be improved if you had a larger table underneath your sanders so you could, for 90% of your jobs, just move that small/medium size piece to the sander station and get ‘er done there.

I’ve thought about an integrated tool/clamp cart, optimized for all these plastic boxes that our tools come in nowadays. Putting the clamps on it then makes it a workbench facilitation cart, and that might be pretty useful, especially if I did something like find a way to put a vacuum in the bottom, and another power strip. Then I could wheel that up next to the workbench and not have to worry about the clutter.

Still thinking….

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View Gittyup's profile

Gittyup

87 posts in 1418 days


#12 posted 03-22-2015 12:31 AM

The table underneath is actually a toolbox I made a few years ago. I made the handtool shelf to fit the box. I don’t have room for anything else that would take up floor space. I’ve been using the hand tools a lot lately. Works pretty good. The only thing better would be spring coil rewind. Wish I could find some that were affordable.

-- tel

View WhattheChuck's profile

WhattheChuck

223 posts in 3022 days


#13 posted 03-22-2015 01:05 AM

Just saw your Grizzly grinder under there. Do you just use it on that shelf it’s on or is that for storage only?

I’ve got one too that doesn’t get used that much because of inaccessibility.

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View Gittyup's profile

Gittyup

87 posts in 1418 days


#14 posted 03-22-2015 01:13 AM



Just saw your Grizzly grinder under there. Do you just use it on that shelf it s on or is that for storage only?

I ve got one too that doesn t get used that much because of inaccessibility.

- WhattheChuck

That’s where I store it. I need to use it, but it’s been too cold in my shop to leave the wheels wet. Spring will get here soon, I hope.

-- tel

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