Kids Spend Less Time Outdoors Than Prisoners

Imagination Grove (a nature play area) at Sugar Grove Nature Cen

While inmates at maximum security prisons in the U.S. are guaranteed at least 2 hours of outdoor time a day, half of children worldwide spend less than an hour outside, reports


A survey of 12,000 parents in 10 countries found that one-third of children (ages 5 to 12) spend less than 30 minutes outside each day. The survey, sponsored by Unilever laundry detergent brands OMO and Persil, inspired a new marketing campaign – “Dirt is Good – Free the Children.”

The short film below – documenting prisoners’ responses to the survey – is part of that campaign:

Prisoners at a maximum security facility in Indiana called outdoor time the “highlight” of their day.  “You take all your problems and frustrations and just leave them out there,” one prisoner said. Another said “it keeps his mind right.”

When asked how they would feel about having their “yard time” reduced to one hour a day, inmates responded that it would build more anger and resentment. One inmate said it would be “torture.” A prison guard said it would be “potentially disastrous.”

The prisoners are shocked upon learning that most children have less than an hour of outdoor time per day, one of them calling the news “depressing.” Another said if he could have one wish granted it would be that he could take his kid to a park.

Another study found that one in nine children “have not set foot in a park, forest, beach or any other natural environment for at least 12 months.”

Huffington Post reported recently that with children today spending only half the time their parents did outdoors, we are producing an “unsociable, unimaginative and inactive generation.” Only half of children have ever built a sandcastle at the beach or had a picnic outside of their own yard, and over a third have never played in the mud. Also, about half of children opt for screen time alone over playing with others outdoors.

In addition to “unsociable, unimaginative and inactive” – our culture’s lack of outdoor time is producing children who are physically and mentally ill:

“We are physically active when we spend time outdoors, so we are less likely to become obese. When sunshine hits our skin, we form Vitamin D, which helps with a number of health issues. Peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown that time spent outside lowers rates of heart disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, and some forms of cancer. Kids with ADHD focus better when they spend time outdoors. And, nature time leads to more positive moods, as well as lower stress and anxiety.”

10 Great Alternatives to the Classic 52 Week Money Challenge

Ten alternatives to the 52 week money challenge
It’s that time of year when people are looking to better their finances as part of their New Year’s resolutions, and many decide one way to do this is through the 52 week money challenge. The challenge is a simple and effective way to save money that isn’t complicated. All one has to do is save $1 corresponding to the week of the year. For example, during week one, you would save $1. During week two you would save $2 and during week three you would save $3. You continue this every week of the year until the last week when you would save $52. By doing this each week, at the end of the year you will save $1,378. 


While the classic challenge can help a lot of people save money, there are some limitations to it. The challenge also doesn’t fit the finances of all people. The result has been that there are a lot of alternatives created to this challenge you can do, one of which is likely to fit nicely with your current finances and financial goals. Below you’ll find ten alternatives to the 52 week money challenge to consider. (Click on the headlines to get more detail about each challenge and to print that specific challenge sheet.)

Modified 52 Week Money Challenge

The modified 52 week money challenge allows you to choose how much you save each week from $1 to $52. Instead of going in order from $1 to $52, you can choose any amount that is still left on your challenge chart. Since it’s difficult to predict when you will have a week where you can’t save as much as you hoped, this modified challenge gives you more flexibility to succeed. The goals should always be to save the highest amount still on your chart, but if you can’t for whatever reason, you can substitute that for a smaller amount.

26 Bi-Weekly Money Challenge

Some people get paid bi-weekly and find it easier to save the money for the challenge when they get paid, rather than each week. They find that when it comes to week 2 after they have been paid, they may not have the money left to save. For them, it’s easier to pay the money for the two weeks as soon as they get paid and they have it available. You can also try the twice a month money challenge if you get paid this way rather than bi-weekly.

Monthly Money Challenge

Much like the issue that people who get paid bi-weekly have, those who get paid monthly also can find it difficult to save the money the week before they’re paid. Many find it easier to pay for the entire month when they get paid and have the money. It’s the classic “you don’t miss what you can’t see” philosophy behind pay yourself first.

