Open Storage Ideas For Hand Tools and Power Tools
Make tools visible and keep them orderly for a beautiful and more efficient workshop.
The notion of workflow always seems to come up when woodworkers discuss shop design, but it’s mostly limited to machinery and workbenches. This is a mistake because workflow also involves smaller things like routers, handplanes, chisels, layout tools, sandpaper, scrapers, and even safety glasses. Where those are located and how accessible they are can have a significant impact on how smoothly your work progresses.
This is why I organized my shop so that as much as possible is visible. With everything out in the open, there’s no time wasted trying to remember which drawer holds my countersinks, or where exactly I put those 1-1⁄4-in.-long screws. As a result, I can work faster and more smoothly because I can quickly grab a tool and use it.
Don’t confuse an open shop with a messy one. To be successful, an open shop must be reasonably organized: a place for everything and everything in its place. A bit of clutter is fine, but too much and the shop no longer functions as it should. I divided my tools into common-sense groups and arranged them around the shop so that they are close to where I use them. Lathe tools are at the lathe, in a wall-hung bracket that has a spot for each tool. Planes are within reach of the bench.
In addition to these practical reasons in favor of the open shop, there is another reason I prefer it over a shop full of cabinets and drawers. Tools and the other trappings of woodworking are beautiful, especially when laid out in a lovely array. An open shop puts that beauty on display where it can inspire you.
Organization is critical in an open shop. The best way to organize hand tools in the open is with a shelving unit. I have an angled rack for my planes, and another for my chisels. The tools run across the rack in a line with dividers between them. There also are dedicated holders for scrapers, spokeshaves, a drawknife, and a variety of other tools. A pull-out tray holds router bits and a pair of drawers houses mechanic’s tools. I added shelves on the outside of the case for cordless drills, and I store air tools below the drawers.
From Fine Woodworking #265
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More on FineWoodworking.com:
- Smart Shop Storage – A roomful of ideas for organizing your space
- Workbench Tool Storage Solutions – Learn how to outfit workbench drawers for smart, organized tool storage
- Stack and Saw Lumber on the Same Rack – Cantilevered arms and a built-in chopsaw table provide plenty of storage