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Storage of hand tools / sockets / etc

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Forum topic by tooldad posted 09-27-2009 06:00 AM 2788 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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tooldad

660 posts in 3179 days


09-27-2009 06:00 AM

We just obtained a 42” craftsman toolbox combo (because I ordered it). Anyway, I like the look and organization of the plastic trays the socket sets come in for storing sockets, they are just a pain to snap in an out sometimes. I would like the same sort of organization for more than just sockets, screwdrivers, pliers, chisels too. My thought was taking 1/2” or 3/4” mdf and outlining the tools and routering them out with a round nose or straight bit about half way through, then place the mdf in the drawer.

Has anyone attempted anything like this? Any other suggestions for tool storage in a typical mechanic’s style toolbox? Thanks, Jason (tooldad)


8 replies so far

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TopamaxSurvivor

17671 posts in 3140 days


#1 posted 09-27-2009 06:07 AM

For the sockets I use the metal bars that hold a set of each size, 3/8 – 1/2 ect. If you have room it sounds great to do the MDF thing. I’d have to buy another acre to build a building if I scattered my tools out like that :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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tooldad

660 posts in 3179 days


#2 posted 09-27-2009 06:13 AM

That’s one of the reasons I went with the 42” chest was to spread out and organize tools. I should also mention that this box is for instructor access only. We have a tool room that is 11×11 that has cabinets and pegboard with most of the tools the kids need. There are just a few that we keep locked up that the kids need to have our permission to get out. This is what the toolbox is for.

No one would fess up, imagine that, but someone last year broke an entire 5000 ct box of 18g brad nails. The goal was to see how small they could snap them off. So they will be locked up too. Also I put a camera in the tool room. That has seemed to help. People seem to behave when “someone’s” watching.

Since we are a woodworking shop, we don’t have too many “mechanic’s tools”. I just want a set of screwdrivers, pliers that I know aren’t tampered with or missing.

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TopamaxSurvivor

17671 posts in 3140 days


#3 posted 09-27-2009 07:03 AM

Sounds like the MDF would be a good idea, instant inventory at a glance :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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RetiredCoastie

999 posts in 2647 days


#4 posted 09-27-2009 08:07 AM

One of the easiest ways to organise your tools in drawers is to get closed cell foam. It’s cheaper than wood. you can buy it in many different thicknesses, & colors.

Several tool companies sell it in large sheets that are two tone, the bottom layer is dark and the top layer is a lighter color, that way its easy to spot an open slot. You can route the tool shapes out with a router or a dremel tool (The dremel tool is easier to control) so that they fit snug.

We used it in the military for tool control and a lot of people use it in commercial aviation. It’s easy to determine when a tool is missing.

-- www.thepatriotwoodworker.com Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

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tooldad

660 posts in 3179 days


#5 posted 09-27-2009 03:04 PM

Inventory control is my biggest reason for using the custom made trays. I looked online for closed cell foam, obviously I can order it. Any suggestions as to a local supplier, what type of store to check out? I like the sound of that rather than the wood.

Thanks.

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FJPetruso

322 posts in 3174 days


#6 posted 09-27-2009 05:06 PM

I worked as a mechanic for over thirty five years, tried lots of organizing gadgets & over the years I have found that, unless you plan on buying many more toolboxes with lots of shallow drawers or don’t plan on having very many tools, tool organizing gadgets waste an INCREDIBLE amount of drawer space and will eventually be tossed out or put out for a garage sale. The only exception would be those socket organizers that hold the sockets on a narrow metal channel. The best way I found is to dedicate each drawer to a tool group & not to worry about where they land in the drawer. Pliers & vise grips are put in a drawer, screw drivers in another, 1/2 inch drive tools & accessories in one, 3/8 inch drive tools in one & ALL SOCKETS in another (metrics included). When organizing wrenches… metrics in one & SAE in another. And push the larger less used wrenches like 1 inch & up to the back of the drawer & keep the commonly used smaller ones up front. 3/4 inch drive tools & sockets like their own large drawer & 1/4 inch drive tools like those small narrow drawers on top boxes. Many mechanics & machinists like that tall narrow drawer at the center top of a top box for keeping their BIBLE handy & clean. Other mechanics use it for machinist’s guides, “Ugly” books, drill charts & the like. The large bottom drawers are for power tools & large manuals & hammers. When I was teaching, I even had a large drawer dedicated to the tools that I found under the hoods of vehicles & used those tools to teach the students to retrive ALL of the tools they used on a job.

SPECIAL NOTE: The under-side of the tool box lid is reserved for calendars, pin-up girls & family photos.

If you must go to a jobsite, have a separate box with a basic set of tools or a tool tote of some sort to drop the tools in that you would expect to use on the job.

A GOOD MEMORY helps too!

-- Frank, Florissant, Missouri "The New Show-Me Woodshop"

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RetiredCoastie

999 posts in 2647 days


#7 posted 09-27-2009 05:43 PM

If you are near a large city there should be foam dealers around. I did a google search and it brings up lots of them. Some plastic supply houses also carry foam.

-- www.thepatriotwoodworker.com Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile

FirehouseWoodworking

689 posts in 2737 days


#8 posted 09-28-2009 12:18 AM

I use layers of 1/2” MDF with a layer of 1/4” MDF on the bottom.

Rather than trying to route out the outlines of the tools, I trace the tool out on a layer of 1/2” MDF and cut it out with a scroll saw. If a single layer of 1/2” MDF isn’t enough, I glue a second layer of 1/2” MDF, drill a series of “starter holes” and use a router with a pattern bit to “cut out” the second layer. Once done, I just screw the 1/2” (or 1”) MDF onto the 1/4” layer from below.

I make the tool holders into “functional modules” (fancy term, huh?) by grouping all the screwdrivers together, all the wrenches together, etc., or all all the tools, bits, and jigs to cut cabinet doors’ hinges and hardware, etc. By doing so, as I buy new or replacement tools, I can just redo the “module” rather than the whole drawer.

Oh, yeah. And for sockets, I drill holes and stand them up rather than laying them down. Forstner bits work very well here. A 1/2” layer works for regular sockets while two 1/2” layers works for deep well sockets.

For individual sockets, and any other tool where the outline is not apparent, I use a label maker to identify what goes where. I’ve gone so far as painting my SAE socket racks green and my metric socket racks red, just to make it visually quicker.

The best part is my son-in-law actually puts things back when he borrows tools. Now, if I can only get him to wipe the grease off them first! LOL!!! Love the guy!

Anyway, just my thoughts and experience.

Cheers!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

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