Introduction: 3 Shop Organization Ideas + Tips

About: Just an average guy. husband, father of four, grandpa, civil engineer turned cabinetmaker, jack of all trades master of a few. Enjoys, golf, curling, woodworking, creativity & making things.

In this Instructable , I want to show a few things that are relatively easy to construct, don't require a lot of material, and will help organize your shop space. Each one of these items can be constructed in a day or less depending on your skill level. I was very fortunate to have free reign when designing and laying out the shop I presently run.

I have included drawings and a few cabinet maker tips for:

1 : Mobile Clamp Cart, that can easily be modified to suit your individual requirements.

2 : Mobile Pipe Clamp Rack.

3 : Simple Lumber Storage Rack, that can easily be turned into a shelving unit, simply by adding plywood.

Step 1: Mobile Clamp Cart

Over the years I have seen a lot of designs for mobile carts.The main purpose of which is to bring the clamps to the work, instead of packing them across the shop from a rack on the other side of the room. I have seen some carts that were so large and heavy that they ended up sitting in one place anyways because it took two men to move it.

I designed a rack small enough, only having a 24" x 26" footprint, that virtually has 23 sq ft. of usable wall space. It is stable and can be modified to hold more than just clamps .Shelves, hooks and any thing you can hang on a wall could be added. It only requires 1 and 1/3 sheets of plywood and 4 castors .

Step 2: Basic Construction

Material : 1 1/ 2 sheets 3/4'' plywood

: 4 - 4" wheel rubber swivel castors ( recommended size, rolls over small items on floor easier )

: Glue and 1 1/2 '' and 2'' screws

Pic. # 1

Cut plywood according to drawings , The two tapered pieces for the sides leave square 9" x 69". In the next step I will show ( TIP 1 ) how to cut long tapers easily on a table saw, if you don't have a track saw.

Pic. # 2

Shows dimensions .

Pic. #3

Assembly ( 1 ) attach the two face pieces to the two taper sides ( glue and pin, pre drill and insert screws) ( 2 ) glue and screw the tapered section to your first piece of base plywood from underneath.( 3 ) Glue and screw the second piece of base plywood to the first. ( 4 ) attach the four castors. ( 5 ) Stand it up and it's ready to have handles and what ever other tools or items you might want to hang on it. ( TIP 2 ) on making wooden handles.

Note: I suggest that brackets or shelves that are installed be screwed on, making any future changes easier.

Step 3: TIP 1 Cutting Long Taper on the Table Saw

( 1 ) Start with square piece.( 2 ) Lay out your taper. ( 3 ) Measure your widest point. ( 4 ) Cut a waste strip on the table saw 1/4" wider than your widest point and 6-10'' longer than your taper. Leave the saw set at this width. ( 5 ) Fasten the strip on top of your laid out taper , leave an extra 1/8 " away from the line to allow for the saw blade width. Attach to the waste side, parallel to your taper line ( attach with a couple screws). ( 6 ) Return to the table saw and run the waste strip side up against the fence again. Remove strip and repeat for remaining tapers.

Step 4: Tip 2 Easy Wood Handles ( Any Size )

I know it's easier to just go out and purchase a handle, but for carts, or big drawers it's nice to have something big and easier to grab a hold of.

( 1 ) First decide how large a handle you want to make. I started with a board 4 1/2" x 15 '' x 1'' thick which will make two handles 15'' long 2 3/16 high 1'' thick. ( 2 ) Center a 2 3/8'' holes saw on the board 4'' in from the end, Drill three quarters of the way thru.

**TIP when drilling with a hole saw clamp your piece, and as you are drilling blast compressed air down and at the hole saw, this removes the shavings without having to pull the hole saw in and out, no need to tip the hole saw while drilling, prevents burning and makes your hole saw cut like butter. ( if its sharp ) even on a drill press.

