Pegboard Tool Storage Epiphany #4: Hand drill storage rack

If you’re like me, your workshop space is at a premium. Situated in an L-shaped portion of the garage, I have to make every square inch count. One day, I woke up and decided I was fed up with “drill sprawl.” My hand drills and braces were strewn hither and yonder across my pegboard landscape. So I sat down to design and build a pegboard brace rack to organize them.

My criteria were as follows:

  1. Minimize the space taken up on the pegboard.
  2. Include enough space between tools so that they don’t hit each other when docking and retrieving.
  3. Ensure that each tool can be retrieved without moving any other tool.
  4. Accommodate two hand drills and four braces. In other words, only tools that I use. This is not a display case for a boring tool collection, no pun intended. Here’s the lineup:
  • Stanley eggbeater No. 624 (5/8” slot)
  • Goodell-Pratt Hand Drill No. 53 (½” slot)
  • Skinner 6” brace (½” slot)
  • PS&W 8” No. 1203 (½” slot + ¾” spacer)
  • Skinner 10” brace (½” slot)
  • Millers-Falls 12” No. 321 (5/8” slot + ¾” spacer)

5.  Make an attractive design.

Storage Designs
Six boring tools can get heavy so I opted to make a sturdy construction. My wood of choice was alder-the poor-man’s cherry-to match the other storage racks I’ve made so far. My search for eye-catching brace storage designs turned up this one.

P1-Brace Rack Design I liked

Now that’s some good woodworking to be sure. But for me, it was overkill. I prefer to keep all my bits at hand in existing drawers. That obviates the need for any storage rack drawers. And because my pegboard includes ample space in the z axis (think from the wall toward yourself) I chose to dock my braces with the handle pointing out perpendicular to the wall. That would be consistent with criteria 2 and 3 above.

One of the critical questions for any storage rack is what is the spacing between the centerline of each tool storage slot? To get that answer, I measured the head diameters of the braces, as well as the shafts to determine the lateral space requirements of each tool.

P6-measuring head and shaft

To conserve a few more lateral inches, I opted to add ¾” spacers on top of two of the slots so that the head bottoms could sit above the heads of their adjacent neighbors. That yielded center-line to center-line spacing between brace slots of 2 ½ inches. In retrospect, that made things a bit tight when reaching for tools. So if I had it to do over again, I would allow 3 to 3 ½ inches between slots.

Here’s the design I came up with.

P2-Hand brace storage rack design

The cut list
1” x 6” x 24” alder (1)—(3/4” x 5 ¾” x 24 actual)

1” x 4” x 24” alder (1)—(3/4” x 3 ¾” x 24” actual)

The top shelf is 18 ½” long and supported by a cross brace along the bottom back edge along with two end brackets.

The build


Based on past experience, I do any work on the rack before cutting the slots. That way I don’t get any tear out or, worse, a break. With that in mind, I broke the sharp edges by chamfering them with a block plane, then I ran a smoothing plane over it. Next, I laid out the slots, then glued ¾” spacers over the last and next to last slots from the right. The spacers would allow the tops of two braces to sit under those of their spacer-elevated neighbors.

P5-Rack spacers to keep heads from hitting each other

After that, I cut the slots followed by chamfering the edges a wee bit with a very sharp chisel.

–Rack shelf support

For the perpendicular shelf support, I cut it nearly to length then zeroed in on the final dimension on the shooting board. To make the joint between the rack and support more pleasing to the eye, I ran a 3/8” bead along the top (criteria #5.)

P7-Bead detail shot


To eliminate a blocky appearance (criteria #5) I cut one corner off each bracket front.

P3-Side Bracket

After the pieces were cut and fitted, I finished them with Danish oil, being careful to mask the to-be-glued edges. After the finish dried, I glued up the pieces and reinforced the joints with screws.

P4-Finished Rack

Now that I’ve used it, I like the look and the brace rack works well. It’s a bit tight between braces, and I have to take a bit of care to see that the heads don’t collide. But it’s compact and holds everything just fine. Drill sprawl be gone!



About The Write Biz

By day, I'm a mild-mannered copywriter who harnesses frontal-lobe creativity (right brain) to help B2B marketers generate leads and sales. By night I pick up hand tools to create wooden masterpieces...and give my black lab Bella the "red dot" laser to chase after.
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