Wicked Fast Dremel & Router Bit Organizers Using Dadoes (Instead of Holes)




About: Programmer, woodworker, problem solver, problem maker.

With router and Dremel bits, I often don't know what I need until I see it.

After several iterations of drilling holes in wood, I began looking for a solution that would:

  • be faster to make
  • have a much higher density

After several bad ideas over the course of several months, I had an epiphany: Intersecting dadoes are perfect for keeping cylinders upright.

The idea: Find the perfect dado width. It would need to be just smaller than the shank diameter, yet large enough that the intersection of 2 dadoes would accommodate the shank. A shank can then fit in the intersection, but not the dadoes that make up that intersection.

The Benefits:

  • Speed
  • Density
  • Organizational bliss

The Speed: Wayyyyy faster than I anticipated. In ~25 minutes, I was able to:

  • Drill 63 holes for the 1/2" shank tray
  • Drill 216 holes for the 1/4" shank tray
  • Drill 384 holes for the 1/8" shank tray
  • Change blade setups between trays
  • Sand off the tearout in the grooves of each board

In this case, drill = cut a dado, and holes = intersections.

In this Instructable, I'll give you:

  • All specific dimensions for making organizer trays for 1/2", 1/4", and 1/8" shank trays
  • Ideas of how to achieve those dimensions using various blade setups.

Note: This is not a prototype. I do many prototypes, but the prototypes for this project were made over a year ago. What I'm showing you here is the tweaked, final project after a year of using the prototypes.

See the video!

I'm pretty stinking excited about this project. It presented a few opportunities for various fun tests. The video contains those tests as well as a walk-through of making these organizer trays.

Note: I used Baltic Birch, but recommend you just use a 2x6 to avoid the glue-up.

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Step 1: Gather Parts & Tools


  1. Part of a 2x6

Yeah that's all. I went fancier in the video, but a chunk of 2x4 or 2x6 is a great place to start (and end for that matter). It's the perfect thickness and you can avoid having to glue up layers.


Then of course, a table saw + crosscut sled!


Notice: I use affiliate links to help pay for some of the supplies used in my videos, tests, and Instructables. Your usage of them costs you nothing, and I get a small kickback on any sales, which I bigtime appreciate. I have a strong stance about how I will and won’t use affiliate links: https://www.keithstestgarage.com/affiliate-usage/

Step 2: Prepare & Cut

Here are my findings. (See picture w/ table for more details.)

Set Up Your Crosscut Sled

Measuring tape tape is extremely valuable for cuts like this. I don't care to zero the tape to the blade, but rather, just stick it on and use it as an incremental guide.

When I say "spacing" I really mean "intervals"

I realize "spacing" may refer to the distance between two dadoes. But, I'm referring to the cut increments. So, if the spacing/increment is 1", you'd make cuts at something like 2", 3", 4", 5", 6", etc. (Therefore, the distance between the dadoes will be less.)

Tray for 1/8" Shanks

  • Use a standard thin kerf 3/32" saw blade. Easy, right?
  • Spacing: 1/2" or 1 cm. (I did 1 cm on accident and it worked well)
  • Depth of dado: 0.5"

Tray for 1/4" Shanks

  • Use the same standard thin kerf 3/32" saw blade.
  • Plus, make an extra cut at +1/16".
  • Spacing: 1/2"
  • Depth of dado: 0.6" - 0.75"

Example cut+extra sequence:

  • 2"
  • 2 1/16" (increment +1/16")
  • 2 1/2"
  • 2 9/16" (increment +1/16")
  • 3"
  • 3 1/16" (increment +1/16")
  • 3 1/2"
  • 3 9/16" (increment +1/16")
  • ...

Tray for 1/2" Shanks

  • Use a dado stack: both wings + one 1/8" chipper
  • Spacing: 7/8" - 1"
  • Depth of dado: 0.75"

TIP: Reduce the amount of tearout by using a blade with alternating bevel teeth. See picture.

It's hard to believe it, but you're almost done.

Step 3: Finishing Touches

Bust out some columns for a little tray to hold various parts that don't fit in the holes.

Clean up tearout. Old faux wood blinds and a roll of sticky sandpaper make a quick stick sander that's perfect for this.

