Tool box organization

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Project by easiersaidthandone posted 09-09-2013 02:39 AM 42003 views 64 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I think we have all been here at some point. A tool box full of tools, but they are all jumbled up and hard to find anything. Well this year I finally did something about it. It started with a single 1/2” plywood divider in my utility knife drawer (not shown) to keep all of the contents from migrating to the back of the drawer. That got me thinking that the screwdriver and pliers drawers needed help. And then I thought the wrenches shouldn’t have to miss out on all the fun either. Which got me thinking that the nut drivers were always a jumble. Which finally culminated with arranging all the sockets. So here it is, my tool box organization side project of 2013.

What you are seeing:

1. Socket organizer. I had a HF plastic organizer board but it of course didn’t match the set I have so the sockets were still pretty jumbled. The solution is two sheets of 1/4” birch plywood and some poplar dowel. I drew layout lines on the first piece to arrange all the sockets in rows. I used a brad point drill bit through the socket to locate a mark along the line where the dowel should go. The dowel holes are drilled through the first sheet of plywood. The the various 1/4”, 3/8”, and 1/2” dowels are glued into place. After those were set, the other sheet of plywood was laminated onto the back side of the first. The finish is spray polyurethane.

2. Wrench organizers. These started out as scraps of 1×6” Red Oak. A series of progressively smaller kerfs were cut to fit the wrenches. The kerfs are cut at 20 degrees. The finish is spray polyurethane.

3. & 4. Screw driver and pliers drawers. Three pieces of scrap 1/8” hardboard laminated together. Glued and pin nailed together inside the drawer. The screwdriver divider is a friction fit, but on the pliers drawer, it was necessary to drills some small holes through the sides of the metal drawers and tap in some small brad nails.

5. Nut driver organizer. 1/4” birch plywood base with some scrap pieces of Douglas fir for the structure. No fancy joinery was used, just glue and pin nails.The finish is tung oil.

6. The socket organizer under construction. Lots of holes to drill and fill! Very time consuming, but well worth the effort.

19 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21317 posts in 3253 days

#1 posted 09-09-2013 02:54 AM

GreaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaT….......I love tool organizers in any form. That is one way you’ll always find what you need for a job. You sure spent some time on those puppies!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 2398 days

#2 posted 09-09-2013 02:55 AM

Love it! I agree, it can be difficult to keep the toolbox organized. Plus, when you keep things separated like that I find you can fit more stuff in.

-- Rex

View CFrye's profile (online now)


10421 posts in 1987 days

#3 posted 09-09-2013 04:05 AM

Very nice job. How tall are the dowels on the socket organizer? This is definitely on the “List”. Have metric and SAE sockets currently separated in labeled drawers according to drive size. Baby steps. Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View Belg1960's profile


1074 posts in 3213 days

#4 posted 09-09-2013 10:28 AM

This was a project I just pinned on Pinterest, he made one other “improvement” IMO.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View ward63's profile


353 posts in 3235 days

#5 posted 09-09-2013 02:26 PM

This is really Excellent!!! It may have taken time to make it but it’s going to save you time in the long run. I was thinking of arranging my tools just this afternoon. Thanks for the organisation ideas.

View Grumpymike's profile


2310 posts in 2463 days

#6 posted 09-09-2013 04:22 PM

That’s a great project! and a serious undertaking … makes me wonder what it will look like in a years time … :)
As I have cleaned and re organized my tool box many times, after while it always looks like, ... “My tool box”.
I think that the socket board is a great idea, maybe this will help??

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Don Emmerling's profile

Don Emmerling

5 posts in 3561 days

#7 posted 09-09-2013 04:27 PM

There you go, I was just minding my own business and you had to post that picture of organized tools. Now I can’t rest until I get mine the same way. Some people.

Good job


-- Don in Johnstown, Ohio

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2440 days

#8 posted 09-09-2013 04:48 PM

Great tool organization with wood!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3733 days

#9 posted 09-09-2013 04:54 PM

A very clever idea I have a few sets of expensive socket sets a new one I just bought and a nice large set my son aquired from me. anyway everything as my sone is festidious as I am with tools everything is put back right away as and when used.I have however a box full of bits which need better organizing as at the moment they just sit in their box waiting to be used.I love your design with the pegs and numbers through them.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4447 days

#10 posted 09-09-2013 07:51 PM

A great tool setup!

I’m very envious!

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View canadianchips's profile


2608 posts in 3145 days

#11 posted 09-09-2013 09:25 PM

You spend WAY to much time at Sears. “Craftsman”
Nice to see !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View easiersaidthandone's profile


82 posts in 2271 days

#12 posted 09-10-2013 03:07 AM

Thanks for all the comments. The dowels stick up 5/8” from the surface. A few of the smaller ones had to be sanded down since the opening in the socket is smaller than the drive size. That and the need for absolutely straight and true holes is why I didn’t do longer dowels. The numbers on top is a good idea though.

View Quixote's profile


206 posts in 3786 days

#13 posted 09-10-2013 04:10 AM


-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

View bowedcurly's profile


519 posts in 1877 days

#14 posted 09-10-2013 01:12 PM

super job that’s my next project Im inspired

-- Staining killed the wood<<<<<>>>>>Dyeing gave it life

View Marty 529's profile

Marty 529

344 posts in 1867 days

#15 posted 09-10-2013 04:00 PM

Love them all. The nice thing is it’s all custom built to what you want instead of some store bought pre-organized thing. Great job.

-- Marty, Ohio

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