Handy Holders and Helpers from the FWW shop
Although FWW travels to shops across North America to gather the best tips and techniques, we also have a big shop of our own here in Newtown, CT, where we make props, shoot video, and conduct big tool reviews. And we’ve done a lot to make it work better over the years. Many of the best racks and gizmos were invented by John White, one of our longest-running shop managers, and an inveterate tinkerer.
Here are just a few I gathered in a quick sweep through our warm shop on a cold October day.
You’ll notice right away that White loved tool racks, and we love them too. Unlike the off-the-shelf hangers made for pegboard, tool racks are made of wood, meaning you have no excuse not to customize them for a secure grip and easy access to each tool. Custom holders also make it obvious where each tool belongs, unlike generic pegs. If a rack is easy to use, it will get used.
Wood walls are better. If you put some kind of plywood on your walls, as opposed to drywall or concrete, it is much easier to hang custom tool racks.
This simple but effective chisel rack consists of a backer strip, dadoed for each chisel size and screwed to the wall, plus retainer strips screwed to the front edge.
A hammer and mallet rack is nothing more than a plywood shelf with holes in it, rounded to be more friendly.
A few blocks and dowels are all it takes to hang your saws. Note the clever rack for quick-action clamps at back left.
Most clamps offer some way to hook them over a simple cleat, if you install a lower cleat to keep them from tipping inward.
Here is a John White classic: When he got tired of fixing our automatic blast-gate system, he came up with this arm-powered approach, with the help of broomsticks and a few hardware-store items. A pivot point is mounted up above, and an eye hook catches a hole drilled in the back of the gate.
Tired of sweeping up the dust missed by the tiny port on our mitersaw, White built this big box, guaranteed to catch every bit of dust, wth fold-out work supports on the side, and pull-out dust bins below.
Make a place for your safety gear wherever you need it, and you won't have to run after it, or worse, not bother.
White built a tool-activated shop vac into the bottom of our power-sanding station, with a hose minder high up top, keeping it out of the way no matter where you are working. And like almost all of our shop cabinets, it's on wheels.
Sanding disks need sorting too. This simple holder keeps track of the disks, and lets you know when you need more.
For hand-sanding, we keep the paper torn to size and organized in this handy little cabinet. The small plywood squares keep the paper from curling.