Louvre Rack Solutions

In the previous shed, I used a set of wall-mounted containers to sort and store consumables. I will be looking to recommission that system, but want to extend the arrangement, picking up on some of the point-of-sale systems in hardware stores.

Bulky items are easy enough to find in the standard containers, but when you are looking to find a particular item visually (rather than by description), it is good to have a system that showcases the items clearly, so you can distinguish one item from another.

I found an interesting version at Total Tools, called Visi-pak, from an Australian company, Fischer Plastics. These are clear-fronted containers, that can either rotate to open and access the screws, or the whole container can be removed from the holder to be taken to the job.


The system hangs on standard louvre racks, and rather than the plastic versions available, for only a little more, I chose a metal version instead. Over years, plastic systems sag. This may not be apparent initially, but in time they no longer site evenly. This may not be applicable to plastic louvre systems, but for the sake of $5, why bother finding out?


I’m also debating how best to store my spanners, pliers, vice grips etc. I used a shadowboard previously, and that may still be the best option. A tool cabinet would be nice, but they are horrendously priced.


The other option (and this is looking a lot more promising), is a peg board, such as this 3 panel example. Rather than spending $500, this is around $60, including a bunch of pegs.


Storage solutions

I have been looking for additional storage for a while, and came across the Kobalt cabinets in Masters.

Despite being an in-house brand, they seemed pretty good on a number of fronts. Doors were heavy, cupboard depth was generous, and they looked good (and without fake boilerplate).

Still, I ummed and ahhed a bit, and decided to measure the available space, and sleep on it- at $300 for a full cabinet and $170 for a wall mounted one, I wanted to think about it more.

On the way home, stopped for petrol from a Woolworths station, and got a voucher on the receipt for 15% off at Masters. Then, while having a look online, discovered they were now on special- $169 and $149. Hoping they would still have stock, and that I would be able to use the discount voucher as well, I headed on down, and sure enough, got the cabinets I wanted at a really good price.

While doing the very straight-forward assembly, I discovered something else- solid design, and a well thought out assembly method, with understandable instructions.

Screws were preinserted in holes, ready for the final tightening after inserting into the relevant keyhole. That made assembly particularly easy, and quick.

After a bit of a shed rearrangement, I now have this shed setup:


Now I just have to figure out what goes where!

As you can see, the bar fridge got relocated as well, and the Walko workbench set up a bit better as well.


Feeding on ideas

Been having quite a few visitors through the shed in recent months – friends, family, work colleagues. One thing that seems to be a common feature of the visits are other’s opinions on what I should do with the shed layout, or products, and I do keep an open mind to these, as not only are they intended in good faith, they have regularly proved to be invaluable! And to be fair, I also actively seek them out – another set of eyes and source of ideas – many heads are better than one!

And it isn’t always actual suggestions – just the act of showing people around has a habit of highlighting things to me that need addressing, or I can see a better way.

Had Gordon Heggie around (of Triton fame), all rugged up against the cold as he drove his convertible with the roof down on a cold night 😉 and we were talking about storage (among other things, such as the TW7 😉 ). It encouraged me to relook at the storage (specifically the shelving), and I came up with the development of an idea. I still had shelves and brackets of the green metal bookcases, but no uprights. In Masters, I found some standard vertical posts with the typical slots cut. Got a couple hoping they would work, and sure enough, the brackets fitted (with a little manual encouragement).

These got fitted to the shed wall near the lathes, and that shelving now gets to carry the chucks, jaws, and other accessories. They are much closer to the lathes, and it frees up the other shelving unit for something else. I could fit a double bay of shelves, but want to keep the wall clear so I can store the range of chisels.



So now I have a fair few empty shelves around the workshop. That will certainly make sorting out some of my tools etc much easier! Lots still in their storage boxes on the mezzanine floor, but I am regularly bringing down a box and (re)discovering what is inside, while looking for a new home.

Slowly getting there. Happy about the shelving – it has worked out really well.

Storage Sunday

The second part of the weekend effort was focused on creating the timber storage area.  This is the final piece of the storage jigsaw, and (once the mezzanine is completed) it means everything can start to migrate to its permanent home.

Oh, well not quite – there is the not-insubstantial issue of storage within the workshop, but that is (kind of) a different matter.

