5 + 7 Simple and Cheap Ideas to Organize a Tool Wall

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Introduction: 5 + 7 Simple and Cheap Ideas to Organize a Tool Wall

About: Hi I'm Alex and I love to make stuff! I mainly work with different metals but I also love to explore new (to me) materials and dabble in woodworking, jewelry, knife making, design and many more.

Hi there,

it's been a while since my last Instructable. I had to re-organize my workshop to make it easier to develop projects and create content in there.

Since I have a very small shop I wanted to use as much space as possible while still being flexible with tool locations. This is where the idea to use a french cleat system came in. This would allow me to swap around tools whenever I needed to. This would also allow me to make customized holders for my tools.

I'm also a very visual person and seeing my tools helps me to problem solve and get inspiration for new projects.

I did create a mini series on my YouTube channel were I showed how I built a number of these simple organizers with little cost and effort. Since the projects are really simple I decided against single Instructables but instead for a compilation which also allowed me to show some additional organizers that I didn't film.

Last but certainly not least I would like to thank Wolfcraft GmbH who supported me with a whole lot of their products. This is not a paid advertisement however and all products were provided for free in order to show them in use. I used their tools before and I'm looking forward to do so in the future. That is also why I have added a number of links to some of their products.

Step 1: The Videos

If you are interested you can check all of the video here but I also tried to add some additional info in the coming steps. But I would really appreciate if you could take the time to watch the videos ;)

Step 2: French Cleats

This was in terms of materials the most expensive and complicated part.

I chose to use a 9mm vehicle plywood for its properties as well as the looks.

Since I do not own a table saw I had to rip the material into strips with my trusty circular saw. In hind sight I would make some changes here though. The strips for the longer wall are each 180cm (70") and very difficult to cut without a large workbench or surface to cut on. Next time I would chose to make twice as many strips but only half as long.

Each strip is cut with a 45° bevel on one edge and a 90°/straight on the bottom edge. The strips are each 5cm (2") wide.

Next I drilled the pilot holes and to make things easier I prepared one template. I kept the holes space approx. 30cm (1Ft) from each other. Once the template was done I clamped 4-5 strips together with the template on top and transferred the holes.

Once all holes were drilled I used a counter sink bit so the screws would sit nice and flush with the faces and do not interfere with the tool holders.

Step 3: Installation

Installing the strips was pretty easy and quick.

I cleared the wall of all tools and filled larger holes with plugs and went to install the first strip.

Since the tool wall starts above a work bench I chose to leave some space in order not to interfere with the tools on the bench.

To install the strip I held it in place and screwed it down on one side. Next I used a spirit level to ensure the strip was level and the drove in a screw on the far end.

Once both sides were secured I screwed in the remaining screws.

I left gaps of approx 15cm (6") on the lower half of the tool wall and 30cm (12") on the upper half. I did this to safe on materials but also because I figured that I would need more space further below where the most used tools are located.

Step 4: Spring Clamp Holder 1

Wolfcraft were so nice to send me a range of their spring clamps in different sizes. The idea behind these organizers was to keep the clamps quickly accessible, move them around altogether when needed and to use as little space as possible.

As with most other projects I tried to use materials that I already had in my shop. In this case I used L-shaped aluminum stock that I reclaimed previously. Aluminum is light but strong and easy to work with.

As you can see the spring clamps would be clamped on one side of the L-shape whilst the other side rests flat against the tool wall.

Now I started to clamp all clamps of one size to the alu stock to give me an idea how long the piece would have to be. I marked the length accordingly and used my SqWAYre to make marks around the stock for cutting.

Step 5: Spring Clamp Holder 2

I used my bandsaw to cut the stock but you could use a simple hack saw as well and since alu is soft it wouldn't take that long.

Once cut I cleaned the edges with a file and moved on to drill holes on one end to attach the 45° cleat for the tool wall cleats. I also countersunk both holes so the screw heads would sit flush.

Step 6: Spring Clamp Holder 3

In order to attach the organizer to the tool wall I fixed a small piece of the same 9mm plywood I used for the tool wall. This strip was also cut at a 45° thus creating cleat that would hook into the cleats on the wall.

