"Why is This Car Parked in My Shop?" Turning My One Car Garage Into A Shop #1: Moving the Hand Tools In...Installing A French Cleat System

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Blog entry by Brad_Nailor posted 01-04-2010 04:04 AM 5276 reads 7 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of "Why is This Car Parked in My Shop?" Turning My One Car Garage Into A Shop series Part 2: Kreg Top Track Production Stop/Chop Saw Outfeed Table/Fence »

So, I spent all summer building a barn, so I can move all the junk out of my garage, so I can buy a real cabinet saw, jointer, band saw, and drill press and have the room to leave them all reasonably set up so I don’t have to do the Harlem Shuffle every time I want to use a tool…(whew!) And wouldn’t you know it…the wife wants to park her car in the middle of my shop. More about that later…much later! So, I bought my Unisaw and built my out feed table
Click for details
So now I need to move all my hand tools and stuff into the new shop area. I was thinking of putting up peg board but thats a pain in the ass and I never liked the way you have to put in the metal hooks and they always come out with the tool. I recently watched a video over at The Woodwhisperes’ site where he talked about using French cleat systems to hang up all his stuff. So I figured I would give it a try. First I built a shelf and a short section of wall cleat for my table saw accessories

The shelf is just a piece of 3/4” ply with a Western red Cedar edging around it, and the French cleat on the back and on the wall.

The shelf is really strong and secure and it was so easy to hang it using the French cleat. I then made custom hangers for each item I wanted to hang from the upper section. Mostly just pieces of ply cut at the proper angle with either a dowel in it or a custom made piece of hardwood to support a tool like the machine square. My taper jig is laying on the concrete knee wall, but I will install a few dowels in the underside of the shelf support face to hang it from.
Here are some shots of the main wall area where most of my hand tools will live
looking from behind my saw…

The main wall

The wall sections of the cleats go up fast and then it’s a little time consuming making all the little hangers for each tool you want to put on the cleat. Here are a few close up shots showing some of my hangers and holders I made..

As you can see, it’s really relatively simple. I found I ran out of room pretty quick, I will be putting up more on another wall. I just wanted to get enough up so I can get all my essential tools where i need them to be. They used to be all inside my basement and I would have to walk back and forth every time I needed something, then schlep them all back when I was done…very time consuming. So far it’s like a godsend to need a mallet or a chisel and to be able to just take two steps to get it is so nice! Overall I love the whole French cleat thing. The greatest thing is it’s so simple to move things around. I was shuffling things back and forth the whole time I was building it….and I will probably never stop! The shelves work really well and they are easy to make…just some ply screwed together in an “L” and a French cleat screwed to the back. Another great thing is I was able to use up a bunch of small hardwood scraps I had laying around that would probably have just gotten burned in the fire pit!

So after I had been working in the garage for a few days I noticed how low the light level was. Just a screw in bulb fixture in the ceiling and a lamp and one hanging 40 watt shop lite. I was having trouble seeing what I was doing at the table saw. So I went to Home Depot and picked up a two bulb T-8 35 watt fluorescent fixture for $18.00! You can screw it right to the ceiling, it has a tiny little ballast that guarantees it will start down to -10 degrees. A pack of two bulbs was around $4, and I bought a two dollar extension cord to wire a plug onto cost 24.00!

Eventually I want to put up like at least four or five more and wire them into a sub panel I will be installing …but for now I might buy a couple more and just wire them all into the bulb socket….the T-8 fixtures don’t draw allot of juice, very green! So now that my tools are in, the next thing to tackle will be getting rid of my door across two saw horses and build a real bench!


11 comments so far

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 4566 days

#1 posted 01-04-2010 04:09 AM

Lookin good!

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View Richard Williams's profile

Richard Williams

164 posts in 5251 days

#2 posted 01-04-2010 04:11 AM

There is only one solution here my friend. Take away her car. Knowing that would be suicidal I strongly suggest a compromise. An addition to what you have there as a garage could be done, but if that is not feasible then you will have to do the unthinkable. But that is not going to happen either. Let me ponder this for awhile and if I can come up with anything worthwhile I will drop you a line. But in the meantime. Happy New Yearl and God Bless you and yours. :)
Ps. I love what you have done in a minimal space. Great job.

-- Rich, Nevada,

View CoolDavion's profile


483 posts in 5283 days

#3 posted 01-04-2010 04:19 AM

Looks good. I still need to make all the hangers for my garage. I can sympathize with the time consuming part of making the holders

-- Do or do not, there is no try!

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4799 days

#4 posted 01-04-2010 04:26 AM

great use of those cleats ,
make some cabinets or some big furniture quick ,
take up as much room for assembly as you can ,
when asked , say it’s for the next anniversary present for her ,
and then take your time , doing it right ,
hopefully she will be so happy ,
she will let you keep the space ?
or build her her own garage ?

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 4947 days

#5 posted 01-04-2010 04:54 AM

Looks really great!

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View ellen35's profile


2750 posts in 4891 days

#6 posted 01-04-2010 01:41 PM

REally nice looking shop!
It is so neat and clean… are you sure you really use it????

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View CanadianWoodChuck's profile


402 posts in 5372 days

#7 posted 01-04-2010 02:39 PM

Great Job Dave, you just have to love French cleats, The best is being able to re-arrange the tools as your collection grows. Bruce

-- Wood Chuck (Bruce)

View PineInTheAsh's profile


404 posts in 4726 days

#8 posted 01-04-2010 11:20 PM

No more peg board!

Good job there David. I like your selection of tools.


View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5131 days

#9 posted 04-03-2011 02:39 AM

Looking good!

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 4230 days

#10 posted 04-03-2011 03:11 AM

Next your wife will complain about sawdust on her car. But what should she expect when she parks in your sawdust factory?

Looks like a fantastic setup


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 5220 days

#11 posted 04-03-2011 03:20 AM

Always remember the three basic rules for a happy life;
1. Keep your wife happy
2. Keep your sisters happy
3. There are no exceptions to 1 and 2

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

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