Using All Workshop Space

When I set out to tuck my workshop into an 8- by 12-foot shed, I knew I needed to plan to use all available space.

by Jim RuenFebruary 21, 2012
Photo by Jim Ruen
An 8-foot pipe mounted on wood blocks about 2 inches from the stud wall header will serve as a retainer and hinge point for four tool-storage panels.

When I set out to tuck my workshop into an 8- by 12-foot shed, I knew I needed to plan to use all available space. While filling the space between studs with insulation and covering it with a skin of plywood (or even Sheetrock would look great), I didn’t want to give up that space. 

As I looked at my options, I was struck by the roof rafter’s 24-inch centers. It occurred to me that they would provide ideal space for saws, squares and measuring devices, as well as clamps and other tools less than 2-inches thick.

I decided to hinge 1/2-inch 2- by 4-foot plywood panels to the rafters so they could be easily accessed at the workbench. The “ridge pole” in the shed is a 2×4 and would make a handy place to fasten the end of the panel with a release of some sort.

The seemingly simple thing to do would have been to use the appropriate type of hinge. However, another goal was to be able to remove the panels for rearranging tools as I wished. I opted for a simple retainer from which the panels could swing freely. Scrap-wood “stops” at the end of the panel would allow it to swing down but not off the bar.

For my retainer, I mounted a 1/2-inch copper pipe, left over from another project, about 2 inches from the point where the rafters met the wall’s top plate. I mounted it on 1/2-inch-thick wood blocks using conduit or pipe fasteners. This provided room for the 1/2-inch plywood to seat between the pipe and the rafters.

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