How do you organize your tools? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 64 Old 10-16-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: How do you organize your tools?

Great responses so far. Thanks for all the input. I particularly like the soft sided cooler idea as a poor man's alternative to tool bags. It also seems like there are a lot of folks that have "job specific" or "most commonly used" tool bags. This makes sense to me. I do have an electrical bucket (just a bucket filled with electrical stuff and tools) but all my other bags are by tool type. Not useful....

Some things I've observed about my tool usage and habits:

I don't put things back into pre-determined spots. Tool rolls would be lost on me. My idea of cleaning up is heaping it all up and throwing it back in the bag. For the same reason I also find that compartments in a bag are of little use.

I've also found that if the bag is too deep, it's difficult to find the tools (see above piling method). For that reason the electrical bucket must be decomissioned. It's too deep and I've tipped out the whole thing before looking for that one ring connector at the bottom.

I've also looked at tool belts and pouches, but since I'm often hanging upside-down like a bilge-bat this idea seems like it could have an unhappy ending.

Now that I have a boat that has primarily lived in the USA and I have a british engine I now can probably put my metric tools in a separate bag. My last boat's hull was built in scotland, the cabin and rig was added in Canada, and the engine was Japanese (metric). I always needed all the bits...

For sockets, I've always wanted a big circular piece of cloth with a drawstring around the edge. That way I could undo the drawstring and have all the sockets laying out (like I like to have them when I work) and when I'm finished all I have to do is pull the drawstring and the whole thing is contained in a pouch. Problem is that I can't sew, but it might be a good project to learn on....

I think for me I'll do it by job. That formula has worked very well for my electrical stuff, so I could try and do the same for other jobs. That, and moving the metric stuff out of the main bags should help a lot.

So what are your categories of tool bags for those that use this system?

Electrical, plumbing, engine, wood/fiberglass, drill and drill bits, misc/commonly used stuff?

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post #22 of 64 Old 10-16-2012
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Re: How do you organize your tools?

FWIW, I'm actually using a combination of things:

1. A couple of plastic tool boxes (like TD's) which live either on the parcel shelf or under a settee berth (depending upon how often I happen to be using it) containing various "consumables" - screws, shackles, wire ties and the like.

2. A cheapo multi-piece socket set in it's flat plastic container which sits up against the back of the forward bulkhead and lashed in place.

3. A canvas roll for electrical tools and screwdrivers.

..and the piece-de-resistance:
4. A no-compartment recycle shopping bag for miscellaneous tools - 'cause it will wedge into any convenient spot, is cheap to replace when it wears out from being moved around all kinds of rough surfaces (I think they're $2 each) and can be taken home rather than left on the boat for all the tools to rust.

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Last edited by Classic30; 10-16-2012 at 06:47 PM.
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post #23 of 64 Old 10-16-2012
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Re: How do you organize your tools?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Great responses so far. Thanks for all the input. I particularly like the soft sided cooler idea as a poor man's alternative to tool bags.
Cooler bags are a good idea, but I've found they don't stay open very well - and even actively resist opening - when crushed into a corner. ..but I guess there are advantages and disadvantages with anything.

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For sockets, I've always wanted a big circular piece of cloth with a drawstring around the edge. That way I could undo the drawstring and have all the sockets laying out (like I like to have them when I work) and when I'm finished all I have to do is pull the drawstring and the whole thing is contained in a pouch. Problem is that I can't sew, but it might be a good project to learn on....

I think for me I'll do it by job. That formula has worked very well for my electrical stuff, so I could try and do the same for other jobs. That, and moving the metric stuff out of the main bags should help a lot.
As one who uses a roll for electrical tools (works well 'cause they have handles you can grab to get them out of the pockets), IMHO, I don't think the system you describe will work in practice for sockets.

Reason: The only thing I can think of that would be more frustrating than digging in the bottom of an open-topped bag for the exact tool you need would be trying to (a) locate and (b) dig the correct socket out of it's pouch with one hand without pulling the entire roll across the cabin floor into the oily mess you're trying to avoid.. Sockets need rigid holders to keep the pesky critters from rolling into the bilge.

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Last edited by Classic30; 10-16-2012 at 07:18 PM.
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post #24 of 64 Old 10-16-2012
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Re: How do you organize your tools?

Yes, I'm happy to keep sockets in plastic case but I would like to find a better quality set than the one I have.