The timber store is a big deal though – a dedicated storage area for everything from the smallest through to the longest, and the largest pieces.  It is 6m long, 1.5m wide, totaling 9m2 of timber storage.  Certainly not the biggest I’ve seen – Chris Vesper’s and Lazy Larry’s both still put it to shame, but that is ok – I wasn’t looking to create the biggest, or the best, just something that suits my needs.

It has plenty of length, so long supplies will not be an issue, and sheet goods will have plenty of area to be laid out for ease of access.

The materials for the store came from the original 3×3 shed that was taken down at the start of the workshop project.  After slicing and dicing, (and with a bit of fudging), it has worked out pretty well.

Photo 16-02-2014 18 37 21Alongside is a perfect little area for sheet steel etc – some of the leftover sheets from the workshop build.  I was originally going to make the front out of the remainder of the steel from the workshop, but in the end the convenience of cutting the original front wall in half, and retaining the door (already fitted) won the day.

Inside, you can get an idea of what I mean about storage.

Photo 16-02-2014 18 37 32I am not sure how the store will go in bad weather – specifically leaks, and any water that may come under the walls.  Things will have to be stored up off the floor (which is normal anyway), and on wood racks.  I will have to go out there the next decent rain and find the main leaks to patch.  Won’t be much – nail hole here, leaking joint there.

In the back corner, you can see the external GPO fitted to the back corner of the workshop for the air compressor (which will also go in here).  Even the pallet jack has found a home.

I am very pleased how it has worked out. Probably won’t do much with the floor – perhaps some pavers that I have spare.  I might do the same as I have in the other shed, but it is not a priority at this stage.

Now just have to get the mezzanine completed (I’ve already started moving things up there – couldn’t wait!)

Running total now:

Workshop: 50m2
Mezzanine storage: 21m2
Timber Store: 9m2
Total: 80m2

That’ll do
(for the time being!)

Storage Saturday

Take one Kapex, one air compressor and one framing gun, and quick as a flash, the floor was done in the back storage shed. (Shed#2 as mentioned recently)

This one is not for shed stuff, but for various household items that otherwise clog up garages, or workshops.

Also gave the Gorilla Gripper a run, carrying the sheets in for the floor.  That is one superb workshop accessory – I’m still surprised it isn’t readily available (in Australia).   I was using it to carry some other sheet goods around as well, and I can really see how the “General Purpose” one (0-21mm) would also be useful if you were slinging tin or aluminium about (or lifting thin sheets of ply etc)  Irrespective, the contractor’s was excellent – and I am going to be reminded of that every time I pick up a sheet.

Finally, after I cannot remember how long, I was finally able to empty the camping gear out of the trailer, and store it in its final home.  And the Xmas decos can make their way from the garage.  Things are finally coming together.

The Unpack

It was not much of a start to be honest, it was only one box unpacked, but it is a start never-the-less.

The next challenge is certainly looming: just where to put everything!  Not that these are troublesome issues per say, solving them is part and parcel of getting the workshop into an ever improving functional condition.

The first box was the easiest – saving challenges for another day I suppose!  Reason it was the easiest?  Full of MagSwitch featherboards, fences and hooks.  Finding storage for them is pretty straightforward – find the nearest steel beam to where you’ll need to use the item, and lock it on.  If only all the tools were that easy!

Having plenty of floor area is not the only thing needed for a good shed – having storage is as important.  To save as much floor real estate as possible, I will be looking as much as possible to wall mounted cabinets – getting them up off the floor, and above any infeed and outfeed areas of the machines.

Something along these lines.  Especially the one with check-plate! Watch this space – it is a long journey!

K070038 K7165 51003

Festool Storage

Some more of the products demonstrated at the Press event at Festool included storage solutions.  The first, and very readily associated with Festool are the Systainers.  They have received an upgrade from a 4 point attachment system (front and rear, to a single point for operation, called the T-Loc.  The rear of the Systainer engages along the length with the Systainer below it, but the only locking mechanism is the one central point at the front.


The system has partial compatibility with the older Systainers- they can connect to the bottom of the new ones, but not to the top.  There is also no version of the T-Loc systainers for the larger tools – specifically the BS 105 belt sander, which comes in a systainer twice the width of a normal one.

There are some distinct advantages to the new systainer locking system – the ability to couple and uncouple the stack with a single twist of the lock.  That is good, but even better is the ability to open a systainer without first having to remove the stack that is on top.

