Pegboard shelves

Basement, Blog, Home, Woodworking / Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Do you clean your stove, I mean like really, really clean your stove only to turn around ten minutes later and there’s food splattered on it and a splash of pasta sauce even though you didn’t make pasta sauce? That’s kind of how my whole life is when it comes to cleaning. I love the catharsis that comes with a good deep clean and purging of things not needed. However, that feeling and that clean never seems to last.

My basement shop is a small space, somewhere around 16 feet by 12 feet with a wall of shelves in it and all my large floor tools. It shrinks fast. Ellie has talked about knocking down one of the shelving units that makes up one of the walls so I could have more space, but I already feel like I took more than I deserve. For the time being, I’ll have to make due with the space I have.

You know what makes a workshop feel smaller than it is? Clutter. Piling scraps and tools and random bits not needed for any project on each of your surfaces because it is easier than putting it in its proper place makes the clutter. Plus, I’m probably going to need that tool for a step or a project coming up so why bother walking all the way across the shop and putting it on a shelf anyway?

I’m a messy guy, when I’m in my own space. When I live with people, I keep common areas clean of my stuff but my spaces, like my room and my desk and my workshop, are places of ordered chaos. Everything is strewn about somewhere and only a keen mind like mine can recall it’s exact location, no wait it’s in a different pile. Just give me a second, I think it’s over here? Where did it go? I could have sworn I just had it in my hand.

I’m trying to get better about this because no space is solely mine anymore. All my space is shared with Ellie and it’s not fair to make her live in filth if she doesn’t want to live in filth. So, more occasionally than would have been the case Pre-Ellie, I try to organize things for the both of our health.

pegboard wall old screwdriver setup

Which brings me to the project at hand. Over the summer I received $50 to spend at Sears out of the blue and I spent it on a set of screwdrivers and a jigsaw.  For the screwdrivers, I built a holder and attached it to the tool cubbies I built. It worked, but I really didn’t like how it turned out. I wanted something more recognizeable as screwdriver organization. More importantly, I wanted them to be stored with the rest of my tools up on my pegboard wall. 

There are pegboard accessories that hold things like screwdrivers, but give that I now had over twenty screwdrivers, I’d be spending a good chunk of cash just to hold screwdrivers and they would take up a fair amount of wall real estate (which is already fairly limited due to where I chose to hang the pegboard. I wanted a solution that allowed me to hold a lot of screwdrivers in a small space as well as utilize the existing pegboard system.

What I came up with is fairly simple and I only tried it because I thought it might work but also expected it to fail. It’s a shelf with a support piece on each side and holes for pegboard hooks to loop into it. I had cut down some plywood for another project I’m still trying to figure out but ultimately determined the plywood I cut wouldn’t work as I planned. I think the strips were six inches wide. I cut a length that would have enough space for all the screwdrivers. Then, I cut two 45 degree pieces and used the table saw to notch away a slot for the shelf piece to fit into. I slot using my jig saw. 

I actually ended up making two of these shelves because I learned as I went that I didn’t need to cut a matching slot on the shelf for a flush fit with the supports. The reason being is that the pegboard hooks sit far enough away from the wall that having a flush joint means the shelf will angle forward instead of immediately making contact with the pegboard. 

To figure out where the holes needed to go for the screwdrivers, I laid them out side-by-side and used a scrap piece of wood to make the spaces for each hole. I then transferred these marks to the shelf. I did this for both rows of screwdrivers. After that, I used my hand drill to cut holes at each mark. 

pegboard wall glue up detail

For the pegboard hooks, I tested using a scrap piece of wood roughly how far in a hole needed to be drilled so the shelf would sit nicely on it. Before I figured out that I needed to not make a flush joint with the shelf and the support, I thought I’d need to notch out a space in the back for the hook to sit in as well but it turned out to be wasted effort. One important thing to note, make sure you make the correct spacing for your holes to hold the pegboard hooks in. I just drilled them willy-nilly on the first shelf and it doesn’t quite sit right. The second shelf I held up to the pegboard and marked the precise location for the hooks to sit in.

The second shelf I made was going to be used for chisels and some scrapers I have. The holes needed weren’t as straight forward like they were for the screwdrivers which only needed two sized holes. Here, each one would be cut to a specific size and presumably each tool had its place. To do this I marked of the rough location and size of the tool hole needed. I then drilled out the corners of each slot and connected the corners using the jigsaw. My lines were sloppy and these holes are far from perfect, but they get the job done for now. I probably will attempt to remake this in the future with all this knowledge compiled. 

pegboard wall adding tools animation

The scrapers, being such odd shapes, needed a different type of hole. Instead of something where I drop the tool in, instead I needed to slide these in from the front. I drilled a stop hole using the ShopSmith drill press and then cut narrower lines leading to these. I made them narrower for entry so it’d be harder for the scrapers to slide out on their own. We’ll see how that works after much use. 

Everything got glued together and hung up on the wall only to be filled with tools. Since I was added these and rearranging some tools, I figured it was as good of a time as any to rearrange all the tools on my pegboard. Things are now a little more cohesive than haphazard. Part of me wants to outline the spaces for each tool so each tool has a home and part of me knows I’ll probably switch it up sometime in the attempt to do it better.

All in all, this was a nice easy and quick project to help me relax on a Sunday afternoon. It started as a proof of concept but now I’m trying to find more ways to hack the pegboard to hold a wider array of tools. What do you think? Could you implement this into your own pegboard?

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