Safe storage for chisels
Create a custom insert to protect sharp edges.
When we designed the “Craftsman’s Pride Tool Chest” ,see link below, we lined the drawer bottoms with felt. Here’s how to add extra protection for a set of chisels.
Add up the handle diameters of the chisels you want to store, and subtract the total from the inside width of the drawer. Divide that number by the spaces that you'll need to get an approximate spacing distance. Our set includes 10 chisels, so we needed to account for 11 spaces. You can vary the spacing by making the end spaces bigger or smaller than the others.
Place your longest chisel with the handle flat on your workbench, and measure the gaps beneath the ferrule and the blade. Also measure the length of the blade. Now, make blade and ferrule supports to match those dimensions.
For the blade support, plane a board to 3/4" thickness, rip it to 4-3/4", and then cut it to a length less than the width of the drawer. For the ferrule support, rip a strip 1" wide. Plane it to 1/2" thickness, and cut it to the width of the drawer. Mark the handle center points on the edge of each support. Extend the points across the ferrule support.
Make a customized recess for each chisel by marking on the edge of the blade support the width of each blade plus 1/16", centered on the previously marked points. At your tablesaw, set a dado blade to cut 1/4" deep, and cut a dado between each set of marks. Use the appropriate chisel and a scrap of felt to test for a snug fit.
Using a bit of the same diameter as the ferrule (we used a 3/4" Forstner), drill a hole at each line on the ferrule support stock. To do this, clamp a fence on your drill-press table to keep the holes lined up, and locate the fence so that the holes will hold the ferrules at the desired height. (In our case, we centered the holes 1/2" from the edge to leave 1/8" of wood under each ferrule.) After drilling the holes, sand both faces. Rip the stock through the center of the holes to leave a series of notches.
Apply a stain or clear finish to match the tool chest or storage unit. Coat the top and sides of the ferrule support, but only the front edge of the blade support.
Cut an oversized piece of felt from the fabric store. Mask the edges of the blade support with tape, and then spray adhesive on the top and ends. Remove the tape, and apply the felt, fitting it tightly into the dadoes and around the ends. After the adhesive sets, turn the support upside-down, and trim the felt along the edges and the ends with a knife.
If your drawer bottom is unlined, cut a piece of poster board 1/8" smaller in length and width than the inside dimensions of the drawer. Apply double-faced tape to the bottom of the poster board around its perimeter. Cut felt 2" larger in length and width than the poster board. Center the poster board, top down, on the felt, trim off the corners of the felt, and fold it onto the tape. Flip the poster board over, and press it into the drawer.
Place strips of cloth-backed, double-faced tape on the blade support bottom, and press it into the drawer. Finally, apply double-faced tape to the bottom of the ferrule support, and press it into place.
Photograph: Marty Baldwin
Illustration: Roxanne LeMoine