Dick Kelly

Dick has limited space in his workshop and doesn’t use a lot of tools. He attached a milk crate to a bench grinder pedestal with plastic cable ties. He used cardboard and duct tape along the open edge of the crate to keep the tools from slipping out and Styrofoam on the base to keep them from falling through. The crate is placed on its side and the 3 X 5 hole grid makes room for 15 tools. It tips backward so the gouges lean back. Milk crates are available at stores that sell storage supplies like Target or Walmart. Some grocery stores throw away broken milk crates and may give them away if someone asks for them.

He purchased this tool bench grinder pedestal from Harbor Freight, with current cost being around $50. It’s easy to move and takes little floor space. He’s careful with his arrangement and puts the sharper tools like skews in the back and puts the ones he uses most frequently in the front. The ends of the cable ties that he used to attach the crate to the pedestal can be seen below the crate.

He usually has his tools conveniently placed at the end of his lathe. This photo shows how the tools lean away from the lathe.

This is his example of placing two tool holders at the base of his lathe and it shows how they only fill a small area of his shop.

Gary Frank

Gary made his tool holder with PVC pipe mounted on a lazy Susan so it rotates. He built a shelf above a nightstand that he’d purchased at a thrift store. He added some additional wings on the side to hold more tools and lathe accessories.

Several members made similar tool holders with Ed Jones and made their own adaptations. Bruce Butler described a similar arrangement that is not on a lazy Susan. It had been clamped onto an old Workmate to which he’d added a 2×4 base with 4 casters to help move it around the shop. He puts the shorter tools in front.

There was a discussion about safety with tools facing up and the sharp edges. Some place shorter ones in front and tall ones in the center. Some place small tools face down so they aren’t reaching across the sharp edges.

Doug Rowe

Doug removed the base from an old office chair to make the rolling base for his tool storage unit. Due to the tilt of the chair base, he used shims to get it level before attaching a plywood base to hold his gouges. It had 5 legs, which makes it more stable when rolling it around the shop. He learned this idea from Mike Peace, who presents some of his ideas on online. Habitat for Humanity often has inexpensive office chairs for sale.

These are two views of his tool holder. He used Forstner bits to make the holes. The tools on the bottom are facing down, but he’s able to identify the gouges by seeing the blades. The many gouges stored there make it a heavy, balanced base. There is a 4×4 post that supports the top plywood shelf. He puts chucks and other frequently used tools on the surface and has some gouges that face upward, but the 4’ high surface level of the plywood makes it safer.
Doug also showed a cabinet he modified to store lathe equipment on the open shelves. It has a top surface at the height of the lathe that can be used to move the tailstock off the lathe. The slot on the top provides a pathway for sliding the tailstock onto the cabinet.

This is a view of the cabinet from another angle after the tailstock has been moved onto it.

Ken Allen

Ken combined two racks that were custom built for his former workshop. The center bar has scallops that allow the gouges to lean toward the wall. The bottom edge is 6” from the wall to also allow an angle for leaning. There are 1 3/8” diameter holes drilled ½” deep into the 1” board for the handles to sit. A bungie cord runs across the right-hand rack to keep longer gouges from tipping. A Harbor Freight magnetic bar has been added to hold sanding disks along the bottom board.
A pegboard mounted on the back of a workbench adds additional tool storage. The racks on the left are an oval shape and are large enough to hold the gouges upright. Hooks on the right hold calipers as well as a project clipboard.
This closeup view shows the screwdriver holders that support some of the tools. A member recommended that Home Depot pegboard hooks secure more tightly than those from Harbor Freight. They do need to be sized correctly for the pegboard (1/8” or ¼” holes).
When there are too many gouges, a shallow drawer in a tool chest is an option for storing them. Rolling cabinets are handy for supplementing standing tool holders.
A tool rest holder was constructed with old chipboard and a shelf support. Both 1” and 5/8” holes were drilled with a Forstner bit. It sits behind the headstock of the lathe.
Dave Madden said he’s made a long metal tool rest holder along his wall for the 20-30 tool rests he’s made. A discussion of the benefits of different tool rests focused on how different tool rests, sizes and shapes, help with different projects. The Robust tool rest in the photo is sturdy, short, allows a comfortable hand position and has less vibrations. A safety tip was given: Keeping hands on the turner’s side of the tool rest is the safest. It’s important to develop habits that are safe for your hands.
This tool holder is attached to the lathe and is held there by c-clamps. Scallops and a magnetic strip hold tools in place. The bottoms of the scallops are at the same height as the bed of the lathe to keep the tools horizontal. Besides gouges, the magnetic strip helps hold calipers and metal measuring devices. The magnetic strip works on tools made with high-speed steel, but Easy Wood tools will be held only by the scallops since they have aluminum shafts. A design element was setting the tray below the bed so it doesn’t interfere with tail stock movement. The downside is that it can fill with chips but they are easily vacuumed away.