Double 52 Week Money Challenge

For those who want a bit more of a challenge than simply $1 a week, they can try the 52 week double challenge. In this challenge all the numbers are doubled, so at the end of the year you end up with $2,756 instead of $1,378. It’s a great challenge for those who believe they can save a little more and want to challenge their savings a bit more.

Mega 52 Week Money Challenge

For those who are really looking to jumpstart their savings, the mega 52 week money challenge might be exactly what they’re looking for. Instead of $1 a week, the mega challenge shoots for $5 a week. For those able to complete the mega challenge, they will find an extra $6,890 in their bank account at the end of the year.

52 Week Mini Money Challenge

Also called the 52 week half challenge, this one uses $0.50 each week instead of $1. This makes it easier to save the money, but it also means you’ll end up with half as much at the end of the year ($674 instead of $1,378). For those who want to take the challenge, but start a bit slower, this can be the perfect alternative.

52 Week Coin Challenge

On the opposite end of the double and mega challenges is the 52 week change challenge. In this challenge, you simply save the number of coins for each week of the year. In week one you save a single coin, while in week fifty-two, you save 52 coins. The amount you save will depend on the value of the coins you save each week. Another option is to save specific coins during the year such as a 52 week challenge for pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.

52 Week Bill Challenge

The 52 week bill challenge is like the coin challenge, but uses bills instead. In the first week, you save a single bill (it could be a $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100 bill), week two, 2 bills and week fifty-two, 52 different bills. In this challenge you would save a minimum of $1,378 (if you only used $1 bills), but it could be much more depending on the bill denominations you save each week.

365 Day Money Challenge

Some people find that in order to save money, they need to do it on a daily rather than weekly basis. For those who want to make sure saving money becomes a habit this year, the 365 day money challenge can be a great alternative. In this challenge, you begin with a penny on day one and end with $3.65 on day 365.

Create Your Own 52 Week Money Challenge

None of the above money challenges meet exactly what you’re looking for? That isn’t a problem. You can simply create your own 52 week challenge which meets the exact specifications and needs you want. You know yourself better than anyone else, so creating your own specific challenged will give you the best chance of completing it.

For all these challenges, it’s important to remember the actual amount you decide to try and save is not nearly as important as creating the habit of saving money on a consistent basis. Once this habit has been formed, you can then increase the amounts you save to meet your current financial situation. While each challenge is an important step to jump-start your savings, it’s the habit of consistency which will help your finances in the long run.

The Top 10 Indoor Gardening Tips

Small-space gardening expert Isabelle Palmer shares her guidelines for growing the best plants indoors

Images Courtesy of “The House Gardner”

1. Position plants carefully- Choose plants that suit the environment, as even the most dedicated gardener can’t make a sun-loving plant thrive in a cold, shady area. So, ensure that your plants are suited to the light levels and temperature of the room in which they’ll be positioned.

2. Try to avoid direct sun- Windowsills in direct sunlight will be too hot for most houseplants. Also, don’t place houseplants over direct sources of heat, such as radiators.

3. Avoid shady areas- Ensure there is sufficient light for your houseplants to photosynthesize effectively.

4. Avoid temperature extremes- Keep delicate plants away from draughts, as these will decrease humidity levels.

5. Pot on regularly- Aim to repot your houseplants into larger pots every two years or so. This will ensure that they are not stressed and will thrive.

6. Be well equipped- Use the proper tools for indoor gardening. A long-spouted watering can and a mister to increase humidity are both essential for reducing dust levels, as well as dealing with pest and disease outbreaks. A long-handled fork and a pair of scissors are great for accessing difficult areas, while a sponge attached to a long handle will keep glass containers clean.

7. Water wisely- Don’t overwater houseplants; adding some drainage material at the bottom of the pot will help to keep roots aerated and ensure that they don’t drown.

