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Project by tyvekboy posted 01-06-2013 10:21 PM 69843 views 107 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
CUSTOM TOOL HOLDERS • No picture No picture No picture No picture No picture
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Jan 6, 2013

As a followup to the Tool Storage Cabinet, I thought Iʻd share what I learned about making custom tool holders. Most of the following pictures show the holder on the left and the tool in the holder on the right.

If you want you can save photos to your computer for future reference. Or better yet, you can print this page and save as a PDF to refer to later. OR … just make it a FAVORITE.


Some tools like this marking knife utilized an embedded magnet to hold it in place. The base is 1/4 inch plywood and the knife area was built up with a piece of wood to fill the space. Then a hole was drilled from the back and a magnet embedded so it wouldnʻt be seen from the front. MAGIC. The tabs on the side and the bottom were used to keep it in place


Sometimes I used exposed magnets to hold tools. The little tab on the bottom helps keep it from sliding down off the magnet. The base on this one is 1/2 inch BBP (Baltic Birch Plywood) so that there was room to imbed the magnet. You may have to use epoxy if you drill the hole too big. I drilled undersized holes for the magnets and forced the magnet in the hole.


Some tools like this outside, inside, and sloped angle protractor makes you scratch your head figuring out how to hang this one. I used a layered approach using 1/4 inch plywood as the base followed by 1/4 in ply to outline the tool and another piece to make it all work. The little tab at the top and the turn button on the bottom are used to keep it in the holder. The last third of this image better shows the layers.


Some tools, like this digital calipers that uses batteries, got special treatment. 1/2 inch BBP was used to outline the head of the tool and a little battery holder that slanted to the back was glued on the front. The turn button keeps the tool in the holder. I take the batteries out of my digital tools cause I find that the batteries run down when I need it if I leave them in the tool.


Some tools like this WIXEY Angle Gauge have magnets so I use them to help me hang tools like this. I used a 1/4 inch plywood as a border and screwed a piece of metal to the door that the Wixey can grab on to. The same was done with the tool above it. Note the battery holder for the Wixey with the battery type.


Here is a novel way to remember what tool goes here. I used 1/4 inch plywood to make a silhouette of the tool. Here is my scissors. To the silhouette I glued the shapes of the finger holes and added a turn button to retain the scissors on the tool holder.


For heavier tools like these pipe wrenches I used 1/2 inch BBP for the silhouette and a 1/4 inch rod slightly bent at the end and hammered into a tight hole in the plywood to hold the wrench.


Sometimes you will have hard to hang tools like my dental picks or offset screwdrivers (project picture). Here I made a something like a little gun rack with a downward slanting slots in which the tools rest. To keep them from sliding out sideways I made a border around them out of some thin wood and glued it in place.


For the screwdrivers, files, chisels, and other tools that have handles, I drilled two sizes of holes with forstner bits or spur bits. I first drilled a hole slightly larger then the handle of the tool, and then I drill a second hole slightly larger than the tool shaft. This allowed the tool to be front loading so little room is required above the tool to remove it from the holder. Make sure you leave enough room at the ends or between tools to install mounting screws. Finishing screws with tiny square drive heads work best here.


For my box end/open end wrenches I used wood about 7/8 inch thick and about 1-1/4 inch wide. I cut a dado about 1/2 inch deep on one edge that would accommodate the head of the largest wrench. This photo shows the end view of the stock used for the wrench hangers.

For some wrenches the hanger was horizontal. I laid the wrenches on the hanger and marked where the handle laid. I then cut out the front of the holder to allow the placement of the wrench from the front.

Sometimes I needed to angle the holder to maximize space in the tool cabinet so the holder was placed at the angle I desired and the wrenches were laid as they would hang and marked the handle location.

Or for some wrenches you can just use dowels (with a flat spot filed down so the wrench doesnʻt slide off the dowel) or nails in 1/2 inch BBP if they are not too heavy.


Since all my tool holders are attached to the 3/4 inch plywood tool cabinet case or doors, I tried to have at least 1/2 inch of the screw going into the doors/walls of tool cabinet. Some places I used sheet rock screws. Other places I used finishing screws with tiny square drive heads.


