The Chisel Storage Rack





Introduction: The Chisel Storage Rack

About: Desktop Support Technician by day. Rock Drummer by night. DIY Home Improvement Enthusiast. Maker of whatever I can imagine in between it all. Professional level napper. I have a full workshop in my basem...

Nothing says "class" like hand tools ... unless we're talking about my sweet tuxedo T-shirt worn in the workshop, but that is reserved for special projects.

I decided it was time to step it up a bit and get fancy with some wood chisels. They aren't top of the line ... they probably aren't even middle of the line. Truth is, I'll most likely ruin them with poor technique and even worse sharpening, so it's smart to start out with an inexpensive set anyway.

By now, you know my love for organization (OCD), as well as french cleats. You also know my love for plywood, but this time we're going 1/2" and no hardboard.

Step 1: Layout and Marking

I had some scrap 1/2" plywood and one of the pieces was just big enough to become the back panel. It's width was 7 1/2", so by default, that became the length for all the other parts.

First, I cut a dado towards the top of the panel, which will accept the top "holder". This will make more sense as we progress.

I spaced the chisels by eye and marked their centers on the bottom and top holders. Those marks were then extended to show me the centers for my holes. I wanted the centers to be 3/4" in from the back edge and I'll trim the front edge after assembly. For this, I used a shop made marking tool. I have 5 of varying depths (1/4", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", and 1") and they were made using scrap poplar, 1/4" plexiglass, and some screws.

Step 2: Drilling the Holes

I started the center points with my shop made awl, which I find to aid in alignment of the drill bits. All four holes were then drilled with a 1" forstner bit.

I could've exercised my brain with fractions and a combination square, but I chose to be clever instead. With the top holder inserted into its dado, I used the bottom piece to transfer the center marks quickly, easily, and accurately.

Since the chisels are different widths, the top holes also have to be different widths. For the most part (I don't have a 1 1/8" forstner bit), I made these holes 1/8" wider than the chisel in question.

Step 3: Assembly

The top holder was set into its dado with glue and a few pin nails. The bottom holder was also attached with glue and pin nails. A last solid piece is laminated to the bottom holder with glue and pin nails. Not only does this create the solid bottom, but it also reinforces the weak butt joint.

Using some scrap 3/4", I made a quick french cleat and attachdd that with ... you guessed it, glue and pin nails.

Step 4: Trimming, Sanding, and Oiling

Once the glue was cured, I determined my desired depth and then trimmed the top and bottom holders. I wanted enough depth to make it stable when standing, but shallow enough to hang on the wall out of the way.

Some quick finish sanding at the down draft table, and then a coat of 50/50 Boiled Linseed Oil/Mineral Spirits.

Step 5: Complete

All finished. The bottom set of holes function as recesses for the handles, while the top set of holes keep the chisels from falling off of the rack. I can easily take it to my work and hang it on my wall.

Note: This could easily be scaled up for more chisels and/or larger chisels. I actually have a larger one made out of scrap OSB, which holds an assortment of lathe tools.


Back Panel: 7 1/2" x 10 1/4"
Top Holder: 7 1/2" x 2 1/16"
Bottom Holder: 7 1/2" x 1 3/4"
Bottom Shelf: 7 1/2" x 2 1/4"

Bottom Holes: All 1" diameter
Top Holes: 5/8", 7/8", 1 1/4", and 1 3/8" diameter



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    16 Discussions

    Mark R

    I like the rack it solves my chisel storage & allowing me to free up more wall area for other tools .Thanks again.

    I like the rack alot!! But as far as storing them tip up I always throw the little plastic protectors away, Ive cut myself more putting them on than I ever did without them on in storage. Any ways great rack!!

    I like the idea of having the chisels displayed but I have to put my chisels in a charred cedar box that I made. The reason is two fold; The char soaks up moisture and the cedar is resistant to moisture. Chisels seem to rust quickly...why is that? (I have the same set of chisels which are the best I have ever owned).

    That's a great, simple little rack. If my tools weren't constantly mobile, I'd definitely make one. I might be inclined to add a protective panel over the tops of the chisels so that the blades stay out of trouble once the plastic edge protectors get lost (or so that you can store the chisels without the edge protectors for more convenient access).

    5 replies

    I generally find hole based tool holders inconvenient to use myself. I know a chisel rack can be made where one does not have to thread the tool through a hole in order to get it. I keep all of my chisels in drawers though so I'll leave it to someone else to figure out.

    I like the open slot design and use it for my Bessey clamps, but it didn't really work for these. The shanks taper all the way to the handle so they'd weeble/wobble and since I want to be able to take this from the wall to my work, I wanted to eliminate all chance of them falling out and onto the floor. I also drop things .. A LOT.

    I am glad to hear you are so confident of your rack you've made. I am a bit more skeptical as to the outcome of a fall myself. If your aim is to insure minimal damage from a drop then consider a leather wrap for your chisels. That would offer you the most protection short of a fitted foam steel case. The foam case in my view is a bit of over kill perhaps. You could launch a foam and steel case against a stone wall with a catapult though and have reasonable expectations of your tools being undamaged. The leather wrap would fare almost as well and still be a traditional method. So I'm leaning towards the leather wrap for you myself.

    Look at this one


    If I had to move sets of chisels around I could see myself going with that. I made a canvas wrap for some paddle drills I have once. I'm not above doing a bit of stitching now and again.

    I agree with your design as it is. If it were mounted at waist-level and tilted back, then I might consider using open slots for convenience, but as it is, I think it's safer to use your closed design so that you can't accidentally tip a chisel out of it. Dropped chisels are scary because they tend to fall blade first, like a missile. No thanks!

    I have found some tilt to be critical in keeping things where they belong in an open holder. I keep a number of screwdrivers in an open rack. None have inadvertently fallen out of it ever. Although if I were to design a chisel rack I would have it different than even that screwdriver rack that I made. As it is I prefer to keep chisels in drawers. They are more delicate tools, so need more protection than screwdrivers do. So I will not be designing an open rack for chisels in this lifetime I'm afraid. I've made open racks for files too though. A few different designs in fact.

    Great project, I think I might make this

    Like this a lot, have downloaded and added to my list of things to make once I've done the shed!

    may be a while though! thanks great ible

    Great 'ible. love the French cleats, so versatile. Perhaps I would stow the chisels the other way up. Now I am motivated to make some of these racks myself.

    Very nice! I love your projects. And I think we have a similar fascination with plywood and french cleats. Can't wait to see what you make next!

    1 reply

    I second seamster, greta stuff. I like this method, but I have a plywood wall to hang tools on... I might just pocket screw the upper and lower parts directly into the wall.