My tool storage consisted of loops on pegboard and clamps for the larger instruments. The advantages were easy visualization of the tools and simplicity. The major disadvantage was distance from the working end of the lathe. I found that I hoarded the tools in a pile on the table saw nearby, or on the lathe stand in the sandpaper heap. The tools would occasionally fall onto the concrete floor, shortening the times between sharpening.
I happened upon a two-tiered tool holder on a tool website. The construction was metal, and the price too high. It was meant to be wall-mounted, but I figured that I could adapt it to be mounted on the lathe stand itself. I cut a piece of ¾”scrap plywood 6”x 18” to serve as the brace for the two shelves. I cut two additional pieces the same length and 2 ½” and 5” wide. I placed the narrower piece 1 ½” below the top of the brace as the top shelf, and the wider piece 1 ½” below the bottom of the top shelf. I marked the center of the tools 1 ½” from the back edge of the shelf and spaced 1 ¾” apart from each other. I measured the width and height of each of the tools, and marked the area for removal for each tool. I did the same for the lower shelf, offset 4 ½” from the edge. I taped the two pieces together and drilled pilot holes. I used a scrollsaw to create holes for the tools. I glued and screwed the shelves to the back brace.
The next challenge was where to mount the tool holder. The left side of the stand wouldn’t work because of the overhand of the motor and gear housing, and the swing of the cover away from the stand, which would necessitate moving the tools to open the cover and change speeds, belt, etc. The right end of the stand held the grinder extension, and meant walking around the stand to select a tool. The back of the stand posed the same issue. The front of the stand was ideal, and I planned to place the holder as far to the right as possible. I placed it flush with the top of the table, and screwed it in place. With a swagger in my step I grabbed my (dad’s) turning tools to put in the holder, and quickly my swagger turned to sheepishness. Although the tool holder looked great flush with the table without any tools in it, the long handles of the tools nicely obstructed the last foot of the lathe rail. This would mean having to remove the top row of tools to turn any long spindles.
I grabbed a scrap piece of plywood, and cut it to the same dimensions as the back of the tool holder in order to equal the gap between the 2×4 forming the edge of the lathe top and the 2×4 forming the corner leg. I glued and screwed the piece of plywood and tool holder together, cut another 2×4 leg, and offset this to the left of the far right leg the same distance as the width of the tool holder. I placed the top of the tool holder at the bottom of the edge of the lathe stand and secured it to the table legs. Although the top of the tools sit above the table edge, they are below the level of the tool rest, and will not be in the way.
Tool holder in place:
-- My projects are imperfect in every way, just like their creator. Their creator loves them nonetheless, just like mine.