8. Winter dormancy- Allow houseplants to rest during the winter period and move them to a cooler position. This is because most plants are dormant at this time, and so don’t need as much sunlight. You should also reduce the amount of water and food you provide, as this can help to prevent diseases such as mold and root rot. Move plants away from windows because these areas will be too cold in the winter.

9. Be vigilant- Learn to recognize potential problems early on before a pest infestation or other physiological problems kill off your plant. For example, danger signs for low air humidity include flower buds falling off, leaves withering, and leaves with brown tips. Signs of high humidity include mold, rot, and soft growth.

10. Think long-term- Some popular houseplant gifts only have a short growing period, so choose plants that will thrive for longer if you want a year-round display.

Excerpt from The House Gardner by Isabelle Palmer.

How to Grow Ginger

Ginger is popular in American food, but it’s practically a staple in Asian cuisine. Not only is it easy to grow and delicious in recipes, but studies show that ginger packs powerful health benefits. Although it is a tropical plant, it will adapt easily to indoor and container planting, making it possible for anyone to enjoy fresh ginger throughout much of the year. Here’s what you need to know to bring this favorite into your own kitchen.

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Before You Plant

Choose the Right Type of Ginger:

  • For practical purposes, ginger is most often home-grown from tubers. Your local grocery store is the best place to find ginger root to propagate.
  • The most popular kind of ginger is basic ginger root (Zingiber officinale). It is commonly used in America for cookies, breads, and Ginger ales, while Asian recipes include ginger in savory dishes.
  • Choose a tuber that looks healthy and plump. It should be firm with several fingers or growing buds. Avoid dry or damaged pieces.
  • Not all gingers are considered edible, some types are instead prized for the plants and flowers.

Find a Suitable Place:

  • Plan to grow ginger indoors unless you live in the extreme southern portions of the U.S. or in one of the desert states. Growers in zone 10 or higher will have the most success outdoors.
  • Provide your ginger with a generous amount of room. Containers should be fully twice the size of the tuber. To plant more than one tuber in a single container, get one that is 14″-16″ in diameter and 12″ deep.
  • Outdoors, choose a spot with light shade and well-drained soil.
  • Protect plants from high winds.

Prepare the soil:

  • Mix organic material or prepared compost into soil to fill the container (or amend garden soil in the same manner).
  • Ginger will grow quite well in commercially prepared potting soil.

Planting/Growing Ginger

What You Will Need:

  • Ginger root
  • Prepared soil

How to Plant Ginger:

  1. Ginger should not be placed outdoors until daytime temperatures exceed 75 degrees.
  2. Soak tubers overnight in water before planting.
  3. Fill containers with prepared soil, or loosen the dirt in your garden location.
  4. Place ginger in the soil with the buds facing up.
  5. Cover with a very thin layer of soil. (Some growers suggest leaving it uncovered).
  6. Water lightly until the plant becomes established.

Harvesting/Pruning Ginger

Ginger requires very little maintenance. Here’s what you need to do.

What You Will Need:

  • Garden clippers or scissors
  • Small garden trowel

Steps for Care and Maintenance:

  1. Younger ginger plants should remain in the shade.
  2. Water regularly to maintain moist (not wet) soil.
  3. Once the plant matures, clip tender new shoots for cooking at any time.
  4. To harvest ginger root, dig up new tubers that appear at the base of the plant.
  5. Move plants indoors when outdoor temperatures dip below 50 degrees.
  6. Ginger is dormant during the winter months. Allow the plant to dry during this time.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Roots reach their optimum flavor at 265 days.
  • To store ginger, wash (don’t peel) tubers before placing them in a bag and freezing them. Remove ginger from the freezer and use a vegetable peeler to pare off portions as you need them.
  • Plants will mature in about ten months, reaching heights of 2″-4″.

28 Outdoor Lighting DIYs To Brighten Up Your Summer


Forget candles. These creative lighting ideas are a cheap and easy way to get your backyard beautiful for summer entertaining.

