Racking up Bench Appliances—How to store bulky appliances in a small space

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Project by Brad posted 08-04-2012 01:48 PM 4870 views 5 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It seems that wood appliances are to hand-tool users what jigs are to power-tool users. And they multiply like little bunny rabbits. I have three so far, two of which I use all the time.

My current shooting board (A1 above) gets a lot of use, squaring up stock and cutting pieces to exacting lengths. My dovetail (DT) chopping block (A2 above) gets less use, but when it does, it’s been an invaluable aid. I made it out of a retired shooting board. My bench hook (A3 above), gets the most use, holding smaller stock while I crosscut it with my trusty Noble No. 1 backsaw.

Storing these valuable aids has always been a pain. At first, I gave it the ole college try, tossing them under my workbench. But when I’d grab one, it always seemed to catch on other appliances, tools or whatever else was occupying the catchall at the time. So I came up with a crude storage block made out of a 4” x 4” with slots cut in it to kind of fit appliances on their sides.

This too was clumsy as the appliances would still catch on edges everywhere. Not to mention that the 4” x 4” slid around a lot, even after gluing sandpaper to the bottom.

So I decided to make a simple storage rack. But before I arrived at the design below I took a few measurements. I would be storing three appliances on their edges so I needed their slots to be wide enough to easily remove and dock them. To calculate the spacing between dividers, I tallied the thickness of the cleats + base layers + top backstops (+ laminated shooting layer on the shooting board). The DT chopping block was very wide and I had to make sure it would fit in my limited vertical space when placed on edge. It did.

As for the width, it turned out I only had space for three appliances. As I add more in the future, I’ll have to pick which ones to put in the purgatory space below my bench shelf.

Here’s the design I ended up with.

The Build
I started with a scrap particle board base about ¾” x 10 ¾” wide x 14” deep. Ideally, I wanted dividers that were 11 3/8” tall (3/8” of which would fit into the groove) to ensure each appliance stayed in its own place. These run the length of the base at 14” deep. I say ideally, because the ¼” plywood scraps I had lying around only allowed for two full-sized dividers, which I drafted for duty on each outside edge of the storage rack.

I cut the grooves the full length of the base using my router table fitted with a 3/16” straight bit. The plywood was a bit less than ¼” thick but thicker than the 3/16” groove my bit cut. So I had to sneak up on a snug fit by micro-adjusting the fence. After achieving the perfect friction fit, I glued the dividers in place.

To keep the rack from sliding around, I affixed spongy drawer-liner material to the bottom with “U” nails. A staple gun would have worked better but I didn’t have one at the time.

Then I put the rack in place…

…and tested each appliance for ease of access and replacement

And here’s the space after putting the rack into service.

Having used it for some time, I can say that it works perfectly. I remove and dock each appliance with ease, without them catching on anything. And by stacking them vertically, I optimize the use of my under-bench space.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

10 comments so far

View Brit's profile


7788 posts in 3321 days

#1 posted 08-04-2012 02:54 PM

That looks like a great use of space Brad. Nice to have them so close to hand. Well done.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3334 days

#2 posted 08-04-2012 03:56 PM

Great utilisation of space

Very nice


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2702 days

#3 posted 08-04-2012 04:18 PM

I am definitely going to make one of these – I only have a shooting board and pair of bench hooks so far, but I can see more coming. And they either take up a lot of room or are not conveniently stored. I have just the place to put such an organizer AND I have some of that foamy, nonslip liner hanging around. Great thinking! Thanks for sharing this idea.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View Bricofleur's profile


1463 posts in 3671 days

#4 posted 08-04-2012 06:14 PM

This is exactly what I was waiting for! Thank you, Brad, for sharing your system. It’s already on my to-do list. I believe I’ll size mine to fit in one or two cobby holes. Great idea!



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View Don W's profile

Don W

19314 posts in 3046 days

#5 posted 08-04-2012 10:14 PM

that’s a good idea. I need something similar as well. Mine are stuck here and there.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Dave's profile


11432 posts in 3318 days

#6 posted 08-05-2012 05:00 AM

Way to go. I need about 5 of those.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1094 posts in 3651 days

#7 posted 08-05-2012 11:41 AM

Nice setup. You can’t loose them now or have to search for them.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View ronbuhg's profile


121 posts in 2626 days

#8 posted 08-05-2012 01:21 PM

great idea, now I know what I can do with that space below the router table, a piece of leftover plywood, some glue….............hmmmmmm, I can do this ! thanks !

-- the dumbest question is the one you dont ask !!

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3132 days

#9 posted 08-07-2012 06:26 PM

This is not unlike what I have seen in really nice kitchens to store baking sheets. Great idea.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3629 days

#10 posted 09-06-2012 03:50 PM

Great ideas Brad, I will need to do something like this once I finish my bench.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

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