Accessing into the stack

In the background, you can see another advantage of the new systainers – an optional handle that can be attached to the front as an alternate carry position.  The same slots where the handle attaches can instead be used for identification cards to show what is inside the systainer – no more of the labels stuck to the sides and top that fall off over time.

Carry Handle

While looking at traditional storage, this was the rather cool tool carry each attendee of the Media Event was given

Protool Tool Carry

The top edges have a heavy bar supporting either side, and a metal handle screwed to the top, that can pivot out of the way when required.

Rear of Carry

Lots of heavy-duty storage pockets on the outside, front and back

Inside Cavity

Lots of storage inside too – this is a cool tool carry. Even the storage box has been put to good use – is now a doll hospital bed my daughter is using!

While dealing with storage, there is also the mobile Compact-Workstation that attaches to the top of the Cleantex (Festool Vac), such as the CT36. This provides a very compact storage – taking up the same footprint as the vac itself.  It will still attach if the boom arm is fitted (so I was told anyway).


It provides a stack of storage options, trays, tool storage for those ready-to-use, and can still fit a systainer on top of the vac.

Hand Sanding Block

Even the arguably strangest tool in the Festool stable, the hand plane block with dust extraction has a home, and also happens to act as a bit of a lid on top of the unit.

Yes - I want one

Finally, while still on the storage bandwagon, this wasn’t introduced as part of the morning, but I can’t help but like the inter connectivity and tidiness of the systainer solution.

Festool Socket Set


A Blade Wall for the Shed

Although it is not a blade wall by the normal definition, I needed somewhere to store the various tablesaw blades that became homeless once the doors of the cupboard were removed.  I’ve come up with a very basic, functional way of storing the blades, using wood strips and dowels.  This means the blades are stored in the optimum orientation (vertically) and easily accessed.  The dowel holes have been drilled at a slight angle to ensure the blades don’t have an opportunity to walk off their respective posts.

Blade Wall

Blade Wall

I’ve not really paid too much attention to the grouping, other than keeping brands together (and in order of rip, combo, crosscut).  My most-used blades are in the easiest to reach column – being the Flai blades, and my favourite industrial Freud (NOT the red Freud blades though – see the “Battle of the Blades” for the specific blade comparisons).  Bottom right isn’t a blade fwiw, it is actually one of the Triton sanding disks, for turning the tablesaw into a disk sander.

One location (bottom left) doesn’t fit a blade, but that’s ok too – it stores all the arbor washers, and in future the stabilising disks (when I finally get around to sourcing some).  With the open design of the blade wall, I can still store other items behind it (in this case, still-packaged Triton blades, a couple of chain blades, steel cutting blades.  The dado blades still don’t have a final home, but at this stage they are in the top of the tool chest seen here, so still close-to-hand.  They haven’t featured much on the site because I am still to come across a decent dado blade set.  Every set I’ve tried so far have had serious shortcomings (to the point that I would have returned them for a refund if I’d been a customer).  So none have managed to get a Stu’s Shed recommendation.  Hopefully that actually means something.  After 3 1/2 years and approaching 1 million words, it is still an uphill battle to demonstrate the site credibility.

Room to Move

Starting to make real progress on getting the shed in order, particularly after the replacement of the old cupboards with the repurposed entertainment unit, but also slowly getting the place back to being shipshape after the overall shed upgrade a couple of years or so ago (nothing happens quickly around here!)

I still can’t work out a good (as opposed to a compromised) location for about 4 benchtop tools – the scrollsaw, steel cutter, spindle sander and belt & disk sander. To continue to make room, some more items have lost their standing to the point they can no longer occupy space in the main shed, and are shifting to storage.

This includes a tool chest as well as the Jet 14″ bandsaw (having been upstaged by the 17″ Carbatec bandsaw now in its spot).  I originally did keep the Jet in the workshop to be a second bandsaw, fitted with a finer blade, but have found it is not getting sufficient use to justify its ongoing presence.


There is nothing wrong with this bandsaw mind, I am still a definite fan. I have no plans to sell it either – keep it in hopes that one day I might have a shed big enough for both, or that I can clean up the lower shed enough that the tools moved out there can be used when needed, and not just stored.

