Monday, July 2, 2018

New Workshop Wall Shelves

With all my workshop carts and tables done with, the last thing I wanted to do for my workshop renovation was to make one more set of wall shelves.

My design above was based on the wall cabinet I recently made using some vanity doors I had left over and scrap wood from some preexisting shelves I disassembled.

The wall cabinet is great for storing a lot of my stuff, such as glues, lubricants, fillers... well as spray paints and furniture stains.

But I need shelves to better hold all my handheld power tools.  At the moment I have one main shelf that holds most of my Ryobi power tools, but I need room for some of my other tools that don't fit on this shelf, such as my angle grinder and my belt sander.  I also need the shelves to be taller to better fit my nail gun (with the battery attached) and my circular saw (which currently needs to sit on the top of the shelves next to my helmets).

I also want to do away with some of the smaller shelves I have...

... that hold various small things.

Plus, I really want to get rid of the helmet shelf I just built recently.  I applaud myself for making a shelf from oddly-shaped leftover materials, but I'm not overly happy with it.  I eventually added some dowels to the shelf to hold my assortment of spring clamps, but I still would like to get rid of it.

But I am keeping my clamp rack shelves.

Perhaps I'll use some of the old shelves to make a similar looking rack to hold my long bar and pipe clamps.

So I tweaked my design a little to fit everything I want to fit on these shelves.

The new shelves will consist of two 4-foot shelving units that have two small 2-foot shelves between them (bringing the length of these wall shelves to 10-feet).

Each shelf will have a space for a long power strip...

...and the backs will be made of peg board.  I think this will be easier to hold various things than attaching screws or nails to the shelves, which is what I have been doing.

Like all the other shelves in my workshop, these will attach to the wall with french cleats.

With my plans done I now needed to go out and buy the material needed.  At the time I started working on this, I was finishing up work on my fan cart, so I had some leftover plywood from that project to use.

I was able to cut 5 strips of wood from that sheet.

Unfortunately that's not enough to make both sets of shelves, but it is enough to make one of them.  So I figured I start with one.  I next cut the 2 sides of the shelves on the miter saw, using a stop block.

Next I drilled pocket holes into the 3 shelves...

...and then attached them to the sides with pocket screws.

And the shelves and sides are together.

Next I started gluing and nailing on the trim with the leftover 1x2 wood I had - but what I had wasn't enough.

Apparently Lowes didn't have enough 1x2's either - so I bought some 1x4s...

...and cut them down to size.

Then I finished up attaching the trim.

Next I cut some more of the 1x4's to make the mounts for the pegboard and the french cleats.  However, I ran into a problem.  While cutting the last 1x4 for the cleats, the wood warped and pinched severely.

I immediately threw out that wood and was left without the french cleats.  I could go out and buy more wood, but I just didn't want to.  Instead I began gluing and nailing the cut pieces onto the shelves...

...and clamping them until dry.

The reason I wanted to use french cleats was because of the ease in mounting it all to the wall.  But a french cleat isn't necessary.  I can simply just mount the wall units directly onto the wall, so long as the screws I use go through a stud in the wall.
Once dry I decided to reinforce the pieces with screws.

Next it was time to attach the pegboard, which I also bought earlier.

I cut the pegboard to sizes that fit inside the shelves on my table saw.

Then I began attaching them to the wood supports on the insides of the shelves.

The peg board is simply held in place with some screws and washers.  

Once both sides had pegboard attached, I cleaned up my workshop and called it a night.

The next morning I began by drilling pocket holes into the wood piece that the power strip will mount onto.

I then attached it to the bottom of the shelves.

Next it was time to empty the old wall shelf...

...and take it down.  I left the little shelf with the power strip attached to the wall for the time being because I need the fan to run while I'm working (at the time it was 103 degrees out - and only 10am).

Next I attached the new shelf onto the wall making sure to screw into the studs in the wall.

I removed the power strip from the old shelf and was about to attach it to the new shelf when I discovered that the power strip itself is longer than my new shelves.
(my new shelves are 49.5" wide, and the power strip is 51" wide).

After a little bit of cursing, I took down the new shelf and the small shelf for the power strip.  I then disassembled the small shelf...

...drilled some pocket holes and attached it to the bottom of the new shelf.  This new piece sticks out a little on both sides, but at least it holds the power strip now.  I then hung up the new shelf again.

And then I began filling up the new shelves.

This time, instead of wiring the lights on the top of my shelves against the wall, I did so on the sides of the shelves itself.  This makes the walls look a little cleaner.

I also reattached the mount I had for my hammer on the side, as well as added a nail to the front trim to hold my can opener (something I use often)... well as another nail on the other side to hold my box cutter.  On this side of the shelf I also attached the large hook that held the extension cord for my table saw.

I had a few pegboard hooks, so I attached 2 on the bottom shelf to hold my small trim saw...

...and 2 on the top shelf to hold my razor saw.

