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5 Shop Organization Projects

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Things I Used In This Project:

In this video I’m going to be tackling a bunch of small tasks that focus on organizing my shop.

Just coming off building it and moving things in, everything is out of place and more than that, nothing has a place. It’s not only frustrating because I can’t locate anything, but also intimidating because so much needs to be done. Of course, it’s one of those things that needs to be done a little bit at a time so this week’s to-do list is a bunch of small things that are not challenging or even time consuming, more a matter of just taking the time do them.

The goal is to not necessarily set things up the way they will be permanently but more so to get things off the floor, out of boxes, and off all my horizontal flat work surfaces. 

I started off with pegboard as it’s a dead easy solution to get a lot of things put up quickly. You can purchase 4×8 sheets right off the shelf and throw them up, however I took the time to paint mine just to give it some color. 

To make a simple boarder, I grabbed some 2×4 material and ripped it down at the tablesaw. This was the night before I had finally got power hooked up to my shop, so I was still having to work with my job site saw on the porch. 

After ripping the boards down, I also cut in a rabbet at the table saw so the pegboard would have a recess to fall into on the back of the frame. I gave the frame a quick coat of paint then while that dried I took the time to make a stencil from my logo to transfer onto the pegboard. 

To make a stencil I print off the design I’m after and cover the entire page in clear packing tape to give it some rigidity. Then I used an exacto knife to cut it out. I suppose I could have kept the negative side of the stencil instead of this positive side, but regardless……I could now place the stencil where I wanted it on my board and trace it out to paint. 

I grabbed some help to move the pegboard inside to the frame then set it inside so that it rested inside the boarder I made. I attach it to the boarder, I used a fast drying CA glue from Titebond called Instant Bond.  I switched over to Titebond Original when gluing on the support strips along the back, but then called the board done and ready to be hung. 

Now you don’t have to take it from me, but I recommend grabbing another person to help hang the board. It isn’t that it’s heavy, it’s just awkward to hold. 

If you ever come to my shop and notice how busted up my pegboard frame is, you’ll know why. But meh, it gives it a story ; ) 

I admitted defeat and called in help to lift and hold it in place while I secured it to the studs. 

While working on pegboard, I also hung my old board from my previous shop. When I was moving out, I didn’t have the heart to leave it behind or throw it away. And even though I’ve change my logo, I again love the story behind it and am glad I held onto it. 

Having these two boards up, made a huge difference in helping me clear off my flat surfaces. It gives me a dedicated spot for my safety glasses, my chisels, my glue brushes, my tape measures, my hammers….all the tools I use a very regular basis. 

For all my extension cords I threw a hook into the wall. I started them off high but then I decided to add some French cleats to this nook to store some extra hardware bins I had in a box, so I moved them down. 

Again on the hardware storage, I have a master scheme that I can’t wait to tackle for all my hardware, but it will take me time to design and execute. So in the meantime I will use this temporary solution so I can get rid of the box they were in and also have my remaining hardware on display for my use. I do have a video on making these bins in three different sizes and also a free template if you’re interested in making your own. They are a little time consuming but a great use of scraps and they last forever if you put in the effort once. 

It was at this point the shop’s power was actually flipped on and I got to use my cabinet grade saw for the first time in the new shop. Needless to say I was happy. 

I put it to use right away making more French cleats for my walls. Which is a piece of wood that has the top cut at a 45 degree angle. I started off by hanging all the holders I made previously in my old shop. This included my plug and paddle bits, my hand tools such as side cutter and wire strippers, all my screw drivers and wrenches. Then I moved on to making new holders for new sets of tools such as my forester bits. 

While a lot of bits come in their own very nice cases that keeps them organized, I don’t like things tucked away and hidden. I like things visible, and easily accessible. I did use the box to copy the layout of the bits though. I use any scrap of 1x material I had laying around and lined it up to the row of bits in their box then transferred the hole location to the scrap. Then I could take it to the drill press and punch a hole the majority of the way through. 

Since I wanted two rows of bits on this one holder, I used the table saw to bevel the top of this scrap then Titebond wood glue to secure it to a piece of 1/4” plywood. This plywood piece is acting as a backboard for the holders to be secured to, so you can use anything you have laying around. I used brad nails to hold the pieces together while the glue had time to set up, and now you can see how it will work once I’m done. The bits easily fit in their place, I can keep them organized and tell at a glance if any are missing. 

