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Read part 2 here and read part 3 here.

The pegboards hanging system was, and still is, one of the most common shop organizing platforms out there. It is a versatile system that is easy to organize and reorganize, and it comes with lots of hanging hook options that can accommodate almost every tool with a decent amount of success. It is not an attractive looking system, and some of the nickel plated steel hooks will move on you, wobble or even detach if you use them very often. But nevertheless, for occasional use, or as an economic way to hang your tools in the garage or in front of your bench the pegboard is a winner.  

The pegboard system had a long term relationship with the DIY world. It appears in DIY tv shows in magazines and in books. But because it is perceived as an inexpensive jack-of-all-trades solution, it has never gained gravitas among those who see themselves as serious woodworkers. Thus many of us try to disassociate ourselves from it. Instead of a polka dotted brown boards with a bunch of rattling tools that dwindle from, we dream of making a state of the art dedicated tool cabinet. A beautiful tool cabinets is for sure the hallmark of an accomplished woodworker, since it allows your tool to nest in dedicated cradles, surrounded and protected by wood, rather than caged by steel hoops or hooks. But what if you already have a pegboard cabinet or just a plain old pegboard that is screwed to the wall, and can’t carve out the time to build a tour de force tool cabinet? Many of us who love to do woodworking have a limited amount of time to spend in the shop. And if your shop time is a rare commodity (such as in my case) you probably prefer spending every minute on building furniture projects. 

So, is there a way to improve the generic pegboard and make it a decent, maybe not pretty, but a functional and very practical home for our high end hand tools? I believe that this is achievable and I intend to write about it in the next few blog entries. 

The custom built tool hangers that I will show can be incorporated onto other tool hanging and storage systems too, such as plywood and french cleats boards and even the classic tool cabinet. 

My pegboard cabinet

A few years ago I was given a second hand pegboard cabinet. The small and simple, yet strongly built cabinet set in our garage until this summer, when I had some spare time to hang it and organize some of my tools on and in it. I debated what tools should be inside and what on the door front. Since I was not happy with the way my chisels were hung (until now I have had them being suspended from a magnetic bar which proved to be unsafe and unstable way) I decided that the first pegboard improvement would be a chisel rack.  

Chisel rack

A good chisel rack should hold the chisels secured while allowing you to easily identify, withdraw and deposit them back on the rack once you are done using them. The rack that I build was made of a long and narrow ledge that was supported by two brackets at each end. I drilled a series of counterbored and through holes through the ledge, and then using the bandsaw, I sawed a slot towards each hole from the edge (these slots can also be cut on the table saw). 

After building the rack I concluded that the distance between each hole was too small. It is better to give the chisels more space in between, as it will reduce the chances of a chisel’s sharp tip from coming in touch with a neighboring chisel when you drop it back in place.

To hang the chisel one needs to slide the tool’s neck through the slot and then let the tool drop into the dedicated counterbored hole that accommodate its bolster and ferrule. 

The design of each hole + slot duo should be done with the tenant chisel in mind. Since I have chisels of different make and shape, I had to measure them and determined the individual dimension for the slot, the diameter of the through hole and the counterbore hole for each one of them.

You want the slot to be a bit wider than the neck of the chisel’s blade (if the neck of you chisel resemble a cone – make a slot that equals the diameter at the middle of the cone).  In most cases the trough hole should match the width of the hole (drawing A) and the counterbore hole should be a bit wider than the ferrule [though sometimes the through hole needs to be wider than the slot (drawing A1)]. You can also decide whether to have the shoulder of the chisel’s handle rest on the ledge (drawing B), or let the ferrule rest on the bottom of the counterbore hole (drawing C ). I have a feeling that enabling the former is the better choice. 

Next time I will talk about the different ways we can hang the rack on the pegboard and the last minute design modification that I was compelled to do. Read part 2 here and read part 3 here.


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