Tool chest vs tool rack

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    Given we are about to embark on the tool chest build, I’m not sure if it’s a good or a bad time to ask this question, but here goes. Call me an ‘anarchist’ if you like.

    Is the best place for your most commonly used tools in a chest or on a tool rack?

    If you need to move your tools around, or lock them away, the chest makes obvious sense. But if you have sole use of a dedicated workshop space, is it more efficient to have all your key tools accessible within arms reach?

    I think there’s a place for both, but it might influence what you plan to put in the chest.

    Here’s some links to illustrate the kind of thing I’m talking about:

    Tool Racks-Then & Now


    I do think there is a place for both. I will put my least used tools in the chest, and my day to day commonly used tools I will have on the wall behind me.

    I do like Derek’s set up in your last link.

    Thanks good post. 😉

    david o’sullivan

    you can look beyond it a just a tool chest by modifying measurements you could create a chest of drawers or something simpler however i read somewhere of how to insulate a tool chest especially for winter months and if you have no heat in your shop. i think the lesson with this one will be an introduction to drawers and cabinet making .looking forward to this one.

    "we can learn what to do, by doing" Aristotle


    I prefer the rack system. Unless I’m going to transport my tools to someplace.

    With that said …

    I will build a tool chest just for that purpose and, I will build a rack system for when I’m staying in my home work shop a while.

    Also, don’t worry about asking the questions, as david o’sullivan pointed out, all of Paul’s projects are instruments for teaching us the skills we need, in order to dream up our own projects.

    Texas, USA


    What about the the problem of humidity/rust with an open tool rack? My workshop is in a basement.

    Robin ... Richmond, Virginia, USA

    George Bridgeman

    For me, the best place would be a tool cabinet – basically an enclosed tool rack. A chest takes up valuable floor space in my shop, and I’m a reasonably tall (6’2″) guy so don’t want to keep bending over to pluck tools from a chest. A cabinet can be on a base which still takes up floor space, but the base can also be storage so the floor space isn’t lost. I’d get more value per square foot from a tool cabinet on a base (as opposed to a wall hung one) than a tool chest.


    "To know and not do is to not know"


    Robin, I would think add long as you were using the tools often, rust should not accumulate. Also, keeping a light film of oil will keep the tools moving smoothly on the wood and keep moisture from the metal.

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