I repeated the process to make a second row right underneath the first. Now I could cut a cleat with a 45 at the top to mate into the 45 degree cleat I placed on the wall earlier. 

Simple enough right?

I repeated the same exact process for my router bits. I used the layout in the box to layout my scrap board then turn it into a holder. On this one I made sure to leave plenty of extra holes in both 1/2” shank size and the 1/4” size because it seems like I’m always acquiring new router bits. However, when I eventually fill these up I can either keep making holders to expand left and right, or even replace these to include more layers downwards. 

This is a very quick and easy way to organize any bits so the next time you have a few scraps you’re tossing out, take 15 mins to make a few holders then place them near the work area you would most likely be needing them. You could even take it a step further and write the sizes of the items in front of their hole so you know exactly what they are, or what’s missing if it isn’t put back.

Moving on to clamps. These have just been piled up on the floor like everything else so I started off by grabbing some 3/4 plywood cut off from sheathing the inside of my shop. You don’t need huge pieces for almost any of these projects, so remember to search through your scrap wood first. 

I started off by marking off by measuring how deep a shelf would need to be to store four clamps, then I measured out a triangle that size. Since I’ll need a few of these, I rough cut my boards in squares then taped them all together to cut once at the bandsaw. 

Next I used wood glue and screws to attach these to a backer board. I also used the help of two spacers to speed up this process but it goes so quick either way as it’s very easy. 

Before hanging my clamps up, I first did something I should have done years ago but never took the time to do. When a friend gave me these pipe clamps, he made these wooden blocks for the pads. They not only extend the footprint of the clamps some, but they are also easier on the project when clamping down. You can see he used two screws to hold each wooden pad into place which is a good idea, but often the pad slips out. Instead of messing with the screws any longer, I applied a little Titebond Instant Bond, applied pressure for a few seconds then repeated on the other pad. This permanently attaches the wooden blocks and removes the headache of messing with keeping them under the screws hold. 

To hang up the clamp rack I placed a French cleat on the wall, making sure to grab studs on this one since the clamps all together aren’t light. Then I hung up all my clamps. It’s surprising how little room they take up when they are organized. 

Up next was cord reels. I have a ton of outlets along my wall, which is great. But I placed outlets at every light so that I could eventually also have hanging cord reels over work areas in the center of my shop. These are Rockler Extension Cord Reels that are 30’ long that has a 12 gauge wire to support any heavier tools I want to run. 

I decided to place two on my woodworking side and two on my metal working side. The first being right by my mobile workbench. Since I have a duel outlet by my light, I used the open outlet for the reel. Once it was secure into a rafter, I set the length of the stop so that I could easily walk under it without knocking my head, but also easily reach up and grab a hold of it to use. 

Oh one of my favorite small adjustments, just because I’ve never seen this gadget before, was the solution to this light problem. See when the door is open the light is almost wasted, and I wanted a way to isolate it from the rest of the lights on the circuit so that when my bay door is up, I can switch it off while the others remained on. I found these remote controlled outlets on Amazon that gives me the power to do just that. All I had to do was plug in an outlet to the outlet on the ceiling then plug the light into the new outlet. Now I can just hit a button my remote and turn the light on and off! I think that’s neat.

Annnnd the coolest part is I still have five other outlets I can use around the shop for this one single remote. I have no idea what those uses will be, but I’m sure something will pop up. 

The last thing I did before calling it done was to organize the drawers of my tool box. I’m constantly needing to find a home for a lot of little things – from drill bits, to hair ties, to carmex and extra ear buds for my hearing protection… And this Rockler Drawer Organization System is by far the best system that I have come across for this task. As you can see, you can pull the units directly out of the box and easily click them together to form individual trays that is 100% customizable by either leaving the rows empty or positioning trays or dividers to suit your individual storage needs. The tray sections are actually made from a synthetic rubber so they can flex. And, you can actually use a pair of scissors to cut them to different lengths. Once the rubber trays are down, you can leave them as-is. Or, you can customize it even further by placing plastic bins or dividers anywhere along the notches in the trays.

And with that organized, I’m calling my to-do list done!

As I mentioned before, nothing too crazy and nothing too time consuming. But it is amazing how much more efficiently you can work once things are more organized. I will of course keep continuing to evolve my shop over time. And I will of course continue to show you guys updates along the way. In the meantime, I hope your shop is evolving and is a happy place for you, too.

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