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:
- Minimize the space taken up on the pegboard.
- Include enough space between tools so that they don’t hit each other when docking and retrieving.
- Ensure that each tool can be retrieved without moving any other tool.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
To eliminate a blocky appearance (criteria #5) I cut one corner off each bracket front.
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.
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!