Simple Things For Saw Hanging

Something to hang your hat on. I couldn’t help but laugh when I thought of this old saying. I remember when men I worked with talked about how one day carpenters would earn £20 per week. One man said, “Now that’s summat yer can hang yer ‘at on.” Of course rates of pay generally back then were only just enough to pay the bills and buy the essentials. What was needed wasn’t a fancy tool cupboard but somewhere to hang saws you used minute by minute and the most practical place was just to the right of the vise if, like me, you are right-hand dominant.


Saws can be difficult to keep track of without cluttering up the bench top and they need to be close to hand and free and ready for action. Actual hooks are usually a pain to retrieve the saws from. Through the years I’ve settled on screws through polyethylene tubing. As a semi-rigid tube it flexes yet cushions the saws and at the same time the screw threads don’t score and scar the inside of the handles. Get the angle just right and they nestle there ready to hand as needed throughout the day. Works great. Cut the tubing to about 1 1/4″. That’s how much the screw protrudes out from the bench. You don’t want them sticking out too much as they will snag you when you least want them to. Set the screw enough that the countersunk head seats just inside the tube and forms a bugle shape.

Cut tube to length.p1570934




p1570936Insert screw and thread onto the tube.






Angle the screw to the bench apron making sure that the handle is a good couple of inches below the corner of the bench top.p1570939p1570942

30 thoughts on “Simple Things For Saw Hanging”

  1. Great idea! I’ll put this to use.

    For readers who aren’t sure of where to get the tubing, aquarium air hose should work fine. It’s cheap and you can buy it wherever tropical fish are sold. I use it to make tip guards for compasses, awls and other pointy tools.

  2. Useful, practical and a bit worrysome,

    I’ve used this method for decades but I’ve had “occasional” falls to the floor which ( ouch ) bend or damage the bit that hits the floor.

    My recent ( three years ago ) addition is a small rare earth magnet screwed to the bench ( for the blade to contact ). I’ve not had an inadvertent “Fall” since. I still have to be careful, but when a piece of long stock contacts the hanging tool, the tool tends to cling instead of becoming dislodged.

    Locating these magnets in the “States” isn’t difficult : Rockler or Ebay ( direct from China, about a month ). Ikea offer magnetic knife holders for the kitchen that can be taken apart to reveal about 18 individual & powerful rare earth magnets ( about a quarter of an inch by 2″ long )

    “Magnetic-assist” for tool hanging has become a staple in my shop. Visitors seem to admire the innovation.

    The screw ( I use wood dowel instead of soft tubing ) is still IMPERATIVE, the tool needs a solid ( no moving, fixed position ) anchor point. I’m able to reach for a tool without looking and only sometimes have to look to see that I’m putting it back correctly, mostly it became/becomes automatic.

    Dear Paul, I’m a lifelong tool maker and tool bench user, I’m finding your insights valuable, thank you for all this work.
    In a way, I think that you actually are a powered tool person, your person is the motor, a 1 tenth of a horsepower motor, perhaps capable of peaking to 2 tenths horsepower. One horsepower = 747 Watts, a Professional Athlete can sustain about 400 Watts of output ( a youngish man ) , an older man can cruise along at the 100 watt level. I watch you work and sense you outputting at that lower 100 watt’ish level. I’m at about the same physical level. BUT, you are saved by super Sharp cutting edges. Sharp is the critical ingredient here. Take away Sharp and you’re no longer powerful enough.

    I’d like to suggest that Electrically powered tools with average sharpness are beginning to require more human power to operate than I might have. Certainly, I don’t have to strength to control them to the extent they need controlling. I can only use them for brief periods and for bull type work. ( Festool Track saw being the possible exception because it’s contained on it’s own low friction track ). Now-a-days, I seem to be constantly reaching for my Ez-Lap paddles to touch up a tool that isn’t working properly, even scissors. I seem to be addicted to Sharp tools, I greatly admire your Wood mounted 3 diamond set and Strop arrangement, I’m gonna copy your’s “exactly”, I hope you don’t mind or else I’ll happily pay you a bit of a royalty.

