Accessibility Statement
Wall-Hung Hinged-Frames Storage System

A few years ago, when I built my wall-hung hand-tool cabinet, I milled and used double rows of French cleats to hang it from because of their enormous strength and load capacity (to save time, Z-Clips 00S1860 are available from Lee Valley). To get full benefit from them, I stretched their length to reach the next wall stud on either side of the tool cabinet, thus leaving free space for something else. And here is what this incredible something else is all about.


Wall-Hung Hinged-Frames Storage System

I first filled those side gaps with 3/4" thick plywood the same height as the tool cabinet, still using French cleats. Then I ripped a series of slats for stiles and rails out of 3/4" thick MDO (medium density overlaid) plywood scraps I had on hand.


3/4

3/4" thick plywood cut the same height as the tool cabinet.

As shown (left), using a few slats, I started by adding a partial frame directly onto the plywood as a spacer to establish uniform depth for a first layer of tools (part of my wrench collection already hung). I decided to use square hooks to hang the tools from, making sure everything stays within the depth of the frame, as demonstrated by the small plywood scrap I used as a gauge to drive the hooks in. Here, only such hooks or hangers are required.


Image left: Partial frame added directly onto plywood. Image right: Square hooks are used to hang tools.

Image left: Partial frame added directly onto plywood. Image right: Square hooks are used to hang tools.

Since pocket-hole joinery is quick and easy to use yet very strong, particularly when glue is added, I used this method for the entire project. Two holes are drilled closer together in narrow rails and further apart in the wider ones. I used wide rails for strength and narrow ones for short tools.


Narrow rails are for short tools, wide for strength.

Narrow rails are for short tools, wide for strength.

The next step consists of drilling holes into the rails, except for the upper one, unless you are tall enough to use them or the system is installed below eye level. Through-holes are best on narrow rails, while stopped ones are reserved for wider rails for longer tools. As shown in the right photo, a homemade L-shaped fence is handy to drill deep holes and through-holes perpendicular, as well as to neatly align the holes.


Image left: Drill stopped holes on wider rails. Image right: Using an L-shaped fence.

Image left: Drill stopped holes on wider rails. Image right: Using an L-shaped fence.

Using a clamp to even out the joints leaves both hands free to manipulate and drive the screws. The spacing between the rails depends on the length of the tools and accessories you will store in the system. Obviously, all the work occurs on the back side of the frames. By the way, I like to use (and reuse) cereal box plastic bags as liners (shown) to keep my work surface clean and free of glue.


Image left: Using a clamp to even out the joints. Image right: Cereal box plastic bags protect work surfaces.

Image left: Using a clamp to even out the joints. Image right: Cereal box plastic bags protect work surfaces.

Ordinary kitchen cabinet flat hinges are best and economical for this application (e.g., 99X0172B). The number of hinges is determined by the weight the frames will support; therefore, the first frame requires more (four here). The optional use of a hinge center punch (shown) makes adding screws easy and of course centered, and ensures hinges are not crooked.


Hinges are added.

Hinges are added.

To get a good idea of the available space and the tools and accessories I want to store within the frames, I fill them as I hang them. One of the main advantages of this system is that you can see through all layers to spot what you're looking for.


Tools within frames.

Tools within frames.

Because I hate working on a messy workbench, one habit of mine is to use an open drawer as a temporary work surface, as shown in the background holding my pocket-hole jig (for heavier work or tools, I temporarily add a leg). Drawers also make handy drop shelves for tools, accessories, project parts and plans.

If you take a closer look, you will notice I used five rails for this particular frame, mainly for shorter tools.


Frame in foreground; open drawer in background being used as a temporary work surface.

Frame in foreground; open drawer in background being used as a temporary work surface.

I'm still adding tools while mounting the frames to fill and maximize the real estate and visualize dedicated areas and rail spacing. The rails being staggered, most of the tools are easy to see. Another advantage of the see-through feature is that you can grab one or several frames at once to get directly to what you want.


Tools on staggered rails.

Tools on staggered rails.

For this last frame, I used six rails, three wide and three narrow, according to my planning. You may have noticed that no holes have been drilled in the rails within the screw and pocket areas; however, those areas are perfect locations to grab the frames without having to add pulls or handles.


