Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Complete History of David's Toolbox

I found myself today spending some time talking about tools and toolboxes. For me it all started with the belt above. When I went to work for Chicago Scenic one summer I had to buy a list of handtools and something to carry them with. I bought this pouch then and still have it today. It's a little more broken in now than it was then.

When I returned to school in the fall I needed an actual tool box and so I got something solid and modest:

Again I am not sure how or why but I still have the thing, it's empty now just sitting in the garage waiting for some kind of task. This box was pretty basic. Hard to find anything. But it did the job.

Once I left school and started work I needed something a little more... more:

This was my box through my stint as a LORT carpenter and all the way through stock and grad school. I beat the hell out of this thing. It was rode hard and put away wet. That right latch no longer functions and didn't for some time even when I was using it. This box was great, really easy to keep organized - simple to find things. If anything it was just too heavy. Ok to leave at a worksite. Not so great for packing in and out. Thankfully I didn't do much of that.

The Rally Box and the Original box were joined by a Rubbermaid thing and a box Sears called the SST for my summer stock years:

This was a pretty good lineup. My regular tools went in the Rally box and then I had a lot of space for overflow and safety gear and hardware. That SST box was (ok, is - yes, these are ALL still sitting in the garage) a beast. Way WAY to heavy to be practical. Eventually they reissued the thing with wheels and a handle for dragging. Much more practical that way. But still, I was starting to travel with power tools and while most of them had their own boxes I still needed the volume.

Somewhere in here there is a missing toolbox. When I worked in the NYC shop I had to pack tools in and out but had too many for the pouch. The rally box was too heavy so I bought a soft side bag. It was a blue synthetic thing and somewhere along the way I must have totally trashed it, because it is not hanging out in my garage.

After that things may have come off the rails a little. When I went out West I ditched pretty much all of the individual boxes in favor of one big box:

The idea was that I would have secure storage for all of my tools in one place. So all of the power tools tht had their own cases got pulled out, the cases hung out in the rafters of my parents garage and the individual tools lived in here. Boxes just took up space. So because of that, the four box summer stock line up got reduced to a milk crate that lived in the JobBox and then these:

With the missing soft side bag that would make three. While I was working in Vegas the bag on the right did the heavy duty, in and out of the site every day. I wrecked the d-rings holding the shoulder strap because I would try to carry too much stuff.

I never really liked these softside bags though. They had the same problem as the first toolbox - can't ever find anything. Plus with these there are hidden nooks and I often got poked and cut by bits and blades hiding within. So the whole time I was using them I was looking for a replacement. Eventually I found one.

So here we have the bag of choice. Its a soft-sider, but there is also a place for everything with everything in its place. Of all the solutions this one has had the longest staying power. I've been using it continuously for more than a decade now. For a while I couldn't find it for purchase anyplace, but today when poking around I saw that CLC now deals direct from their website and this bag is still there. So maybe I will retire this one and get an identical replacement (except without the broken plastic buckle that succumbed after I'd had the thing maybe 5 months).

The future? I'm glad you asked...

I think between my backpack and this guy I ought to be set for a while.

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