Tools & Materials
Protect and Organize Your Tools
Here is an excellent collection of tips to help you organize your tools and protect them from the elements. There are also some great products to prevent that guy from walking onto the job site and running off with your stuff.
A Cozy Bed for Your Tools
If you’re particular about your tools or you own delicate, high-end tools like calipers and engineering squares, you probably don’t want them rattling around in a drawer or toolbox. Now you can protect them with a product called Kaizen Foam.
You simply cut out the profile of your tools in the layered foam, cutting as deep as necessary to fit the depth of the tool and peeling out as many layers as it takes to embed the tool. Now your tools will be as protected as a gun in a custom suitcase. And the empty space in the foam will let you know which tool your neighbor “forgot” to bring back.
You can find a 2 x 4-ft. sheet of Kaizen Foam online.
A Backpack for Job Sites
For thousands of years, tradespeople have been climbing ladders and scampering around on scaffold platforms with only one hand on the railing because the other held the toolbox, and thus sustaining millions of injuries in the process.
The solution, of course, is to use both hands for scampering. Milwaukee’s Jobsite Backpack makes that possible. It has tons of tool storage space, a laptop compartment, a molded base to keep it upright on the ground and a handle on top to make it easy to move short distances. This is the perfect solution for you folks who regularly work on roofs, off scaffolds, or at any job where climbing is part of the daily routine. It could also come in handy for maintenance workers who have to lug their tools around huge facilities. The Milwaukee Jobsite Backpack can be found online and at stores where Milwaukee tools are sold.
Many of us like to store a lot of gear under the backseat of the truck. It can get pretty cluttered under there, but stretch wrap helps restore order. It’s perfect for bundling items that would otherwise turn into one big frustrating tangled mess. You can also wrap your tow strap, tie-downs, jumper cables, raincoat, extension cord, bungees and extra pairs of gloves.
Organize Tools By the Job
If you are a jack of more than one trade, knowing exactly which tools you’ll need for every job is next to impossible. Organize your toolboxes and storage bins according to the work that needs to be done. A box for plumbing tools, electrical, drywall, etc. No doubt this will lead to owning more than one of the same tool… but you won’t believe how much time you’ll save having all the proper tools on hand.
Bring Extra Fasteners
Dedicate a toolbox just for fasteners. You may think you’ll need only two different size screws to finish your job, but it rarely works out that way. And keep a variety of bits along with the fasteners; that way you’ll always have the right bit with the right screw.
A Truly Tough Toolbox
DeWalt’s new ToughSystem toolboxes really are as tough as they look. They’re made from 4-mm structural foam (think tough plastic instead of foam) and have an integrated lid seal to protect your tools from dust and moisture. In fact, the seal works so well that the boxes have a pressure-release valve so they open when subjected to changes in pressure.
The three different box sizes all have the same super-duty latching system, and they all can be connected to one another. The smallest box comes equipped with four handles, so it can be carried vertically or horizontally. And if you plan on filling the largest box to its 110-lb. capacity, you might want to invest in the two-wheeled cart to help you lug it around.
Do you have a mess of tools and supplies kicking around under the backseat of your extended or crew-cab pickup? Then you should check out the Du-Ha under-seat organizer (prices vary by truck model). Installation was a breeze—we just slid it into place and snapped the buckles around the seat brackets (so it wouldn’t go anywhere in a crash). Then we loaded it with tools. We especially liked the padded slotted dividers for our 4-ft. level. Du-Ha makes organizers to fit almost all extended and crew cabs and you can pick a color to match your interior. The units ship (for free) in just two business days.
Cut Proof Padlock
Most padlocks are no match for some creep with a $15 bolt cutter. That’s why Master Lock developed its Pro Series padlocks. These locks have a steel shroud that protects the hasp from the jaws of any bolt cutter.
Theft-Proof Your Tools
Expensive tools are prone to theft, especially when they’re in an open truck bed. Master Lock’s Truck Bed U-Lock defeats the grab-and-go crook. Install it in the stake hole pocket in your truck bed. Run cables through your tool handles and lock the cable ends in the U-Lock. It only takes a few seconds to secure and release your tools. The lock fits most late-model, full-size pickups.
Make Some Noise
Scare bad guys away from larger items such as motorcycles and trailers by using audible alarms on cable locks. Also use alarms on gate latches and shed and garage doors. Alarms are available with many options, including movement sensors you can mount on a door and angle to cover the windows, too. There are many DIY alarms available including battery-operated, ultrasonic (key fob) and solar operated.
The Rittenhouse Lock Alarm shrieks when the cable is cut. It’s available in 15-ft. and 8-ft. versions.
The Best Chain Has Hexagonal Links
A heavy-duty hardened steel chain with hexagonal links will thwart nearly every thief with a bolt cutter. Hexagonal links (or square or trapezoidal) make it impossible for bolt cutters to get a grip. You may be tempted to buy chain by the foot at the hardware store, but it’s designed for lifting and towing, not theft resistance. Even the thick stuff is likely to have round links, and frankly, if a hardware store clerk can cut the chain easily, a thief can too.