( 3 ) Flip the board and finish cutting the remaining quarter (makes for easy removal of the plug from the hole saw without having to use a screw driver ) ( 4 ) Miter the corners. Cut board in two on the table saw. ( 5 ) Band saw or jigsaw between the holes. ( 6 ) Sand, round over the edges with a router and drill holes for fastening.

Step 5: Pipe Clamp Cart

The Pipe clamp rack makes it easy to store and move your pipe clamps around the shop where they are needed. If you don't have this many clamps, you could make a smaller version or incorporate it into the previous clamp rack cart. Note that the clamps themselves act as handles for moving the cart around.

Material : 1 sheet 3/4'' plywood

: 4 - 4" wheel rubber swivel castors ( recommended size, rolls over small items on floor easier )

: Glue and 1 1/2 '' and 2'' screws

Pic. # 1

( 1 ) Cut plywood according to drawings. ( 2 ) Lay out your hole pattern on the 24'' x 24'' piece ( bottom ) ,clamp this smaller piece on top of the 25 1/2'' x 24'' piece ( top ) leaving 3/4'' exposed on both sides. ( 3 ) Drill 3/16 '' pilot holes through the bottom piece into top ( ensuring the hole location is the same on the top and bottom ) ( 4 ). Drill all the holes with a 1 1/4'' hole saw . * Be sure to use Tip on how to drill with a hole saw .
Pic # 2

Shows dimensions .

Pic. #3

Assembly.( 1 )attach the two bottom pieces together , with 2'' spacers between, glue, pin and screw ( 2 ) glue and screw the two side pieces to the base .( 3 ) Glue and screw the two 3'' stretchers along the top. ( 4 ) position, glue and screw the top down. ( 5 ) attach the four castors.

Step 6: Conduit Lumber , Shelving Rack

This is by far the easiest way and most economical way I've found to store lumber. When you are able to access this from one or both ends you can store a large amount of material. The nice thing about this type of rack is that it can be constructed to fit any space and storage requirements. By using 3/4'' electrical conduit for your main support you are able to insert 1/2'' electrical conduit into the 3/4'' pipe to extend on the outside ,creating even more storage.

By cutting plywood that fits in between your upright 2'' x 4'' and placing it on the conduit you can incorporate shelving into your rack, or make just a rack to be a shelving unit.

The rack in the picture is 12'- 0'' high 30'' wide with a pipe spacing of 16'' the individual ladders are spaced 3' -0'' apart.

Material : 2'' x 4'' , 3/4'' and 1/2'' electrical conduit ( comes in 10'-0'' lengths), plywood for shelves.

( 1 ) Once you have laid out how big and how many uprights you require, lay out your hole spacing. ( 2 ) Next you will have to drill all the holes in the uprights ( I suggest this be done on a drill press ) the tricky part is to find a bit that provides a snug fit. It is almost impossible to find the exact size you need..

** Tip purchase a spade bit as close to the conduit size ( but larger ) file or grind down the spade bit on both sides until ( by testing ) you have the right bit size to make a snug fit for the conduit.

( 3 ) Cut your 3/4'' conduit to the desired length, remember the conduit comes 120'' long so pick a length that is divisible into 120 ( 20'', 24'', 30'' ) so that you don't waste pipe. Cut with either a pipe cutter ( my preference ), grinder, or a cutoff saw. ( 4 ) Lay one 2x4 on the ground and drive the pipes into the holes using a block of wood and a hammer. Position the other 2x4 above the pipes, line up pipes in the holes and working from end tap the 2x4 down onto the pipes, (a small sledge works well ). ( 5 ) Cut and screw in your top and bottom spacer, stand upright screw to wall or ceiling. Make as many as required.

Step 7: Conclusion

I leave you with a few pictures of the shop.

I hope this Instructable helps you come up with some ideas to make your work space a little more organized . After all, a well organized shop is far more efficient and more enjoyable to work in.

My future Instructable's might be on work benches, shop carts, a vacuum clamping table, dust collection, redneck remote dust collector on off switch... who knows? Stay tuned !

CHEERS Thanks for your support and votes.

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