Podcast - Adam Savage Project

Shop Storage Schemes – 6/30/2015

Adam, Norm, and Will discuss Adam’s new tool storage strategy for his shop, and promise a spoilercast for Seveneves, Neal Stephenson’s latest novel.

Comments (51)

51 thoughts on “Shop Storage Schemes – 6/30/2015

  1. Maybe it’s just me, but Adam seems even more animated than usual, after a weekend at the shop. I bet you could describe “The Annual Adam Excitement Cycle” based on the podcasts – there’s super hyper, almost speedtalking excited Adam in the month(s) before comicon with plenty of shoptime, there’s tired, but really excited about a holiday Adam after Mythbusters tour etc.

    And about that poster – do you know when it will be available to existing members? 🙂

    Favorite bit of today’s podcast: When Will mentions Adam’s big rack

  2. My copy of Seveneves arrived yesterday! Can’t wait, but leaving for 4 weeks of backpacking in 18 days (I don’t read that fast) and it doesn’t seem like the best book weight-wise :p

  3. Shadowboards are an excellent way to do things in a place shared workspace, we used them and the cut foam when building aircraft, because if you leave a tool somewhere in an aircraft, it may not be a aircraft for long. Having to card into the draws and it opening only to the tool you called for is great the first time and increasingly annoying from then on.

    My shop at home is a mess of nooks and pots and blocks of wood full of holes and some aluminium draws from an experimental aircraft.

  4. I’m curious – when you mentioned painting the screwdriver zones red for flat bladed ones and blue for Philips screwdrivers, is that because you were possibly influenced by Sears Craftsman paint schemes for their screwdrivers?

  5. Glimmer That’s the stuff I got for my draws, could not remember the name, white underneath black on top.

  6. Glimmer This is a great system! Adam should definitely check out. Izzy Swan has a great video on this product!

  7. “The Big U” is actually my favorite NS, and for me, they go downhill (very slowly) from there. But then, I like ’em cheesy. I’m 3/4 of the way through Seveneves. I blew through the first “part”, then kinda stalled.

  8. I’m getting to where Adam is with tool racks. I have couple of carts loaded up with the tools needed for whatever car I’m working on, kit boxes with specialty tools that ride underneath on the carts and moveable work space on top.

    When I go to the track, I only take the tools needed to repair the car.

    If I can’t repair it with the tools I have then it’s a major problem and the car goes on the trailer and we’re done. I leave everything else at the shop.

    Adam, you would most likely change a engine rather than rebuild it at the track.

  9. I found when you have a small personal shop where floor space is key one of the biggest issues to space was bench mounted tools (sanders, planers etc.). I made a rolling cabinet that allows you to cut the space in half to help conserve as much available floor space as possible. It allows you to mount a tool to the top and bottom of a mid height shelf and access either when needed. There is a threaded rod that runs through the centre of two lazy susan bearings that allows you to spin the shelf 360 degrees and 4 lag bolts that hold the shelf in place when you need to operate the tool.

  10. A hot wire foam cutter is also super easy and cheap to make. I picked up 100′ of Nichrome wire on Amazon for $5 and power it with a wall-wart I had lying around.

    Just don’t breathe the fumes…

  11. I read Seveneves a couple of weeks ago…wow. It’s not my favourite, but probably my second favourite Neal Stephenson book. Snowcrash used to be my top book of his, but Anathem supplanted it. I would love to go and live in a Math, and give up everything to just study sciences as my life….but that’s besides the point. 🙂 Anyways, now that I have read Seveneves, it is now my second fav Stephenson book. So my top Stephenson books are now:

    1) Anathem

    2) Seveneves

    3) Snowcrash

    I met him at The Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in 2000 in Toronto, and told him that he had saved my mom’s life. He described symptoms of a stroke that one of his characters was having in his collaboration novel Interface. This led to me reading up on strokes while I was reading the book. A year or two later, my mom had a stroke, and my dad just though she was drunk or something, but I knew that aphasia, which is what happened to the character in Interface. I was eventually able to convince my parents to take my mom to the clinic, which led to going to the hospital, and eventually my mom having major bypass surgery, which kept her in the hospital for 3 months….but it saved her life, and I thanked him, got a bit choked up, and then embarrassed, and fled.

  12. Man, I am obsessed with workshop organizing, but am so terrible at it. I would love another Shop Tour video. We are building a new home and I am just day dreaming about my new working area. I don’t own a table saw yet (I use a ridged tile saw when in a bind…with a saw blade, what do you think i am), but I am looking forward to building a multi use cart like posted.

  13. I’m very excited to see the cart and organization results. Shop tours and organization could be an entire section on Tested. Do you think it would be possible to film a tour of Mark Fuller’s shop Adam described? Thanks as always.

