Introduction: Mobile Tool Rack From Flat Pack Shelves

Picture of Mobile Tool Rack From Flat Pack Shelves

Face it, in your shop there are tools that you seem to need for almost every job. And yet you are constantly having to go back and forth to get them. This not only makes your projects take longer but it breaks your momentum and kills inspiration. So why not just bring all of those tools to your work space while also making your entire shop more open and flexible?

Like most people my shop is actually my garage and I found that like most people I was loathe to block my garage door. You need access to that space so you can bring in materials and such right? But aren't you then giving up one whole wall of your space? So I decided to make storage that put in front of my roll up door when not in use and roll out of the way when needed.

It seemed like a no brainer as most of my tools are on wheels or carts anyway so I can adjust my work space as needed so why not my storage? This gave me the added plus of being able to bring my tools to the work piece rather than the other way around. I found that being able to just turn around and have 90% of the tools I always use close at had not only made my work go that much faster but it also made it easier to just put the tools back where they go when I'm done with them, thus making cleanup after a project easier as well!

Step 1: What You Will Need for This Project

Picture of What You Will Need for This Project
Materials:
  1. Shelving! I find that any sort of flat pack shelving that uses fiberboard as a backing works great for this project.
  2. Pegboard. Just head down to your local big box hardware store, they sell this by the sheet. Often in sizes as big as 8'x4'
  3. Wheels w/mounting hardware. I highly recommend going with 4 swivel casters w/locks. This will allow you to pivot the tool rack in place and makes it way easier to maneuver it around your shop.
  4. Pegboard hooks. Harbor Freight sells nice, inexpensive combo packs.
  5. (Optional) 2x4 for "Outriggers". On my first version of this I bolted my wheels directly to the underside of my cart and while it did work it also had a nasty tendency to try and fall over on me. Thus.... outriggers! This allowed me to mount the wheels further out and drastically increase the stability of my cart.

Tools:

  1. Drill/DriverCircular saw or table saw
  2. Wood Glue
  3. Tape measure
  4. Hammer (depending on shelving used)
  5. Pencil

Step 2: Assemble Your Shelf

Picture of Assemble Your Shelf

Ok, now just follow the instructions for assembling the shelving you have chosen to go with. Just remember to stop when it comes time to add the backing board. Also note that I used vertical "lockers" like you would see in a preschool (Its what I had on hand), but I turned them on their side to create horizontal shelves. Don't be afraid to think outside the box.

If you are using a pre-built shelf, like I was, you will need to figure out how to remove the existing backing board. Once you have that you proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Peg Board

Picture of Peg Board

Now just take your peg board and lay it out on a flat surface. Place your backing board on top and trace around it. Then cut the peg board to size and substitute it for the backing board. Give the backing board to your kids for an "art project". I also recommend at least screwing in the pegboard to your shelving at various points to add some extra support or even gluing and screwing for a more permanent solution.

Problem solving...

  1. My shelving is the kind that has a slot and
    • It is the exact same size as my peg board. Congrats, you win.
    • The slot is too small.
      • Setup your saw and widen the slot.
      • Ignore the slot. Cut your peg board a bit bigger and glue and screw it to the back of your piece.
    • The slot is too big.
      • Setup your saw and cut a second slot
      • Ignore the slot. Cut your peg board a bit bigger and glue and screw it to the back of your piece.

  2. My shelving is the kind that does not have a slot and the backing board is just tacked to the back of the piece.
    • Just replace your backing board with the peg board. I recommend using glue as well as the mounting hardware (nails or screws) as this board will be bearing a good bit of weight and will need the extra support.

Step 4: Wheels

Picture of Wheels

As I mentioned in the first part, I highly recommend going with the outrigger approach. Please excuse my very basic art skills but hopefully from the diagram here you can see what I mean.

Here is the tricky part, I can't give you exact dimensions as I don't know what kind of shelves you are using nor how heavy the items you will be putting on here. On my cart mine stick out less than a foot on either side. I also try to store the heaviest items at the bottom of the shelves and the lighter stuff on top.

I just cut two pieces of a 2x4 to the length required. Then screwed and glued them to the bottom of the self. If the bottom of your shelf has a recess you might need to build it up so that the outrigger will set flush with the bottom of the shelf.

Then I cut four triangle pieces out of some scrap plywood as braces for the outriggers but you could do the same with some left over 2x4 or depending on the size of your piece you might not even need this option.

Then simple mount your casters into the underside of your outriggers.

Step 5: (Optional) Pull Handle

Picture of (Optional) Pull Handle

I found that my cart, when fully loaded, was getting sort of heavy. So I added this handle to one side. It also gave me nice spot to hang things off of when working but the real use is to make it easier to tug this thing around the shop.

Step 6: Load It Up!

This actually might take more time than you think it will. Take your time and plan out how you want things loaded out. Remember heavier items to the bottom. Also plan out your peg board layout. Make sure you can take things on and off without knocking off everything else.

Options:

  1. I found four short screws that had large flat heads. I screwed these into the top of the my cart in a tight pattern. This gave me a metallic base that my magnetic screw holder can attach to.
  2. Trace the outline of tools on your peg board so you can easily see where to put stuff back.
  3. Label your shelves for the same reason
  4. Bolt a power strip to one side and a hook for an extension cord. Now you can just plug in your power tools to your cart.
  5. Rip some half inch strips from scrap wood and make a lip around the top of help keep things in place when moving the cart. Maybe even do the same for some of your shelves.
  6. Glue a plastic cup to the top for a pencil holder.
  7. Use the sides of your cart for hanging long flat items such as yard sticks and carpenter's squares.

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