I made the strip as wide as the alu stock but in hind sight I would probably make it a bit wider for a bit more stability.

Step 7: Angle Grinder Disc Organizers 1

Apart from the clamps Wolfcraft also sent me an assortment of their angle grinder cutting, grinding and sanding discs.

I used store my 115mm discs in old used CD spindles but since these discs are 125mm I had to thing of something else.

I used the discs themselves to get sizes which I marked on a strip of plywood. The idea was to have a separate place for each grit/type of disc as well as some additional space for tools & wrenches.

Once again the materials were scraps, in this case a strip of 10mm beech plywood and a 20mm beech dowel.

Step 8: Angle Grinder Disc Organizers 2

Once I had all spots marked I went and drilled large holes with a 20mm forstner bit. During this I paid attention not to drill all the way though but stop as soon as the centering tip went through the other side.

Tip: When using a forstner bit start by slowly drilling in reverse. This will depress the wood fibers and make the cut much cleaner.

Step 9: Angle Grinder Disc Organizers 3

Once again I cut the dowels to length with my bandsaw but you can very easily do this with a hand saw as well.

When cutting round stock I found it easiest to rest one side against fence and then slowly moving the stock towards the blade. Once it makes contact slowly rotate the dowel against the cutting direction. This resulted in clean and straight cuts for me. Depending on your saw and blade you will have to take care though that the blade doesn't twist the dowel from your grip.

On the bottom section I added some holes for smaller dowels which will be used to hang wrenches and other tools for the angle grinders.

Step 10: Angle Grinder Disc Organizers 4

In this step I glued the dowels in place, checking with my square that they were...square before clamping them into place.

Step 11: Angle Grinder Disc Organizers 5

Once the glue had dried I drilled pilot holes into the dowels from the backside and added a screw for additional strength.

Once more I added a cleat on the backside in order to hang the tool holder to the tool wall.

Step 12: Angle Grinder Disc Organizers 6

Now it was just a matter of adding the discs and look for a place on the tool wall.

Step 13: Hammer Rack 1

The next project was a hammer rack to organize a a good portion of my hammers.

The materials used here were a short piece of pine board (I think this used to be a bed slat), a length of seat belt as well as steel strips I salvaged from cheap & broken clamps (no not the Wolfcraft ones). Instead of the steel strips you could also use screws and washers.

I placed the hammers on the wood to get an idea of were the belt loops would have to be and marked the locations with a center punch.

Step 14: Hammer Rack 2

This was followed by drilling pilot holes and attaching the seat belt. I used the hammers to determine the size of each loop before screwing everything into place.

To prevent fraying I melted the edges of the belt with a lighter.

Step 15: Hammer Rack 3

Once more I added cleats to the backs side called it done.

Since the belt loops only keep the hammers in place but are not load bearing (See in the pics that the hammerheads rest on the wood) you can also go with a lighter fastening method. For a second version (more hammers) I simply stapled the loops in place and so far this holds up just fine.

Step 16: Circ Saw Stand 1

I also wanted to have my circular saw quickly accessible and decided to build another tool holder for it.

Yet another time the materials used were leftovers. White melamine was used as a base, aluminum stock for the fences that keep the saw in place and pine bed slats for the frame that holds everything together.

After marking the dimensions of the saw base to the melamine I used my saw and the Wolfcraft Universal Angle as a fence for straight cut.

Once I had the base plate cut to size I also made marks for the lengths of the alu fences.

Step 17: Circ Saw Stand 2

With all those measurements I cut the aluminum stock to length and cleaned up the edges with my disk sander. Alternatively a hack saw and file will do just fine.

Now I had all parts together and was able to experiment with shapes for the frame. In the end I decided to go with a simple figure four frame that should be strong enough to keep things together.

With the frame shape laid out I made marks for cut lines and went to cut the pieces with my pull saw. Any saw will do but I like how quick this cuts through pine and leaves a nice finish.

Step 18: Circ Saw Stand 3

Once all parts were cut and test fitted I drilled pilot holes and screwed everything together.

As with all previous tool organizers I added a cleat to the backside.

A few weeks after building this stand I added a wide board on the lower part to stabilize the holder.

