Model Airplane Garage Storage Hangar Ideas: Garage Workshops for Storage and Building by Model Aviation Magazine

November 27, 2006

View the Model Aviation Magazine: Vol. 32, Article #11 here.

by Tom Tilley

Organized Garage Workshops For Storage & Hobby Projects

Garage Cabinets and Garage Floor Coatings

A Neatly organized and properly equipped workshop creates a more active environment.

Best Garage Workshops for Storage

I'VE BEEN INTO model aviation for a long time. If you're like me, you regularly have to balance your love for the sport with the practical needs of your household. I'm referring to balancing the need for cleanliness and organization in your garage with your need to have a model-aviation-friendly workshop. This is a hard task.

You need a place to store your airplanes, plans, kits, tools, etc. And at the same time your spouse would like the garage to not look like a balsa-dust-spitting tornado hit it.

I took it upon myself to look at the storage products out there that could address the model-aviation enthusiast's needs as well as those of the rest of the household. The line I will review in this article is from the Slide-Lok company--one of the nation's leading manufacturers of garage cabinetry and wall-storage products and accessories.

Slide-Lok is based in the Phoenix, Arizona, area and has well more than 100 dealers throughout the US and Canada. The company makes a product that is considerably more practical, durable, and affordable than most.

Slide-Lok also offers an excellent wall-storage product called the Slat-Wall, which is available in custom sizes and with eight optional accessories. The Slat-Wall is compatible with accessories from other vendors, but the eight accessories that Slide-Lok offers should cover the needs of 95% of model-aviation enthusiasts.

Let's start with the most important and most delicate storage need: that of models. I was looking for a way to store airplanes that would not have them hang from the ceiling. I enjoy seeing my aircraft hang, but too much of that in a garage workshop can be cumbersome. I found the ideal solution using the Slat-Wall.

Garage Workshop Storage Ideas Garage Storage Ideas

The 8-inch Double Hook and the 3-Hook Tool Rack not only fit my models like a glove, but the hooks have rubber padding on their prongs which keeps the hooks from denting or damaging my airplanes' tail surfaces. The same hooks can provide a place for storing household items including vacuum cleaners, brooms, dustpans, and mops.

Another alternative for many modelers is to hang their airplanes directly from the garage workshop's drywall by the model's tail wheels. However, this usually isn't the best way to do things; models hung by their tail wheels can easily fall off the wall if given an inadvertent nudge or encountering enough vibration.

I found that the Slide-Lok hooks' prongs fit nicely around the rear portion of the fuselage and under the horizontal stabilizer. For smaller airplanes, the same Slide-Lok hooks fit well around the fuselage under the aircraft's wings.

For modelers who prefer to store their airplanes' fuselages and wings together in a PVC rack they can carry around, the Slide-Lok 3-Hook Tool Rack or a pair of the 8-inch Double Hooks or 6-inch J Hooks can easily support the rack with the entire airplane in it.

A hanging system based on the Slat-Wall system and the available accessories will also accommodate model boats and their cradles. Oh yeah, you can also put Slat-Wall inside your cabinets so you can hang items in the backs of the cabinets in addition to storing items on the shelves.

The average Slide-Lok workbench is suited to working with an airplane's components such as fuselages, wings, and tail assemblies. However, you'll probably want a bit more space when it comes time for final assembly and alignment.

A great modification to a stationary workbench is to turn it into a roll-around work surface. If you order a system from Slide-Lok that includes a workbench, most of you do-it-yourselfers will have no problem adding casters to the base cabinets that support the workbench, enabling you to roll your workbench away from the wall, providing additional workspace.

Some of Slide-Lok's installers may be willing to do this for you, but it isn't a standard offering, so ask. But again, it's an easy modification for you to do yourself.

Consider putting a pinnable surface such as ceiling tile, drywall, or homosote on top of the countertop so you can replace the surface as needed while maintaining the attractiveness of the original countertop beneath; that's good for the resale value of your home!

Alternatively, you can use the Slide-Lok base cabinets with your own countertop surface instead of the one that comes from the company.

Cabinet Storage For Big & Small Things

I've covered the big stuff, now let's get into the little stuff: paints, tools, covering material, etc. When it comes to storing these items, your have many choices. You chould keep them in a Slide-Lok cabinet system's drawers or in the baskets Slide-Lok offers for the Slat-Wall. I really liked the idea of storing them in one of Slide-Lok pantry cabinet units.

The pantry cabinets come in 8-, 16-, and 24-inch depths; the 8-inch variety is really something. You can put as many as 10 shelves in one of these cabinets, giving you an incredibly space-efficient area for storing all things small.

You can easily keep intermediate-sized items such as starter boxes, transmitter cases, and fuel jugs in almost any of the cabinets. You can also stash these items in the basket accessories Slide-Lok offers for the Slat-Wall product. These baskets are also great for storing household items such as cleaning products, paper towels, light bulbs, etc.

