The Voice of Experience

It occurred to me, many of us have a big project on our hands in reorganizing our spaces to accommodate our new lasers.
In reviewing how mine has evolved over the years and what has worked really well for me, I came up with something I wanted to share. Then it dawned on me, just like the Show and Tell thread - there is a massive amount of experience gathered here that would be good thread fodder for lessons learned, and here we are.

The best thing I ever did for my work area is put up slat wall. If you are in a position to do that and don’t, you miss out on the best wall storage system going IMO.
Standard 4’x 8’ sufficiently screwed to every stud it spans, it can hold amazing weight. Hardware for it is a little pricey, so I bang out my own. 1/8 x 1/2 steel strap.

I hardly have any weight on it, compared to what it can take.

I have 24 feet of it, and I love every inch.
From around $70. up to really fancy with aluminum inserts. $$!

Now, take this thread anywhere you want to.
Favorite tool - I know you have tons of ;em.
process - perhaps something you stumbled on or a problem you managed to solve - or a horrible warning. (I have a bucket of those, with the scars to prove it!)
organization - like my example.
material - Found something new, or a source?
or just talk among yourselves!


I’ll get back to this later tonight. Great Wall!


Is it less annoying than pegboard?


That’s pretty much every thread on this site. :smile:


Just to keep things kind of on track, I LOVE that slat board. I had a chance to salvage a whole bunch of it from a retail store that was getting demolished, but at the time I had no space to store it. Now that I finally built a shop I ended up using pegboard since a friend gave me enough to cover two walls. The pegboard is just ok, but once it is up there you know it 'aint coming down.


One of the best things I did for organizing my garage was to build these shelves around most of the perimeter. My garage is pretty tall and had a bunch of waisted space up high. I have built a bunch of other shelves but these have made the biggest difference. They were not too difficult to make because I built a jig. I guess that would be one of my recommendations, Build a jig when you are making a lot of something. Every one of the braces are bolted into studs so they can hold a lot of weight.

I love the idea of adding Slat board to my garage to hold some of my tools. I look forward to seeing some of the other things that people here are doing. :grinning:


We added 20 feet of slatboard to our fellowship area at church. I really helps us display information and projects so much better as a welcome center.

I have one 4 by 8 sheet in my workshop. I found out that pegboard fasteners are almost useless and haven’t moved on to a better system. Thanks for pointing out that I could make some with some flat bar stock. I have got to do it. I can’t stand having everything piled up everywhere.


At 57 I am not the oldest person on this forum but it is old enough to actually have a voice of experience.

First thing, iterate.
Iterate, iterate, iterate.

Why did it take me so long into this short life to figure this out. I think half of the people I hate for being so damn talented just figured this out early.
Whether you are learning an instrument or painting or making, find something that you can do over and over with small variations. If you are like me without much natural talent it will go oh so far towards you being able to fake it.

My other VoE, make jigs and templates, the time you use will be rewarded back with interest.


Mine is “there are no shortcuts”. When I take shortcuts something goes wrong and it takes longer than if i didn’t succumb to the siren song of the quick & dirty.


A slat wall looks brilliant! I wonder if we could do that in our garage…

And I love those shelves.



@markevans36301, thank you!

No contest. Plus it is structural, no need for reenforcement to mount it.
Personally i like aesthetics, it gives an organized look and feel to the room.

@jkopel, mine was salvage also, brother-in-law was replacing his store displays and asked if I wanted it. I wouldn’t have thought of it otherwise.

@cdoug, making use of that empty cubic footage is golden!
The idea of making a jig to reproduce identical members is great! Nothing like perfect consistency to give a professional finish.

True, I just thought I would go ahead and sanction the behavior since I’m probably the worst for derailing someone’s thread!
The conversations may wander, but someone usually yanks the thread back to center.

@marmak3261, yes, if it’s for a work area, no need for the polished chrome hardware!
Tip; I use a vice and chisel to make that tight bend below the end for hanging.

@markevans36301, iteration, good advice.
And templates, I’m looking forward to my GF account having saved previous designs for quick access.

@jamesdhatch, valuable lesson! Let it take as long as it takes, the result won’t suffer from trying to save a bit of time or effort at the expense of quality.
Also, when things aren’t flowing well and you become frustrated, instead of trying to force the result - which in my experience leads to reduced satisfaction in the outcome…
When it feels like I’m pushing against the current, it’s time to put it down and Wait for a conducive frame of mind. The work should feel like it is flowing downhill.
The result from that often turns out better than you anticipated.


But as I said, I wouldn’t have thought of it if it weren’t for the suggestion from my brother-in-law - which is why I thought it was worth mentioning here… I love the stuff!
The flexibility it gives the area is very cool, you can mount shelves also.

Not really visible is along the top where I welded some heavy duty brackets from 3/16" x 1 1/2" to hold steel bar and rods in 10’ lengths.
Slat wall lends itself well to any work space!


I was thinking it’d be great for an aerialist practice space… 3 sides of slat and you could put together any kind of rigging you like and hang around in so many different ways…


Innovative application, never occurred to me. With the strength of it, I could easily suspend my body weight.


Umm. I’ve done a teeny bit of rigging for stage stuff, just enough to know all the things I don’t know. Wood in tension is on the order of 1000 psi. Slat has about a quarter inch thickness of wood doing the supporting. so an inch-wide fixture could hold a person up dead straight with no angled and no shock loads. Shallow angles can make 10x the load, so can shock.


Yes, good point.
If I were to design for that use, I would go with the stuff that has extruded aluminum inserts in the slots. That would add considerable strength.
Plus the configuration of the standard hangers is designed for a hanging load not a lateral.
A “T” type design that is inserted into the slot and rotated to engage both the upper and lower edges would be needed.


Wow, that has to be one of the tidiest workshops that I have ever seen! I am suddenly very embarrassed by my studio, which is at best controlled chaos. :flushed:


Hehehe, don’t be fooled by the semi annual photos, after I had cleaned up I was compelled to document it because it never looks that good.
I almost feel guilty putting that sleek Glowforge in there…


Ha! Here is a photo of my studio “all cleaned up” (yeah, that’s as close as it gets to tidy).

Based on this photo, I suppose the best “voice of experience” advice that I can offer would be to buy your work tables second hand, rather than buying nice new ones (like I did) and then wrecking them in short order.


That’s good advice.
The work surfaces are the artists anvil, and all of the burns, scratches, dabs of color and glue tell a story of ideas made real. They give the area a unique character.
Great view there!