The February issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine prompted a woodworker to ask if I could give a little detail about the tool rack lurking in the background. Actually this plain but very functional tool storage rack was an early exercise in working with simple proportions right at the bench. Something Jim Tolpin and I are calling “Design at the Point of a Tool”. Essentially it’s bringing the basic knowledge of proportions and simple geometry right to the work itself, sidestepping the need for drawings or even a ruler. Dividers, a marking knife and a square are all that’s required. I built this five years ago basically as an exercise to push me out of my comfort zone. I intentionally put away my tape measure, and just relied on simple proportions to guide the actual build. My requirements were straight forward, I wanted a flexible storage rack for frequently used bench tools, just one step away from my workbench. It’s made from 1 X 12 pine and a few scraps. The overall form is just a simple rectangle that is 3 parts wide by 5 parts high. To this day I don’t know the dimensions in inches, they don’t matter. To establish the envelope for the lower section containing the cubbyholes I went up two parts from the bottom. This makes the bottom section to the top a ratio of 2:3. The cubbies themselves I sized around the tools that I store. The whole upper section tilts back slightly. It acts like sort of like a pegboard (except not as butt ugly). I simply tap in a wooden peg or nail on a piece of scrap to keep order. I’ve changed the configuration several times as tools change. Here’s a detail of some cleats I use to insure a plane doesn’t tumble off.
Although this isn’t some earth shattering design, it confirmed there’s something liberating about actually designing and building right at the bench.
George R. Walker