New Air Tools and More Storage

Yesterday I picked up a used 23 gauge pin nailer. I also used a mini die grinder for the first time, which had been sitting on a shelf in the package. Both tools needed places to live, so I made spots on my air tool wall.

I stopped at Harbor Freight and bought 3 sizes of pins for the new nailer. I also had some unopened boxes of various brad nails sitting around. I took the opportunity to reorganize my bins and more than doubled capacity. Seemed like a good place to move all of the regular nails too.

I love when everything in the workshop has a home.

Weight Plate Storage

I made a weight plate rack probably 7 years ago and it held up reasonably well with limited use.

Through the pandemic, I’ve been using my garage gym a lot and the rack was starting to fall apart. The design had two main problems:

  1. The screws (I didn’t know about wood glue back then) couldn’t support the load of plates leaning and falling against the uprights.
  2. The narrow base meant the plates could easily roll off when bumped.

So I took a bunch of measurements, looked at my scrap plywood, and modeled a new rack in SketchUp. My goals were to make construction simple, not spend any money, add spots for the kettlebell plates, and save space. Here’s what I came up with.

Originally it was one wide rack, but I ended up making it in two sections since my scrap plywood wasn’t long enough. This made assembly easier and gives me the option of storing half of the plates in a different location.

I cut all of the plywood, used wood glue and a nail gun for assembly, and sanded all of the edges. I gave it some spray paint and number stencils. I had everything I needed in my workshop so I didn’t spend a dime.

I tested with the heavier plates and quickly realized I’d failed to plan for the plates tipping to the sides; they don’t stay upright without some kind of vertical support. Also with the lightweight plywood construction, the whole thing could move depending on how many other plates are in use. Back to the drawing board. I didn’t want to throw away all my work, so I came up with a way to use 2x4s from the previous rack.

I cut slots in the 2×4 to create stable vertical supports. I only needed a single screw in each one. Then I added another piece of 2×4 across the back, double screwed to each support, to link all four together, which improved the strength a lot. Each half rack was also screwed to the wall. It works well now.

While I was at it, I removed the Plasti Dip and colored paint from the small metal plates, which had been peeling for years. Blakleen was a huge save in this process, even though it was still a mess and a lot of work. Then I primed and painted them black. They look really good, so it was worth it.

Mat Storage on a Garage Wall

I’ve slowly been continuing with my garage gym clean-up and reorganization. Originally I was going to get rid of the extra stall mats because I’m not going to park on top of them and I have a much thinner mat that rolls up and easily stores in a corner. As I was looking at the back wall I got an idea to store these two pieces of mat against the wall, so I can quickly pull them down for workouts.


The mats are 3/4 inch and very rigid, so they stand pretty well on their own. I wasn’t going to risk them falling back on a vehicle though, so they needed a seat belt.


On each side I drilled in to a stud and screwed in an eye bolt. Then I could hook in a ratchet strap, tighten it, and the mats will never fall over.


I love when an easy solution works.

DIY Organizer for Barbell Accessories

These accessories for my barbells were laying on the floor or on a shelf (now full of other things). I built this organizer out of a bunch of scrap wood so everything has a place to go, which is out of the way.

Custom Dumbbell Storage

I’ve been cleaning up and reorganizing my gym to make room for a second vehicle in the garage. Floor space has become a premium resource, so I built a little rack so these small dumbbells have a place to go. Even better, it uses up what normally would be wasted space under a shelf.


Revisiting My Resistor Organization

My supply of resistors (and diodes) has grown over the last year. The previous solution worked well, although the screw tops were a pain. I’d been doubling up some containers if the values were close enough, but had run out of cylinders, so starting chucking parts into the box.



It went to Jo-Ann Fabrics again and was planning to buy another set of the cylinders, but they were either out of stock or don’t carry them anymore. So I found some organizers made for thread which don’t have adjustable compartments like a lot of these things. That was important because I don’t want the parts jumping compartments. The size looked good for the length of the resistors too, even if they had to be angled to fit. The cardboard label cards will make it easy to shuffle things around, compared to sticker labels, if I get a new resistor value.