1. Colorful Canning Jar Lights

Colorful Canning Jar Lights

Cover canning jars in translucent glass paint and hang them from chord fixtures to create a cluster of colorful lights, like this blogger did.

2. Paper Bag Lanterns

Paper Bag Lanterns

Cut small slits in paper bags and cover string lights— hanging ribbons add a party vibe. Find the full tutorial here.

3. Wine Bottle Torch

Wine Bottle Torch

Turn old wine bottles into snazzy torches with some basic hardware and a wick. Get the full tutorial here.


Turn a Dollar Store basket in beautiful lighting with a simple chain and light. Check out this post for the how to.

5. Tin Can Lanterns

Tin Can Lanterns

Fill a tin can with water, freeze it, and punch a design using a hammer and nail. once the ice has melted, you can paint the can’s exterior. Find all the details here.

6. Hanging Railing Jars

Hanging Railing Jars

Just create little wire hangers for your jars and hang them on the railing or balcony. A full tutorial is here.

7. Cupcake Lights

Cupcake Lights


Who knew cupcake liners made for sweet decor? Cut a small X in the top of a liner and secure it around the bulbs on a string of lights. Created by this blogger.

8. Glass Candle Lanterns

Glass Candle Lanterns

Use an old tuna can and glasses of various shapes and sizes to create outdoor lanterns. This post has all the details.

9. Hanging Tea Lights

Hanging Tea Lights

Simply hang tea lights from a tree with colorful ribbons and pretty bows. Pinnedhere.

10. Mason Jar Solar Lights

Mason Jar Solar Lights

Here’s a tutorial. You could use newspaper or tissue paper.

11. Tube Lights

Tube Lights

Turn textured plastic into subtle lighting with this tutorial.

12. Hanging Succulent Chandelier

Hanging Succulent Chandelier

This succulent chandelier used to be a pot rack. Nestle tea lights in jars amongst greenery for a subtle glow, like this blogger.

13. Ice Lantern

Ice Lantern

It won’t last long in the heat, but you can turn a balloon, water. and a freezer into a crazy cool outdoor lighting motif. Check out this tutorial.

14. Hula Hoop Chandelier

Hula Hoop Chandelier

Wrap lace or another decorative ribbon around a hula hoop, then wrap in icicle lights and you have a truly unique set of hanging lights. Created by this blogger.

15. Solar Light Chandelier

Solar Light Chandelier

Just replace the bulbs in an outdoor chandelier with solar lights. No electricity needed!

16. Wine Glass Chandeliers

Wine Glass Chandeliers

Turn sheets of vellum into little lampshades for wine glasses with this simple tutorial.

17. Grapevine Lights

Grapevine Lights

Make balls from grapevines (or wires if you don’t live on a farm) and wrap icicle lights around them to create glimmering orbs. This tutorial has all the details.

18. Beer Bottle Table Runner

Beer Bottle Table Runner

Stuff colorful string lights into beer bottles to make a nightlight table runner. Super easy, and blogged about here.

19. Glow-In-The-Dark Painted Planters

Glow-In-The-Dark Painted Planters

20. Fabric Lamps

Fabric Lamps

Cover plastic cups in colorful patterned fabrics and string them onto lights. Followthese directions.

21. Upcycled Outdoor Chandelier

Upcycled Outdoor Chandelier

This blog post shows you how to transform an indoor chandelier into backyard decor.

22. Starry Lights

Starry Lights

Restoration Hardware sells these battery-powered starry lights that you can wrap around an outdoor plant or trellis.

23. Birthday Hat Lights

Birthday Hat Lights

Cut the base off of cone birthday hats, polk some holes using thumb tacks, and wrap the hats around string lights. This post has all the info.

24. Seashell Lighting

Seashell Lighting

String seashells in tea lights or use them as a base for candles. All of these are byMartha, of course.

25. Origami String Lights

Origami String Lights

Practice some basic origami skills to create little paper lanterns for each string light. Posted here and here.

26. Glowing Light Orbs

Glowing Light Orbs

Follow this tutorial and make these glowing orbs for only $3.