The top shelf is my green Ryobi shelf, and the bottom shelf is my orange Black & Decker shelf (with a red Skil Jigsaw).

Underneath, the power strip is nicely protected from dust.

With the first shelf done I can now go out and get material for the second shelf.  But before I do that I needed to fix something.  Right before making these shelves, I had made a final workshop cart to hold my fan.

(You can see that build by clicking here).

This cart turned out great, but at the time I made it, I didn't have material to make a good drawer front (MDF or solid wood - I didn't want to use plywood).  So, I disassembled the old wall shelf I had just taken down.

Then, using some of the scrap wood from the old shelf, I cut a new drawer front.

I then rounded the edges on the router table, removed the old drawer front, and added the new one.

This drawer front definitely looks better.
But now it was time to make the second shelf.

Since I have wood from the old shelf available, I don't need to get any wood for trim.

I also had one strip of wood left over from the first build, so I cut it in half to make the sides of the second shelf.

All I needed to buy from the home center was a single 2x4 sheet of plywood and a 2x4 sheet of pegboard.

I then cut the plywood, pegboard and leftover wood to size on the table saw.

Since going over the process to build the second set of identical shelves is redundant, I'll fast forward a bit.  It took me about half the time to build the second shelves as it took to to build the first shelves.  But since the wood supports in the middle are held in with glue and nails alone, I needed to let the glue fully dry before attaching the pegboard and hanging the whole unit on the wall.

So I spent that time taking down the other old shelf, and disassembling it.

Once the glue was dry and the pegboard was in place, I hung up the second set of shelves.

Then I started filling them up.

I still have some stuff around my workshop that I want to put on these shelves, but for now I just filled them up with stuff that was on the previous shelves.  Including my helmets on top.

Instead of smaller shelves connecting the 2 units, I opted to just put my batter charger in that space.

I still have yet to get another long power strip for the bottom side of these shelves.  I have one such power strip in my office, so I may switch that out, rather than buying a new one.

Now, because of it's height, the fan cart needed to move all the way in the corner.  But the other 2 old tool carts fit nicely underneath the new shelves.

The extra space to the right of the second wall shelf allowed me to reorient the cork board to be horizontal, which I prefer.   This is where I hang up all my project plans and ideas.

And with that done, these 2 new wall shelves are complete...well, 99% complete.  I still need that long power strip.

I think they both turned out great.

But my work is not done yet.  I still need to get rid of that ghastly helmet shelf.

And I also need to make a new shelf to better hold my bar and pipe clamps.  For this, I have a good amount of leftover wood from the disassembled shelves.

But it will have to wait for the next morning.  This particular afternoon the temperature reached 113, and I can't deal with that kind of heat.  The next morning I woke up raring to finish up, but it was a little too early to be playing with power tools.  So instead I did a little reorganization and was able to fit my corded drill, angle grinder and multi-tool onto my second shelves.

I also moved one of my tool carts, so that I have one on each side of my main workbench.

When a decent hour had arrived, I began working.  I started by switching out the long power strip from my office and attaching it to the second wall shelf.

Now that the power switch is there, the shelves are complete.  Now I can turn to making some racks for my bar and pipe clamps.  The first thing I did was trim the wood that made up the sides of my old shelves.  The parts I trimmed were originally rabbets that held the top and bottoms of the old shelves.

Then I trimmed the length of the sides.  The bar and pipe clamps are long, but not overly wide or tall, so I don't need the shelves to protrude from the wall that much.

Both the bar and pipe clamps are .75" thick, so I drew in 1" spaces for the clamps to lie in.   These pieces of wood should give me 6 spaces for clamps - which is the number of long bar clamps that I own.  I nailed a couple brad nails into the 2 boards to keep them temporarily together.

Next I used a fence on my drill press to drill 1" holes with a fostner bit.

Then I began cutting out the spaces on the bandsaw, but had a problem...

because of the size I couldn't cut them all out.

I brought it to my workbench to finish cutting with the jigsaw when I realized another problem.  There was a dado going through the middle of each board, and one of my spaces will cut right into that dado.

This will significantly weaken the sides of my shelf, so I cut some wood to fill up the dadoes and glued/clamped them in place.

Once dry, I trimmed and sanded the filler pieces.  

Then I finished cutting out the spaces...

...and then cleaned up the cuts with a drum sanding bit in my drill press.

Next I started assembling the rest of the shelf with my leftover wood.

Putting the whole thing together took so much less time than actually cutting out those spaces...

...but it was worth it.  With all the bar clamps on, it looks cool and does the job nicely.

So I cleared the other racks off the wall...

...and attached the new shelf.

Then I put the bar clamps on. well as a couple helmets.  I think I need to move the shelf down and over to the right a little.

After taking a little break, I took down the shelf and put it back up, this time a little lower and to the right.  Since this shelf is near where the table saw usually sits, I placed a tape measure and my tapering jig on the bottom shelf.

With still plenty of scrap wood, I made a second shelf, this time for my bar clamps.

