Quick Change Tool Post Holder Rack

The quick change tool post for the metal lathe make use of tool holders.  I needed a way to store the tool holders and keep them close by while working on the lathe.  I looked around online to see what other had done and found some good designs mostly made of metal.  In the end, I decided to make a simple wooden one using some Oak flooring I had lying around.

For material, I used some oak flooring that I got a while back from a dance studio that had replaced their floor.  It’s 3/4″ of an inch thick and comes in an assortment of lengths.  I grabbed some of the shorter lengths to use for this project.


The tool holders have a female dovetail in them to attach to the tool post.  I took some measurements and copied the male dovetail shape using the table saw.  I left the dovetails a little on the loose side for easy removal of the tool holders.  Once I had the table saw set how I wanted, I ripped several more boards down to have extra for the future.  The picture below shows the tool holder sitting on one of the pieces.


Next, I cross cut the dovetail sticks into 2″ sections.  I used another piece of flooring to set the length of the dovetail pieces.  It acts a as fence that ends before the blade starts so that the piece doesn’t get caught between the blade and fence which would destroy the dovetail.


After cross cutting all 15 of my dovetail pieces I laid them out on the back board I’m going to use to hold them all.  I used some of the holders to tweak the spacing because they’re not all the same size.  Next, I removed all the dovetails and marked out exactly where I wanted them to be.  I’m going to use two #8 screws per dovetail segment to attach them to the back board which I also marked out.  From there I went to the drill press and drilled holes that were pilot hole sized for the #8 screws.


I wanted to use the back board as a template to position shallow holes in each dovetail piece.  To do this, I first had to position each dovetail piece with a series of squares and then clamp it in place.


Due to the size of the dovetail pieces, I could only drill one hole with the clamp in place which meant I had to drill, put on another clamp, remove the first clamp, and then drill the other hole.  It was a bit tedious but I eventually got through them all.


I took all the dovetail pieces over to the drill press and drilled them to the desired depth.  The sets of shallow holes provided the starting spot for the drilling and the drill press allowed me to drill the holes squarely.


Next, I enlarged the holes in my back board to the clearance size for the #8 screws on the drill press.  I then proceeded to mess up by drilling holes 16″ apart to match the stud spacing in my garage.  To my dismay, the studs behind my lathe aren’t 16″ apart but were 24″ apart.  I’d like to note that the studs a foot away from the lathe on the left are 16″ on center and the ones on the other walls are 16″ too.  Either way, they weren’t behind the lathe and my assumption got me in to trouble.  I found another piece of oak for a new back board and proceeded to use the original back board as a template.  I then located the studs and drilled holes for them in the back board.  I also ripped a 1/2″ strip of wood at an angle to kick out the bottom of the rack away from the wall.  This way gravity will hold the tool holders on.



I assembled the rack by attaching all of the dovetail piece to the back board without glue.  Since wood takes in and releases moisture,  I finished the rack with several coats of polyurethane which I hope will act as a barrier between the wood and the tool holders keeping rust down.  Once the finish had dried, I attached it to the wall with some 1/4″x4″ lag bolts making sure it was level.





All that remained was to load the rack up with my current tool holders.  As you can see, I have room for more tool holders!






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