Ultimate Shop Wall Storage

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Project by doug_w posted 12-10-2011 04:35 PM 13612 views 39 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Like a lot of wood workers I started with pegboard and hangers to organize my hand tools. I had a 4 shelf metal stand for drill bits, glue, and other items which couldn’t be hung, with cubicals under benches for portable power tools like routers, sanders, circular saws, etc. Over time I moved the tools I used the most to a portion of my shop wall where I had a sheet of plywood hung with dowels and various more substantial hangers drilled or screwed into the plywood. One day my son asked me to figure out a way to hang a really heavy mirror in his new home that was mounted with a railroad tie frame surround that weighed over 300 lbs. I mounted a cleat made of a strip of 2 1/4” oak flooring with a 45 degree angle ripped along one edge to studs on the wall. A similar cleat was attached to either side of the mirror near the top with a piece of flooring along the back bottom of the mirror so that it would hang vertical. We hung the mirror, which looked great inside his front door, and the idea for my shop wall was born.

Since I had a lot of old oak flooring stashed under my basement stairs, I made cleats by ripping a 45 degree angle along one edge. The strips were screwed to the plywood walls in parallel lines spaced apart by the cleat width plus a half inch. This gives enough space for the hanging cleat to fit between strips before dropping down to secure the hanger. Once these are in place, all manner of hangers can be made using scraps from previous projects along with short cleats to secure them. Simple ones can be made just using the cleats and dowels:

A little more substantial hanger, as for the hammer, can be made by attaching the cleat to a small piece of plywood with the dowels attached to the plywood. Here is one to hold a variety of clamps:

You can make shelves to hold a variety of items like drill bits, chisels & mallets, or glue supplies:

Including very substantial shelves like the one I built to hold a 35 lb vacuum pump motor for my vacuum veneering bags:

And portable power tools like routers and circular saws:

Here is a fun one to organize my dowels:

What I really love is the fact that in seconds these hangers, especially the shelves can be moved around on the wall depending on what you need for the current project, and then moved to a less accessible place when not being used. It was so handy I converted three more 4×8’ sections of wall to this ultimate wall storage system. Movable shelves that are more substantial than a metal shelf stand … Wow!

-- Doug, Georgia

22 comments so far

View zindel's profile


257 posts in 2615 days

#1 posted 12-10-2011 04:52 PM

Very nice! i have done a few of these but not to this extent. Looks great!

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, You've got an electrical problem.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4183 days

#2 posted 12-10-2011 04:57 PM

Looks like a very useful and versatile system.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3256 days

#3 posted 12-10-2011 05:00 PM

Looks handy, but I have an engineering critique. Putting the screws close to the bottoms of the wall-mounted cleats increases the pullout force on them (as the wedging action of the upper cleat tries to pry the lower cleat away from the wall). You ought to go through and drive a few screws higher up – just below the bevel, or at least above the centerline. Likewise, you should keep the screws low in the cleats on the larger shelves.

I’d like to do this myself, but my plan is to eventually move out to a rural property and build a separate shop, so I’m trying not to do any more “permanent” mods like this.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View TNwoodchuck's profile


102 posts in 3740 days

#4 posted 12-10-2011 05:14 PM

It’s too early on Saturday morning for me to be so envious! Nicely done. Thanks for taking the time to do the inspiring documentation.

-- Chuck near Nashville - “All you are unable to give possesses you” (Andre Gide)

View Ken90712's profile


17553 posts in 3153 days

#5 posted 12-10-2011 05:27 PM

Well done. I like the idea pf mini shelves for sanders and such. Will have to use this idea, great work and thx for sharing.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View rmoore's profile


325 posts in 2599 days

#6 posted 12-10-2011 05:29 PM

I’m sure I am not the only one you have made jealous with your organization. Great job! I need a piece of pegboard for a project. Sounds like an excuse to tear it off the wall and rebuild. By the way, did you make the vertical belt sander and how is it powered?

-- The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. Ron, Crossville Tn

View Kelen's profile


270 posts in 2356 days

#7 posted 12-10-2011 05:58 PM

French cleats to the extreme, looks great!

View doug_w's profile


40 posts in 2722 days

#8 posted 12-10-2011 07:10 PM

JJohnston – One of the reasons for screwing the cleats to the back of a piece of plywood for the substantial hangers is to remove the lever action creating the pullout force – plus, I glue to cleat to the backing board. The shelves also have their cleat glued&screwed to a backing board that extends down to the next row of cleats causing very little torque on the holding cleat. Work out the forces where the center of mass is about 6” below and 2-3” out from the cleat.

rmoore – the belt sander is just hung that way, it is really a horizontal sander that uses my drill press for power. The cleat is under the base where it hangs over the drill press table so as not to be in the way. Here is an image of the sander hooked up to my drill press.

-- Doug, Georgia

View mnpete's profile


226 posts in 2622 days

#9 posted 12-10-2011 10:59 PM

Consider some of your ideas stolen! :)

-- Follow my woodworking adventures in The Second Wind Workshop,

View rmoore's profile


325 posts in 2599 days

#10 posted 12-10-2011 11:25 PM

Thanks for posting the picture of the sander. Any chance of you posting how you built it? I’m sure I’m not the only one interested.

-- The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. Ron, Crossville Tn

View glue4you's profile


162 posts in 2445 days

#11 posted 12-11-2011 02:39 AM

rmoore: No, you’re not the only one :-)

doug_w: Very nice idea. Your own design or seen somewhere where there exists a closer description?

-- Alex ----- Bavaria in Germany

View Paul's profile


224 posts in 3416 days

#12 posted 12-11-2011 06:36 AM

I still see two wooden clamps on the floor. Those are supposed to be on the wall as well. Re-due it all.

Nothing like clean floor space for the 15 minutes after you clean.

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


117062 posts in 3542 days

#13 posted 12-11-2011 06:43 AM

Good job Doug

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3429 days

#14 posted 12-11-2011 08:29 AM

Excellent system. I love the flexibility. Especially, the tools you need right now, but won’t need again for six months. Move em where they are needed. I think the blacksmith end of my shop will get a board of these for hammers and tongs. The idea is stolen again.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3066 days

#15 posted 12-11-2011 11:05 AM

Using the word “ultimate” is always dicey to describe a project but this organization is pretty thorough. I like the dowel holder. Man I need something like that. My noodles go every which way….........

-- mike...............

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