I wanted to hang my most-used tools on the wall just over my workbench/desk.
Pegboard might seem like the obvious choice, but I’ve never really liked it: The hole grid dictates positions that never seem quite right, and there’s always some tool that just doesn’t work with the standard pegboard hardware. Also, that hardware can be surprisingly expensive once you get everything you need (and the extra parts you think you’ll need but never use).
At the other end of the spectrum live craftsmen who create a custom holder for each tool, complete with six coats of varnish and an elaborate french-cleat mount system. I don’t live there. Not even in the same town.
Instead, I just wanted a simple plywood board to host any random screws, nails, cup hooks, or screw eyes that do the job. Whenever the mood strikes me, I want to be able to just hang something up, without having to go find some weird hardware or make a custom fixture. I don’t want to think about it; I just want it done.
Today, in the intro to woodshop class, I spotted a 2’x4’x3/8″ plywood sheet just perfect for the job. No blue tag, so it became mine. This was my first woodworking project at AMT. I finished it in about 45 minutes this afternoon.
I wanted to stiffen it and separate it from the wall in case I drive one of those cup hooks a bit too deep. I bought two 1×2 strips at the home center and made a simple frame. It’s glued and screwed to the tool board with wood glue and #8 wood screws. I have no photos of the exciting build process, since Hugh only suggested the contest after I had it done. (He gets the laptop if I win, btw. I really don’t need two.)
The only power tools I used were the chop saw and two drills: One to drill pilot holes and the other to drive screws. Sure speeds things up. This is the kind of project that could be done at home, but it’s just so much nicer to work on a proper bench with enough clamps to hand, the extra drill, etc.
Back at my workshop/office, I discovered I no longer have a stud finder. Must’ve given that away in my
most recent purge of extraneous stuff. I borrowed a magnet from the fridge and hung it from a piece of string… which actually seemed to work better than the old stud finder. Two 3″ #8 screws hold my
board up. It seems very solid, but as I add things it might get heavy, so I’m thinking about adding a couple more. I drilled clearance holes in my board for the mounting screws, so the threads only bite into the wall studs. This way the screws can cinch the board up snug to the wall.
As you can see, I only have a few things hung so far, all with 3/4″ #6 wood screws. It took me about two minutes to do that much; I just drove the screws straight into the plywood without even bothering to drill pilot holes. The caliper is a good example of a tool that would not be convenient to hang on a pegboard, yet two screws do the job nicely on my tool board.
I still have a big mess to clean up, but I already like my tool board better than any I’ve used before. It feels nice to undercomplicate something for a change.