    Thanks for being there for us, all over the World. Someone gave me an old Stanley “Handyman”, now I know how to restore it.

    Tony in Michigan

    1. I think that the angle of the screw presentation is important as mine don’t fall off even with rough treatment. I also have rubber mats along my bench as the floor beneath is concrete and drops of other tools can happen all too quickly.

      1. Rubber, of course.

        I’ve noticed you to be a particularly “careful” workman, perhaps even “genteel” workman, certainly not a brute of a fella, watching you work is like watching a ballerina perform

        I have human “traffic” flowing thru my area, accompanied with bicycles, wheel borrows and all manner of chaotic activity, my area is like a busy Submarine.

        I agree, the angle of the screw is important.

        Thank you for writing back.

        Tony in Michigan

        ps. I wish that your simple & clever ideas were part of my work life, all these years I’ve been doing many things the harder way. I watch, Light Bulbs Light-up and I suddenly feel like I’ve discovered a New World. Old Dogs can learn “New Tricks”!

        1. Michael Ballinger

          I Used Screws On A Tool Cuboard Door And A Couple Times Over THe Years My Panel Saw Fell Off Wgen Closing The Door. I Must Check The Angle Maybe Thats The Problem.

  3. Beards,

    Since I’m at it, I’ll mention that the “un-plugged” type of woodworking ( here in the States ) seems to be populated with a preponderance of heavily bearded lads, all seeming to “copy” your age old & established methods. Do I need to let my shaving and personal grooming go un-attended?, since I also live in the States.

    Are Taliban beards an integral part of UK woodworking?, you seem rather clean shaven by comparison!, Asian woodworkers also seem rather clean shaven, why the beards?

    Tony in Michigan

    1. I grew mine in 1978 when beards were somewhat less usual, post WWII, I shaved it of once for a few weeks and grew it back by popular demand. I never grew it as a fashion statement or for looks and like having one. The half shaven look seems to follow TV and football personality issues rather than an individual or personal statement so, no, you don’t have to conform; just be who you want to be.

      1. I had a Van Dyke in college (PSU ’68), then went for being a soldier. I grew a beard 20 years ago, but just the chin came in grey and I seriously looked like an aging Labrador Retriever. Quickly shaved it off when my dog, an aging Lab, looked at it and kept sniffing my leg. I now go half shaven to speed up my morning ablutions.
        The mustache has been there since I was a soldier, a long time ago in a universe far, far away.
        I do as I wish, now.

    2. You don’t need a beard but I find that it is extremely helpful when working wood. The beard has a marked tendency to catch sawdust and wood shavings bringing the continuous aroma of fresh wood. This, in turn, reinforces the joy of woodworking and inspires a greater effort at making great furniture.

      On the other hand if you cannot (or are forbidden by housemates) you can always wear an evergreen car freshener around your neck though I’ve found this to be a might confusing when working anything other than fir or spruce.

  4. My wife will thank you,

    I showed Judy the Green Lumber guy that chops his own fresh lumber and makes everything, including carving, from the stuff. No Kilns for him. ( P.Follansbee )

    Judy ( an Ordained Christian Minister ) thought that hand tool Woodworkers had to abstain from grooming, if they wish to be accepted. It’s a frightening concept for her, hmm, an Isis inspired husband was too much. She offered to buy me a Patternmaker’s Wood Vise ( $275 ) if I promised to keep shaving.

    Now, I’ll show her one of your videos and she’ll be pleased that I’ve adopted ( or am attempting to adopt ) your gentleness! , she’ll think that you’re a good “Role Model” for me ( an old Factory Rat with “shop talk’n friends”).

    Annnnnnd, I’ll thank you now for that up-comming Vise which can twist and turn more than you were doing when you built that workbench under the trees ( a few years back ), phew.

    Tony in Michigan

  5. Inches, sounds like someone who was in the states too long. BTW thanks for signing my Disston saw at Baltimore

    1. Naah! Raised on inches converted through forced pressure to metric so fled the impression of EU to the USA and regained my freedom to choose. Joke lol or whatever makes for a little fun.

