Workbench against the wall. Where to put hand tools?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by Holbs posted 02-15-2019 05:22 PM 394 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Holbs's profile


2172 posts in 2327 days

02-15-2019 05:22 PM

After getting workshop organised these last couple months, I am now ready to tackle hand tool storage and future workbench project. However, due to the limited real estate, my workbench would have to be settled against a wall (at least,82% sure that I can see no other location for a 6-8’ x 32”-36” table top). That leads to the next question of where is the best strategic location for hand tools? I’m talking planes, saws, gauges, scrapers, etc.
Would love to one day put the workbench in middle of the shop, turn body around and reach for the desired hand tool and to put away when done.
Hand tool storage also would have to reside against the wall in a till for planes/saws/etc or cabinetry.
What about hand tool storage cabinet a couple feet above the workbench, jutting out 12”-24”? Would that interfere with workbench duties? Or would hand tools have to be off to the side leaving full workspace above workbench?
The workbench would be located along a 20’ wall, same for hand tools. Not possible into corner area.
Example of what I’m talking about: (not my bench…just random pic)

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

6 replies so far

View JayT's profile (online now)


6106 posts in 2508 days

#1 posted 02-15-2019 05:36 PM

My hand tools are on French cleats above the bench and it puts them right to hand. There are no real issues with spacing and some of my tools are less than a foot above the bench. You can see some in this pic with plane till to the right and chisels on the left.

The issue I see for you doing that is this:

6-8’ x 32”-36” table top

- Holbs

That’s a very wide bench top to have to reach over. With my 24in bench, I had to stretch to reach tools that were higher up. My new bench is only 20in and it’s amazing what that 4 inches does. I can’t imagine trying to reach over one as wide as you are talking about.

So that leads me to the question of – Do you really need a bench that wide? If you feel that it is necessary, then you might get one lower row of tools lower down and nothing above. Best thing to do would be take a table, put the front edge the height and distance from the wall your bench would be and see what it would be like to reach over.

Another option is tool storage under the bench. There are several examples of people who did storage drawers or tills under the bench. TheFridge did an ingenious plane till under his bench that might be worth looking at.

-- In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View WayneC's profile


14258 posts in 4395 days

#2 posted 02-15-2019 05:39 PM

Tool chests are an option. A wall cabinet is an option. There are lots of nice projects. Anarchitst’s Tool Chest or Dutch tool chest would be good search terms. Plane till would be another.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View SMP's profile


456 posts in 203 days

#3 posted 02-15-2019 06:08 PM

Tool chests are an option. A wall cabinet is an option. There are lots of nice projects. Anarchitst s Tool Chest or Dutch tool chest would be good search terms. Plane till would be another.

- WayneC

I was going to recommend that as well. I plan on using a combination of the Pekovich wall cabinet and the anarchist tool chest, that will give my multiple options to put things based on need,etc

View MPython's profile


90 posts in 110 days

#4 posted 02-15-2019 06:22 PM

I have more wall space than floor space, so many of my hand tools live on the wall behind my bench. I also have a radial arm saw bench immediately behind my workbench with many storage drawers. I keep hand and small power tools there and in cabinets above the bench. My handsaw till is there too.

I also have a case of drawers under my bench where most of my chisels and bench hardware live.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16035 posts in 2916 days

#5 posted 02-15-2019 07:01 PM

I would avoid filling the airspace above the work surface. Drawers below, cabinets at the sides is the way to go. Chest might also be viable, if you like working that way. Handsaws can be on that back wall, they’re low profile.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View OleGrump's profile


193 posts in 642 days

#6 posted 02-15-2019 08:05 PM

Maybe a wall hung tool chest designed with the main cabinet and a pair of doors deep enough to hold some smaller tools like layout equipment, auger bits, chisels and the like, so when you open both doors up toward the wall, all your hand tools will be at the ready. Hand help and larger power tools will need to go below the work bench surface.

The cleat system is certainly good as well, but if you operate power tools, there will be the need for an occasional vacuuming of sawdust from your wall hung tools.

-- OleGrump

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics