What simple items have you made to make tasks easier in your shop?

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Forum topic by BB1 posted 12-21-2016 05:07 PM 3760 views 2 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1722 posts in 1761 days

12-21-2016 05:07 PM

I have Woodsmith dvds and pick up various tips that come in handy. One idea I adapted was this little stand for my router – can place the router here without worry of the bit hitting any surface.

Another is this little holder for glue, canisters, etc that fits on a cleat

Would be interested in seeing other simple shop items that help with organization or safety that others have created.

24 replies so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25468 posts in 4018 days

#1 posted 12-21-2016 05:19 PM

Hi Barbara. I don’t know where to begin. I like to have a “visual” shop so I can see most of the things I use all the time and avoid having to search drawers and cabinets for them. Wrenches in a rack, screwdrivers in a rack awls sticking out of the block on the wall, Dowel rods in PVC tubes on the wall. Fixtures hanging on the walls in plain sight. Also, I like to keep all the realted things close to what they go with. all the bandsaw blades are haning in back of the band saw. All the router bits are ins racks in drawers in the router station. all the scroll saw blade are under the scroll saw…etc. I have a easy time of it in the shop because of it.

The other thing is that I put them all back in their locations after completing a job. I never leave tools out just in case I’ll need them later. I have worked in some guys shops where everything is left from the last job and it drives me crazy!! You spend more time looking that working .

Merry Christmas…..............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View OSB's profile


147 posts in 1438 days

#2 posted 12-21-2016 08:02 PM

I buy lots of safety glasses and leave them everywhere so that when I need them I don’t have to look very far.

I also try to be precise. I believe that winds up saving time in the long run and missing by thousandths usually isn’t a big deal.

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147 posts in 1438 days

#3 posted 12-21-2016 08:06 PM

Double post, sorry.

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 1617 days

#4 posted 12-21-2016 08:08 PM

I buy lots of safety glasses and leave them everywhere so that when I need them I don t have to look very far.

I do that with hearing protection as well. Every “big” machine has a pair of safety glasses and a pair of earmuffs hanging off it.

For machine cutting half-blind dovetails for drawer fronts – I have an 18” Porter-Cable dovetail jig, and 2 small, fixed-based routers. One of the routers has a straight bit, the other has a dovetail bit. Once all 3 components are dialed-in to cut perfect dovetails, they do not get used for any other purpose, so their set-up doesn’t ever change. Saves me from having to dial them in each and every time I have to do drawer fronts. It cost a little bit of $$ up front, but saves tons of time. Shop time is a precious commodity that I never seem to have enough of. I’d rather spend it making saw dust and chips than fussing with tools and jigs.

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

View HobbyCarver's profile


1 post in 1434 days

#5 posted 12-21-2016 08:55 PM

So here are a couple:

I mounted a couple of those Harbor Freight magnet bars in various places in my shop. It is very handy to have them near where I work so that I can set small tools (scale, pencil, binder’s clip, etc.) where they are within easy reach.

I turned a small pencil holder with a hole down the axis for the pencil to go through, then flattened a spot on the circumference to the size of a small magnet. I glued the magnet into the pencil holder so that it was attracted to the magnetic bar from Harbor Freight. (see above) Now I have a pencil near my work bench at all times – provided I remember to put it back!

I have some Easy Wood Tool carbide cutter turning tools. They work best when they are dead level with the center of a turning on the lathe. I turned a spacer with the appropriate height so that the tool rest is at the exactly right height for these tools.

I turned a ‘go-nogo’ mock up for my lathe’s chuck. One side has a diameter just larger than the smallest my jaws will go in the compression mode. The other side is a recessed diameter just smaller than the maximum my jaws will go in expansion mode. I can quickly check my project for these sizes by checking the calipers against my go-nogo gauge.

I’ve started a Pinterest page of useful jigs or helpful hints that are posted there. I’d recommend poking around on Pinterest – using woodworking as a search – to see what others are collecting as ideas for their shops.

