Toolbox Organization

  • Advertise with us
Project by Brett StClair posted 03-07-2010 09:37 AM 15030 views 15 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi all.
As you can see in the pictures I have organized my toolbox. (pardon the dust in the top portion) This in-and-of-itself is not an extraordinary accomplishment but in case anyone was thinking of doing the same I wanted to share my discovery.
First a bit of background…
When I was active duty in the Air Force we needed to keep perfect control of all of the tools in our shop toolbox for various reasons, not the least of which was making sure that a tool didnt find it’s way to the flighline and potentially causing FOD (Foreign Object Damage). The side benefit in doing this was that in day to day operations I always knew where a 9/16” wrench, for example, was in the toolbox and when I was done I knew exactly where it went when I was done with it. Needless to say I got a bit spoiled being able to quickly find the tools that I needed. The other thing it did was allowed us to quickly inventory the toolbox and see if any tools were missing.
OK fast forward to about 6 months ago…
I had just purchased my new toolbox and I wanted to set something up similar to what I had used in the Air Force. I did a bit of research and discovered that the foam that was used in the tool boxes was pretty freakin expensive. It was like $300 for a sheet.
I then toyed with using cardboard or even wood, maybe painting the cardboard or wood but they just werent going to give the same end result that I really wanted.
So one day I’m walking through Sears (as us woodworkers will tend to do from time to time) and I’m over looking at the thin drawer liners that Sears sells. Just then I happen to look down and sitting right there on the floor was… wait for it…. anti fatigue floor foam. It just happens to come in 2’ x 2’ squares and in this case even had a cool diamond plate look. I thought “THAT WOULD TOTALLY BE COOL LOOKING IN MY TOOL BOX”. Sure enough, I bought a couple of packs ($24 for 6 tiles per pack) and the end result is as you see above. In order to get the contrasting yellow color for under the tools and to hold the foam together after I cut it out I got some thin yellow craft foam from the local craft store. After planning the tool layout I cut the floor foam out with my scroll saw and razor blades and then attached the yellow craft foam to the underside with spray adhesive.
As an ending comment… This floor foam works well for a lot of stuff. I will post my router table in the near future where I created router bit storage using the same concept.
Have a good one everybody!

-- "Make things as simple as possible... but not any simpler." - Albert Einstein

15 comments so far

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3494 days

#1 posted 03-07-2010 09:44 AM

nice, looks really good! Next time I’m in sears I’ll try to remember to look for that, $1 per sq ft is hard to beat. Most of my tools are on pegboards but I still have plenty of drawers to organize…

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View LarryDNJR's profile


209 posts in 3481 days

#2 posted 03-07-2010 10:15 AM

Looks good! Awesome idea!

-- ~Larry Columbus, OH

View lou's profile


343 posts in 3829 days

#3 posted 03-07-2010 01:42 PM

excellent first it just looked like diamond plate,untill i read your letter.thanks.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4161 days

#4 posted 03-07-2010 05:10 PM

Good idea. It is a great way to check that you have all your tools. The tool carts in prison were done similar to this. Nobody goes home at the end of the work shift till all tools were account for. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View jm82435's profile


1285 posts in 4129 days

#5 posted 03-07-2010 05:42 PM

About half of my shop is covered in those. Also, your toolbox is way too big for the amount of tools you have, better get back to sears…

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3695 days

#6 posted 03-07-2010 05:56 PM

That’s a great idea. I had some of that same fatigue mat from harbor freight and used it on my shop floor. It was too lightweight for the floor and kept tearing and getting gouge in it. I replaced it with a very heavy duty industrial rubber matting and ended up throwing the lightweight mat away. I should have kept the good pieces for lining my drawers.

View RKW's profile


328 posts in 3834 days

#7 posted 03-07-2010 07:12 PM

great idea. This would have never occured to me.

-- RKWoods

View Newfounlandwood's profile


63 posts in 3422 days

#8 posted 03-07-2010 09:28 PM

Very tidy looking. We have a similar set up on the rig I work on.


-- My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.

View DragonLady's profile


298 posts in 3394 days

#9 posted 03-07-2010 10:12 PM

ha! very cool. I like the yellow contrast under the tools. Nothing screams “THERE’S SOMETHING MISSING HERE” like a giant yellow shape :)

-- A woman's work is never done-but power tools help!

View KnottyWoodwork's profile


17 posts in 3394 days

#10 posted 03-07-2010 10:44 PM

That’s perfect!!! I’m a bit overboard on organization.. and this fits the bill perfectly!!! looks much better than my sharpied outlines! kinda funny how we’ll put so much effort into drawers that remain closed 95% of the time lol

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3427 days

#11 posted 03-08-2010 05:25 PM

As had been said Very Cool Idea !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View alexbarlage's profile


41 posts in 3429 days

#12 posted 03-08-2010 07:44 PM

A man is only as good as his tools…if he can find them…

-- The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.

View thelt's profile


667 posts in 3766 days

#13 posted 08-05-2011 02:58 PM

Dustmaster, How thick is the floor mat. If it’s the same thing I got at Sam’s Store, it’d be too thick for some of the drawers in my Craftsman tool box. Still a great idea.

-- When asked what I did to make life worthwhile in my lifetime....I can respond with a great deal of pride and satisfaction, "I served a career in the United States Navy."

View Brett StClair's profile

Brett StClair

68 posts in 3749 days

#14 posted 08-06-2011 08:34 AM

the floor mat is about 1/2” thick but the yellow craft foam I used under it is only aobut 1/8”. In other words, if you cut out the matting for your tools, you would only be raising your tools 1/8”.

-- "Make things as simple as possible... but not any simpler." - Albert Einstein

View Dutchy's profile


3387 posts in 2555 days

#15 posted 09-04-2014 06:36 AM

I saw your kerf knive and than I looked at your home page and found this smart idea. Thank you for sharing. Even after 4 years! Now there maybe a day I find the matting here in a store.


Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics