Introduction: Build a Drill Press Tool Holder

About: Life 2.95 achieved! Former teacher and college instructor currently enjoying my workshop, outdoor cooking, traveling and camping, woodworking, rebuilding small vintage campers, steampunk crafts and mods, and f…

How to Build a Drill Press Bit and Tool Holder

Practicable & Inexpensive to Make

This is a simple and quick instructable for building a drill press tool holder or bit tray. The holder easily attaches to the drill column keeping the chuck key and frequently used bits, sanders and other tools organized and always within reach.

I made this holder from two small pieces of scrap plywood and a pair of barrel nuts readily available from local hardware stores. The idea for the design is based on a product available from Lee Valley. I couldn't find anything anything online that looked simpler or easier to build so I modified this idea to suit my need. I used two pieces of plywood to simplify the construction and then customized the size and position of the holes for the bits and tools I wanted to store.

Just 6 simple steps, a few hours and at very little cost.

Total Cost: Not including the scrap wood, less than $2 for the barrel nuts and 2 bolts.

Step 1: ​Tools, Wood & Other Materials

Tools, Wood & Other Materials


  • Drill Press
  • Misc Drill Bits
  • Scroll saw or bandsaw or jig saw
  • Slotted screwdriver


  • 1 piece 1/2 plywood – approx 6” x 12”
  • 1 piece 1/4 plywood – approx 6” x 12”

Other Materials

  • Sandpaper
  • polyurethane
  • (2) barrel nuts and bolts matched to size (I used 1/4”thread, bolts measured 1 3/4” in length)

Step 2: Design


Begin by laying out the hole pattern on the 1/2 ply.

By the way. I have found that converting a project picture to a 'pencil' line graphic and then adding dimensions by hand is an easy way to share an overall plan with instructable users. That is what you are viewing in the picture above.

Step 3: ​Drill the Holes

Drill the Holes

Using the drill press, drill the holes all the way through. A piece of 1/4” ply will be glued to the bottom of this piece of wood so that the bits won’t fall through. I suppose you could drill holes in a 3/4” or one inch board and then use a stop set to approximately a 1/2 or 5/8". Given that I had the two pieces of plywood described, I think my idea was simpler than the commercial alternative.

Glue the scrap piece of 1/4” ply to the 1/2 inch piece and clamp.

Step 4: Shape and Sand the Tool Holder

Shape and Sand the Tool Holder

Square up the sandwiched piece of wood on the band saw (or table saw) and round off the 2 corners on the far side. The rectangular piece measured approximately 5.5 x 10 inches after squaring and trimming. Layout the near end (closest to the column) with the pattern shown in the diagram. The drill press column diameter measured 2.5” and so I cut a hole measuring 2.75 inches. I used a hole template to mark out its position. You could also use a compass to scribe the circle.

Using the bandsaw (or a fine hand saw) cut off the narrow piece on the near end. Next cut out the two half circles using on the bandsaw. Test fit that the assembly fits around the column. If it is too sloppy, trim about 1/8” off of the longer piece. This will narrow the diameter of the hole and it should now fit snug around the column when tightened.

Erase any remaining pencil marks. Using a sanding drum sand all the edges smooth. I also used a sponge sanding block to slightly round off all the edges, however you could use a router and round over bit if you chose.

Step 5: ​Add the Barrel Nuts

Add the Barrel Nuts

The barrel nuts will drop into two surface holes in the larger piece and the bolts will join the two halves together. I drilled the holes for the nuts, using a hole gauge to determine the correct bit size, a bit shallow, placed a few drops of gorilla glue in each hole dropped in the nuts and aligned them with a screwdriver to receive the bolts.

Step 6: ​Finish and Attach

Finish and Attach

The completed fixture was given two coats of polyurethane before being attached to the drill press column.