A New Paradigm Rack for Garden Tools




Introduction: A New Paradigm Rack for Garden Tools

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…

We do not have enough garage wall space to store my wife's garden tools, especially not in the traditional manner where each is flat against the wall and next to one another. 

I took my inspiration from the poster display frames I have frequently seen in discount stores. Each poster is in a steel frame back-to-back with another. Each frame is hinged. The viewer can flip them side-to-side, like pages in a book, in order to see all of them. The garden tools on this custom rack are perpendicular to the wall. Their supports swivel left to right and vice-versa. I made  a couple of extra hanger sections so my wife can add more tools as time goes by, if she needs to do so.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

  • 20 feet of 3/8 inch steel concrete reinforcement bar
  • 3/16 inch rod
  • 82 inches of angle iron 
  • #10 or greater sheet metal screws for mounting to the wall
  • Various piece of scrap wood
  • Grinding wheel and grinder (unless you wish to use the angle head grinder)
  • Angle head grinder and cutting wheel
  • Electric drill and bits for steel
  • Measuring rule
  • Welder
  • Square
  • Screwdriver
  • Level
I like concrete reinforcement bar because it is very available, cheap to buy, and welds easily.

I cut a low-profile acute triangle to be used as a form for cutting pieces of reinforcement bar uniformly and tack welding for repeatable results. The ruler in the photo gives an idea of scale. The exact dimensions are not critical. Make them suit your needs. When finished tack welding, remove the wooden triangle form and finish the welds.

Step 2: Add the Cradle for the Tools

The cradle for each pair of tools begins with two pieces of reinforcement bar 4 1/2 inches long each. Center them on the base of the triangle and weld them with a 2 inch gap between the pieces of rod. As much as possible, keep the two pieces level and on the same plane.

Step 3: Add Outer Retainers

I added short vertical pieces of 3/16 inch rod to the ends of the cradle pieces and welded them in place. When finished with this step, use a grinder to smooth any sharp or rough edges. 

Step 4: The Mount

I used two pieces of angle iron from a discarded bed frame for the mount. My garden tool rack uses 6 hanger sections. I chose to space them 7 inches apart. I also chose to have 3 inches extra at each end. I cut two pieces of bed frame 41 inches long each. 

Here you see the angle iron pieces back-to-back. They are clamped together. I placed a piece of masking tape at the approximate location of each swivel hole. Then I measured more precisely and made marks on the masking tape for drilling holes. These holes will be a bit more than 3/8 inch in diameter. 

Step 5: Assembly

After drilling swivel holes, I removed the clamps and inserted the hanger sections into the holes in the angle iron. 

Reinforcement bar has irregularities on its surface. I ground some of these smooth so the ends on the opposite side of the triangle can fit into the holes and move easily. Here you can see some of the hanger sections swiveled to the left and some to the right.

Step 6: Square the Swivels With the Angle Iron

The hanger sections can bind with one another, which makes it difficult to square the assembly. I placed scrap pieces of wood under each hanger section to allow freedom of movement for alignment before welding the assembly permanently. 

I two cut pieces of reinforcement bar to fit between the angle iron pieces and welded them in place. After finishing that, the assembly is permanently welded together.

Step 7: Hang and Use

Locate studs in the wall. Drill mounting holes in the top member of the angle iron frame. Screw the garden tool rack to the wall. Hang your tools on it.

I will take this garden tool rack down and paint it. 

When my wife needs to remove a garden tool, she can push those next to it away to one side or the other and have good access for removing it from its hanger.

This rack is versatile and solves the problem of not enough wall space for all of the tools to be hung. It takes a little longer to build, but it is worth the extra effort.

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    6 years ago

    I like it! For the non-welders, consider replacing the rebar triangle with 1/2-5/8" ply. Then substitute a pair of gate hinges / pivots for the welded pivot points.

    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 6 years ago

    Thanks. That should work.

    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you. I never expected to have a welder, but now I do. I do not know if you had a welding course in school, or not; but, take a look at another Instructable I did on Learning to Weld. See especially the last step (#19) for some options on home built welders from various scrap items. However, in my experience, you can get a better deal by patiently waiting and watching things like e-Bay, Craigslist, classified advertisements, flea markets, and estate sales for a good used welder. Keep your ear to the ground and let friends know you are looking. 


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Phil, You are a very neat and tidy person. In this we are different.

    Good and strong design, I guess what your great-grandchildren will use it during the 22nd century.

    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you, but my wife usually rolls her eyes when she discovers I am writing another Instructable. My kids are a lot like their mother in that way. I may be like J S Bach. His music was not really appreciated until 200 years after his death.

    I am not as tidy as you might think. I have many things in piles. Usually I do know what is in those piles, though.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Took me a couple reads to figure out what is a "paradigm rack" but I got it :) .
    Now I'm having a head-slap moment saying to self "Why didn't I think of that?"
    My 7x7 foot garden shed is full-to-bursting with lawn mower, tiller, leaf shredder,
    barbeque, and sundry hand tools stacked in the corners. Have to figure out how to do this without a welder.
    Great implementation of a great idea - well done!

    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I contemplated different ways to indicate the rack involves a new paradigm without the phraseology sounding as if it were a rack for hanging new paradigms, and doing it within the limits of the half-dozen words. I apologize for the confusion.

    This rack could be very helpful in your garden shed. I thought a little about how to do this without a welder. My thought is to mount a couple of 2 x 4s on the wall in place of the angle iron from a bed frame. In place of the triangles made from reinforcement bar, cut pieces of 3/4 inch plywood, either rectangles or rectangles with a triangular piece sliced off of the front bottom corner and mount these to the 2 x 4s with hinges that are free to move both to the left or the right. Standard garden tool hooks with attached lag screw threads could be screwed into the plywood, one from each side. It would be a little bulky, but it would solve the problem of no welder.

    By the way, I never expected to have a welder and did all sorts of things for many years to get around not having a welder. But, once I had a welder I was amazed at how much and how often I use it. If you have a place where you can use one, you will use it enough to more than justify having one, especially a 120 volt wire feed welder.

    Thank you for your comment.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I love rebar. You used it really well in your project, its a material you know will stand up to anything. Clever design, nice post.