Fresh take on wall-hung tool panels

A while back I showed how I hang custom tool panels on French cleats, a great way to keep your hand tools safe yet close at hand. Recently I found a cool alternative to my approach, using multiple French cleats this time for an even more versatile system.

It’s all part of an article I just turned in to Woodpeckers Inc., a top-notch U.S. hand-tool manufacturer. They’ll be adding how-to articles to upcoming catalogs as another way to serve their customers, and mine will be one of their first.

The article came about because a lot of people don’t realize that the CNC-cut tool boards that come with their Woodpeckers squares and straightedges can be hung on the wall to store and display these handsome tools. Small tabs keep the tools safely in their pockets, making it just as easy to take a tool down as it is to put it away.

Turns out the time-tested French cleat is a great way to hang those tool boards. In fact, Woodpeckers suggested I hang several rows of cleats, giving users even more ways to arrange their tool boards. What’s funny is that the technique Woodpeckers is using to cradle their tools in pockets is called French fitting, so we have the Gauls to thank for that technique too.

The cleat array holds my custom tool panels just as well, letting you store and display the rest of your most-used hand tools in an even smaller space. Here are a few highlights. Look for the full article in an upcoming catalog or email from Woodpeckers.

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Here are the lovely Woodpeckers tool boards hung on the wall. One of my custom tool panels is in the background, holding the rest of the hand tools I use most.
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Once you have the first French cleat screwed into your wall studs, a spacer makes it easy to hang the rest.
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I attached small cleats to the tool boards, making it easy to arrange them into a pleasing array.
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Here’s how to make a custom chisel rack, one of many holders I made for my custom tool panel. Lay all your chisels across a block and mark their widths on the wood. Then just dado out the waste areas as shown.
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Glue another strip over the top, and your rack is done.
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To match the rounded look of my big panel, I rounded all of the corners and edges on the tool holders too. Note the square piece of MDF I’m using to support the piece while I rout its end grain.
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The finished panel and holders look and work pretty slick. This approach works for tool accessories also, letting you organize bits, blades and wrenches near their respective machines.
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