For those of you who enjoy making lots of mistakes and finding out after hours of work that your tool placement won’t work, I highly recommend that you dive right in to making your rack and don’t bother with a prototype.
I don’t enjoy that process, so I very much bothered with a prototype. This allowed me to firm up a number of dimensions while simultaneously avoiding nasty mistakes.
I began by laying out all the tools I wanted to put in the rack onto my workbench. Then, starting from the left, I began to lay out holes for the tools in the order listed below. I hate retrieving tools from cramped spaces, so I determined that I wanted ½” of space on each side of every tool/handle. There wasn’t enough room to house all the tools I originally intended, so I culled the least used among them.
Chisel holes: The recommended ½” holes were too small to comfortably (for me) secure my Woodriver bench chisels. I found that I preferred 5/8” holes. Four of my chisels are wider than the 5/8” holes, so the prototype allowed me to work out the “wing” slots to accommodate them.
Awl hole: For the awl, I drilled a hole just large enough to accommodate the shaft, and countersunk a 3/8” deep hole to fit the ferule. Once docked, it stays snug and secure.
Wheel cutting gauge hole: The prototype caught what would have been a big mistake. My wheel gauge is too wide to fully seat into the suggested 1” wide rack. To overcome this issue I did two things. I increased the width of the tool rack and I drilled the hole for the gauge forward of the center line. See the picture above.
All-in-one-screwdriver-hole: I saved precious rack space for other tools by choosing to install one of those ratchet, all-in-one screwdrivers with interchangeable heads. The shaft is ½” in diameter so the driver fits perfectly and snugly into the ½” hole I drilled for it.
Marking knife hole: At the drill press, I cut a series of 1/8” wide holes to create the slot for my shop-made marking knife. I cleaned up the slot with a chisel and drilled a countersink hole ½” wide by ½” deep to snugly retain the knife.
Bevel gauge and combination square slots: I used the same process described above to create slots for these tools.
Installing the rack
To avoid all manner of frustration and forgo teaching the neighbor kids some choice words, I suggest that you use “scaffolding” to determine the placement of your rack. Simply cut two pieces of pine scrap to an estimated length, position them vertically to the rear of your upper compartment and place your tool rack on top of them.
Then load up your panel saws and tool-rack tools and see if you can close the lid. Rinse and repeat until everything fits and closes properly.
Now, before you drill any holes, ADD your backsaw till, load your saws and tool rack and position the till so that it’s not bumping into anything.
Once you’re satisfied with everything, THEN drill holes to screw your rack and till into place.
For the rack, I placed one screw in each end and one in the back. I used screws to secure the backsaw till by drilling and countersinking holes through the jack/smoother divider slat.
With that done, it was time to add some drawers. And that is the subject of my next post.
© 2014, Brad Chittim, all rights reserved.