Wrench Tips – Tip #14: Put Your Studs to Work
Haven’t seen a wrench tip in a while? That’s mostly because moving my garage has meant no wrenching lately. No wrench = no tips. The new garage is tiny (but only 3 blocks from the beach), so cramming in all the crap means using every cubic inch.
The new garage is unfinished inside, as all garages should be, with open studs just begging to be put to work. Here’s how to turn unfinished walls into free storage space using only scrap materials:
First, grab a chunk of some smallish wood, jam it in next to a stud and draw a line. Do this twice (most wood has two ends)
Cut on that line. Personally, I prefer the Japanese-style pull saws. They’re small, very efficient, and cut really fast.
Now that you have two blocks of wood, drill two small holes through each of them. Exact location isn’t important, but be sure the two holes are on different grains of the wood.
Select some screws from your bucket of rusty screws that you’ve unscrewed from other projects and have been too cheap to throw away. Drywall screws work best, since they’re designed to go straght into your shitty unfinished garage studs without any pre-drilling.
Screw the block of wood to the stud. Those holes you drilled in the block should let the screw spin in the block while biting into the stud. Even if the screw threads bite into the block a bit, they should bite into the stud better than they do into the block. Anyway, in the end, the block should be pulled tight against the stud. Otherwise, you did something wrong.
Of course, if you’re more a nail kind of person, by all means, get a hammer and do it that way. Personally, I find nails to be Neanderthal technology. I expect these to be removed some day, and I like how much easier it is to unscrew than un-nail.
Screw both blocks in, preferably at aproximately the same height (I eyeballed it), and measure the distance between the studs.
Now, go find a suitable piece of scrap wood that’s not too much wider than the studs are deep, and cut it to length. Many of my shelves are cut from old pieces of a fence I knocked down 3 years ago. This one is made from a discarded attic door.
Grab two more screws from the rusty screw pile, and drive one through each side of the shelf, down into that wooden block.
Voila! Free space. The collection of oils, cleaners and solvents stored in this wall used to take up two crappy old bookshelves, and moving them took five big plastic storage bins. Now they take up zero floor space, and inventory control is instant.
Imagine all the wasted space behind a finished garage’s drywall. Just makes you want to cry, doesn’t it?
Got any tips of your own? email them to firstname.lastname@example.org!