  14. my father was a semi truck mechanic and he had a HUGE tool box that he made himself. my mother wrote an article about it years ago it was published in the GO west magazine in august 1983 edition. i believe that Adam would love the tool box as a whole because he was big into first order retrieve ability. The part i thought that you would like Adam is that inside his tool box he used pogo springs to organize his wrenches. One side for metric and one side SAE. He could always tell if something was missing.

  15. I was terrified for the first part of this podcast that there were going to be spoilers for Seveneves. I’ve only just started the third part. Thanks for not being finished, Norm.

  16. In the late 90’s, my girlfriend was an audio engineer for an audiobook publisher in Michigan… I met some of the people who they used for voice talent and heard a lot of stories… That shit is arduous. I thought when I first met her that getting into reading would be fun but was quickly disproved of that notion.

    I also remember when her boss asked me if they needed to look seriously at MP3 compression and digital distribution… I forget exactly what I said, but it amounted to “not yet, but eventually for sure.” It happened much, much quicker than I had imagined, as it usually does.

  17. ugh, i so sympathise with the problem of having one’s tools ordered so they are on hand, but not with a system so tailor-made to this very assortment of items that adding or replacing things upsets it completely.

    i wrestled with this on a much smaller scale – toolbox size, because my hand tools all fit inside a box – and it seems that whenever you optimise one aspect, you do so at the expense of the other. i ended up going half-way on retrievability optimisation:

    first, tools that are flat, should be stored lying flat, and should never bang into anything, got a flat drawer underneath the main box space. they are subdivided with slotted intersecting strips of thin plywood, so it’s easy and cheap to remodel. one drawer is rasps and files, one drawer is chisels. the drawers can be removed completely, so when i need these kinds of tools, i just put them next to where i’m working, as an impromptu tool tray.

    secondly, the main box space only got custom fittings for specific tools that i wanted to not jumble around: saws, draw knife, hammer, mallet, hatchet. the rest i left empty to allow natural entropy/item flexibility.

    it works well, but it’s not perfect. (what is?) i am torn between staying light enough on tools that it remains portable, and expanding enough that i need a dedicated storage solution and can repurpose the toolbox for carrying a subset of tools around.

  18. For reference, UHMW actually stands for Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene. Sorry to nitpick, but in case someone is trying to get their hands on some, I thought it might be good to have the right name.

    Materials scientist to the rescue!

  19. I don’t understand how Adam can say that UHMW is easy to machine. I use it at work all the time and it is TERRIBLE to machine. It gums up and is very difficult to work with. Mind you, I use UHMW that is specifically designed to be ESD (electro-static discharge) safe, so perhaps this specification makes it more difficult to use. Anyone have a similar experience with UHMW? can you comment?

  20. My main gripe is stuff that is in racks, gathers dust (especially when woodworking) and you have to get that off (an air hose will just move the problem). So I like drawers. However they should not be more than one layer deep and fully extendible. If you loose tools then.. you have too many tools 🙂

    Only problem is that when you run out of drawers you are in danger of a system breakdown resulting in a pile-up system that soon inhabits every horizontal surface…

  21. For organising screwdrivers while being able to see the tips: how about storing them the most logical way (handle side up, slotted into holes) and putting a mirror (flat or angled) underneath to see the tips?

  22. I have been playing catch up with the Still Untitled podcasts and I was wondering if there was a plan to ever provide show notes with links to some of the resources and content mentioned?

  23. I love this. It would really be worth it to get a camera on the organization bits in his shop and have Adam explain what his thinking is. It would amazing to get a clear idea on the best way to organize your tools, especially for us who have smaller shops and want to optimize our space. I hope Adam and the guys would do this.

  24. At this point, I’m assuming the “We’ll put a link to ‘x’ in the description…” is a running joke 🙂

  25. For your future driver rack: Inset the head of a fastener that the driver is sized for in the end of the handle! That way you can mount them with the handle out and know exactly what it’s for.

  26. That is a genius way to conserve space & mount tools. How often do you find the need to flip the tool while in process on a projectd and how big of a deal is it? How have you decided to group the tool pairs?

  27. I got “The Martian” due to their spoiler cast. Loved it. Guess Ill have to check out Seveneves.

  28. One of my favorite audio books is Richard Feynman’s “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman.”

  29. Seveneaves was purchased yesterday. Accidentally read the first chapter for 10 min in the book shop… Yet another perfect recommendation for you guys. Looking forward to the spoiler cast.

  30. My wife (the Mechanical Engineer) was listening from across the room at the 10:00 (ish) mark when Adam brought up the water engineering shop that impressed him and she said “So he “Five S’d his shop.” Which was followed by pausing the video and a great discussion about the organization technique you’re describing… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5S_(methodology)

  31. You guys were discussing using foam in drawers to organize small objects, and that reminded me of what I built for my father. He needed a drawer for router bits in his work trailer, so I came up with a fairly simple solution. I purchased a length of half inch steel pipe, and a piece of brake line that was quarter inch. Using a die grinder, I beveled the inside of the pipes, and used a mallet to punch holes through some foam floor mats (the ones that fit together like a puzzle). I did this in a grid pattern, and then cut the sheets of foam to fit in the drawers. Super easy, and quick to boot! I do recommend adhering two pieces of foam together, as one just doesn’t support the bits very well.

