Four tips to help you organize your gear

Motorized duck decoys, graphite composite fly rods, snake proof boots, camo jumpsuits, pop up hunting blinds; how great is that?

The challenge, of course, is finding a convenient place to store all of it. Here’s one solution: Utilize the space in your garage by completing the three space saving storage projects shown here. Each item is strong, functional, versatile and most important easy to build. All of the materials are readily available at home centers, hardware stores and lumberyards.


You know you tossed them in the garage after trout season, but now they’re nowhere to be found. Has your bait bucket gone missing since your kids used it as a habitat for their pet frog? Maybe your car has forfeited its parking space to an ever expanding pile of loose hunting and fishing gear. You aren’t alone.

Keep equipment readily accessible and neatly organized with this five shelf storage unit. Built primarily out of 3/4 inch plywood and pine one by fours, the unit takes up barely 5 square feet of floor space, yet it offers more than 25 square feet of shelf storage and 16 square feet of hanging storage on its two pegboard “wings.” The top and bottom shelves are screwed in place, but the other shelves can be repositioned or removed to accommodate gear of all sizes.

Step by Step

Cut the vertical legs and shelf blocks out of the one by fours. The quickest, most accurate way to cut these parts is with a power miter saw. Fasten the shelf blocks to the legs with glue and 11/2 inch long (4d) finishing nails. Separate the blocks with a spacer made from a piece of one by four and a thin sheet of cardboard, that will create a perfect size slot for the adjustable shelves. Cut the five plywood shelves to size. Glue and screw the upper shelf to the top of the four legs. Slide the bottom shelf into the lowest set of slots.

Cut a one by two to 48 inches in length and fasten it to the front edge of the bottom shelf using glue and 1 5/8 inch long trim head screws. The one by two will stiffen the plywood and keep the shelf from sagging.

Secure the bottom shelf to each leg with two 1 5/8 inch screws. Glue and screw one by twos to the front edge of the remaining shelves, including the top shelf.

Screw two 8 foot long one by fours across the rear of the unit to support the pegboard panels. Hold the upper one by four support flush with the top shelf . Position the lower support 48 inches down from the top; then screw it to the legs.

Cut the pegboard sheet into two 24 by 48 inch panels. Hold each panel against the one by four supports and secure it with 1 inch screws.

Install the remaining shelves by sliding them into the slots. Fasten the shelving unit to the wall to prevent it from toppling over. If it’s a wood framed wall, secure the unit by driving two 2 inch screws through the upper pegboard support and into the wall studs. For a concrete wall, drill holes with a masonry bit, insert lead anchors into the holes and drive screws through the support and into the anchors.

2. FEW PIECES OF OUTDOOR GEAR ARE more difficult to store than a kayak or a canoe, which is why they’re usually left outside under tarps. Here we’ll show you how to hang a kayak from a garage ceiling using a series of ropes and pulleys. The “trapeze” is constructed from two lengths of rope, which pass through five steel pulleys. The pulleys hang from screw hooks placed in a one by four cleat that’s screwed to ceiling joists.

The kayak rests in a separate cradle made from one by fours and two by threes. Attached to the cradle are two rope slings that hook onto S hooks connected to the pulleys. This trapeze will support a 50 pound, 9 foot kayak. To support a heavier, longer kayak or canoe, you’ll have to use thicker rope, heaviergauge screw hooks and eyes and larger pulleys.

Step by Step

Cut the boards for the kayak cradle. Using 1 5/8 inch drywall screws, attach the one by fours to the two by three braces. The distance between the braces should equal a third of the overall length of the kayak. Space the one by fours about 2 feet apart Bore 1/2 inch diameter holes 3 inches from both ends of each brace. Pass a 12 foot length of rope through the holes and tie a loop on each end to form a sling.

Fasten the one by four cleat to the ceiling with 3 inch screws; drive the screws into joists, spacing them 12 to 16 inches apart. Using the illustration above as a guide, mark the locations of all the screw eyes and screw hooks on the one by four cleat. Bore 5/32 inch diameter pilot holes, then install the two screw eyes and three screw hooks. Tie the first rope to the screw eye positioned at the left end of the cleat.

Slide two single pulleys onto the rope. Let the first pulley hang down; place the second pulley onto the first screw hook.

Repeat this procedure for installing the second rope: tie it to the second screw eye, slide on two pulleys, then hook the second pulley onto the second screw hook. Pull both ropes through the double pulley and place the pulley onto the last screw hook.

Slip an S hook onto the pulleys hanging down from each rope. Use locking pliers to pinch the hooks closed, so they won’t slip off the pulleys.

Set the kayak upside down on the cradle, then grab the ends of one rope sling and slip one looped end through the other. Hook the rope sling onto the S hook. Attach the other sling in a similar manner.

