Producing a tool to spot and drill rack boards.

By John DeMajo

Ever since I started building my own pipe chests, I have been looking for a means to accurately spot rack board holes so that they fall exactly over the corresponding toe holes in the top of the chest. Previously, I had been using crayon rubbings, but even with that technique, I usually ended up with one or two pipes off-center that had to be pegged and re-drilled.

This past weekend, in looking over some ancient machinist's tools that I acquired, I saw something that could be adapted to work for this task. In the photos and drawings below, you will see a simple tool that was tested and found to drill precise spot holes if used carefully.

The frame of the tool is made of 1" oak. Oak is the preferred lumber although the illustration shows a poplar prototype.
All components for this tool are readily available at hardware and home improvements stores.
Photo illustrating how the tool is used on a pipe chest which already has the rack board in place.