Friday, May 4, 2018

Workshop Renovation: French Cleats, New Wall Shelves and Rearrangement

In my last blog entry I started off my workshop renovation by dismantling my 5 long workbenches...

...and making a single, good quality workbench with the materials from those old benches.

This is the only long table in my workshop now.  Everything else is on carts or shelves.

About a year ago I decided to take everything off my workshop walls, patch up all the holes and paint.

I thoroughly enjoyed how nice everything was looking...

...even though I never finished the corners and ceiling...

...or the door that leads to my house.
(It had become too hot in the summer months)

Even though the walls weren't done, I had decided to hang french cleats.

I feel I should mention that I really like French cleats.

They did a great job of holding up all my shelves...

...which are nice and easy to move around as needed, without having to unscrew and rescrew them.

But I am having some problems.

The biggest problem is that I have just way too much stuff on the walls now.

Granted things like long bar clamps and T-squares work well since they can't exactly be stowed in a drawer, but most of the smaller stuff I have hanging could be put away.

Another problem is that these cleats fill up with saw dust easily, and the tall cleats are not easy to reach with a shop vac hose.  But perhaps the most irksome thing is that my walls and my garage floor are not straight!  The garage floor is an an incline which makes the wall towards the large garage door taller than the opposite wall.  So for the next step in my workshop renovation I decided to remove the cleats, but not permanently.

Before I can remove the cleats I need to empty some of my shelves.  Since I now have a new tool cart and drawers in my main workbench, a lot of the tools that were once on these shelves have now been put away.

I think I will dismantle some the shelves and the wood will be used for a newer, butter shelf.

Sadly, my collection of helmets will be removed from my workshop for a while.  This is okay though as they get awfully dusty and need a good cleaning.

With my 3 different shelves on this wall removed and disassembled...

...I could begin removing some of the cleats.

One cleat still remains for now to hold up my power switch and extension cords.

Now I must tackle the other walls and a new shelf, but I'll do that the next day.
The next morning I had decided to utilize 4 bathroom vanity doors and make a wall cabinet to better store my stuff.

This cabinet will use the wood shelves that I disassembled the day before.   The vanity doors will be doors once again.  And it will hang from the wall with smaller french cleats.  These cleats will be drilled into the studs in the wall and will only be long enough for this shelf.

And I want to put this new cabinet right where all this stuff is.

Unfortunately I need longer boards for this new cabinet, and the only wood that I have that is big enough is from my main wall shelf that is on the wall above my workbench.

So I decided to take it apart.  Some more helmets were taken down and cleaned up.

Then the shelf was emptied...

...and disassembled.

Next I began to cross-cut all the boards to the sizes I needed.  I did some of this with my circular saw since the boards were to wide for my miter saw and too long for my table saw.

Next boards were ripped to size on the table saw.

I misjudged how much wood I had and needed and extra board.  So another wall shelf had to be sacrificed.

Once that shelf was dismantled, I now I have all the wood I need for this new shelf.  Once all the wood was cut to the correct size I began drilling pocket holes...

...and assembling with pocket screws.

Before long the carcass was assembled.

Next I began ripping smaller boards for the new shelves' face frame.

The trim was cut to size on the miter saw...

...and was glued and nailed to the carcass.

Also some french cleats were added to the back, but I forgot to photograph is.  Now it needs the doors.

I laid the doors down on the face frame...

and attached them to the shelves.


Next I needed to clear out this area.

This was probably harder to do than making the new shelves.

After about an hour I moved almost everything...

...and began removing the french cleats from this wall.


Next I cut one of the cleats on the miter saw to fit the new wall cabinet.

Then I attached them to the wall making sure they were level and screwed into the wall studs.

Then I hung the new cabinet up.  I wish someone were around to help me as this thing was heavy.

Once up I opened the doors...

...and began filling it up.  On the right was all my stains, polyurethane, spray paints...

...and on the left were my glues, lubricants, bug killers and car stuff.

Once filled up I closed the doors and put back some of my helmets.

Then I moved my main workbench to be underneath it.

Then I moved my new drawers next to the work bench.  This is going to be my new main work area.

After taking a break I decided that I wanted a small shelf above the drawers for my main hand-held power tools.

So I took some of my leftover boards, cut them to size, and began assembling.

This shelf will look like the old ones did - just a lot smaller.

And it will also use a smaller french cleat.

Once done, I hung it up and loaded it with my Ryobi tools.

And also popped a helmet and Hellboy's Fist on top of it.

Since all my Ryobi tools are on this shelf, I figured the side of the shelf would be a good place for the battery charger.

With that done I now needed to tackle putting up a power strip.  I'll utilize this small one I once had hanging up with a french cleat.

The one single power outlet I have in my garage is located between my new wall shelf and workbench.

I began constructing a new, small shelf to hold the power strip.

