Here’s another quick and simple shop organization project for you. I wanted to build something this week to organize my router bits, forstner bits, and deep hole plug bits; I went through my scrap bin and found a few left over 1xs from previous projects to cut up and use. Two of the boards already had an edge with a 45 degree cut on it so I decided to make the holders with French cleats.
Things I Used In This Project:
Two of the boards in the scrap bin already had a 45° cut on the end so I worked with them first. I will be placing these holders on the French cleats system not necessarily to move an entire set of bits with me around the shop, but if I ever wanted to move the drill press to a different area in my shop I could simply remove the cleats off the wall and reattach them in a new location.
I went through and made three French cleat holders which I thought would work. After they were installed, they were a bit more unstable than I anticipated for a couple of reasons. So, I made a modification to the design. You can see the entire process in the video below, however, for this tutorial I’m only going to be discussing the successful route.
I first laid out all of the drill bits I wanted to store, and I grouped them together the way I wanted them. For example, I kept all of my forstner bits together on a board of their own. I would space them out so that they would not interfere with each other and marked their location on the wood. I repeated this with my deep plugs bits as well as all of my router bits. I decided to split all of the bits over three boards, but you could very easily put them all on the single board if you preferred that route.
Once I had the locations marked on the board, I cut it to size and drilled holes in the material at the drill press. If you are repeating this project, be careful when drilling near the 45 that makes up the cleat joint. It is very easy to forget about the angled cut when laying out the bits on the top side and accidentally drilling through the 45 at the drill press. Once all the holes were drilled, I set the top plate aside and ran a couple more boards through the table saw, ripping a 45 down the length.
Tip: Not everyone owns a drill press and not all drill presses have a mechanical stop to set the depth of a drill bit. If you are repeating this project with a hand drill, you can place a small piece of tape toward the end of the drill bit as a reference to know when to stop drilling the hole. This will help keep all of the holes the same depth and keep the drill from accidentally plunging through the material.
If you’re wondering about where the modification takes place which I mentioned earlier in the post here it is: Put simply, I needed to reinforce the 45 degree cleat by adding in some 1/4″ plywood to gain a bit more surface area for supporting the load of the bits. I grabbed some quarter-inch plywood and ran it through my saw to cut it to size. This board needs to be just as long as the cleat.
I would first take the cleat and glue it to the piece of plywood, then I would take the holder that is also cut at a 45 and glue it to the other side of the plywood. You are simply taking the 45° joint, and sandwiching the plywood in between. This will allow the holder to be angled up off the wall, but the plywood makes it stable when sitting on the cleat.
I repeated these steps to make the other holders the exact same way. For some of the larger bits, like the molding bits, I use a half-inch drill bit, however, the shank of the bits fit really snug into the half inch holes. So I wollered them out slightly to loosen up the fit. When you’re making yours I would try to not make the holes too loose or the bit will want to fall out on it’s own. However, you don’t want the holes too snug so that you have to sit there and fiddle with it. I would suggest having a bit nearby when you are drilling the holes so you can test fit them as you go.
Once the holders are made I grabbed some more scrap boards to run through the table saw blade at a 45 to make the wall cleats. Once they’re made, I used a countersink and screws to attach it to the wall.
And that is it for this project! Now all of my bits are a little more accessible and visible….which makes me happy! All and all I did not have to spend any money on this project since I used scrap wood from previous projects. I know sometimes organizing a space can be overwhelming, but it’s little projects like this that add up over time so just take it one project at a time until your shop is organized to your liking. Cheers!