Opinions on Kaizen Foam to line tool drawers?

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Forum topic by timbertailor posted 07-24-2014 03:57 AM 5143 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1591 posts in 842 days

07-24-2014 03:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Was just looking for those with first hand experience.

Durability, ease of use, quality, etc.

Thanks in advance for your input.

-- Brad, Texas,

8 replies so far

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 1531 days

#1 posted 07-24-2014 11:12 AM

I like the stuff. Its used as drawer organizer for a rolling tool chests.

Take your time to layout the tools the way you want, trace and cut the foam. Their longnose marker is good for getting a close trace. Fastcap has a bunch of videos on their website that covers every aspect in detail.

As far as durability it holds up just fine in my application which is just holding tools in their respective spots. Not much wear is expected. How did you plan to use it?

I do use this in a commercial setting, just to keep things where they belong so no one forgets where the tool belongs.

View cdaniels's profile


1311 posts in 920 days

#2 posted 07-24-2014 11:56 AM

I’ve been using toolboxes lined with the foam in the USAF for 8 years. A lot of companies will actually custom cut the foam to the setup you wish if you ask. I have been a mechanic for my whole career and every box I’ve ever used has the inserts. Makes it specially easy to identify missing tools and trains your brain better to where each tool is located. Very easy to clean and I have all my large home toolboxes lined with it as well.

-- Jesus was a carpenter... I'm just saying

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1195 posts in 1029 days

#3 posted 07-24-2014 12:45 PM

I have this stuff in my toolbox at home and I love this stuff, works great and keeps everything from banging around in the drawer

-- steve, simple and effective

View timbertailor's profile


1591 posts in 842 days

#4 posted 07-24-2014 01:53 PM

As far as durability it holds up just fine in my application which is just holding tools in their respective spots. Not much wear is expected. How did you plan to use it?

- rrww

I want to line the drawers in my router table with it. I want to be able to tell if something is not where it should be and to prevent router accessories from banging together in the drawers.

Thanks for your input.

I have seen more expensive systems and Kaizen seems to be the most cost effective solution I have found so far.

-- Brad, Texas,

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 1531 days

#5 posted 07-24-2014 01:55 PM

I say go for it, I’ll be doing router drawers with it soon too.

View Tiger963's profile


1 post in 801 days

#6 posted 08-13-2014 04:09 AM

I just recently fitted a mobile rolling toolcase with kaizen foam, and for me it was the best balance between cost, performance and effort. Similar to cdaniels, I have been in the airforce for almost 20 years as an aircraft mechanic/flight engineer, so all mobile kits that aren’t on toolboards are foam lined. Granted, our ATESS squadron has all of the equipment to scan and CNC the foam cutouts for every kit, but for me to get that done personally would be waaaaaay beyond my pay grade (my cheapest quote was well over $1000 for a mid sized 8 drawer pelican case).

However, here are some things to keep in mind with the Kaizen foam – and with all things, your mileage may vary.

1) Kaizen is open cell foam, meaning you can see the tiny little bubbles that comprise the foam itself. Unlike the closed cell foam ATESS uses in its foam box liners, it’s not quite as hard wearing nor as dense. However, it is much, MUCH easier to work with. It can take some abuse, but won’t last forever. Should provide years of use, though I can’t empirically back that up :-)

2) Buy the longnose marker that kaizen sells – this thing is invaluable when tracing your tools. If you trace and cut the line, the tools fit a touch on the snug side, keeping them in place during movement.

3) The finger hole tool that they sell is really just a 1/2 inch copper pipe with a handle. It works like a charm and is easy to build. Just keep in mind when you heat it up to not over do it. Too hot and the radiating heat will make the hole larger than desired. A second or two blast of heat should be plenty, but you will get a feel for it. When making individual finger holes, I found it best to plunge the tool down into the area rather than angle it in – creating a nice round hole.

4) If you are looking for laser straight cutouts with super smooth bottoms, you will be disappointed. The foam is 1/8th inch layers laminated together to the desired height. When you make your cutout and ready to peel the foam out, the idea is that the glue layer will be stronger than the foam layer, so you are actually tearing the foam between the two glue layers at your desired depth. This will not make for a smooth flawless bottom, though with enough skill and patience it WILL make a reasonably level bottom. Even if you use your router for your cutouts, it still won’t be smooth on the bottom (yes, i’ve tried this with different bits). As for the outline itself, the foam will compress and fit to the contour of your tools IF you make the cutouts snug to the tool – but not so snug that it “pulls” the foam when you try to insert it. If you don’t have unrealistic expectations and understand the limitations of this product, you will be more than thrilled with the results.

5) A sharp xacto knife with a curved or triangle blade works perfect for depths up to an inch or so. Otherwise, a retractable snap blade Olfa is great for deeper cuts. Don’t worry too much about cutting depth when making your outline – you can cut the outline deeper than needed, its the digging of the foam that actually sets your depth.

6) Don’t pluck the foam out – Dig it out with a hooked finger. Kaizen has excellent videos on this.

7) For objects like sockets, I used my wifes stamp pad, stamped the end of the socket in the ink and then imprinted it onto the foam. This made installing dozens of sockets easy without the need to trace. the ink wipes right off.

Overall, the product worked great for me. It cost me just over $100 cdn with shipping to outfit a pelican 450 case with foam and took me around 25-30 leisurely beer drinking hours (a long weekend essentially) to cut out around 300 tools – give or take. Here are a couple of photos of completed drawers.

View timbertailor's profile


1591 posts in 842 days

#7 posted 08-13-2014 01:00 PM

Thanks for taking time to post some photos and share your experience with us. It really does make me feel more comfortable knowing a little more about your personal experience with the material.

I have a lot of work on my plate but I hope to get to this level of organization soon!

Thanks for your time.

-- Brad, Texas,

View timbertailor's profile


1591 posts in 842 days

#8 posted 09-03-2014 09:28 PM

Well guys. I pulled the trigger and go a piece of both thickness to try out to see how it goes.

Thanks for all the tips and feedback everyone. I hope it turns out half as nice as Tiger963 box did.

-- Brad, Texas,

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