Category: SketchUp

I’ve had a project I’ve wanted to do for a long time to help out around the shop—to make an adjustable height table.  The adjustable height will be useful as an outfield table for my table saw or bandsaw, or to help maneuver equipment to and from the tailgate of my truck, or as an extension to my workbench.  I also wanted it to be super-heavy duty and to withstand several hundred pounds of weight.  The horizontal surfaces are constructed from laminated pine milled from 2×12’s and the legs are made from 3/4” birch plywood.  I used a normal automative jack to raise and lower the table, but I opted for a jack that had surfaces that would be good for attaching the jack permanently and also a socket to control the lift.  Making mechanical pieces from wood is tricky because wood is not very stable, it expands, contracts, twists, and warps.  To accommodate for this, the legs were made from high-quality plywood to resists changes in shape and dimension.  Also the legs are intentionally not extremely tight fitting to prevent possible binding when adjusting the height.  I slathered the legs with floor wax to reduce friction to help movement as well.  Overall, it works pretty well.  It has a lowered height of about 28” with a raised height of about 46”.  The table itself is very heavy, about 150 pounds and it should be able to carry a 500 pound payload with ease.

You can find the SketchUp drawing on GitHub.

I have a very small shop so wall space is at a premium.  I also highly value mobility and rearranging as my needs, tooling, and projects change.  Due to these factors, I’ve really enjoyed installing a French cleat system along one wall in my shop.  The benefits of French cleats are tangible.  They’re easy to make, cheap, infinitely configurable, and strong.  French cleats would warrant a post of their own!

In the constant fight for balancing the triple-point of organization, accessibility, and physical volume, I’ve modified ideas I’ve seen elsewhere to create a clamp rack that can hold 60 clamps and sit on three French cleats.  This clamp rack has three layers that each hold up to 20 clamps.  The first layer is 10” tall, the second layer is 20” tall, and the third layer is 30” tall.  This clamp rack works perfectly for bar and F-style clamps, but what really makes it excel is that it can hold those really deep ratchet clamps on the 10” and 20” layers due to the space between the outside and middle layer and the wall.  Traditional clamp racks that just rest along a wall are often designed only to hold bar and F-style clamps.

I was able to use up a lot of scrap material to build this clamp rack so my actual version differs slightly from the version I recommend you make in terms of material usage but I wanted to be a good steward of resources and knew the compromises I made would still be adequate for a shop project.  For instance, I used plywood for the 4” corner braces and the 2” wide vertical support braces in the back-middle of each section whereas lumber would have been a better choice due to glue bonding strength and solid wood is better to screw into.  However, use whatever material you want, my only guideline I suggest you definitely follow is don’t make the slotted pieces out of solid lumber!  Use plywood, otherwise you risk breaking off the fingers especially if the grain isn’t parallel to the slots (which if using dimensional lumber is almost guaranteed since the grain runs lengthwise).

The finished project is 39.75” wide, by 30” tall, by 11.25” deep.  I used four heavy duty hinges, two for each layer of the clamp rack.  Each hinge costs a little under $5.  The hinges easily support the weight of the rack loaded with clamps when fully opened.  The hinges are secured using 1.5” flat head screws.  Even though I don’t own 60 clamps (yet) this suits my need well for today without having to redo my clamp rack as my collection grows.

I have published the SketchUp plans on GitHub if you’d like to make one for yourself!