Shop storage: Why I love open shelves

I’ve got nothing against the folks who build gorgeous tool cabinets. They definitely are inspiring, especially when loaded with a beautiful collection of handplanes, chisels and such. But I’m in that school of woodworkers who believes their shop is a tool. I want it to work well, but I also want to be done tinkering with it so I can start building stuff! Also, I think shop cabinets with doors are sort of like that TV armoire people used to have, the one with the fancy sliding doors that are always left open?

For most of my shop storage, I like good-old-fashioned shelves. Whether it’s an old bookcase, or just pine boards on simple brackets, open shelves can do it all, from holding lumber to hanging tools and clamps. They are dirt cheap, and they go up quick, letting you store stuff all the way up to the ceiling.

My new garage shop in Portland already had a few shelves hanging here and there. So I relocated those as needed, and added a couple more. Check out the pics for some of my favorite ways to use open shelves for storage.

Shelves can hold lumber and all sorts of supplies, using dead space high on the walls. Even cheap brackets like these will hold a ton of weight. You can also attach lights to them, and hang clamps on the edge.
You can saw and drill a low shelf to make it hold tools, like this combo square and screwdriver.



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