Tools on completed rails.

Tools on completed rails.

Finally, as shown, each added frame is 1" narrower than the previous one to leave room for hinges. Even if I left a gap between the frames and the flanked tool cabinet, I took the trouble, as for any door, to bevel in the adjoining side so the inner edge won't rub or catch. My first swinging frame has four hinges, and I used three for the remaining frames because of the added rails and the weight they may carry. Using pocket-hole joinery allows me to easily add more rails later, as required, using only screws, since the frames are already strong enough.


Each added frame is 1" narrower than the previous one to leave room for hinges.

Each added frame is 1" narrower than the previous one to leave room for hinges.


As mentioned at the beginning, I had to stretch the French cleats on both sides of my tool cabinet, meaning I have room for another identical storage system to hang on the opposite side of the cabinet. Another advantage of this system is that it may be as tall as you want and as wide as your hinges and frames size can withstand. Eagle eyes may also have observed that I swapped the provided brass hinge screws for stronger steel screws, inside and out.

Happy and safe woodworking!

Serge Duclos started woodworking in 1972 after purchasing his first house. He soon found it was a way to relax from the stress related to his job as a human resources professional. Since retiring in 2004, Serge continues to enjoy his pastime and to update his bilingual woodworking blog http://atelierdubricoleur.wordpress.com with his projects, as well as his tips and techniques.


Cut List



Backboard

Parts

Number

Length

Width

Thickness

Material

Notes

Backboard

1

31 1/2"

16 1/2"

3/4"

Hardwood Plywood

Secured to wall studs

Stile

1

32"

1 3/4"

3/4"

Hardwood Plywood

Left overlap offset 1/4"

Rails

2

15"

3/4"

3/4"

Hardwood Plywood

Screwed to backboard


Further Frame

Parts

Number

Length

Width

Thickness

Material

Notes

Stiles

2

32"

1 3/4"

3/4"

Hardwood Plywood

 

Narrow Rails

2

12 3/8"

1 3/4"

3/4"

Hardwood Plywood

 

Wide Rails

2

12 3/8"

2 1/2"

3/4"

Hardwood Plywood

 


Middle Frame

Parts

Number

Length

Width

Thickness

Material

Notes

Stiles

2

32"

1 3/4"

3/4"

Hardwood Plywood

 

Narrow Rails

3

11 1/4"

1 1/2"

3/4"

Hardwood Plywood

 

Wide Rails

2

11 1/4"

2 1/2"

3/4"

Hardwood Plywood

 


Front Frame

Parts

Number

Length

Width

Thickness

Material

Notes

Stiles

2

32"

1 3/4"

3/4"

Hardwood Plywood

 

Narrow Rails

4

10"

1 1/2"

3/4"

Hardwood Plywood

 

Wide Rails

2

10"

2"

3/4"

Hardwood Plywood

 


Hardware / Others

Self-closing variable-overlay hinges 10 pairs with screws – 10 pairs with screws
Pocket Hole Screws (64) – 1 1/4" – Coarse thread
Drywall Screws (9) – 1 5/8"
Pocket Hole Jig
Wood Glue

Tools for This Project

25K6175 - Kreg 520 Pro Pocket-Hole Jig

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Kreg 520 Pro Pocket-Hole Jig

$135.00

02H1377 - Antique Brass Flush-Mount Self-Closing Hinge, Pair

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2 5/8" Self-Closing Standard Hinges

(Pair)

From: $5.90

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Spring-Loaded Punches

From: $11.90

76K0525 - 12" x 48" Cork Liner

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Cork Liner

$12.50

Both sizes of tool bar attached to a wall, with various garden tools clinging to them

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Magnetic Tool Bars for the Shop

From: $19.90

67K3111 - Drawstring Parts Organizer

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Drawstring Parts Organizer

$19.90

00S5601 - 1/2" Brass-Plated Square Hooks (100)

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Shouldered Square Hooks

From: $3.70

16J0362 - Bit Holders, 1/2" socket, pkg. of 6

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Bit Holders

(Pkg. of 6)

From: $5.50