The name of the game (in setting up a tool cabinet like mine) is to keep things compact and as low a profile as possible.

If you take the time to make silhouettes, the tools will know where to go all by themselves when youʻre done with them. lol …

Also, making indivisual tool holders that you screw to your tool cabinet will allow you in the future to rearrange the tools if you get new tools and need to make room. The only thing you will have are tiny holes from the mounting screws.

Comments are appreciated. Questions always welcomed.

Thanks for looking.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

24 comments so far

View TNwoodchuck's profile


102 posts in 4281 days

#1 posted 01-06-2013 10:41 PM

Many inspiring ideas here. I think your setup is going to be one of my favorite “Favorites” and will hopefully motivate me to implement many of your ideas. Excellent execution and documentation. Thanks for taking the time to share.

-- Chuck near Nashville - “All you are unable to give possesses you” (Andre Gide)

View MShort's profile


1797 posts in 3924 days

#2 posted 01-06-2013 10:59 PM

Thanks for the close up pics. You have incorporated many great ideas into your cabinet. A shop tool in itself to be proud of.

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

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3504 days

#3 posted 01-06-2013 11:06 PM

I have always admired that kind of organization. Never seem to be able to achieve it.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Sergio's profile


470 posts in 3198 days

#4 posted 01-06-2013 11:16 PM

ok ok, you won… favorited

-- - Greetings from Brazil - --

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2798 days

#5 posted 01-07-2013 01:07 AM

Generous follow up to your last post—you’re still the “best.” Thank you for posting, and definetly a favorite!

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

View Dave's profile


11434 posts in 3346 days

#6 posted 01-07-2013 01:28 AM

You get an A+ for organization.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3621 days

#7 posted 01-07-2013 02:37 AM

thank you tyvek :-)
goes right to the favorites

take care

View clieb91's profile


3664 posts in 4441 days

#8 posted 01-07-2013 03:25 AM

Thanks for sharing. I love making custom holders for my tools and generally keep them pretty basic. I like some of your ideas and will add it to my favorites so I can find them later when I am working on some tool holders again. Just curious got any good ideas for storing scrapers?


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View John Lowell's profile

John Lowell

137 posts in 2487 days

#9 posted 01-07-2013 01:04 PM

Nice ideas, will put some to use myself. cheers.

-- Trying, but lots to learn.....

View Roger's profile


21011 posts in 3310 days

#10 posted 01-07-2013 01:17 PM

Gr8 ideas, and a nice way to keep things organized, and protected actually.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Ben Simms's profile

Ben Simms

191 posts in 2797 days

#11 posted 01-07-2013 02:01 PM

WOW this is great. a mountain tool mounting of ideas.

-- I played with Legos as a kid and I never had the part I thought I needed, so I learned to improvise. Now I'm an engineer with a woodworking hobby.

View Chris P's profile

Chris P

93 posts in 2791 days

#12 posted 01-07-2013 04:26 PM

Love the marking knife holder. I’ll be building a tool cabinet soon and I will probably incorporate magnets a few ways. The large tool silhouettes remind me of shop class!

-- Chris, Long Island

View OregonWoodRat's profile


169 posts in 2793 days

#13 posted 01-07-2013 08:04 PM

Thank you so much for sharing. It will help me with my mess. What you did looks great.

-- Peter, A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

View Sandpiper's profile


10 posts in 2630 days

#14 posted 01-07-2013 08:27 PM

What can I say that has not been said already…. go raibh mait agat.. agus Well done.

-- Jim McCutcheon,Dublin,Eire.

View Duojoe's profile


21 posts in 2387 days

#15 posted 04-01-2013 06:55 PM

I am slowly starting to plan a hanging tool cabinet (but first I have to build my new shop), fashenedafter the European stylecabinets I admired so much as a boy.

Thanks for your post,which adds a lot of excellent ideas how to fix the tools in place.

One of the things Iam still wrestling with in my mind is how to deal with a growing/changing collection of tools: should I plan on leaving lots of spare space for future additions? – if I use dedcated tool-holders as shown here, will I have to change/remove/rearrange them when new additions arrive, leaving ugly screwholes in the walls?

Any thoughts?

Greetings form the snowy alps


showing 1 through 15 of 24 comments

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