This one is like the shelf for the bar clamps, except there are only spaces for the 4 pipe clamps I have.

I was happy to get rid of that other helmet shelf I made, but I feel as if these 2 clamp shelves are missing something...

...and it came to me as I was cleaning up.  Removing and disassembling the helmet shelf was nice, but it was where I kept all my spring clamps.  Now I don't have a place for them.

After thinking about it for a while I thought it would be great to attach some more pegboard to both clamp shelves, and then I'll have some place to put all these clamps.  So in the evening I went out and bought 2 more sheets of peg board...

...and a few more hooks for the peg board.

The next morning I started cutting the peg board to fit the 2 clamp shelves using my table saw.

I first started with my pipe clamp rack.

Once the peg board was on, I put back the pipe clamps and added the peg board hooks.

And I am able to fit all my plastic spring clamps on.

Then I put the peg board onto the bar clamp rack.

Then I put the bar clamps and hooks on.

I unfortunately couldn't fit as much as I wanted on this shelf, but it holds my small Bessey clamps and my 2 Irwin Quick Grip clamps.  Because I could only fit my clamps underneath the large bar clamps, I had to find a new home for my table saw's taper jig.

On the top of this shelf I removed my helmets and attached my metal spring clamps, and my 2 big screw clamps.

My helmets wound up on my old clamp rack...

...which now that I compare it to all the other shelves, I'm thinking I can add peg board to this one as well.  Behind all my small bar clamps are several other metal clamps I do not use because they're simply out of sight and not easily accessible.

So I removed all the clamps from both those shelves and took them off the wall.  The small shelf that holds my Kreg clamps will be discarded since I can actually fit them all on this shelf with a little rearranging.

Once the shelf was off I removed all the little pegs I made to hold the metal clamps.

And then I removed the french cleats from the back of the shelf.

In the image below, the shelf is seen upside-down and the board in the back is too large.  If I cover it with peg board I won't be able to put any pegs in it.

So I removed the board and replaced it with a smaller board.

Then I went out and bought my last sheet of peg board for hopefully the last time for a while. 

I cut 2 pieces of peg board - one to fill up the bottom area, and a small piece to fill up the top.  The small peg board strip is purely for aesthetics, since nothing can really fit up there with pegs.

Once the peg board was screwed to the shelf, I hung it up on the wall once more.

Then I put all the clamps back on.

I purposely put all the shorter clamps on the top rack so I had room to hang hooks on the pegs below.  The longer clamps are on the bottom rack and actually do not interfere with my wood cart or surface planer below them.

The only remaining shelf in my workshop is this smaller one which holds my planers, dust brush/pan and my shop blower.  I had hoped I could fit some of this stuff on my new shelves, but in actuality, this small shelf doesn't bother me.  But perhaps I can fit some leftover peg board on this shelf as well.

While I thought about it I hung my pencil holder and sharpener right next to the small shelf.

After a few minutes thinking about it I took everything off the shelf and revised the shelf to fit some peg board onto it.

Then I loaded it up.

All my planers still fit on nicely, plus I used some peg hooks to better display an antique auger I found a while back at an antiques mall.

The bottom holds my dust pan and brush like before, but I also added a hook to hang my pinchy pick up tool.

As I pondered if I was done, I saw I still had a good amount of leftover material, with one decent sized piece of peg board.

So I thought I'd make one more small shelf to hold my hand saws.  Aside from the trim saw and razor saw which are attached to one of my new shelves, all my other saws are just lying in a drawer.  I don't use all of these saws, but I use some of them and it might be nice to have easier access to them.

I did a little rearranging of the saws on my shelf...

...and laid out the ones I want to hang up on that sheet of peg board.

So, without going into too much detail I made one last wall shelf and hung it up.

Then I filled it up.

This shelf holds my hacksaw, razor saw and my double-sided pull saw (Ryoba saw)

And with that, all my new workshop shelves are done!

A few days after finishing all these shelves, I decided to make one more for the long power strip that wasn't attached to any other shelves.  As you can see below, at the time I put this up I didn't have any wood long enough, so it hung on 2 smaller shelves.

To make this new shelf I decided to use the wood from the helmet shelf I took down.  I cut the pieces to size on the table saw.  Because this shelf was so long I needed to use a roller stand behind my table saw.

Then I screwed the pieces together and even used the curved side pieces from the original helmet shelf.

I removed the power strip and the 2 small shelves from the wall.

Then I attached the new power strip shelf.

I plugged everything back in and placed some random stuff on top of the shelf for the moment.  No pegboard for this shelf.

And I think now my workshop renovations are complete!  FINALLY!


  1. Hey, there! I noticed some time ago you were working on custom helmet designs and such! Would you still consider doing more of that type of work (obviously for a commission). Please let me know if you're interested so I can share more details! Thank you!

    1. Thanks for your comment. I don't do many helmets or props of late. And I've been stiffed on commissions before, so I don't really do that either. But I appreciate you thinking of me.