Cleaning Day and Tool Storage

Today was all about cleaning the shop.  I’m pretty good at always wiping down my tools and putting them away.  Sweeping up the shavings…not so much.  The shavings were close to knee deep, so something had to be done before starting a new project.

The day started off slow though.  It was cold in the shop!  I’m pretty sure I heard my little space heater swearing at me as I headed back to the house and waited for the shop to warm up.  A couple of hours sweeping, sorting offcuts and two large trash bags later the shop was back in order and ready for the next project.


A while back Bill had requested an overview of my tool storage.  I had almost forgot about it and thought today would be a good day to tackle that oversight.

My tool storage solutions are quite simple.  Racks, drawers, shelves and pegs.  The bulk of my tools are stored on two tool racks.  One rack hold the main inventory of my wood working arsenal.  The second rack holds the odds and ends that come into play now and then.  Screwdrivers, pliers and such.

The main rack has two shelves, one at the top and the other at the bottom.  I store  my bench planes here.  The rack also has horizontal slats that are spaced out.  I store tools here by simply sliding them into the created gap behind the slats.  The remainder of the tools are hung on pegs.  Everything is within easy reach and I can reconfigure the tools easily if the need arrises.  Fasteners and other small items are kept on/in a small wall hung cabinet.  Saws hang on pegs from the front of the bench and the from the wall.

I also installed a couple of drawers at the end of my bench as well as a shelf.  The shelf holds my sharpening equipment.  The drawers hold files, scrapers, rasps and drill bits.

I’ve read several articles about open tool storage, dust and rust.  But, after three years I can report that I have not had any issues.  I frequently wipe my tools with an oil soaked rag and hand tools create a minimum of dust.  Anyway, this system works for me and my small shop.  Easy access to everything.

Greg Merritt


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12 Responses to Cleaning Day and Tool Storage

  1. Bob Easton says:

    Dang, that’s cold! My shop also hovers around that same temperature, and the only work I’ve done lately is by moving the “Bench on Bench” into a warmer room and clamping it to a really wobbly table.

    It gets pretty humid here in the Northeast during the summer, but I have yet to have any rust problems. My tool storage is very open, similar to yours but without the pegboard. A simple wipe down ,,, and a habit of always emptying planes of shavings are my only rust prevention routines.

    Stay warm.

    • gman3555 says:

      It seems that we have been reduced to two seasons. Hot and humid then cold and dry. Here I have maybe two months out of the year that are comfortable to work in the shop. At least I can warm up the shop with a space heater. I have yet to install a solution to deal with the heat. But this spring may see the installation of a small air conditioner.

      Frequent wiping with an oily rag does wonders for keeping rust at bay.


  2. handguitar says:

    I like your setup! 18 fahrenheit, wow that is cold. I was moaning when it was 50 in my workshop a couple of weeks ago, but should consider myself lucky 🙂

    The occasional wipe with an oily rag definitely helps prevent rust. My tools get rusty though, no matter what I do. Actually its not really rust but more of a dark stain on the steel. I read somewhere that some people have something in their sweat that causes things to rust quicker. I think I’ve got that, whatever it is. It doesn’t really bother me though, since it has no effect on the use of the tool. I’ve got the same with oak turning black. My hands turn very black (and so does the wood) when working on oak. Some people don’t have too much of a problem with that, but others do.

    • gman3555 says:

      Thanks. Without the space heater I would be working in the house. So I guess you could say that the space heater is saving my marriage. LOL

      I have read several accounts that talk of body chemistry and reactions with oak as well as steel. It seams to be pretty common. My day job involves aluminum and steel. Several of the workers on the production line exhibit this type of reaction.


  3. billlattpa says:

    Man, and I thought it got cold in my garage! Right now it’s just about 40 and I refused to do anything til it warmed up. I like your “wall of tools” it’s a great way to keep everything visible and close at hand.

    • gman3555 says:

      The good thing about a small shop is that it heats up pretty fast. The little space heater brought the temp up to 65F within a couple of hours. So not to hateful.

      I told you my tool storage was exceedingly simple. Everything is within easy reach. Like most, I have dreams of a well organized cabinet that is always neat and tidy. Actually its more like a pipe dream. LOL I’m more than happy with my current setup.


  4. TIWilson says:

    Funny you should mention that about dust and rust. I live in a rust-inducing environment – constant high humidity and just in from the coast. But, I don’t really find rust in the areas where dust accumulates on my tools. It’s almost always where I’ve left sweaty hand prints.

  5. Alex A. says:

    I spent part of the weekend doing the same thing though I still have a long way to go.

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