Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Project: Quickie Screwdriver Rack

Recently I acquired a new set of Wera Kraftform Plus screwdrivers from Lee Valley. Before that I had a mismatched set of screwdrivers that I had cobbled together over the years, and while they did the job, it was time to put them out to pasture.

Now, the Wera screwdrivers actually came with a holder, and it does the job just fine. With two exceptions in my case, one of which is I have 8 Wera drivers, and the holder maxes out at 7, also it doesn't fit into my Tanos Systainer toolbox.

Since I had some 1/4" Baltic Birch project plywood left over from a project that I never started, I decided to make a simple rack to fit the screwdrivers nicely into my Sys-toolbox.

I started out by getting the dimensions of the inside of the toolbox, and the longest length of the longest screwdriver (the #3 Robertson, in this case) - and then I did a layout of the drivers, grouping them together while conserving space.

After the initial design, I transferred the marks with a punch onto the plywood, and got to drilling some holes for the drivers. And then for some reason I broke out my forstner bit set and drilled some more holes. I call them "speed holes" - or just a way to make the rack a tiny bit lighter in the toolbox.

After throwing some wood chips around, I broke out the jigsaw and cut out the panels I'd need. Now, a table saw would technically work for this, but would be horribly unsafe. A bandsaw would be ideal, but I don't have access to one at the moment. So a jigsaw and being very careful would be my way to go.

After drilling all my holes I did a quick dry-fit of the sides and check the holes to make sure the drivers all fit. I had to do some adjusting with a round file in the holes, and with my mini-plane to eke a little bit of wood off the panels to get a perfect (well, near perfect) fit.

Once that was done, it was time for glue. Any excuse to use my Bessey clamps really... it was a bit unwieldy, but in the end it worked.

Now that the glue was dry, it was time to check to make sure it was sturdy, and to check final fit. And this is where I realized something...

Sure, it looked fine. But the problem with this setup is that the handles would wobble around easily, which is irritating, and could cause damage-over-time to the holes. So I came up with an idea to put one more 'brace' about midway in the holder.

Problem with that idea - I didn't have much plywood left. I had a couple narrow strips that wouldn't fit. Then I remembered I own glue, and lots of clamps... don't have the right size panel? Make your own!

With that problem solved, I cut the new panel to size, made some more adjustments with my mini plane, and drilled the corresponding holes for the screwdrivers. Then it was time for another glue-up.

Okay, that totally worked, and the handles no longer wobbled. Design on the fly. Since I had a tiny bit of plywood left, and I was kind of looking for an excuse to keep working on this - I made a couple corner braces to make sure the whole structure was sturdy. I also had to make a corner block to make clamping easier.

At this point, it was getting late in the day - time to call it quits for now. I did a final test fit of the screwdrivers - and checked how it all fit into the toolbox - a bit snug. To finish this project off - I'll drag out my Dad's old belt/disc sander - and give this tool holder a quick little sanding to correct the fit. After that, a little hand-sanding and a coat or two of wipe-on polyurethane.

Of course, now I want to make holders for the rest of the loose hand tools in my toolbox. Maybe another day.

Thanks for reading!