A lot of rubbish (and items now determined to be rubbish) have also been removed, including some of those plastic tool boxes.  The molded plastic boxes may look ok for presenting the items for sale, but tend to be pretty useless in keeping the tool afterwards.  There are some exceptions to this generalisation though.  The systainer system that Festool have bought into is one example, and I am quite impressed with the Dremel Multi-Max box as well.  Most others however, make better landfill (although hopefully are recyclable!)  Either way, they are a waste of space, especially in a space-challenged shop.

Off to storage

Tomorrow they will get shifted the final few metres, but other than that, I doubt much else will happen on a day forecast for 40C.  Something else (as seen in the background) is likely to see more work tomorrow!  Just had a thought – hope I never get a split in the pool on the shed side – that would produce quite a torrent of water where it would NOT be welcome!

Still need to do shed insulating for days such as is expected.  The refrigerated air con unit is a bit of a disappointment – it was free, but also appears that it does not work – I suspect it has lost its gas.  At the moment it only acts as a somewhat ineffective fan.  Given there is no warranty etc, I now have to find out how and where to get it checked, and hopefully fixed without it being too expensive. (Any suggestions? Someone willing to do the job onsite would be preferable!)

Storing Router Bits

Decided to keep tackling the router bit storage issue, and altugh it is rough and ready, the functionality is already showing that I’m on the right path.

Firstly I ran some lengths of Tassie Oak through the thicknesser to get each of the pieces a uniform thickness, then through the tablesaw to get each piece sized to match the existing holders that were part of the original Triton display cabinet (these used to be displayed in various retail outlets). (A slot was also cut along each length using the tablesaw which will engage the lip of each shelf in tha cabinet).

Next a 13mm hole was drilled at one end (partial thickness), using the drillpress fence and flip-stops to get consistent hole placement.  I took a countersink to take the edge off the hole, then started mixing and matching the router bits to get similar types together.  The original ideal of one bit per holder quickly went out the window as there would be no possible way of fitting all the bits in otherwise.  Still plan (at some stage) to tidy the holders up, but it will likely be one of those things that fall in the “functional is good enough” brackets.  I am definitely happy that the CMT router bit storage is getting retired.  It was very frustrating because the bits were way too hard to get in and out.  Either the holder would pop out with the router bit, or you ran the danger of slipping when pulling the bit up and having it slide the length of a finger.  I didn’t sustain any serious cuts over the time I had it, but only because I was particularly wary of it.  It was said to be a 100 bit storage tray, but that only counts if every bit is a simple straight cutter.

Router Bit Cabinet

This isn’t my full collection of router bits, but what I have left out are specific sets of bits – Whiteside Dovetail Set for Incra, Hingecrafter set, a Rabbeting bit w bearing set, and some spare Triton bits.

Sum total: 118 bits (to date).  88 bits in the cabinet (I think) – a couple are slightly hidden, and after finishing, I found one more still mounted in the router! Doh!

The original cabinet could only fit 55, so grouping bits together made a lot of sense.

The lowest 2 rows are the original Triton display blocks – the yellow labels described the bit specifications.  They may get retired as the cabinet capacity continues to need increasing.

Irrespective of the nostalgic reasons behind this cabinet, I’m also finding it to be quite an interesting way to store/display router bits.  The original perspex front isn’t practical as it was designed (given the original cabinet is storage only, not for ready-access), so that will be one of the things I will investigate next – using the front as a shield for the bits, without loosing the access.  Not sure if some of the bits in the cabinet are not too high either (being somewhat bigger than anything Triton originally had on offer!)

It is one of my fundamental concepts for the shed, and many have heard it before.  The real tool is the router bit – the router is only there to turn the bit/present the bit to the timber.  When looking at investing in the router as a tool, the amount of money spent on the router will, over time, be significantly outweighed by the amount spent on router bits, so investing in a decent router is only a small part of the cost.  At the end of the day, a router bit is only a high-speed chisel/plane blade after all.

Of course, you can get cheap bits, but cheap bits give a cheap result, and don’t last to boot.  I do have some somewhere – didn’t even remember to count them in my earlier tally (not that they count anyway!)  They get used occasionally – when I want to rout aluminium.  Can’t be bothered wasting a good bit on that job.

In the collection above are bits from Carbatec (1), Triton (these two are probably the cheapest bits I now have – comparatively), Linbide, Carb-i-tool, CMT, Whiteside.  Most are Tungsten Carbide tipped (TCT), a few are solid carbide.  The cheapest bit is around $35, the most expensive over $500. You can buy an entire set of router bits for $35.  You get what you pay for.

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