    2. Us brits use both measurements equally I find. It’s good to be fluent in decimals and fractions alike

  6. Paul,

    Do you not need the front apron of your bench clear? Do the saw screws not get in the way?

    With my vice being a jaw thickness off the apron, longer pieces would not clear the saws. I also sometimes clamp large pieces to the apron to work on them.

    Best from Cape Town

      1. I must offset mine a little more then, my inner jaw is about 3/4″. I like the idea of having the saws within ease of reach.

        1. You will wonder why on earth people have a continuous flush edge the length of the bench when you do. I usually advise people not to recess the jaw any at all and then add a jaw liner of 3/4″ material as shown in my blog here. Beats the socks of the continuous bench edge which seems to serve no real value at all.

  7. I just toured the Lie-Nellson Plant, it’s just a machine shop like any I’ve worked in over these last decades. They produce what I’d call “normal” quality, nothing particularly “fancy” or special, tolerances are not all that “tight”, they strive for .001″ on their tightest parts. The Iron is ductile ( a good thing ) but normal for useful products.

    I admire their work ethic, their pride and their design integrity. I don’t get the feeling of their stuff being “pricy” but rather priced competitively. Machined parts, in my World, would be far more expensive.

    Since I’m a Tool Maker & Engineer by trade, I felt ( and feel ) quite comfortable with this outfit. I’ll have no trouble with justifying future purchases, these are workman’s tools.

    There are plenty of restorable “abandoned” tools out there, I’ll have these too, when I find them.

    Somewhere, in the States, is a Lady engraver that seems to specialize in “dazzling” Plane embellishments, I can accept a tiny bit of that sort of thing but if any Wood Tools are worth being dressed up like Purdy Shotgun the ones made in Maine would be the ones.

    Woodworking seems to be on a Rebound ( here in the States ), wood boat building is not, vinyl records is not, ham radio is not, bicycling is not, gardening never lost an inch ( cm ). I suspect it’s the Internet and sites like this that powers woodworking’s success. Nice work Mr.Sellers.

    Tony in Michigan

  8. I use a wooden dowel, as some have suggested, inserted at an angle. I make several holes , allowing me to add extra dowels easily or move them around to accommodate saws of different lengths or configuration. When needed, longer dowels are inserted to serve as support for long pieces for planing and crosscut work. All pieces involved in the setup are leftovers and scraps. Also – thank you Paul. You have broadened my entire view of woodworking, craftsmanship, the struggle, and the success. I hope to meet you in person one day and say thanks for the knowledge you have shared with all of us.

    1. I never liked dowels because it’s the polypropylene that registers the handle and the saws stay because it’s non slip.

  9. This reminds me of a joiner I met years ago, his routine on a new job was, hammer a nail in, for his hat and coat, make a pair of saw horses, sharpen tools, tea, and then work, the first time I watched him hanging a brand new door, horrified me, he took an axe and chopped chunks out of it, then he seen the look on my face and said watch and learn, he got a jack plane, after a few strokes, the door fitted like a glove.
    A couple of months later, I was working in a Victorian villa, built in 1863, the same guy turned up to repair damaged skirting boards, architrave, window sashes and shutters,
    moving from room to room, he done his work without a power tool in sight, he matched and patched and made new as he worked, some jobs seemed to take him a little longer than others, I asked him why a certain job on a chair rail had taken longer than a similar one in a different room, the answer was, when the house was built, many carpenters and joiners had to make most things from scratch out of the timber supplied and tools they used, he took me into one room and pointed out little discrepancies in the woodwork in another, all the finishing work had been done by different men, although they had similar tools, one mans work would not match another, explaining, most made their own moulding plane blades, so this is what he had to do as his work from room to room progressed.

  10. The simple ideas are often the best. Screws are great for hanging a lot of tools besides saws. I use larger screws to hang my 1200 long Clamps out of the way. They make a good indicator also of the latest earthquakes as they swing or bump against the wall 🙂 Pete from New Zealand

  11. Hi Paul, please could you tell me what type of finish was used for the workbench in the first photograph?
    I have just finished my first workbench using your plans and I’m considering different finishes.
    Cheers from Canada

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