Rotating Tool Stand

Build a stand for rarely used tools, saving space while keeping them in the shop. This project was inspired by Jack Houweling’s design (as far as I know there are no plans for it as of now), but it turned out much less sophisticated (and not knowing the mechanism he used, I venture to say that it was also much less complicated to build). Check out the video and if you are interrested, there are some thoughts and ideas I had during the build that did not make it into the final cut, as well as some thoughts on further improving the design.

Why a Rotating Tool Stand?

I think everyone has tools or machines in their shop that they rarely use, but would not want to be without when they do. So they either take up space when not needed, or need to be hauled out of some kind of storage when they are. I have seen many woodworkers solve this problem by building rotating tool stands, usually with two or three such tools, and I found that I myself had three machines that I rarely use but would like to have handy.

The tools

For me, those three tools were

  • the grinder – I have yet to get into a regular sharpening routine, but I know a number of gardening tools what would do much better after taking them to the grinder every now and then. But since I rarely ever used it I took it out of the shop, and thus could not easily use it anymore.
  • the sander – used more often, it ended up making room for my mitre saw, and when I needed it I usually got by using files or other substitutes instead. I still wanted it around, though, and I expect to use it more often once it is on the stand.
  • the scroll saw – I have not used this one at all since getting deep into woodworking, despite having some neat project ideas for it, and lots of plans to follow from throughout the web. It is one of thise tools that I have not learned how to handle properly, and I did not have much enthusiasm to try when it did not have a fixed place in my shop.

Gain more space

In the spirit of making the most of any space I cut an opening that allows one to reach inside the itwhich – making it easier to get the dowel or pipe in was actually a secondary benefit. To this date I have no idea what how to use it, but it gives me a warm feeling inside that I did not create a “lifeless pocket of empty space” in my shop. Also, I want to use not only the shelf-like section at the bottom for storage, but also the one above where the tools turn through. The scrollsaw’s arm is the largest protrusion from any of the tools, and it is centered, thus leaving space at both sides that none of the tools will obsctruct as they orbit the itwhich. I imagine this will be a good space for tools in cases or boxes, especially since I might make custom holders for their size, thus making it “their” space.

Even more tools?

At first, I called this project my 3-tool-stand, but even then I thought about making this an intentional misnomer by adding more tools. For that, I was targeting the smaller faces between the three larger tools. One thing I thought about adding was a holder for my waterstone. But I since realised that this would not do the complex and honored task of sharpening justice. Which is to say that I actually used my water stone trying to sharpen very dull chissels, and I found that the task is daunting enough sitting down,  and would be much more so standing a little awkwardly at the rotating tool stand. Another long lost and unused tool of mine is my mini lathe. It can do stock up to maybe an inch in diameter, and I have never actually taken it to the limit. So I thought just like the scrollsaw would be a cool tool to work with if I had it handy, the same should go for the lathe.

 Speaking of turning…

As you saw in the video, I started out with a wooden dowel as axis of the itwhich, and used a cabinet clamp as a makeshift locking mechanis. It will not come as a surprise that switching tool was quite a hassle, having to hold down the itwhich while removing and re-placing the clamp, all the while keeping the desired tool in the right position.

I recently purchased some pipe clamps, mainly to build myself a Moxon-Bates vise. When I used the cabinet clamp to secure the itwhich in order to use one of the mounted tools, I had the idea to replace the dowel with a pipe clamp. I was lucky enough that the dowel I used was about the size of a 1/2″ steel pipe, so I could switch them without any changes to the stand or the itwhich. And as you can see in the video, it works a treat, while also offering two hooks to hang stuff from – the former feet of the clamp pieces.

Future upgrades

Apart from the desire to cram more tools into the design, I want to add holders for all those items that belong to any of those tools, like scrollsaw blades or replacement sanding discs, or even the small fence for the scrollsaw I soubt I will ever use. I imagine using either boxes or rubber bands in order to keep the pieces in place when the itwhich turns.

Another idea I had was to fit the itwhich with three electrical outlets on the inside and a single cable somehow connected via some kind of rotating contacts. I know it is possible and I have seen it done in a video (that I could not find anymore), but it is not something that I feel I could do securely, so I will stick with using the cables on the tools and wind them up out of the way when I do not need them.


Thanks for sticking with me, I really appreciate it, and I would love to know about your applications of turnable tool stands in your shop.

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