Mark Baker has, as you might expect, a large number of carving tools which, by their very nature, have a diverse range of handle and blade sizes. Add to the specification that they must be easy to select and the tips easy to view and still be stored safely, and the design for a tool rack begins to be a bit tricky. You can amend it to suit your needs of course.
It was decided the lower two racks would hold most of the smaller tools and have the same hole sizes. The top rack would hold larger tools and mallets, so the hole sizes would need to be larger, too. The really wide gouges posed a problem, as they will not pass through a circular hole, so I routed a continuous slot through the middle of the holes which did the trick! It is important to note that carving tools are inherently dangerous as their blade edges must be razor sharp — not helped by the variety of cutting edge patterns. This rack is designed so you can still choose the correct tool, but the blades are clear of the handles in front.
Things you will need…
• 12-15mm MDF or plywood for sides
• 6-9mm MDF for template/ centre support
• 15mm ply for tool supports
• 50mm twin pass screws
• 22, 25 & 50mm Forstner
• 12.7mm straight cutter & router
• Snail countersink
1. I decided to choose a slant design because it allows easy selection and removal from the rack. The topmost stage is taller because many of these tools are longer than the ones below. Note how the tips will be visible once the rack is assembled, but will stay back out of harm’s way.
2. Start by cutting out the initial ‘rod’ or design, which will become a template. This was our second design attempt — the first was drawn on the other side of the board, but we weren’t happy with that one so we turned over and started again.
3. The rack ends were made from a length of pine shelf board, however, good quality ply would do just as well if you prefer to use this. The template itself was later pressed into service as a centre rack support because of the tool foading.
4. The stages can be cut by band-saw or with a sharp handsaw whichever you choose. You should now have a matching pair of tool rack ends.
5. The next step is to pre-drill each end of the tool rack and fit within the stud divisions in the workshop. Alternatively, you can screw a batten to each rack end and then into the wall behind with screws and wall plugs.
6. Now you can screw the template with a batten attached to the panel behind, but ensure tc check to make sure it is vertical. 11 can be painted white to blend in to the wall.
7. Drill the tool holes on a drill press using a suitable size Forstner bit. Before you start, test drill on a spare piece and see how far the handle will go through — about two-thirds should be enough to hold it without sliding right through. If any tool handles are a little too loose, line the finished holes with a strip of self adhesive hook-and-loop as a support.
8. By using a fenced sub-table or the drill press you can get a nice even row of holes. However, the edges will be ragged, so a good machine sanding will remove all the rough edges.
9. The top row of the tool rack has wide bladed tools, which are accommodated by virtue of an elongated slot, as shown here. Machine this on the router table with the aid of a 12mm straight cutter. Note a tiny pencil mark on the workpiece, aligned with the fence opening as one of two start stop marks for this ‘drop-on’ cut, done in two passes to depth.
10. The round head mallets require 50mm diameter holes in the top rack made with a large Forstner bit. Before fitting the racks on the end pieces pre-drill and countersink the screw holes. The centre support is just that, it doesn’t need to be screwed into. Now you just need to assemble the parts and you’re done!