Mark Oglesby

Mark has had tools roll off of a surface and damage the blade of a gouge, so he was looking for a good way to store tools. He purchased this from Ed Jones’ sale. The PVC pipes are mounted on a lazy Susan that’s attached to the cabinet. There are three drawers, one labeled for small tools and one for vacuum heads.
The cabinet is easy to move with the handle that was placed on top and the high-quality locking wheels on the base. An attached tool holder had been added to the side.
This top view of the cabinet has four slots on top and more could be added. Mike Adler showed a scar on his arm that resulted from reaching through gouges that were standing up. Safety comments included: Reaching through is safer than reaching up and over. Hands are very complicated to repair, and great caution should be taken when reaching through sharp objects. Mike said that in his case, he was safe reaching through to get a gouge, but once he’d grabbed it and was pulling it out, the position was such that it sliced his arm. Safety rule: be cautious and aware of the location of those edges.

Ric Davis

The ‘Tool Crib’ rack has a board with scallops in the center and a board on the bottom with holes drilled with Forstner bits. The wall to the outer edge of the bottom is about 4 inches wide, and if he remade it at some time, Ric would widen it so the tools would angle backwards more to keep them more secure. He added a power strip to the side of his tool holder. Lag bolts hold it on the wall. The positive aspects of this kind of holder are that you can see what each gouge is and that they are displayed safely. The downside is that it takes wall space.
In order to keep the gouge from rolling off the lathe, a towel is a simple helper. Members discussed the benefits of the straight bar tool rest in this photo. It helps keep cuts parallel and is sturdy. It has a post and the rest screws into that post. The downside was that the post isn’t smoothly angled from the top and knuckles can be bruised if they hit it often.
This stand helps with putting cole jaws on a chuck. The chuck fits on the dowel to keep the chuck balanced and prevents tipping when mounting the jaws. The stand also is helpful when drying an object that can be mounted on the center.

Pete Lang

Pete built a shelf under the lathe to hold wood and supplies. Some members commented that it’s a good place for chips to collect also. Evidently, Powermatic has plans in their manual for a shelf supported by a 2”X4” frame with dowels rather than a solid shelf so it lets chips fall through the slats. A design choice would be to decide how far apart the dowels would be placed depending on what things would be stored there. Whatever is built would have to be engineered before starting the project since the legs are canted and the angles affect the difficulty in installing the shelf.
Pete’s tool holder is at the end of his lathe and the sharp metal ends are all pointing downward for safety reasons. However, it’s hard to see the tips to know which tool is which. The Easy Wood tools are easier to identify since the handles are color coded. It was suggested that the other tools be labeled in some way, perhaps with different colors of electrical tape. Or, perhaps the tools are trained to always be parked in the same location.
If this is attached to the lathe, it can be in the way of removing the tail stock or can interfere if a ‘swing away’ were added. Several members said the ‘swing away’ (~$350-375) is well worth the cost since it’s easier on a woodturner’s back.