Lathe Tool Holders




Introduction: Lathe Tool Holders

About: My name is Troy. I'm a Mechatronics graduate studying Mechanical Engineering. I like to make things and spend time outdoors (especially SCUBA diving). I am a Community Manager for Instructables.

When purchasing lathe tools, they often come in a box. These nice boxes aren't very useful when working at the lathe as they take up workbench space and collect chips. My solution to this problem is to make a tool rack from easily accessible PVC pipe that can tilt on a threaded rod. This open bottom design prevents chips and sawdust from being trapped in the holders. These tilting holders are held in place at the top with inexpensive magnets.

This simple project can be made in an hour or two with only a few tools.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Step 2: Cut PVC

Measure the length of your lathe tools from the ferrule to the end of the handle. Cut your PVC 3/4 in. longer than that length. I used a table saw, but a miter saw, bandsaw, or even hand saw will work.

Cut a 45 degree angle on one end. If you make the writing on the longer side of the 45 degree cut, the writing will not be visible from the front of the holder.

Step 3: Drill and Assemble

Drill a 3/8 in. hole through the side of each tube. I set up a vise on the drill press for easily repeatable holes.

Step 4: Backing Board and Brackets

Because my garage has wooden studs around the walls, a backing piece of plywood needed to be attached to the wall. A bracket for each side was cut from scrap pieces of wood with a 3/8 in. hole through the center.

With washers between each piece of PVC and plywood, thread everything on the rod.

Attach the brackets to the wall with screws.

Step 5: Attach Magnets

Mark the top of each PVC holder. Screw short flange head screws ~1/2 in. below the mark. Place a piece of painters tape under a magnet then attach to the screw. Using a small piece of wood, apply epoxy to the front of the magnet. Swing the holder back in place and secure the magnet in place with the painters tape. Repeat the process with each holder. Wait until dry.

Step 6: Load Up Tools and Make Something Fun

If you've made your own tool rack in the past, what features do you like about it? Is there anything that you would change?

Let me know in the comments!



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    15 Discussions

    If you were to hinge the backer so it opened ~15 degrees you'd be able to easily get your tools, while maintaining a tight display of them. put a magnet on the back to hold it in place.

    Nice idea well presented, and I like the use of the tubes, but...

    Because of the exposure of the blades and their orientation, this setup would be prohibited for a public, shared or work environment in New Zealand. A better, safer, arrangement would be to have the chisel blades downwards, resting on a soft wood base (they are wood tolerant) with the chisel shafts exposed so you can choose your chisel. Then when the lights go out...

    2 replies

    What about a cap on the exposed edge? It'd have to be labeled for size for easy access, though. Unless they were similar to the caps on my chisels.


    Caps on your chisels is a great idea. Then you can pack your chisels in a number of ways, including lugging them loose in a toolbox, and the blades are protected from damage and so are you.

    Good thought.

    Ah, in my Little Shop I use empty Peanut Butter Pretzel containers. Yours is so much neater. Nicely done.


    Now that it's completed do you feel like the magnets serve purpose?

    1 reply

    Yeah, they keep the tool holders from falling down and dropping tools.

    nice! a cool way to organize lathe tools.


    2 months ago

    Looks great! Currently rebuilding my workshop, and I plan on using your idea to store my lathe tools. One question though- What stops the pipes from tilting all the way forward? It is just the resistance of the tight threaded rod?
    I'll probably be adding a second rod in front, to prevent the pipes from tilting too far forward. Might add a small mesh "plate" at the bottom of the pipes as well, so that the tools aren't resting on the rod.

    1 reply

    If the end brackets are close to the backer board, the bottom of the PVC would hit the backer board and tilt no further.

    That's a great functional design. The only thing I would add is the "sneeze guard". Kinda like at the salad bar, they have the clear glass cover over the food. I would imagine you might get snagged on the sharp tools when grabbing the power tools off the wall. I don't think they call some of them gouges for nothing. For the *retentive, mark the slots with pictures of the tool profile to organize better.

    1 reply

    Exactly what I thought when I saw it: "An accident waiting to happen", whether it's personal injury or tools smashed - wonder who takes the most damage if a heavy tool hit an edge. A hand automatically trying to recover a slippery grip when fetching tool, might mean extra power to the hand trying to challenge an edge.

    A 2" or so board or ply, a bit over the top of the lathe tools would probably negate the need for bandages :)

    But that said, it certainly looks neat!

    Great project, pvc pipe is perfect for storage ideas.