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How to Make a Spade Bit/Pencil Holder from a Distributor Tower

Updated on April 16, 2012
Spade bit holder
Spade bit holder

Discarded distributor towers make a very useful holder for wood drilling spade bits, pencils, or for other medium length tools or other items whose shafts do not exceed around 5/16 inches in diameter. Their height and the use of a base makes this a very stable holder that helps in workshop organization. Dressed up with a nicely finished piece of wood, these make an unusual gift for someone who enjoys auto repair or carpentry. Plus, it is always more satisfying to recycle something for another use rather than just throwing it away. Although these towers are not as common as they once were, they are still around. If you don’t have one tossed in your garage junk box, your mechanic or a garage would probably save you a discarded one. . Choose one with 8 holes if you have a choice.

Tools and materials needed

  • Distributor tower

  • Scrap of wood

  • Screws and washers

  • Electric drill

  • Drill bits for metal

  • Screws and washers

  • Hack saw

Distributor tower mounted on base
Distributor tower mounted on base

Preparation and assembly

The picture shows a typical distributor tower screwed down to a piece of scrap wood. The holes for the screws in the picture had to be cleared of a spring clip arrangement(reason for listing hack saw in things needed). With some towers you may need small corner brackets to mount them to the base.

The holes in the top projections have a metal plug about ½ inch down from the top. Before mounting the distributor tower to the board, drill this plug out using a metal cutting drill bit. Choose a bit that is nearly the same size as the hole in the projections. It will probably take about ¼ to 5/16 inch drill bit. The metal is fairly soft and drills out easily.

If you are making this as a gift choose a nice piece of wood, one that will look attractive when finished. Shape and sand the wood carefully and then apply paint or stain and varnish to complete this step

Fasten tower to base with some screws of an appropriate length and a couple of washers and you are done

Pencil Holder
Pencil Holder

Alternate uses

Consider other uses such as a pencil holder. If you wanted to use it on your desk, you would probably choose a better piece of wood and finish it nicely. It might be a good conversation piece or possibly a good gag gift.


Submit a Comment

  • cloverleaffarm profile image

    Healing Herbalist 

    6 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

    Yes, I meant the tower. I was thinking of making a holder for crayons for my grand daughter. I figured I could paint it up pretty for her. Thanks.

  • HowToLoveOne profile image

    Joshua Pine 

    6 years ago from San Francisco

    HA HA! That is awesome! I love cars, I have a cylinder head from my old Integra on my dresser and it holds some of my plastic animals (lemurs and such). I truly appreciate this, voted up!

  • TGoode profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Iowa

    I assume you are asking about painting the tower itself. If cleaned up well to be sure it is free of dirt and grease and just lightly scuff sanded with fine sandpaper it should paint up fine. A good primer would be either Kilz or Zinzeer Bulls Eye 123. I think both of these also come in spray cans.

  • cloverleaffarm profile image

    Healing Herbalist 

    6 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

    Great idea. Voted up and useful.

    PS. Could you paint it?

  • sligobay profile image


    6 years ago from east of the equator

    Very creative and pragmatic recycling idea. Bravo.


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