27. Watercolor Orbes

Watercolor Orbes

Spray white paper lanterns with watercolor paint to add some color to your outdoor decor. This post shows you how.

28. Emergency Outdoor Light

Emergency Outdoor Light

29 Cool Recycled Pallet Projects

Reuse, Recycle & Repurpose Old Wooden Pallets

December 20, 2012 By  101 Comments

People amaze me.

I get a real kick out of re-purposed wooden pallet projects.  People have come up with some awesome ways to recycle and reuse wooden shipping pallets and it’s pretty darn inspiring.  While not specifically survival related, the mentality of creatively using resources is a key theme in any survivor’s mindset.  I put together a collection of some of my favorite recycled pallet projects below that I thought you would enjoy.

A note on using pallets.  Pallets are typically marked with either MB which means they’ve been chemically treated or HT which means they have been heat treated.  Some pallets are also pressure treated with preservatives.  You should try to avoid using MB marked and pressure treated pallets for interior projects and gardening projects.  Try to avoid those nasty chemicals if you can.

Have any of you re-purposed a wooden pallet?  Share and comment below!


Vertical Planter

Project can be found at:


Wall Shelves

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Garden Work Bench

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Variety of Chairs

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Retro Coffee Table

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Wall Covering

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Breakfast in Bed Tray

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Room Divider

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Office Furniture

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Wickedly Cool Flooring

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Dining Table

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Mason Jar Chandalier


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Compost Bins

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End Table

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Wood Shed

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Off Grid Cabin

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Day Bed

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Shoe Rack

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Recycled Walking Path

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Raised Bed Garden

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Garden Tool Organizer

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Retail Fixtures

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Artful Coffee Table

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Flatscreen Backdrop

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Pallet Sofa

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Pallet Headboard

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And finally… one last project to wish you Merry Christmas!!!!


Pallet Christmas Tree

Project can be found at:


Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

10 Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds


How do you start your day? If you are like most adults it’s with a ‘Cup of Joe’. About 83 percent of adults drink coffee in the U.S., up from 78 percent in 2012, according to the National Coffee Association’s 2013 online survey. That’s an average of three cups a day per person, or 587 million cups!  With all of that Coffee being consumed, think of the amount of coffee grounds that are being thrown away. Coffee grounds can be re-used for so many different things. Here are just a few ideas!
Compare prices and shop for Organic Coffee->

1. Pest Repellant

The strong aroma may be endearing to many of us, but is a natural repellant for many insects such as ants, snails and slugs. Having troubles with ants? Trace them to their point of entry and put out some coffee grounds to deter them from returning…more.

2. Homemade Wood Stain

“Most store-bought wood stains contain harsh chemicals and produce terrible fumes, causing hazards for both the environment and the health of those using them. But coffee––while it does have some limitations in terms of coloration––is an incredibly effective, safe, organic, and ecologically responsible alternative.” Learn more here.

photodeckpicflower3. Naturally Deodorizing Flower Vase

By simply taking a mason jar, some ground coffee [to look like soil] and fresh cut flowers from the garden, you can create a beautiful flower vase that not only looks great, but smells great too! The coffee grounds [whether dry or just brewed] will naturally deodorize the room in addition to the beautiful scent that will be given off by the flowers you have selected…more.

4. Fridge Deodorizer

Place old grounds in a mason jar and stick it in your fridge. The coffee will naturally deodorize the space and replace the ever so popular baking soda from it’s duty.  DIY Exfoliating Scrub

“Why should you exfoliate? It sloughs off the dead skin cells and unclogs your pores. All good things in my book. Not to mention with this scrub I have the added benefit of smelling like coffee afterwards.” Recipe here.

6. Natural Fertilizer

Make a homemade garden fertilizer by making a coffee ground “tea”. Simply add 2 cups of used grounds to a 5 gallon bucket of water and allow to steep overnight. This coffee “tea” can then be poured over garden and potted plants as a liquid fertilizer. Read more here.