I keep a separate container for small electrical bibs and bobs but my "small tool" box carries smallest of my screwdrivers, allen key sets, electrical pliers, tiny wrenches and even a miniature vice. Beyond that I don't segregate other than keeping largest tools in the one big tool box which I guess would go under the heading of plumbing.

To date I have had little problem with rusting tools provided I don't leave them lying about. That may just be because our girl is a pretty dry boat.

The case that our electric drill came in is big enough to allow storage of drill bits and the like plus a hand drill so at least they all stay together.

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post #25 of 64 Old 10-16-2012
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Re: How do you organize your tools?

tdw, two of my mason bags are made bucket boss, both are all canvas and both are called gatemouth both are well over 10 yrs old. The other bags is similar to a hickorees bag which is canvas with leather bottom, though mine seems to have more leather, it is also well over 25 yrs.old

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post #26 of 64 Old 10-17-2012
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Re: How do you organize your tools?

I've found that military canvas bags are useful for smaller tools but what is indispensable is a roll of dryer felt to protect the finish of your work table/cckpit.Any pulp mill tosses huge volumes of this stuff. I like a 20 by36 inch bit rolled up , held by band of bike tube rubber.I used to give them for Christmas gifts back when I had friends
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post #27 of 64 Old 10-17-2012
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Re: How do you organize your tools?

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I've found that military canvas bags are useful for smaller tools but what is indispensable is a roll of dryer felt to protect the finish of your work table/cckpit.Any pulp mill tosses huge volumes of this stuff. I like a 20 by36 inch bit rolled up , held by band of bike tube rubber.I used to give them for Christmas gifts back when I had friends
That's where the shopping bag comes in handy - it's made of something resembling cotton and the base and sides are soft enough it won't scratch or slide - it's held flat inside by a thin sheet of some kind of plastic (recycled I assume).

Sure, they're not as durable as the more expensive canvas bags - but for a couple of bucks who cares.. and I've discovered the hard way that the heavy canvas bags are a bit rough on paintwork all round.

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post #28 of 64 Old 10-17-2012
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Re: How do you organize your tools?

I use 2 good sized tool bags. In one are the commonly used tools like a mallet, screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters, crescent wrenches, etc and that one sits beside the nav station out of the way. The second has the lesser used tools like the hacksaw, box wrenches, drill, rivet gun, hot knife, etc and it lives in the aft cabin. The socket set is in it's original Sears molded box and I have a tackle box with dividers for all the various fasteners and small items.

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post #29 of 64 Old 10-17-2012
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Re: How do you organize your tools?

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Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post


...So what are your categories of tool bags for those that use this system?

Electrical, plumbing, engine, wood/fiberglass, drill and drill bits, misc/commonly used stuff?

MedSailor
MedSailor,
What works for me is a dedicated bag or case (I use both) for electrical, plumbing, oil change/fuel filter change, fiberglass/gelcoat nicks and dings repair, then I have my general tool kit which is larger and more general, and also tends to be my catch-all.

Let us know what yo end up doing and how it works.

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post #30 of 64 Old 10-17-2012
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Re: How do you organize your tools?

Like others I use the Bucket Boss Gatemouth bag for general tools, I keep the most used ones in the pockets on the outside. I have two socket sets in the plastic cases they came in and a separate plastic tool case with back up tools (when you need two of the same size wrenches, pliers, etc.). I use the canvas roll up wrench holders, one metric and one standard. I have a dedicated electrical plastic box that is two sided and contains a large variety of every (except the one I need) conceivable type and size of heat shrink connector as well as bulk heat shrink tubing. I keep the crimper and stripper and multimeter in the general bag. Drill index is a separate steel box, which I don't like because it rusts, and another plastic box of drill bits and driver accessories for the Makita drill and driver, that are stored in their own soft bag (the charger is mounted near an outlet in the nav area). Soldering kit, heat gun, etc are stored in soft bags and all of it is in a locker below the inside helm, which isn't extremely easy to get into, but it's large enough for everything to fit in if you do it right. Wish I had room for a work bench with a vise mounted on it:-)) I'm thinking about trying to divide the one big bag into two or three smaller to make it easier to find things, and to make it lighter/easier to get in and out of the locker. The boat tools are much more organized than my shop at the house, which is a total mess.
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