Finally, fasten a metal rope cleat to the wall nearest to the back end of the trapeze. Slowly pull down on both ropes to raise the kayak. If the trapeze is tilted, pull on one rope to adjust the kayak to a level position. Once you get the kayak into the position you desire, securely tie off the ropes to the metal wall cleat.

3. GAIN VALUABLE STORAGE space without sacrificing a single square foot of floor space by building this ceiling mounted, two tier shelving unit. It features two spacious 3 by 4 foot plywood shelves suspended by four threaded rods. The metal rods are threaded into tee nuts placed in 2 two by four cleats that are screwed to the ceiling.

Each shelf rests on four wing nuts, which make the shelves fully adjustable. Simply turn the wing nuts to raise or lower the shelf. Add a third shelf if you’re storing shorter items.

It’s very important to fasten both 4 foot long two by four cleats to the ceiling joists, not just to the ceiling’s drywall surface. If necessary, cut the cleats as long as needed to span across three ceiling joists.

Step by Step

Cut the 2 two by four cleats to length. For a more finished appearance, trim the ends of the cleats to 45 degrees, as shown in the illustration (next page). Drill 7/16 inch diameter through holes 9 inches from each end of both cleats. Tap a 3/8 inch tee nut into each hole. Be sure to position the tee nuts on the top surface of the cleats.

Fasten the cleats to the ceiling with 3 inch screws; space the cleats 381/2 inches apart. Before driving in the screws, drill a 5/32 inch diameter pilot hole through the cleat, then bore a 1/4 inch deep recess with a 5/8 inch diameter spade bit. (This ensures the 3 inch screws will go at least 1 inch into the ceiling joists.) Use a cordless drill to screw the cleats to the joists.

Measure 11/2 inches from one end of each threaded rod and affix a piece of tape. Carefully thread the rods into the tee nut holes bored in the two by four cleats. Stop turning each rod when its tape “flag” makes contact with the cleat.

4. THIS BUILD IT YOURSELF WORKBENCH is specifically designed to give you a place to reload shells, clean firearms, tie flies, refinish gun stocks, repair equipment and store a wide assortment of tools, supplies and accessories.

If you’re planning to build the 30 inch deep workbench in the garage or backyard, be sure it will fit through the doorway to your house or basement. This is a relatively easy project to complete, but there is a logical sequence to follow to ensure the parts fit together properly.
Step by Step Build the Frame

Use a power miter saw to cut the two by fours for the bench legs and for the perimeter frame of the bench top. Fasten together 2 two by fours to form each leg using a cordless drill and 21/2 inch long drywall screws.

To ensure the screws go in easily and don’t split the wood drill 5/32 inch pilot holes first. Use the same size screws to join the assembled legs to the bench’s two by four frame.

From pine one by four stock, cut the five boards that form the supports for the lower supply shelf. Attach the one by fours to the inside of the legs with 1 5/8 inch drywall screws; position the supports 12 inches up from the floor.

Cut 2 two by four cross braces for the bench top. Use a pipe clamp to hold each brace in position, then secure it with two 21/2 inch screws driven into each end .Assemble the Top

Cut the 3/4 inch plywood top to size and set it down on the bench. Check to be sure it fits flush with the two by four frame.

Fasten down the plywood top with 2 inch screws. Measure and cut pine one by fives for the trim that goes around the bench top. If your local home center or lumberyard doesn’t carry one by fives, which measure 3/4 inch thick by 4 1/2 inches wide, use one by sixes. (If you like you can rip down the one by sixes to 41/2 inches, but it’s not necessary.) Fasten the pine trim to the bench’s two by four frame using carpenter’s glue and 1 5/8 inch drywall screws. Note that it’s important to allow the trim to protrude 1/4 inch above the plywood top in order to create a shallow recess for the replaceable hardboard (Masonite) work surface.

Cut the tempered hardboard panel to fit within the raised lip of the protruding one by five trim, then slide it onto the plywood top. The hardboard panel doesn’t get screwed or nailed down, making it easy to replace should it get badly stained or damaged.

Now, prepare to install the cast iron vise by first using a sabre saw to cut a 21/2 inch deep notch into the end of the workbench. Place the vise into the notch, making sure it fits flush with the bench top, then screw it to the bench as shown in the installation directions, which come with the vise.Mount the Pegboard


Once the pegboard is installed, slide the assembled workbench into place and push it up against the wall. The bottom edge of the pegboard will extend down 2 inches behind the bench’s backsplash, leaving a clean, neat joint. The double two by four legs and beefed up perimeter frame create a workbench that’s sturdy, substantial and amazingly strong. If you wish to make it immovable, secure it to the wall with lag screws driven through the rear legs.

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