7. Keep Cats Away

Spread used coffee grounds around the base of your garden to prevent cats from digging. This not only helps your garden but can help neighborhood cats as well since some plants are dangerous to kitties.

8. Add Shine to Hair

Coffee grounds can add shine to your hair and condition it naturally. Work the grounds into clean, wet hair and massage for a few minutes, then rinse”…more


9. Coffee and Cocoa Face Mask

The duo decreases puffiness in the face and the eye area while brightening skin. This easy DIY recipe utilizes old coffee grounds in addition to common kitchen items. Get the recipe here.

10. Hide Furniture Scratches


Do you have some dark wood furniture with a small ding or scratch? Try dipping a cotton swab into steeped grounds and dabbing it onto the scratch. It should take the harshness away from the mark. I would encourage you to test this first on a small spot.


*Please note that Coffee Grounds will become moldy within a few weeks if you store them damp. You can lay them on paper towel to dry before you store them. If you are going to be using it for the garden this step is often unnecessary.

Compare prices and shop for Organic Coffee->

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce


Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

20 oz. can crushed pineapple in juice or syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1 cup white, rice, cider or wine vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce or salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup ketchup
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cold water
1 cup plum sauce or jam

Heat pineapple with juice, sugar, 1 cup water, vinegar, soy sauce, spices and ketchup to a boil. For Thickener mix cornstarch and 2 Tbsp water together well; stir into pineapple mixture. Heat to a boil stirring constantly. Cool to room temperature; stir in plum sauce. Cover and chill. Makes 6 cups

Omit pineapple, just use the juice and use 2 cups plum, apricot jam or marmalade
May substitute plum jam for apricot jam or orange marmalade.
May substitute soy sauce with Worcestershire Sauce.
For sweet and sour hot sauce substitute soy sauce with chili sauce.
May puree 3 Tbsp onion, 2 Tbsp sweet pepper and add ½ tsp ginger and add to sauce.
Try different vinegars for the flavor you prefer.

Serve over chicken, pork, beef, fish, or egg rolls, won tons, rice…..or what ever you like!

Tips for Tool Storage

Tips for Tool Storage

Organize your shop with these weekend projects.

By Tom Caspar

Clamp Warehouse

Hang your long, heavy clamps on this rack designed for strength. The braces are notched into the bracket arms in a simple version of a timber-frame joint.

Mill 2×4 dimensional lumber straight and square to make these brackets. The braces form a 45-degree triangle with the two arms. Miter the ends of the braces first. Then cut shallow dadoes into the horizontal arms.

Assemble one pair of arms on a workbench. Make sure they’re square. Lay a brace on top of the arms and mark the positions and depth of the dadoes. Assemble with glue and screws.

Cut a 30-degree bevel on the top rail and hanger rail. Space the brackets 15⁄8-in. apart. Drill holes in the hanger rail for large lag screws and space them to hit studs. Mount and level the hanger rail first, then place the clamp rack on it. If you fasten a vertical arm to the wall, the rack will be locked in place so it won’t lift off the hanger rail.

Click any image to view a larger version.

Chisel Corral

Where’s the 1⁄2-in. chisel?

When all the handles of your chisels look alike, you’ve got to see the blades, too. Grabbing the right size is easy with this open rack. The long slot allows you to store chisels with blades wider than the holes. The bottom shelf prevents you from brushing up against sharp edges.

Make the rack by ripping three lengths of wood from one wide board. Cut the center piece 3⁄8-in. wide, then clamp them back together (without glue). Drill 5⁄8-in. dia. holes spaced 2-in. apart down the middle of the center piece. Unclamp the three pieces. Crosscut the center piece to make three short bridges, one from each end and one from the middle. Glue the wide board back together with the bridges separating the outer boards.

Cut 3⁄8-in.-deep dadoes into the 3⁄4-in. uprights and shelf. Reinforce with screws from the back.

Tool Slides

Hang tools on Peg-Board slides without taking up valuable wall space. Dozens of hook styles are available—you’ll probably find one to fit every tool.

