Q&A / 

How to Maximize Metal Pegboard

DEAR TIM: I've tried and tried to get traditional wood-fiber pegboard to work. No matter what I do, over time the holes in the pegboard enlarge, the hooks and hangers get loose and everything is a mess. What's more, I'd like a little color in my workshop other than brown. I've seen metal pegboard and wonder if it's really the answer. What do you use in your workshop and garage? Have you tested a product for years or are you still in the honeymoon phase with something that may fail? I want to know, “What would Tim do?”

Marsha C., California, MD

DEAR MARSHA: I can speak to your frustration. For decades I struggled with the brown wood-fiber pegboard that undoubtedly exists in millions of garages and basements across the land. I tried every imaginable hook design only to be more frustrated than a major league batting champion in a deep hitting slump.

Some hooks and pegs would work well, but if you grab or hang a tool on the hook frequently the wood fiber holes enlarge and the party's over. Fortunately, this happened to a man who lived in the South and no doubt he uttered one day, “There must be a better way.” That's when he decided to invent metal pegboard.

Here's some of my metal pegboard in my garage. With thought, you can have all you need at your fingertips. Photo Credit: Tim Carter

Here's some of my metal pegboard in my garage. With thought, you can have all you need at your fingertips. Photo Credit: Tim Carter

I discovered this unique invention about fifteen or more years ago. As you might suspect, I attend many building product and tool shows. The National Hardware show is one of them. I discovered long ago, the best part of the show is where all the tiny 10-foot by 10-foot booths are located. These booths are were you find the new companies that have very unique products.

Years ago, I was walking down aisle after aisle and all of a sudden I saw a small display of metal pegboard. Not only did it have the traditional holes you see in wood fiber, but it also had narrow slots in it too. It put my head on a swivel and I proceeded to back up and take a look. Thank goodness I did!

There in the booth was the inventor, Rick Grove. The sign in the booth simply said, Wall Control. What a great name I thought as my tool storage walls were out of control. My questions to the inventor focused on the narrow slots and the specialized hangers that fit into the these evenly spaced slots.

The special hooks, hangers, shelves, accessories, etc. all had a clever interlocking hook design that ensured the hooks would NEVER pull out of the metal pegboard. You inserted the hook by tilting it and lifting it up. When you put the rest of the hook into the pegboard and then slid it down ever so slightly, it interlocked into the pegboard. The strength of the metal hook and pegboard made sure it would never fail under the weight of ordinary tools.

I knew instantly, as soon as I saw how the hooks interlocked with the pegboard, it was one of those rare inventions that would be a game changer. I knew it would work, so I ordered some immediately and began testing it. Just as I suspected, it's worked well.

As the years passed, Rick started to introduce colored panels, more accessories and hooks than you could ever imagine and his product is one of the favorite things in my workshop. Anyone who comes to my workshop or garage is immediately taken by it.

One of the best aspects of the product are the traditional holes that you see in wood-fiber pegboard. If you have an investment in hooks and tool holders that work in your existing wood pegboard, they'll work in the metal pegboard. You don't have to purchase new hooks and hangers, but once you see how well they do work, I'm willing to wager you'll switch over to the hooks, hangers and shelves that utilize the narrow slots.

The honeymoon is far from over. Each day I grab or hang a tool on my pegboard, it's like the morning after my wedding day. My metal pegboard is now over fifteen years old and it looks like the day I installed it. I've reorganized how tools, shelves and bins are stored on the metal pegboard numerous times. I really feel I now have an ideal layout where the things I use most frequently are exactly where I need them.

As you can imagine, I see hundreds of new products each year. Most are ho hum and only every once in a while do I see a product that makes me wide-eyed like that day in the basement of the National Hardware show.

If you decide to get the metal pegboard I have, take your time and think about the color you want. Realize you can mix and match the hooks, hangers, shelves and other accessories. I've discovered it's best to make the hooks and hangers a completely different color than the metal pegboard. That way the hooks and hangers stand out and you can easily place tools on them when the light may be dim in your workshop.

I've also discovered that spring-loaded desk lamps on articulating arms make fantastic workbench lighting. I recycle the weighed base that comes with the light and just drill a one-half-inch hole into the wood top of my work bench. This gives me great task lighting and I swing the light out of the way when I don't need it.

Here is a link to one of my videos of the Wall Control Pegboard System.

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The above is an affiliate link. I get a tiny commission if you purchase this item from Amazon.

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