I think it’s a nice improvement and will save time when I go digging for a resistor. I’m sure I can find a use for the cylinder organizer in my workshop, maybe for small screws.

Clamp Storage Racks

After organizing my hand tools, I wanted to continue with the same ideas to organize the clamps I’ve acquired. Everything should have a place to go with first order retrievability being key. Here are all of the clamps laid out (I actually got some more and replaced the pipes in the 2 on the left) before I started building anything.

As you can see, I’ve acquired a lot of clamps in a short period of time. Almost all of these were bought at estate sales, which I’ve found is a great way to build out a workshop for the first time. Once I could see everything I started looking at different ideas on Google Images and YouTube. Woodworkers love their clamps and there is no shortage of clamp rack designs out there.

The first rack I wanted to build was for all of the F-style bar clamps. I measured various parts of my clamps and scribbled some sketches.


Then I mocked up a rough prototype on a scrap of 2×4.


I felt good about the design, so I moved over to some 1/2″ plywood. I cut a piece to 48″ by 2 5/8″. Then I drew a line 1 9/64″ from the long edge and marked every 1 5/16″. Let me explain some of those weird measurements. Maybe you can read from the prototype, but I wanted the slots to be 9/32″ wide since the widest bar on any of the clamps was about 1/4″. Drawing the long line at 1 9/64″ came from a 1″ gap from the edge and half of the 9/32″ hole. I wanted about 1″ between each slot, but it was quicker to mark every 1 5/16″ because I had almost 40 marks to make. This also give me a little fraction of extra space between clamps. It probably makes more sense when you see how I drilled the holes.


Then I drew lines to the edges of each hole, stood it up on the table saw, and cut out each slot.

You’ll notice the end of the slots aren’t rounded anymore. This is because I worked it across the blade after cutting to the second side of each hole. I took it to the router table and did a quick rounding of each slot’s opening so it will funnel the clamp in.

Most of this designs for this type of clamp use slots like this. Some people store these clamps with the bar at the back of the rack though and the pads facing out towards you. I decided on the opposite with the bars facing out because it makes it easier to grab a clamp.

I did do something I hadn’t seen by mounting this piece with a 1 5/8″ gap between it and other piece of plywood screwed to the wall. This allows the clamps to hang over the edge instead of having the top pad of each clamp sitting on top of the wood. Each clamp is a lot more secure like this and shouldn’t accidentally pop off. You can see this better in the video at the end.

The second rack I built was for miscellaneous clamps. There isn’t much to explain about this. For the C clamps I cut a bunch of 1″ inch holes and then sliced down the middle on the table saw. By the way, get a set of Forstner bits if you don’t have them; they work infinitely better than spade bits.

The 3rd rack would be for the wider bar clamps and pipe clamps. It was built similar to the first rack, but I wanted the bars/pipes along the wall because they’re heavy and would have more support this way. The holes I drilled for these slots were with a 1 1/4″ Forstner bit and 2.5″ from one hole center to the next. This little sketch shows I wanted the edge of the hole to be an inch from the back and each slot would be 3 inches deep. I left the rounded back side of each slot since it’ll mostly be used for pipe clamps. I once again used the router table on the slot openings and finished it off on the spindle sander since everything was a bit rougher with the thicker 3/4″ plywood and wider slots.

It’s hard to get a good picture since this is basically a hallway area, but here’s the finished project.


Check out the video below for a walk through of how it all ended up.

Quickie: 09/30/2008 10:27:01pm

My 500GB RAID array was used only for my iTunes library (music, tv shows, and movies) and has been dead for a few weeks. Dreading getting all of my music back somehow, but really missing it. Tuning the TV on my desk to Music Choice doesn’t cut it.