Top and bottom guides keep the slides on track. Make the dadoes wide enough for the slides to travel easily in the cleats. A hook at the back end of the slide stops against the bottom cleat, so you can’t accidentally pull the slide out all the way.

Source: The best hooks to use on the slides are ones that screw in place.

Tool Cabinet

Store your small tools in this simple, easy-to-build plywood cabinet. The shallow drawers are ideal for layout tools or carving gouges. Deep drawers hold marking gauges and block planes. Place your cabinet on a shelf or hang it from a wall by fastening through the back.

Use 1⁄2-in.-thick ApplePly or Baltic birch for the case and back, 1⁄4-in.-tempered hardboard for the drawer bottoms, and pine for the drawer sides.

The drawer bottoms do double duty. They function as slides and pulls as well. Cut 3⁄16-in.-deep dadoes in the case’s sides for the drawer bottoms to slide in. Stagger the dadoes in the middle divider so it stays strong. The lowest drawers do not have dadoes. Cut rabbets for the cabinet’s back and fasten it with screws or nails.

Simple rabbet joints hold the drawer sides together. (The back of the drawer is made the same way as the front.) Nail and glue the sides together, then even up the bottom edges. Glue the sides down to the hardboard bottom. The stiffness of the drawer sides keeps the hardboard from bending under the weight of your tools.

Source: To find an ApplePly distributor near you,

Magnetic Holder

Stick awkward tools on a magnetic tool bar. You can find small tools right away when they’re out in the open. When you get a sliver, you’ll know right where the tweezers are!



(Note: Product availability and costs are subject to change since original publication date.)

Lee Valley Tools,, 800-871-8158, 12-in. Bar, #93K75.12; 24-in. Bar, #93K75.24.

Power Tool Roost

Power tools are ready to use if you leave their bits and blades in place. Store them in an upright position on a slotted plywood shelf.

Make the box from 3⁄4-in. plywood. The sides are 3⁄4-in. deeper than the shelves.

Assemble a stack dado set to make 5⁄8-in.-wide cuts. Move the rip fence 2-in. from the blade. Saw four shallow dadoes across the side pieces. Then rabbet the ends of the shelves to fit in the dadoes. Slide the fence 5⁄8-in. away from the dado blade. Stand the shelves up on end and cut.

Put the box together and cut the back to fit. Take the box apart and round over all the edges and slots with a router. Assemble with glue and 4d nails

Saw Blade Box

Separate carbide saw blades in slots so their brittle teeth can’t bang against each other. The angled top of this box makes it easier to handle the sharp blades.

Make the plywood box by cutting three tall sides and one shorter side. Build your box 7-in. wide and it’ll hold both 71⁄4-in. and 10-in. blades. Pencil a 45-degree line on two side pieces. Lay out the length and spacing of the slots. Rip the slots on the tablesaw, stopping the cut on the pencil line. Then cut the tops of the two sides at 45 degrees. Assemble the box with screws.

Tool Hang-Up

Tools won’t bump into each other in this rack. It’s safe, too: you (or your kids) won’t get cut on a tool’s exposed edge.

Make dado cuts partway across the width of a 3⁄4-in. board. Each dado should be 1⁄8 in. wider than the tool that fits in it. Screw the board directly to your wall, or fasten it to a piece of plywood first.

Rust-Free Tools

If your small hand tools are prone to rusting, apply a light coat of 3-In-One oil or WD-40 and wrap them up in a heavy-duty canvas tool roll.



(Note: Product availability and costs are subject to change since original publication date.)

Lee Valley Tools,, 800-871-8158, 6-Pocket Canvas Roll, 67E01.01; 9-Pocket Canvas Roll, 67E01.02; 12- Pocket Canvas Roll, 67E01.03.

Square Corner

Store delicate squares in a safe, convenient place. These brackets have sloped tops so the squares stay put if the rack is jiggled. Make the back at least 1-in. thick. Your tools are easier to grab if they sit well away from the wall.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker August 1999, issue #74.