I’m looking forward to what others post as well…


-- No matter where you go, there you are!

View simmo's profile


80 posts in 4384 days

#6 posted 12-21-2016 09:13 PM

A rack for my cordless drills, a rack for my screwdrivers. A longer handle on the Broom , soft mounts for wall hung chip collector, these were adapted fron washing machine transport bolts for the drum, cut noise dramatically.
Fitted hd underlay from flooring I lifted in the house to base and panels of planer and saw ,again noticiable noise reduction.

View a1Jim's profile


118144 posts in 4490 days

#7 posted 12-22-2016 12:14 AM

I have long power strips all the way around my work table and outfeed table feed from and outlet on the floor for both locations.


View eflanders's profile


329 posts in 2763 days

#8 posted 12-22-2016 01:30 AM

Pencils at each machine with the inexpensive pencil sharpeners too.
I have a raised edge on 2 of the perpendicular edges of my workbench to help square up things as I measure, mark, assemble etc.
Good lighting is a must at each machine/work station
Having enough power outlets is also a must.
Learn to sharpen tools, blades, etc. Sharp tools make work a pleasure!

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6592 posts in 3321 days

#9 posted 12-22-2016 04:59 AM

This little gem I picked up from Matthias Wandel.

This I designed to charge batteries and then shut down when timer counts to zero. Then no more charging when not needed.

Excellent jig for accurate cuts for small pieces.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View tmasondarnell's profile


141 posts in 2702 days

#10 posted 12-22-2016 02:13 PM

Not a shop item, but a habit I started.

I put the remote for the DC, my safety glasses, my hearing protection and respirator in/on my shop apron when I leave the shop. That way, all the safety gear is in one place and I more likely to use it, even if I “just going to jump in to do a few things”.

View BB1's profile


1722 posts in 1761 days

#11 posted 12-22-2016 02:50 PM

ALL of these are great…and interesting to see how many have come up with tricks to keep track of those ever elusive pencils!! For eye protection I typically rely on my prescription glasses although I also have some safety glasses that fit over top that also have ear plugs. A face mask and hearing protection are part of my workshop wardrobe, and the ear plugs are often still around my neck even after I finish for the day.

Having done some reorganization to make room for my new table saw, I appreciate all the insights on organizing storage in relation to the various pieces of equipment. I plan to build some more drawers and storage over the holiday break so very interested in seeing LJ projects that you have found to be especially handy.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12263 posts in 4341 days

#12 posted 12-22-2016 03:09 PM

I mounted short lengths of DWV under a shelf to hold corded and cordles drill/drivers. Cut a wide slot in the bottom for the handles.
My bench/work table serves many purposes. One is for breaking down sheet goods. To save the top, I place a 4’X8’X1 1/2 ” sheet of rigid foam on the bench.
Like A1Jim, there are power strips mounted all around the bench.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1661 days

#13 posted 12-22-2016 06:00 PM

I have the workshop hung with lots of wooden jigs and templates, for doing this and that.

View rustfever's profile


797 posts in 4223 days

#14 posted 12-24-2016 11:56 PM

Hand tool ‘Lazy Susan’ near each major work station.

At the main work bench, it is mounted on a stand and rollsaround. The LS has three levels for storing tools of various size and purpose.

Each of the holes into which the tool set, has been chamfered to allow tools to drop in quickly, yet still hold the tool in a secures vertical position.

Smaller ‘Lazy Susan’ at the lathe, drill press, glue-up station, and the sanding/finishing/painting area.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View JAAune's profile


1891 posts in 3229 days

#15 posted 12-25-2016 02:52 AM

It’s easy to accumulate clutter that gets in the way of real work. Every day I try to find one object to toss and one to give away. The other day I placed a giveaway bin next to the exit door to aid in this task.

A trash can near every machine or workstation is very useful. Cut-offs should never hit the floor.

-- See my work at

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