When I started out in woodworking, I didn’t have a single chisel. So a few years ago, my brother saw to it that a set of Wood River chisels found their way under my Christmas tree.
They came in a flimsy wood case. It was nice to look at but it wasn’t useful. I couldn’t set it anywhere so that I could access the tools. Instead, I had to pull the box from a shelf, open it, pull out a chisel, use it, replace it in the box, close the cover and put it back on its shelf. Whew…That’s a long process to put an edge to wood.
So when I saw plans for a chisel caddy (sorry can’t find them L) in a woodworking magazine I built it. Very quickly I discovered that I don’t need a caddy. I don’t need to move chisels anywhere beyond my workbench. So it ended up suspended on some pegboard shelf supports.
Note how the wire supports extend well beyond the rack…and frequently into my head. Once, I came dangerously close to hitting my eye. That immediately reminded me of the boy who wanted a Red Ryder BB gun in the movie A Christmas Story. After my near-miss, Santa’s admonition rang in my head, “You’ll shoot your eye out kid.”
As I started to acquire vintage chisels, I realized that my chisel storage had no room for more. So new vintage tools ended up on a slotted shelf I attached to the side of my router table…or in holders taking up valuable real estate on my pegboard.
A solution presents itself
Months passed and then one day I saw a Woodsmith TV episode where they built a mobile shop cart. What piqued my interest was when they mentioned building custom trays/tool supports for use on pegboard.
Moments later I was on their Website and found the project article/plan to build a customized pegboard rack.
How it works
Finally, here was my solution. I could build an attractive chisel tray that could hold many more tools securely while eliminating the injury-inflicting shelf hooks. Here’s how the Woodsmith customized pegboard tool holder works:
The new, improved chisel rack
I could have gone the cheapest route, picking pine, but I reasoned that I would be looking at this particular chisel tray for some time and decided to spend a few extra dollars on some alder. Alder is inexpensive by hardwood standards, but I think it has some nice grain and looks great after a BLO/Polyurethane finish. At my local big-box store I picked up several pieces of ¾” x 3 ½” x 24″ boards.
The Woodsmith plans call for a 1′ long tray. That would only hold the same amount of chisels as my caddy. So I thought about going with an 18″ tray…then said what the hell, just go with the whole board.
My caddy has 2″ spaces between the centerlines of the holes for my larger chisels. The spacing gradually decreases as the chisel sized get smaller. In use, my hand would bump into adjacent chisels when reaching for a smaller tool. So I decided on a standardizing my spacing at 2″ for all the holes. That would give me slots for 11 chisels.
I laid out the center lines for the holes, setting them at 2″ intervals and 2 ¼” inches from the back of the board. Then I drew lines ¼” on each side of the center line. These would be cut out to form the slot that the chisel could pass through when retrieved.
Next I drilled 5/8″ holes with my 10″ Craftsman hand brace fitted with a forstner bit. This hole size worked well for my chisel ferrules on the caddy, so I used it here. Then I used my backsaw to cut the slots.
After that I chamfered the holes and all the edges (except the bottom rear edge which will support the weight of the tray). For this I used my router table with a 45 degree chamfer bit.
In retrospect, I should have done as much work as possible before drilling the holes and sawing the slots. All those edges easily catch on plane edges and tear out was a bear. My advice is to do all the chamfering and smooth-planing before any holes or slots are cut.
Then it was time to lay out the holes for the three L-hooks I used. I did this by holding the tray up to the peg board and marking the locations. I didn’t notice at the time that one of those spots fell in line with a ferrule hole, so when I drilled the L-hook hole, it broke through.
To prevent splitting, I drilled a pretty big hole for the L-hooks and as deep as the hardware would run. Even so, I had to use a wrench to help me finish screwing them in to their final depth.
Once the test-fit into the pegboard proved true, I removed the L-hooks to finish the piece. I used my #4 on the faces and edges (going very lightly along the slotted edge to avoid tear out). This was followed by two coats of BLO and spray-on poly.
Installing and using
The L-hooks work like a charm for affixing the tray to pegboard. The 1/8″ chamfer on the top rear edge allows it to tip sufficiently to seat it. And it holds it securely too.
Here’s some after shots.
And here’s the comparison: the shoot-your-eye-out-kid version versus the new one.
I love the look of it. And the lack of any pointy things poised to take a ding out of my head or eye. I also like the extra spaces for future additions.
Next up, two things:
–Build a rack to hold my four try squares
–Set my DVR to record A Christmas Story.