In a previous instructable I said I would be building a bench tool organizer to reduce the bench top clutter I have from various bench top tools. This one storage rack will free up about 10 feet of table top. I plan on building at least 3 racks.

I saw an article in Wood magazine issue 179, October 2007 that put the tools on bases, the bases are a standard size so a rack storage system would store the tools between uses. I have been thinking and I did not have 2x4 material to build their unit also did not want to cut half lap joints at the corners. The shelves will be fixed in the rack (saving drilling all the holes for adjustable shelves) and the tools will not have additional bases. (this will save weight on moving the tools and make the rack more sturdy) Hold downs will be used to keep the tools on the bench when in use.


I went to Sketchup and drew an organizer using materials I have on hand. I frequent the local home center that has a damaged building material area where boards are 70% off normal price, but they may not be straight and may have damage like splits, cracks, big knots, etc. I also have some what I call "road kill" plywood, that was found laying in the road ditch. I decide on a tee post design for the corner posts, with the tee being material thickness plus peg board thickness from the inside. That leaves a shadow box on the outside that will allow for accessory storage and manuals on a piece of peg board used for the side wall.

The front and rear posts will be 1x6 with a 1x4 for the tee post, I cut them 66 inches long that will put the top at 70 inches with the 4" casters. (that is all the taller I want to reach). The sides will be peg board cut 24" (half a sheet) and 66 inches long to match the posts. 1x2 will be used to make shelf supports and reinforce the 1/2" plywood shelves. Top and bottom will be 3/4 plywood or mdf. All joinery will be butt joints, with glue and screws holding them together. Also nails and brads would work if you would rather fasten it together with those.

Step 1: Fabrication of the Corner Post

The posts were the first parts to be fabricated. 1x6 and 1x4 material was selected. (the purple paint signifies it came from the bargain bin) The first piece was measured 66 inches long and cut. The first piece was used as a measure for the rest of the parts. The end of the next piece is cut square, then the measure piece is placed on top of the part and the ends matched. The other end is marked for cutting, The mark is aligned to the saw blade to just split the drawn line. Eight parts are cut for the posts. The 1x6 is marked 1" from the edge on one side and on the opposite side it also marked 1" and also 1 3/4". The 1x4 is aligned to the 1" mark and clamped starting at one end and moving to the other end. The assembly is turned over and using a countersink bit holes are drilled about every 6" (finger to thumb span) in the middle between the 1" and 1 3/4" marks. Then #6 x 1 1/4 dry wall screws are driven in the holes. (dry wall screws are inexpensive) This is repeated for the four posts.

Step 2: Adding the Side Peg Board

Peg board was cut for installation on the sides. The drawing specifies two pieces 24x66, but the piece can be as narrowed to 18" since the tee post is 3 1/2" wide, and the length can be made of several shorter pieces with a total length of approximately 66". Solid material also can be used and tool holders can be screwed directly to the side panel. If the thickness of the side panel is more than 1/4" the shelf support will protrude further to the inside, which should not be a problem. I found 2 pieces 23 3/4" and cut it to the line of holes just under 66" (65 1/4) The corners of the side panels has to be cut out for the 1x2 that connects the sides. I have a multi tool that works vey well for relieving the corner.

A stop was set on the compound miter saw and 1x2 pieces were cut to the 24" length. These support parts were installed to the tee posts. First the front and back were joined, clamped, squared, and screwed together with #6 1 1/4 dry wall screws. Then the side panels were installed and additional supports were placed on the sides just below the supports for the front and back supports. These were joined, clamped, squared, and attached with #6 1 5/8" dry wall screws. (I had assistance lifting the front and holding while the clamps were install) Screws are driven from both inside and outside, where ever there is not a clamp in the way.

Step 3: Installing the Top and Bottom

The bottom was cut 33x25 1/2" care was taken to keep the piece square. Starting at one corner the bottom was lined up, clamped, and when flush screws were driven #6 1 5/8". Then the next corner was lined up, this post has a twist in the board and clamps were used to straighten, when straight the screws were driven. This was done to the other corners. The bottom lined up within about 1/8" (I consider this good for the warped, twisted, or used materials)

The bottom was marked 1" to locate the casters. The casters mounting hole was marked and drilled 1/4". The caster was then bolted to the bottom. The next hole was drilled and bolt installed. This is repeated until complete. This procedure was followed for the other 3 casters.

A top piece was cut 33x 25 1/2". I did not have another 3/4" piece of plywood this size, so I used 3/8" chip board which I will also use for the shelves. The top was cut square and clamps were used to persuade the warp and twisted lumber to the dimensions of the rack.

Step 4: Installing the Shelves

The last step is to install the shelves. I cut 2 sets of spacers, one is 16" long and the other is 18" long. I put the shelf supports in at 16" from the bottom, then 18", and the last shelf is 16" again leaving 6" shelf and the top.

I worked on one side and then the other. The spacer is placed at both end of the shelf support. The shelf support is then clamped in place for drilling, three screws are installed on each end. (the bargain bin lumber tended to split so I installed an extra screw in each end) After all six shelf supports were installed I cut the shelves. I decided to use some of my "road kill" material. It is 1/2" chip board siding. I was able to cut 2 shelves and the scrap from each was enough to make the 6" shelf. The shelves were cut 23 7/8" to make fitting easier since I was using all bargain bin lumber or "road kill" recycled material.

The total cost of this project is about $40,

Bargain bin lumber $10. Casters $25, Screws $5,and "road kill" sides, bottom, top, and shelves free. I did not use any glue since the lumber had so many defects, I just used clamps to pull the lumber into shape and then screwed in place.

Also I thought the shelves would need a reinforcing lip front and back. but the material used for the shelves seems strong enough that I am leaving the lips off for now. If the tool load causes bending I will add the lips later.

Step 5: Final Customization

The assembly is finished, since it is the middle of winter I will wait to spring to paint the rack when it can be done outside.

I used 1/4" bolts 4" long to create pegs for hanging sanding belts and grinding discs. A magnetic tool bar was installed to store the special wrenches for changing the sanding discs. The bar did not fit horizontally so it was installed at an angle. (the wrenches do not care)

Pencil boxes were purchased (dollar store or thrift store). These are used to store the spare parts and manuals that come with the tools. The tool name is written on the outside so that down the road I will not forget which tool these part belong too.

It is nice to be able to turn the rack in its own footprint, you can get to the tool from both sides easily there is no tools getting lost in back of another tool. I have also learned that more than one tool can be stored on a shelf since it easy to get to the tools from each side. Also the pegs are much better for storing sand discs and belts, much better than a shelf or drawer. Also the special wrenches are not at the bottom and back of the tool chest drawer making it quicker to change the disc or belts.

This design is so convenient that I am considering building a smaller unit something 15"x15" shelves and 5' to 5 1/2' tall including the casters, shadow box 4" material instead of 6". This would be used for portable power hand tools on the shelves, accessories on peg board, and also have basic hand tools screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, and wenches to adjust and maintain the tools. Also would store the spare parts and manuals on the bottom which is hard to get to. Shelf spacing would be 10-12 inches.

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