Friday, November 19, 2010

Real Wood Beats Plywood, But Plywood Beats Pegboard

Well, at least nice birch plywood beats pegboard.

I have two of those metal shelving units (or are they carts?), the ubiquitous chromed ones, that I use for tool storage. The bottom shelves on each unit have pull-out trays, and the top two shelves are, well, shelves. A long time ago I cut pegboard liners for the shelves so the planes and other tools that lived there wouldn't be resting on the metal racks. I can't remember why I used pegboard, but it probably had something to do with having it on hand.

Anyway, it has worked fine, but has never really made me happy. Well, as part of the ongoing "get rid of stuff that doesn't fit/belong in my shop" offensive, I found a solution. I discovered some thin birch plywood that needed to earn its keep or hit the road. Well, I'm not a fan of plywood, but it does have its uses and clearly this stuff was more aesthetically pleasing than pegboard, so I made the switch.

Not hard at all, since each fitted piece of pegboard was used as a template for the new liner. Here are some shots of the upgrade.



Definitely an improvement in my eyes.

The bigger picture:

It's funny how a small change can have a major impact that seems out of proportion. In this case I think the change from pegboard to birch ply improves the whole corner of the shop. Cool!

The tools:

Not much to it really: Japanese style saw for cutting the thin plywood (using a very low angle helps minimize flex and chatter), hand drill for boring the oak lip peg holes (if you spin the drill counter-clockwise for a bit, it will get you started without tearing out the thin birch veneer, then switch to normal clockwise operation), and a rat-tail rasp for creating the clearance notches for the shelving unit's railings on the back of each shelf. In the background, you can see the old pegboard liner which I used to trace everything onto the plywood. You can also see how handy it is to have your sawbench and shavehorse the same height. This is especially true when working with full sheets of plywood.

The next pegboard to be removed will be the backing on my tool panels, which will be replaced by real wood. I already did the saw panel, which you can read about here and here, but it's time to finish the rest.


  1. Dan,

    Not too Shabby.

    I think I'd probably have to build a Wall unit to hold all of my Planes then attack a wing or two to it that moved like a door and add some of the chisels and small things or something.

    Then use the Shelves for smaller stuff, maybe parts bin for knobs, dowels things like that. I don't know lol

    Looks Great thou!


  2. Looks like some great shelves. I know the story of having to make a last minute switch in plans.

  3. Handi - Thanks! I've thought of a wall rack, but I like the ease of just sitting them down - might try one in the future.

    John - Thanks! Plans? What, you can plan stuff? That's crazy talk!


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