Step 4: Organize & Enjoy

You know what to do now. Go have fun. If you make this, drop a note or post a picture!


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    28 Discussions


    4 months ago

    Great idea. I've been putting off making a router bit organizer for ages and now know how I'm going about it when I get around to it. Thanks!


    4 months ago

    Again a good instructable, but it isn't going to work. Those blocks of cross grain are going to break easily. Holes are much better and probably just as easy, esp. with a drill press. Just be sure to use a 5/16" drill bit not a 1/4" drill bit. Or maybe a 7 mm bit.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 months ago

    I showed it working, and have used this dado design for over a year.


    4 months ago

    For us Europeans, the kerf widths should be 2,5mm for the 1/8" shanks, 4,5mm for 1/4" shanks and 9mm for the 1/2" shanks.

    Nice idea.

    5 replies

    Reply 4 months ago

    1/2” is closer to 13mm, 1/4” is 6mm, and 1/8” is 3mm. That’s what my Robert Sorby chisels say. 9mm is .35 caliber.


    Reply 4 months ago

    He’s referring to the dado sizes, which are a bit smaller than shank sizes.


    Reply 4 months ago

    Ah! OK, sorry. Brilliant idea, by the way.


    Reply 4 months ago

    Thanks for this. On that note...I’m getting into 3D printing for the workshop, and have changed my default units in Fusion 360 to metric. And like it a lot.

    But how on earth do you discuss drywall over there?


    Reply 4 months ago

    in mm of course ;-) A 2x4 is by my knowledge a 44x96 here. (funny enough also known as a 2x4, 'cause, well..., thats eh..., not metric. Or something like that.)


    4 months ago

    This is flat out genius.

    I realize that you'd probably want the front of your trays flush with the cabinet, but have you considered making the lowest section arc outward slightly in the middle to provide a pull and thumb rest?

    1 reply

    Question 4 months ago

    Fantastic Instructable! I’ve been looking for a solution for holding metalworking stamps, and am wondering if some adaptation of this could work. Metal stamps come in two standard sizes, but you start collecting a wide range of customized, non-standard shank sizes and designs (round, square, and some atypical shapes) making most pre-fab storage solutions moot. I’d rigged up a fast/easy/cheap solution using a thick craft/floral foam disc; rigid enough to maintain the stamp shank size, and flexible enough to push stamps into it. But, with use, the foam loses integrity, and I’ve had to duct tape the bottom as they push through. The stamps tend to want to topple, and it’s not much to look at. Any tips for modifying the design you’ve created here for storing metal stamps, in a way that would allow more variable shank sizes and shapes? Keep in mind, we’re talking about having a handful of any one atypical size, so you couldn’t have one tray for a specific shank size/shape (no real standards). I’ve included some images from web (not mine) showing a small amount of the size variations I’m dealing with. Thanks for a really well done project! Cheers :)

    2 answers

    Answer 4 months ago

    Agreed with onetruegod's post about the non-business end. From one pic, it looks like shank sizes are all the same and cylindrical. Others look like they're different size squares/cylinders. With the bits you have, is there any sort of rhyme/reason to the size (3/8", 1/2", 5/8" etc...? Or are they all just whatever the maker feels?


    Answer 4 months ago

    I think it would be better if you had some images of the non business end of your stamps as it is the shank size/shape not the head that matters for storage.

    Don't let the ticks bite, Rickettsia ;-)


    4 months ago

    The magic of the video is in the blade and the room moving toward the work piece in unison. You may have posted this 'ible one day too soon! Great idea. Equally great presentation & tnx for posting.


    4 months ago

    Very nice and very clever. Definitely in the "why didn't I think of that?" category. Sadly - for the same reasons, it likely falls in the category of something that an enterprising manufacturer (can you say "chinese'?) might be able to tool up quickly and bring to the marketplace.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thanks! Question though... why would they want to? A few people have noted this elsewhere on the internet, and I've wondered - wouldn't it be easier/cheaper for them to blow-mold a cheap plastic tray with holes?


    4 months ago

    Perfect drawer inserts! Or desktop pencil holder?
    Mr. Ham

    1 reply