And for you electric-power fliers, there will be no problem storing your batteries and chargers in the cabinets and baskets. However, don't forget to store your Li-Poly batteries in a fireproof receptacle such as an ammunition box or a ceramic container.

Modular Garage Storage Systems

The modular Slide-Lok cabinet system and the ability to rearrange the placement of the Slat-Wall hooks gives you and your family incredible design flexibility. Slide-Lok offers the most popular design configurations as prepackaged "systems"; but on the Slide-Lok Web site you can access "Jack's Design Center," which enables you to custom-design cabinet configurations to meet your specific needs.

Not only are the cabinets easy to install--which you can do yourself or have a local Slide-Lok dealer do for you--but they are extremely easy to order. you can order various preconfigured systems online or you can go to the "Locate a Dealer" section of the Web site and find a Slide-Lok dealer near you. If you want to order online but need something a bit different, you can call Slide-Lok.

In all, Slide-Lok provides 10 different modular cabinets in four colors. And because of the modular design, you have the flexibility to produce an almost limitless array of configurations.

The Slat-Wall product comes in two colors (gray and woodgrain) and has eight available basket and hook accessories. The Slat-Wall is great for any garage workshop--especially those in small two-car garages, where you don't have the space to put a cabinet next to your vehicle because of the amount of room it would require to open a cabinet door.

Slide-Lok manufactures an excellent product that serves the many needs of the modeler and the modeler's household. The company's staff and dealers are helpful, friendly, and easy with which to work. MA

Slide-Lok Modular Cabinet Systems

Below are just a few stackable/modular cabinet configurations available from Slide-Lok. Mix and match cabinets and cabinet systems to create a custom-designed workshop.

  • 5' Storage System
  • 6' Work Station
  • 6' Storage System
  • 8' Storage Unit
  • 10' Hobby Bench
  • 14' Work Bench
  • 12' Storage Wall
  • 16' Wall Storage

Dimensions are given in unit width. Each cabinet has a height of 6 feet. Adjustable legs raise the cabinets 3-6 inches from the floor for leveling and protection against water damage. The cabinets are offered in two depths: 16 or 24 inches.

The cabinet interiors are finished in white. The exterior finishes are available in four Thermofused finishes: Natural Maple, Oak Frost, White Maple, and White.

Individual units can be ordered to modify or satisfy any workshop need. Custom sizing is available upon request. Visit for pricing and locations of local dealers.

Slide-Lok Features

I found that several of the Slide-Lok products' features differentiate them from the competitors. Slide-Lok cabinets are plywood--not particle board. In the outside, uncontrolled climate of the garage workshop, many materials just don't cut it--and particle board is one of them.

Slide-Lok is the only leading manufacturer i found that makes its cabinets from plywood. Almost everyone else who is making "wood" cabinets manufactures them from particle board or some other relatively inferior material.

The problem with particle board is that it gets dry and brittle and is prone to cracking and sagging. Engineers will tell you that this material can't support its own weight over time.

In addition to particle board's structural weaknesses, it generally contains carcinogens such as formaldehyde--definitely not the kind of things you want you, your spouse, or your kids spending time around.

In contrast, plywood is safe--so much so that an upcoming cable television show is planning on focusing on the environmental friendliness of Slide-Lok's plywood construction.

Slide-Lok's cabinets have Thermofuse doors. I wasn't sure why I should care whether or not a door was "Thermofuse," but after some detective work I learned that there truly is a difference.

Thermofuse doors are produced using a high-temperature, high-pressure baking process. The result is a door that has a harder, more durable, and more scratch-resistant finish than those produced by other manufacturers.

The most important thing about Thermofuse doors is that they stay nice and straight; you're not going to see the warping that so often occurs with other manufacturer's products.

Slide-Lok's cabinets use six-way-adjustable concealed hinges, which gives them a nice, clean, European look. Your doors line up properly and you get nice, even gaps.

These Slide-Lok cabinets were almost the only ones that I found that provide a dovetail joint. When you compare the structural soundness of dovetail joints to the toggles and dowels that competing products found in home-improvement stores use to hold their drawers together, Slide-Lok wins hands down.

Tom Tilley

For more information on Slide-Lok garage storage products, contact Slide-Lok at 1-800-835-1759 or Consumers interested in locating a Slide-Lok dealer or in purchasing online can visit

About Slide-Lok:
Since 1977, Slide-Lok and its parent company Bass Cabinets have been producing high quality, durable cabinetry. Slide-Lok's cabinets utilize a patented dovetail design, plywood construction, adjustable 6-way hinges, and Thermofuse doors—making Slide-Lok the quality leader in garage storage cabinets. Slide-Lok's dealer network includes more than 100 dealers across the United States and Canada.

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Contact Local Dealer

Find a Slide-Lok Garage Floor & Cabinet dealer in your area.

Call: 1-800-835-1759
E-mail: Click to e-mail.

Contact Local Dealer

Find a Slide-Lok Garage Floor & Cabinet dealer in your area.

Call: 1-800-835-1759
E-mail: Click to e-mail.