How are you storing your tools?

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Stuart M

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UKW Supporter
7 Apr 2024
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I originally thought French cleats would be a great idea, but quickly lost interest. I don't currently have a proper workbench, but ideally I'd like a workbench with storage underneath, but my tools are currently just lying in a metal shelving unit we had in the garage for cat food etc. To be honest, this seems a bit inadequate and I prefer things to be a bit more organised.

Anyone got any interesting suggestions?
I built a wooden tool chest for my stuff, it also makes a nice joinery project to get going with. They can be made out of ply or reclaimed flooring if you can't afford the timber to make a posh one.

I did go the route of French cleats. Most stuff is still on metal racking but I'll eventually make more of these. I find it satisfying making the attachments.


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I like the idea of French cleats, but I prefer something a little more flexible, ie that I can use magnets on or hang a metal hook (or ten) from etc. That led me to do some experimenting and I came up with the idea of using the "Metod" suspension rails from Ikea, which are designed to hang kitchen units from the wall. They're really quick and easy to install, and I make the hanging brackets by cutting the length required from the same rails and simply reversing them. Several of the various hanging hooks from Ikea handily fit into the track as well, so it's a real "modular system", even if the various different designers didn't envisage that particular usage...
I built a wooden tool chest for my stuff, it also makes a nice joinery project to get going with. They can be made out of ply or reclaimed flooring if you can't afford the timber to make a posh one.

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Show us your tills.
Nearly 30 years on mine still doesn’t have tills.
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Make a workbench. Store tools underneath. Without a workbench you are really just pretending to be a woodworker.
Surely anyone who isn't making a living from it is just pretending to be a wood worker?

Show us your tills.
Nearly 30 years on mine still doesn’t have tills.
That's what I had in mind when I built my workshop, unfortunately height and width limitations can't into play. Next one, at the bottom of the garden, will be more like this!

Anyway back to the OP, I knock together tool racks as I get new tools or get rid of old ones, just using any half decent wood I have lying around. I build them around what I want to hand without worrying about it too much... I hang them using French cleats or just screwing into the wall.... I currently have 3, one for chisels mostly, one for saws and planes mostly, and one for files and forstner bits and all sorts. Lots of pegs for hanging stuff...

Last weekend I was working in a workshop that had these boards for tool storage


The chap had made several of these boards & I thought what a great idea, easy to alter around as new tools are bought & need storage & like most really good ideas based on a simple premise.
Brutally practical. My garage is single skin, unheated and damp in the winter. All tools are in boxes with big bags of silica gel. Powertools in their stacking boxes, handtools in storm cases or original dewalt toughboxes because they are strong and airtight.
Tools are grouped according to task eg woodwork / mechanical / taps and dies / spraying / hot work.
Everywhere, all over the place, its chaos.

If you have to only work in the workshop then it is easier to set up cabinets, french cleats etc. But for me I am half in the workshop and half on site at various jobs.
I have gone for semi modular. I have a bunch of systainers that will stack neatly in the van, workshop or on site when I set up a temporary workshop.
An advantage of this approach is I can just take the boxes I need for a specific task.

Also a good tip is Euro crates, there are loads of different sizes but they stack on each other very neatly and thus can be kept in a small area. I use these for sanding supplies, painting stuff, grinder, silicones, glues etc.

I have tried bigger tool chests etc but found that if you have to get something out of the way to find another thing it quickly becomes annoying and also messy.

No matter how hard you try to be organized you always end up with some stuff in a flexy plastic bucket !!

Just starting my workshop (one-car brick garage, insulated it ovedr the last year, put MVHR ventilation and very simple electrical batten heater - small and ambient). The vent and heating keeps it relatively warm (10-15C) and dry (50%-65%) even in winter and also cool in summer.
However, I have not yet built any tool shelves and not so many drawers chests. Luckily, while doing the garage -workshop conversion I build a lot of shelves in my house's loft and that is where I store majority of tools, equipment. The loft is not insulated and cold, but I store them in tool boxes (mostly power tools). Batteries I store in the house (in the kitchen). So the workshop is only used for work and for the tools I need for a particular stage of a project I am working. E.g. if I need a router - I go to the house loft. It is a fair bit of leg exercise, and I hated that initially, but now I got used to it and I see it as good for my health)). For heavy tools - I've got an electrical winch in the loft - comes really useful for big boxes.

Natural question - what does the wife say? - Well - I sort of gave her the living room, to her complete and full hobby pursuits. Only come there by invite)). She turns a bling eye on me dragging my tools form the loft, temp storing them in the kitchen and making usual mess of dirt and dust on my boots while I am doing it. And I don't care what kittens, pillows, yoga mats, candles, and all those blablabla happens in the living room.

Back to the workshop - so only for work, not for storage. I do though store some small items like screwdrivers, pliers, etc - that I use almost always. Still, the one-car garage is not big and is fully loaded with machines. I envy those guys with two car garages, but for me, to be able to do some decent size of a project requires constant offloading stuff to the loft. I also use loft for wood and small sheet material storage. Again - carrying wood to and fro is not the cleanest exercise, so you might have to consider a wife-deal.

Now, as I am finishing with the workshop set up, I am starting to build some drawers and thinking how I can put stuff on the workshop walls. Though I am not sure the walls will hold it, and those are plasterboard on battens. So not so much hope in carrying a lot of weight. But also, if I put a lot of stuff on the walls, that will eat up space, so still thinking.

Ah, heating and insulation is mostly for the sake of - sound proofing (not to disturb the neighbors) and for machinery (cast iron, etc) - they are heavy and very expensive to move and to deal with.
High shelves and/or cabinets are not going to affect your useable space, I would be keen to do that. As long as you mount them to the battens it should be ok, alternatively take the plasterboard off and add some decent timbers behind it for you to secure the cabinets/shelves to.
I'd build a saw till, and a plane cabinet, both with doors if possible. That way they won't rust half as much as left out I the open..

You can practice your DT joints on the cases and tenons on the doors!
I keep some of my power tools stored in toolboxes beneath the stairs and others in a cupboard. My electrical equipment is securely stored in a shed, while my electrical tools are organized in two large tool bags for easy transport in and out of the van. I store my plumbing gear in two open-top holdalls, and I have a dedicated room for my electronic equipment.