  32. I’m very excited to see the cart and organization results. Shop tours and organization could be an entire section on Tested. Do you think it would be possible to film a tour of Mark Fuller’s shop Adam described? Thanks as always.

    I think you can get a glimpse of it in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtNa3liBHWw

  33. Maybe it’s just me, but Adam seems even more animated than usual, after a weekend at the shop. I bet you could describe “The Annual Adam Excitement Cycle” based on the podcasts – there’s super hyper, almost speedtalking excited Adam in the month(s) before comicon with plenty of shoptime, there’s tired, but really excited about a holiday Adam after Mythbusters tour etc.


  34. +1 for a video on the new tool organizer; I’m a member at Nova Labs (http://nova-labs.org/) and we’re constantly looking for solutions for tool management in a shared workspace.

    A solution we’re using for benchtop power tools is to buy a standard single kitchen cabinet, top it with some plywood, bolt the tool to it (drill press, grinder, sander, etc) and put it on locking casters. Cheap, effective, and some built-in storage (though it needs organization).

  35. I am truly amazed that no one has mentioned the tool chest of H.O. Studley. It is with out question one of the most prolific works of art that is functional tool storage… He was a Piano Maker from Massachusetts , and his tool chest was even in the Smithsonian for quite a time. A former Smithsonian Curator teamed up with a excellent photographer and a small publisher out of Kentucky called Lost Art Press , and they – with the permission of the current owner who remains unknown, published a book. That book :

    That book is truly all encompassing on the subject of this tool chest, the workbench and the vises on the bench. Not to mention the book itself was done as a work of art and a labor of deep respect and appreciation for the significance of the chest as a artifact of history.

    I have no affiliation with the publisher, the writer or any one else involved with this book.

    Please check it out though. It is incredible ” steam punk era ” tool porn.

  36. I came here looking for the same thing. I thought I’ve heard them mention show notes before.

  37. screwdriver idea, on a rack, pivot a wooden bar with holes cut through so the ends are exposed. The smaller the screwdrivers the less the weight the thinner the bar could be. Pivot it so you can knock it one way to look at the ends and match screws or fittings then the other way to pull out the right one for the job. A total 90 degree arch (45 each way from upright) might be enough without interfering with the sets above and below, or the danger of them over balancing and toppling out. Then paint the wooden bars the right color to head type plan. It all sounds so easy in my mind..

  38. yes, i just got seveneves, and will be listening to it in my last few days of crunching towards comic-con!

    oh, and i do LOVE having casters on all the tables in my shop. just wish there was a practical way to put wheels on the pool table. oh well, i guess its staying put for now.

    once i finish setting up the current rendition of my shop configuration, i’ll havta get adam down here to see.

  39. I’m in my 30’s. I’ve been working in kitchens/restaurants for more then half my life. This whole thought of organization is a huge one for people who I work with. When you have 15 cooks, 4 chefs, and an entire wait staff working in a restaurant that serves 800-1200 people a day you need to keep everything in an order. Everything must have a place so when an item is needed everyone knows exactly where it is going to be on a shelf and if it is not in that place most likely there will be a hole or and empty shelf.

    I’ve had chef’s that keep their spice racks in alphabetical order before. That was a pain but you always know where to put your hands when reaching for mustard seed.

  40. I’m so happy you guys read/are reading Seveneves. I’m currently reading it and all I could think was, “If they liked ‘The Martian’ they are going to love ‘Seveneves.'” Neal Stephenson is one of my favorite sci-fi authors along with William Gibson. I don’t know if this one could be made into a movie like The Martian, but it would be spectacular!

    Regarding wall storage and drawer storage – you must check out Kaizen Foam from FastCap.

    Paul Akers, their CEO, is an amazing spokesperson for making Lean Manufacturing fun and easy to implement. Check out his Lean videos on FastCaps’s website – http://www.fastcap.com/estore/pc/viewContent.asp?idpage=88

  41. Bosch sells a contractor table saw and miter saw that come on stands with wheels that collapse. I highly recommend purchasing them for your work shop. They also have a killer 12″ compound sliding miter saw that works well for a shop that requires it to be mounted on a table permanently against a wall. Let me know if you would like any additional information on the shelf I created.

  42. I think magnetic tool bars are the best way to store flat wrenches and screw drivers. Allows you to easily sort size and type. I also like them for holding the smaller tools that I use most (my tape measure is missing from the bottom row). Relatively cheap and very convenient. Especially in a smaller shop right by your main bench.

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