Keeping your wood turning tools organised makes the space around the lathe safer and makes your tools easier to access. If you leave your tools laying around on the bench, there is a greater risk that they will fall on the floor and have their cutting edges damaged. A rack for wood turning tools is an easy afternoon project.
The size of your wood turning tool rack should be dictated not by how many tools you have, but by how many tools you plan to have. This way, you will not need to build another rack as your collection of wood turning tools grows. At the same time, you should make the rack small enough so that it will fit into a wall-mounted area that is conveniently located near your lathe.
You can create a sturdy rack for wood turning tools out of 3/4-inch plywood. Build an open front box with a flat bottom on which the butts of the tool handles will rest. Three or four inches above the bottom, install another strip of wood with a line of holes that are large enough to accommodate the handles. At the top of the box, put in another strip of wood that has open-front, semicircular holes for resting the cutting ends of the tools in. You can make these strips by creating a single strip with holes in it and cutting it down the middle.
Unless you want to create a work of art in which you can store your wood turning tools, leftover pieces of wood that you have around the shop should be more than sufficient to create your tool rack. Pieces of plywood should be thick enough and sturdy enough to hold the weight of the tools, and should not be warped or twisted as this will make it difficult to mount the rack on a flat wall.
You should mount your tool rack in a location that is convenient to your lathe. Do not mount the tool rack on the wall behind the lathe. If you do this, you will be reaching over the spinning lathe to reach tools, a hazardous situation in which you run the risk of dropping a tool into the spinning piece of wood. Mount the rack on a side wall, close enough that you can reach it without moving away from the lathe.
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