The shelf part will protect the power strip from collecting dust in the outlets.

I also added a little track on the top of the shelf - you'll see why shortly.

Using a level, I attached the new shelf to the wall at the studs - no french cleat for this one.

Then I attached the power strip.

The power cord wraps underneath and comes up to lay in the track I created...

...which leads to the wall outlet.

It's not a very wide shelf, but can still hold small stuff like my tape measure and some pencils.

Lastly I made one more shelf using leftover material and hung it up with another french cleat.

This shelf is to the right of the new wall cabinet and has yet to be filled up.

But it was becoming late and I was very tired.  But at the end of day 2, I did manage to finish up one side of my workshop.  The next morning I decided to switch the 2 shelves.  For the smaller shelf I added an extra shelf and some hooks to hold my dust brush and pan.  I also put all my planes on this shelf.

And there was enough space in between for a board mounted to the wall for my charger, and a hook to hold up the extension cord that was laying on my workbench.

But now it was time to tackle the first wall I started on.  I moved all the tool cards away from the wall...

...and finally removed the last cleats.

In the space above is where  I decided I wanted to move my clamp rack to.

So, I removed all the clamps...

...which were many...

...and attached a cleat on the wall for the rack.

Then I loaded up the clamps.

I moved the longer clamps on the top rack so that I could fit the wood storage cart underneath.

Next I added another cleat to the right of the clamp rack...

...and hung my bar clamps.

I'm not totally sold on having the bar clamps located here, but I can move them later.

I needed to start working on the last wall full of cleats.

So I moved everything off of and away from the wall.
Panoramic pictures turn out so weird looking sometimes.

Next removal of the cleats.

I'm disgusted by the amount of dust and dirt that were in these cleats.

With the old cleats off, I cut some new cleats and hung my 2 remaining shelves.

I decided to move the cleat with my bar clamps back into the corner.  I like it much better here.

And then I hung up a cleat for a rack for my Irvin Quick clamps.

Then I started putting all my many tool carts back in places I liked.

A storm was brewing outside and I wanted to clean up the garage before the wind gusts send all the dust in my workshop in a frenzy.

While the big garage door was closed I hung up my cork board, where I like to pin ideas and plans.

I then replaced the smaller power strip located by my workbench with one of the longer ones I took down earlier.

I moved the smaller one near the large garage door, but I'll get more into that later.

I also attached my pencil holder and my pencil sharpener onto a board and mounted that to the wall.

When the storm had passed it was becoming too late in the day to do much more, so at the end of Day 3, I reorganized all my tool carts.

I still have a lot of stuff, but I feel my workshop is looking better now.

Tomorrow I'll have to figure out all the electrical issues I have.

Day 4 arrived and it was time to get power back to the rest of my workshop.  What I need to do is track my extension cords throughout my workshop.  To do this I'll need some tie-downs for the extension cords, which I will make out of the leftover cleats I have.  I fist trimmed off the angled part of each board on the table saw.

Then I took the new pieces and cut them to form a long "L" shape.

I took the L-shaped pieces to the miter saw and cut them to  4 inch pieces.

Now I have a bunch of hold downs.

This will be the first wall I track the extension cord to... I had to clear everything away from the wall.

I moved the power strip to this side of the wall since that is where the extension cord will end.

Next I pre-drilled holes in my hold downs.

I then prepped several of the hold downs by placing screws in them to make this process go a little faster.

...and began screwing them to the wall with the extension cord.

I want the extension cord to run around the corners of the floor since it is least visible there.

Under the door...

...around the corner...

...down the wall we go!

Then to the corner near the large door opening, and then up.

Here is where I mounted a extension cord holder, and wrapped the rest up.

Then I plugged in the power strip.

And now I have power on this side of the garage.

I purposely placed the power strip near the door that way I have to move and plug in all my power tools in at a spot where it's easy to clean saw dust away.

Now it was time to repeat the same process for the other side of the garage.  Once again everything needed to move away from the walls.

This strip starts behind my workbench...

...then around the corner with my water heater...

...down the wall...

...and around my water softener.  Here I had to stop because I hadn't made a new shelf for my other power strip.

I had to get creative since I no longer had boards that were long enough for this power strip.

So I made 2 smaller shelves and attached them to the wall.

Then I attached the power strip.

In this corner I also mounted an extension cord holder to hold the excess.

And with that strip plugged in, my whole workshop has power again.

Now that that's all done I started cleaning up again.  I have a lot of wood to deal with.

I hung some extra extension cords on the holder should I need to use several power tools at once.

I also added hooks on the back of my carts... that I can wrap up my tool's power cords when not in use.

And I think I'm done.

There is still a lot of cleaning to do, and things to put away (or throw out).

... not to mention all the holes in the wall I need to spackle up.

But all-in-all it's a much neater, less cluttered work space.

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