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Thread: What ways do you store tools when your shop is smaller than your tool inventory

  1. #1
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    What ways do you store tools when your shop is smaller than your tool inventory

    I always love seeing shops where every tool has a perfect place & I envy you. But I want to see what you guys do that don't have enough room for all your tools. While it's a great problem to have, it can be a real PITA. So lets see just how crafty you guys have been at making room for everything.
    What you listen to is your business....what you hear is ours.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    SF East Bay, CA
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    Our house has a formal dining room. I cannot remember the last time I ate at that table. I suggested to my wife that I could use that space as an annex to the shop. This idea did not work for me, but you might have better luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Courtenay BC Canada
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    Wheels..

    I have an edge sander that blocks unloading the Dust collector.. Wheels make it possible.. Since its not an all the time thing, I push the sander out of the way ..

    Another thing you can do is think .. what is the longest length I process .. in my place, its 7 feet. If a project needs more than 7 feet, I try not to build it ..

    The bench is a natural out-feed for the table saw..

    Its amazing what you can get done if the shop is laid out for a certain length of material..

  4. #4
    Things used daily, within reach.
    Things used frequently, within a few steps.
    Things used specifically (but less frequently), in cabinets, up high, down low.
    Things used specifically (for infrequent applications), out in the shed.
    Things used rarely, down the highway. I do "it" another way, I don't have space for such things; I need that space for wood ;-).
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    'over here' - Ireland
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    Even if you are fairly well organised (which i'm not) here's also the little matter of remembering where the damn thing you need right now actually is....

    ian

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    N.E. Ohio
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    Unlike most others, I hang onto the plastic cases the tools come in and store most of my tools in them.
    Always the "scrounger", I also repurpose as much material as I possibly can.
    The old plastic shutters on the house that I replaced last year became light weight shelves & the shelf brackets came from Menards (free after rebate). Ugly as sin - but - dirt cheap and functional.

    The old builders special interior doors I replaced became a 7' by 32" rolling storage cabinet - total cost, 4 casters from Great Lakes @ $5.00 each (a clearance special GL was running) and a couple bucks in some screws. It has three good sized compartments that hold a lot of "stuff".
    "Stuff" can be anything from seldom used tools - such as a door knob hole jig to miscellaneous hardware - such as shelf pins, etc.
    The "stuff" is stored in small backpacks - another free after rebate item from Menards, the original plastic cases and/or plastic totes ($6.00 at WalMart).
    I built it to the same height as the table saw so it can be rolled over to the saw and used as an extra long outfeed table is needed.

    Speaking of those plastic totes - they come in different colors so I can color code what's inside - blue for one thing - such as door hardware, gold for others - such as electrical - switches, wire connectors, multi meter. I (actually my wife) number the totes - such as #1 - Blue - then record in a master inventory book what's inside.

    Benchtop tools, planer. sander.drill press, etc. are mounted on flip top roll around.
    Table saw and jointer have mobile bases.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Northern Michigan
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    3,139
    When I sold my 148x48 shop I moved to a 48x36 and a 24 x36 garage. I am using the garage right now as the bigger building needs everthing. I have shaper/planer/jointer/planer in the garage all the time and rotate other tools as I need them out of the bigger building with the tractor. Its a pain in the tush but this too will pass.

    One thing about not having the space is it is forcing me to be more space efficient. I miss being able to have several jobs going at one time however and really look forward to when I can move to the big building.

    Larry

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Kapolei Hawaii
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    Everything in my "shop" (garage) is on wheels. I made a stand, for my belt/disc sander, scroll saw and benchtop 10" bandsaw. I put the 3 tools on plywood that is the same size. I made the bottom of the stand with cutouts big enough to hold 2 tools, and the top with a larger area with the same sized cutout, so you can move the tools from the bottom to the top "working" level. You can only put 3 tools where 2 fit, but it's a little space savings. And you get a semi-worktable. All of my small parts seem to migrate there.

  9. #9
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    One thing for me that has been a big help is my clamp storage. I clamp them to the rafters of the loft overhead. That gave me the most available space on the walls. Only had one fall off in the last 7 years. Of course my head was right under it. Fortunately they're only about 4 inches over head height.
    What you listen to is your business....what you hear is ours.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Boston
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    1,221
    My 20x20 I Have my TS in the middle of the shop and I made a assembly/outfeed table with storage underneath. I made a cabinet underneath the extension table for the router and under the TAS to the right. The table is 4x7 so there's a lot of storage under it. On one side where I sand etc I made cubby holes with doors for the ROS, Biscuit Joiner, Jigsaw. I also ran power so I have plugs on all sides so I don't have to come off the wall.


    Suggest doing a search here for shop pictures for some ideas.
    Don

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    4,239
    My shop space is less than 1/2 of a two car garage. I grouped my TS/router table/workbench as a main work center/outfeed table that helps make efficient use of the space. Here's my floor plan:

    shoplayout1.jpg

    (the clutter on the other side is college stuff from two of my kids who are home for the summer. )
    Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    League City, Texas
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    I am a member on another forum which I can't mention here, but I have an online workshop tour there. If you look up dbhost shop tour you should be able to find it. Anyway if you get there, you can see I "stack" tools up the wall using heavy duty shelving standards and brackets, then plywood mount boards. I store hand tools in clamshell cabinets that offer multiple layers of storage in a small footprint, my air compressor lives under a stand I built to lift my dust collector intake even with my separator can top, and I presently have ongoing projects to build multi drawer storage cabinets to go under every major machine, such as under the lowest anticipated height of the drill press table since I have a floor model drill press, under my table saw and extension wing, and I am even going to totally rebuild my workbench utilizing a cabinet / drawer base to maximize storage. My handheld power tools are stashed away in their cases, or in ballistics nylon tool bags that I have added to help orgainze things, and they now rest on a long shelf above my clamshell cabinet on the left, or simply on top of the right side clamshell cabinet. I have a long way to go, but if it all works out as designed, I will be able to eventually move my entire shop, INCLUDING the long extension wing table saw, AND a 12x36 lathe etc... into a 12x16 shed. My lovely bride keeps hinting that even though she wants me to be in the garage, she is going to eventually want to park a car in there when we replace our old Saturn... That concept does NOT motivate me to want to save up for that Lincoln she wants!
    Trying to follow the example of the master...

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