Step 19: Circ Saw Stand 4

Just before I called this project done I decided to add a simple dowel which will hold additional saw blades on one side.

Step 20: Circ Saw Stand 5

I was thinking about adding a slot for the blade to fit in but in the end I kept it this way. So before I place the saw on the stand I have to raise the blade up and also lift the guard.

This is actually not at all problematic as I have to set the blade up for every cut anyways.

Step 21: One-Hand Clamp Rack 1

Finally I had to come up with a way to store my longer one-hand clamps. Since they are pretty long I wanted them out of the way but still quickly accessible. Another thing was that I wanted to keep the design as minimalistic as possible.

Once again the materials for this project were leftovers and scraps. The base plate was a bed slat whilst copper piping was used to hold the clamps.

To begin with I laid one clamp onto the base plate and marked the positions for the pipes with one of the pipes.

Step 22: One-Hand Clamp Rack 2

This project started by taking measurements from the board, pipe and clamps. I decided that one rack should be able to hold four clamps at a time.

Step 23: One-Hand Clamp Rack 3

If you are working with copper for the first time you'll be surprised how easy and quickly a tube cutter works. It does leave a burr on the inside of the tube which can be easily removed with a deburring tool quite easily.

As a preparation for the next step I also sanded one side of each tube so the glue will get a better grip.

Step 24: One-Hand Clamp Rack 4

Once more the few necessary cuts were made with a pull saw (but any saw would do).

I used a forstner bit of the same diameter as the pipe to drill holes though the base plate. While I was making this holder I used the clamps to hold the work pieces so I thought that was a bit of clampception :D

Step 25: One-Hand Clamp Rack 5

Once all holes were drilled I fitted the pipes and tried if everything worked as I hoped. This was the case so I mixed up some 5 minute epoxy and glued the pipes in place.

To ensure they were straight I double checked and corrected their positioning with my square.

Step 26: One-Hand Clamp Rack 6

You might have guessed it already but once more I added a cleat and a stabilizing block to the backside of the holder.

Step 27: One-Hand Clamp Rack 7

Although this design might look flimsy I used this for several weeks now and it still works just fine.

Step 28: And Even More Ideas

Here are a few more tool holders & organizers of which I didn't document the build process.

I hope you found this Instructable helpful and would appreciate your comments!

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    6 Discussions

    It is astounding how one small idea can be the most important thing I get from an Instructable. I've seen dozens of projects in which French cleats are used and many of them are quite good. But it had not occurred to me that the items you hang on the wall don't have to be equally accessible and don't have to stay where you first put them. Why had I not thought of that years ago? I have both mechanic's tools and woodworking tools and have been wishing for a way to make the ones I'm using easily accessible with the others not in the way. That paid for this year of Instructables.

    Thank you. I hope most of your other readers are not so dense. ;)

    3 replies

    Thanks a lot for reading! I'm glad you found this Instructable useful! You should share how you are organizing your various tools!

    All the best!

    Alex

    Right now, I have a "tool box" that is about 20 x 16 feet, 6 x 5 meters, with tools readily movable from one location where they cannot be found to another location where they cannot be found. There are numerous flat surfaces where they may be displayed, with the currently needed tools almost always hidden under tools not presently needed. My project for the a few weeks of "spare" time is to use what I learn from your Instructable and others to help me improve on this.

    :D hahaha that was great! I remember when my shop was like that, I just couldn't motivate to do anything in there. Now with the new organization it's just going in there and get to work right away. I look forward to see how you improve your shop!

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    PS118

    2 months ago

    Neat set-up! How did you make the hanger for the angle grinders?

    Also, one suggestion: You may want to come up with a different idea for the files. Metal shavings and magnets are a messy combination.

    1 reply

    Hi,

    thanks a lot reading all the way through :D

    The hangers for the angle grinders are pretty much pre-fabricated hooks mounted on a base and cleat.

    As for the magnet strips: I've been using this setup (not mounted on a french cleat wall though) for over two years without problems. I make sure that I clean the files with a file card after every use and before putting them back on the magnet strip. There a of course a few metal shavings but nothing to worry about.

    Have a great weekend!