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Thread: Tool Tote Tray

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    London, Ontario

    Tool Tote Tray

    Quick and Simple afternoon project...

    I recently inherited a collection of handtools.

    Since, I already have a pretty complete selection of these basic tools in my shop, I decided that some of them (pictured here) would form the core of my "jobsite" tools.

    Now, I'm not a contractor, but I still occasionally have a reason to bring tools to a friend's house, or somewhere else, and gathering up a the right set of tools from my shop was always a chore. Inevitably I would forget the one item that I later find that I need.

    I thought about making myself a fancy wooden toolbox... but only briefly. Rather, I decided to work with this canvas tool tote that I already owned. It's strong, and a good size, and I already own it. (And yes, it was a freebie once when I bought some green tools... No, not THOSE green tools.)

    The downside of this tote, is that it is just one big compartment inside. I don't want to just dump all my tools in it: That makes it hard to find things, and can lead to damaged tools, and so on. So I set about designing with a small tray/organizer to fit inside this tote.

    Here is one situation when a mock up in cardboard is a very good idea. I grabbed a handy box that I had and set to work.
    Here's what I came up with, a basic shallow tray. I have a lot of screwdrivers, so I mocked up a cardboard insert down the middle, where I would drill holes to hold all those various screwdrivers as well as a few other tools. This would also serve as a divider, so I could keep the hammer and a few other large tools on the one side, and have the other side open for various uses.

    Here it is, inside the tote... It seemed to fit fairly well, and I liked how the centre divider was looking, so I moved on to working in wood from my scrap pile.

    I considered using plywood for the sides, but I had some pine available which I discovered was actually lighter than plywood. So I planed that down to 1/2" thickness, ripped it to 3-1/2" wide, and then milled box joints in the ends to make up a box.

    Next, I turned my attention to the divider. I picked out a piece of 2x4 and ripped it to just 2" wide, which from the cardboard mockup seemed sufficient width to allow a double row of screwdrivers. I then marked out the locations for the screwdrivers and other things (such as the nailset shown in the photo) to be placed in the divider.

    After drilling holes in that piece and trying things out, I ended up scrapping it and making up a second divider. This one I notched at the ends to fit over the ends of the tray. The main reason for this is that I realized that I wanted to hold the screwdrivers a bit higher off the bottom of the tray -- some of the screwdrivers are quite long.

    I glued some thin plywood into a rabbet along one side, and boxed in a small area on the one end, where I put a square-ish opening for other random tools.

    Here it is, being glued into place. You can now see the hole I cut in the left side of the divider, which is why that end of the divider is boxed in.

    Here it is all filled with my inherited tools. There is a full set of screwdrivers: three each of Phillips, Robertson, and Slotted. As well a nail set, compass+pencil, chisel, needle-nose pliers, cutters, adjustable wrench, a tape measure, and the all important hammer. Everything is sorted and organized, and the other side of the tray is still completely empty.

    As you can see, it nicely fits inside the fabric tote, and holds all my "jobsite" tools nicely organized and ready to go. Hopefully no longer will I be somewhere only to discover I don't have the right size/kind of screwdriver with me...

    thanks for reading...
    There's usually more than one way to do it... ........

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Re: Tool Tote Tray

    Brilliant Art really great idea. May copy it.

    Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk 2

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    That's really slick, Art.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Well worth the time and effort to make, and I like the fabric bag because you can easily zip it closed and stuff stays in the bag!

    Thanks for sharing, I too may borrow that idea, and make up one set for visiting apartments that need stuff fixed, I'd have to add plumbing tools but the basic concept is great!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Very clever. I'm borrowing it too

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Pretty neat !!!
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    That's a great idea. I've got a bunch of those bags I use for all sort of things. Seems like a lot of them would benefit from some sensible organization.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Great idea. That will really cut out the rummaging around for stuff.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Independence, Kentucky
    Nice use of odds and ends, I like it.
    I'm supposed to respect my elders, but its getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    Great idea and great execution of the idea.
    Thanks for sharing.

    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

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