In this video I’ll be tackling a project I’ve been wanting to do since building my shop….in the wall hardware storage. Now before you freak out on me in the comments, it’s important to note that this is an interior wall. It holds 157 containers, and was very simple to do. Lets get into how I did it.
Things I Used in This Project:
ISOtunes Bluetooth Hearing Protection
Wilker Do’s Dust Collection Cart
Plastic storage containers
Half Lap Jig
Armor Tools Workbench
Armor Tool Pocket Hole Jig
Titebond Thick & Quick
Bessey Classic Clamps
This is the dividing wall between my metal shop and my woodworking shop. I started by unscrewing two panels on the far right of it and moving the sheets out of the way.
So my original plan was to rip both 4×8 sheets down the center, place the top half of the top sheet and the lower half of the bottom sheet back in place then have containers in between. This would allow all containers to be within my reach by standing on the ground. With that, I used my track saw and ripped down the boards in the middle. Then I went back to my wall and started clearing out spay foam insulation.
As I said in the intro, this is an interior wall so I don’t mind giving up the insulation here.
My intention was to build a shelving system, made from dados essentially, that would accept a plastic storage container I found that fit perfectly inside the wall.
Ok ok, lets build some dado shelves. ….dado shelves?….yeah I think that’s a fitting name.
To make these, I first started by grabbing my dado stack and placing 1/2” in my tablesaw. I’ll be using a Half Lap Jig made by Rockler to make sure I can get these repeatable cuts accurate in both spacing and size. The jig is intended to be used for single pass operations, buuuuut since dado stacks don’t go up to 1” (which is what I needed mine to be cut at), I did a test piece to figure out how to make it work for a two pass operation.
I started by cutting in a rabbet on the end, then measuring over the distance I wanted between my containers and making a mark. I butted the edge of my rabbet up against the metal key then adjusted the fence over so my mark was in line with the blade. I pushed it through to make the cut, then moved the board over so this fresh dado was now sitting on the metal key. Then I continued the process.
To make the second pass to enlarge the dado, I repeated the same process. I started with my rabbet, lining up the stack so it was just outside of that first pass. Once it was cut in, I pushed the inside edge up against the metal key then adjusted the fence on the jig so the stack lined up perfectly for my next cut. This locks in the spacing so now I could make a cut, then as long as I placed the inside edge up against the metal key, it would hit where I needed it to and enlarge the dado to 1”.
Since I planned to do plenty more of these boards, I made two pencil marks on my fence to mark each location.
When making the dados, I left my boards wide enough to create matching pairs of shelves. To get individual shelves, I used my track saw to split it down the middle. Doing it this way ensures they in fact match and the slots will line up with one another.
I repeated the process because the studs being 16 on center is juuuust wide enough for two rows of containers. In fact, it is just a tad bit too wide. I did a mock up on my workbench before putting things together and I was short by exactly 1/2”. That’s an easy fix though. I cut a piece of 1/2” plywood down to the same size and stuck it in between the two inside shelves. There. Perfect fit.
The outside shelves are simple enough to attach, as they go directly on the inside face of the studs. However, I did stick a counter sink bit in my drill and pre drill the placement holes. This way I could move my mobile workbench into place then easily attach the unit while holding it in position.
You’ll see that I started off quite small, that’s because I wanted to test that this would actually work before diving in. But so far so good I’d say.
Moving on to attaching the center section. For this part I started off using pocket holes. I pulled out my Armor Tool Pocket Hole Jig and drilled in about four holes along this length. Remember that Armor made the height of the jig the same as a 2×4 so you can easily place supports under longer work pieces.
Once I drilled in the pocket holes, I did a few more countersunk holes then attached the dado shelves to the center filler piece of ply. I once again prepped by placing screws in the pockets before setting it into place, then adjusted the left and right position so the gap was equal on both containers. Woo Hoo!!! It’s working!
Alright, theory was proven, I felt like I had a working system so I continued on! This time I cut dados in larger sheets that would fill up the entire length of the bay. In fact, I used the half sheet I wouldn’t be placing back on the wall, to make up all my shelves which meant I didn’t have to buy any material for this project.
I repeated the process to hang things, but this time after the first shelf went up, I used a level and a scrap piece of wood to make sure they were truly in line.
You can see I just spanned across the distance with the wood, and placed the level on top. I did the same when it came time to install the center section but instead of using a piece of wood, I inserted two containers with the front lip poking out, and placed my level across their fronts.
On this one, my stud bay was slightly off 16” and I didn’t need the 1/2” spacer between my center shelves so I instead butted them back to back to one another. So be sure to measure each stud bay before making your components.
So it was when I attached this second long center that I started rethinking my design. I was worried that a few pocket holes wasn’t going to be enough support once I had all of these containers filled. I ended up taking it down and making a flange for it instead. This is just a piece of ply that I made a few inches wider that the shelves and attached it directly to the back with screws. To make this easily I made a quick spacer. I used the spacer to not only align the shelves perfect center along the length of the flange but also as a guide on where to drill my holes and hit wood and not a dado. I also used a counter sink here to make sure the screws wouldn’t be proud of the back surface.
This is important because next I placed the center section back into place, and used the flange to attach it to the wall.
The next bay was exactly the same except I had a wire running down one of the studs. To compensate for this, I built some small stand offs on the back of one of the shelves This allowed me to straddle that wire so it wasn’t crushed or in the way, but I could still attach it to the inside face. Next I added in the center support then repeated the process for the last bay.
Now, something I wish I would have done more of…adding in smaller containers. These look small, but are actually a very useful size, they come with handles that attach the lid, and are even colored where you can associate certain hardware to certain categories if you wanted to. Also, the box is a ready made shelf! I didn’t see the sense on making something new when it came with something perfectly fitting so I just took the container to my bandsaw and chopped it up. Then made some shelves for them to rest on. See the rows were about one container too short to fit nicely between the studs. So after cutting up the rows, I also cut up a row into individual cubbies so I could add one slot to each row. ….if that makes sense.
After attaching some shelves, I use a quick setting and multi surface glue from Titebond called Thick and Quick. I placed some on the bottom then clamped it in place for a short time to attach them.
While those were setting up, I cut and attached some flat shelves to the other stud bays. Just so stuff couldn’t fall into the wall and you couldn’t look down the cubby and see the wiring.
As I said in the start, I planned to use half and half of each section buuuut I diverted off that plan when I opened the wall and remembered all my wiring. The bay on the right with the outlets is filled with too much to use and the bottom half also has too much wiring. Hence, why I went up taller than I originally expected. No problem though, I’ll just keep my most commonly used hardware either on the French cleats on my main workbench, or within the section that is reachable. Everything above that will be less common items that I’ll pull in a step stool for.
The last finishing touch was reattaching all the sheathing I took down in the start to cover back up the insulation parts.
Then it was just a matter of filling it up! Total it holds 142 of the larger containers and 15 of the smaller ones. Although I might come back and add in more small ones.
Oh…and for a labeling system, I keep it easy and adjustable. Instead of a label on front, when I empty a box into the container I simply cut out what it is and stick it inside the container so it faces the front.
Once I have all my hardware on the wall, I’ll come back and group things together by category so that all my exterior screws are together then in order by size…or all my machine screws, or fastening hardware for example.
I imagine people will say this is a lot. But remember when you are building storage solutions that if you build it to your current inventory it is already too small. If you’re going through the effort of the project, then build in room for expansion.
I hope you enjoy this one! I hope it inspires you to organize a section of your space, and I’ll see you on whatever I’m building next.
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