Carving Tool holders - shop & on-the-go

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Blog entry by mpounders posted 04-27-2012 08:35 PM 10130 reads 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Someone had asked for better pictures of my holders for my carving tools, so I thought I would post a few with a bit of an explanation of why these styles work for me…at least for now. I say that because I sometimes change things arrange if something new somes to work better or if I add tools or something else seems to work.

First, here is a picture of the end of my shop where I primarily carve. Four drawers under my workbench hold tools that are not frequently used or that I want to keep dust free ( gouges, burners, planes). There is also a small pull-out tray that holds burrs and bits for power carving. The pegboard directly behind my gouges primarily holds squares and measuring devices and things specifically related to carving. Other regular tools are stored elsewhere. I have a small easel at the end to hold reference material I may be using for a carving and also a clipboard that hangs from the pegboard. Directly behind my chair is my power sharpening rig. The bandsaw, oscillating sander, and a small disc/belt sander are opposite the bench, as I use them for making blanks and working on canes and stuff. Underneath the storage bins at the end are a couple of drawers for small tools and some shelves that hold a couple of angle grinders and die grinders equipted for larger carvings.

The black rectangle is a little flourescent Ott light that provides extra natural lighting for carving and painting. The micromotor used for power carving is close to hand and my larger flexshaft tool hangs from a swing-out arm at the end of the bench.

Here is a closer look at my racks for gouges and knives.

I used a forstner bit to drill holes in a strip of wood and then cut it in half and mounted it in a shallow box to hold my full size gouges. It tilts out and has a strip across the bottom so that the tools lean securely in place. I try to keep only the tools I am using in it and others are stored in the drawers below until needed. I found this style more useful because I can easily see which tool is which, and it is very easy to remove and replace tools, which provides a little extra safety for me and the tools!

The smaller rack is for my palm tools and knives. It was sized specifically for the tools that I have and holds the tools so that the blades do not touch anything. The plexiglass on the sides protects the tools and fingers, but also has a small gap at the bottom to allow chips and saw dust to escape. I arrange all these tools by size so it is really easy to select the proper gouge or knife, by it’s location in the rack.

I redesigned these racks specifically because I don’t always carve in one place. I go to club meetings, carving seminars, extended trips, and occasional demonstrations. I have tried sifferent methods and finally decided on one that was flexible enough for me. I saw this tool bag by Stanley at the local Walmart, but you can find similar bags by a variety of manufacturers. I see a lot of people using open tote-style boxes, but I preferred something that I could close and make my tools less visible, possibly less tempting, to others.

This is a soft-sided bag with a hard plastic bottom and a shoulder strap. It holds all of the tools shown here and possibly more, dpeending on how or what I think I need for a particular excursion. All of my larger gouges go in a tool roll that fits in the bottom beside the palm tool rack. I can fit in a clipboard, dust pan and brush, strop, honing compound, tape, glove, magnifier,and I still have outside pockets for miscellaneous stuff. I can even squeeze in the micromotor or wood burner, or some extra wood for carving!

I am always trying to think of better ways to transport stuff. The clipboard I carry is simply a piece of 1/4” plywood with a binder clip on top. It fits into a slot on my protable carving bench in order to hold reference material when I carve using that bench; my larger tools are aranged on a tray and the bag is underneath the bench as I sit, providing easy access to the other tools. I am considering sanding an angle on the end of the clipboard and maybe adding some fold-up sides so I can use it as a dustpan….maybe get a thinner brush also?

This has worked well for me so far. I may need to add some space for more knives, but if I try to keep only the things about that are actually in use, then hopefully clutter and things that collect dust will be reduced! Thanks for looking!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

10 comments so far

View MShort's profile


1791 posts in 3474 days

#1 posted 04-27-2012 08:42 PM

You have a very nice set up for carving. Thanks for the pics of your tool holders. Later.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3359 days

#2 posted 04-27-2012 09:12 PM

nice set up mike, your work area looks perfect for being in your own man cave , carving away, i know that is how i feel out in my shop, i can close the door and im in my own world..good idea using the bag, and a nice roll up for your chisels, makes going somewhere much easier…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3390 days

#3 posted 04-27-2012 09:22 PM

Looks well organized and comfortable.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2348 days

#4 posted 04-27-2012 11:57 PM

Thanks for sharing your ongoing solutions to the storage and organization of carving tools. I particularly like your idea of keeping the tools in a drawer under the bench and only having the ones actually being used on top, in view and well organized in a stand up display/storage box—hope you don’t mind if I use some of your ideas—of course if I post anything you’ll receive inspirational credit! Thanks again for your generous sharing of your experience and solutions.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2860 days

#5 posted 04-28-2012 11:29 AM

Looks like a perfect bag for the carving Doctor that you are. :) Thnx for the organization tips

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 3039 days

#6 posted 04-30-2012 11:14 PM

nice tool set up.but what do you do that you would need to take the tools on the road?

View mpounders's profile


877 posts in 2951 days

#7 posted 05-01-2012 03:27 PM

Well, I reealllly like to carve…..a lot! I usually carve several hours each day and more if I can get away with it. I have carried a few tools to work and carved a bit when it was especially slow, I go to carving club once a month and usually work on something while there. I occasionally get to go to carving seminars and of course need a variety of equipmtment for that, but I have also taken my tools when traveling out of town on business, so I could carve at the hotel. I’ve did demonstrations for youth groups and at craft shows, and always have a pocket knife with me if my hands get too restless. Sounds like an addiction, huh?

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4355 days

#8 posted 05-01-2012 05:27 PM

I really like your well organized carving shop!

I have way too many other interests besides carving,

so it seems like I can never get my shop very well organized.

Although my thoughts tend to better organize things, but I’ve been disorganized for so long,

It’s kind tough to change an old dog I guess!

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


31749 posts in 2923 days

#9 posted 05-01-2012 06:12 PM

You have a very nice setup, Mike. It’s all so very well organized.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Woodstock's profile


253 posts in 3344 days

#10 posted 12-25-2014 01:12 AM

Hi Mike,

I am just starting out in character carving. I have always enjoyed your carvings. (Especially “The Town Pump” series.)

I looking at this specific post, & may I suggest a drafting brush Same profile as you big dust bin brush in your bag but only one row of bristles, or about 3/8” thick. And a bit shorter in length.


-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

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