February '20

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12 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2020 Storing Tools On a Tool Board If you're a tool junkie like me, the first 2020 New Year's resolution on your list is finding a better way to organize your tools. If you have the means, you can always buy that $5,000 race driver signature edi- tion three-stacker tool chest. A cheaper alternative is to put about $500 aside to build a tool board for your garage or shop. When you finish your tool board, you'll be able to find whatever tool you need at a glance, you'll know exactly which tools are missing and you'll have a tool orga- nizer with a funky old-fashioned look that complements your classic car connection. A tool board is much more than a piece of pegboard and some snap-in-place hooks. Pegboard tends to warp fairly easily. It natu- rally collects dirt and doesn't clean up well when it gets dirty. Plus, a heavy breaker bar, a large pipe wrench or a sledgehammer hung on peg- board can break the fiberboard or even bend the hooks. A pegboard looks nice the day it's first hung, but it usually doesn't look the same a year later. Tool boards are often seen in schools where mechanics learn their trade. McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas is nationally known as the only school that offers a bachelor's degree in Automotive Restoration Technology. McPherson has one of the nicest assortments of tool boards you'll ever see. The mechanics at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Stuttgart, Germany, also have tool boards in their shop. In fact, some of them are built like folding cabinets and roll on wheels! Bill Kroseberg teaches Automotive Tech- nology at Waupaca High School in Wau- paca, Wisconsin. He says a tool board is a big help in teaching students the impor- tance of putting tools back in their proper place after doing a job. "They also learn how to pick the proper tool," says Kroseberg. "And they get an idea of how many different tools there are." Standard 4-by-8 sheets of 1/2-inch ACX plywood are used to make a tool board. This type of plywood is a bit smoother on one side for a nice look. You'll want to stain it with an oil satin poly coating. Use of a molding to frame the edges of the tool board is optional. If you know the spacing of the studs in your shop, you can attach the stained ply- wood panels to the walls by driving 2-1/2- inch course drywall screws into studs. If you cannot find studs, wall anchors are a good idea. The tool board will be carrying a lot of weight and needs to be securely attached. If your garage or shop has wood or concrete walls, different attaching methods will be required. Check with a building supply store. If you are going to frame your tool board with molding, it can be attached with a good quality wood glue. You may want to use small finishing nails to make sure it is securely attached. Drill guide holes before nailing, as wood molding splits easily. Using a miter box to get frame-type corners is a nice touch if you're going for appearance. Once the wood paneling is prepped and mounted on the wall, the fun begins. Dozens of different methods can be used to build shelves and racks to hold dif- ferent tools on the board. Tools like box- end wrenches and C-clamps can simply be hung on nails. Small shelves can be made from lumber for other tools. A set including different size hole saws that attach to your drill can be purchased for $6 or $7. You can cut the proper-size holes in your shelves to hang screwdrivers, files, socket wrenches, pliers and other tools. Many tools sold today come in plastic cases that can be mounted directly to the tool board. Usually the plastic cases have key- hole slots on the back. Punches and chisels come in pocket pouches that you can mount directly to the tool board with screws. Tools such as open-end wrenches, socket extensions, ball-joint separators and pry bars can be attached to the tool board with store-bought spring clips. Hammers can be hung through holes drilled in a wood shelf. Socket wrenches can be attached to store-bought organizer bars that can then be attached to wooden shelves. The organizers usually have holes on one or both ends to slip over nails. On the other end, you can use a loop or bracket to hold the handle of the organizer bar. Planning the arrangement of tools on your tool board is important. If a school or business in your area uses a tool board, see if you can take photos. Then, spend some time reviewing how it's organized. Are all of the wrenches in one area? Are the tools used the most near the center of the board, with little-used tools near the top? Are the heaviest tools near the bottom (where they'll do the least damage if dropped)? Some tool boards—like those at McPherson College—have outlines of tools painted on them. They come in handy when a tool is missing. "The shop teacher can tell at a glance when a student forgot to put a tool back," says Kroseberg. "That's one thing we didn't do when we built our tool board and I regret that—it's a very nice touch." —John Gunnell 12 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2020 A tool board can hold a lot of tools, as well as chemicals and car care items. Opening Up the Custom Shop Toolbox

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