Great way to organize drawers full of tools

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Review by EarlS posted 10-23-2018 04:39 PM 2203 views 3 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Great way to organize drawers full of tools No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I bought several sheets of FastCap Kaizen foam to use to organize my tool drawers after seeing pictures of it on Rockler’s website. I really like the way that I’m able to keep all of the tools displayed and organized so I know where they belong when I clean up the shop. I give it 4 stars rather than 5 because of the lack of instructions on how to properly work with the foam. The pictures on label don’t qualify as instructions.

Rockler’s price and free shipping made it the least expensive option compared to Amazon and other generic sites. Sheets come in 1-1/8” and 2-1/4” thicknesses, 4 ft x 2 ft, so you get a decent amount of material to work with. Free shipping is worth keeping in mind due to the size of the box (4 ft x 2 ft) and shipping costs for items that big.

I ordered both thicknesses. The 1-1/8” material works great for shallow drawers like a tool chest drawer. It is also the perfect thickness for tools like screw drivers, wrenches, and pliers.

The thicker version, 2-1/4” works well for for deeper drawers that hold larger hand tools like hammers, mallets, drills, or anything else that has a wider profile.

The first attempt was a failure because there aren’t any instructions on the box. After throwing the mess away I watched a couple of youtube videos that explain how to lay out, cut, and scoop out the foam to make the recesses for the tools.


DO NOT try to use your utility knife. It’s too wide, too short, and not the right tool for the job. Most of the local big box stores sell the correct type of thin blade knife (7 or 9 mm). If you look at the first picture, you can see the OLFA 9mm knife and extra blades. Get both a knife and extra blades. Dull blades will make a mess of the foam.

While you are at the BBS, pick up a silver Sharpie for marking around the tools. Black works too, but it’s much harder to see. Make sure it is the kind with a reasonably sharp point.


Mark out the dimensions of the drawer on the foam piece. Lay the straight edge on the line and make a shallow (1/4”, 2 clicks) cut along the line. Then extend the knife blade out far enough to cut through the foam. Carefully, draw the knife along the initial cut (along the straight edge) , cutting the full depth of the foam. The blade should be sharp enough that it cuts easily without tearing or snagging. Check the fit.

Place the tools on the foam, leaving a reasonable amount of space around them.

Once you are happy with the placement, use the Sharpie to draw outlines around the tools.

Time to cut the profiles.

Make a shallow cut around the outside of the profile (1/4”, 1 clicks). Decide the depth you want the tool to sit in the foam. A screw driver handle might sit 1” deep, while the blade of the same screwdriver is only 1/4” deep. Cut each section to the depth you want it to be by setting the blade to that depth, pulling back the inside edge of the cut and cutting along the shallow cut with the knife at the final depth. Take your time and try not to saw at the foam or repeat the cut. Both approaches result in messy edges.

After the profile is cut to the final depth scoop out the foam.

Kaizen foam is made up of thin layers of open pore foam stacked on top of each other. Cutting the outline of the tool to the final depth cuts through those layers.

Start in a corner and push your index finger into the cut line. You can feel when you get to the bottom of the cut. Catch the foam with the tip of the finger and dig into the foam. Using the other fingers on your hand do the same thing to fill the width of the area being removed. You want to scoop out the material inside the cut lines at the same depth through entire area.

Pull out the foam as it is scooped out.

Repeat for all of the tools.

There are some really fancy ways to melt the edges, melt the bottom of the indentations, and make it look professional.

Here are a few pictures of finished drawers:

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View EarlS's profile


3730 posts in 3117 days

8 comments so far

View TungOil's profile


1382 posts in 1264 days

#1 posted 10-23-2018 04:50 PM

Good write up, Earl. Interesting product. My tools have not been that organized since, well, never.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View jonah's profile


2119 posts in 4068 days

#2 posted 10-23-2018 04:53 PM

I did most of the drawers in my workbench and tool cabinet last spring. I’ve been really happy with it so far. Keeps everything organized and it only took a few days to do everything.

I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who anticipates a lot of change in their shop, since it basically forces you to commit to a layout, but for those of us who are relatively settled in our shops, it’s a great system.

Bonus points that the wife loves how organized the drawers look.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7538 posts in 1482 days

#3 posted 10-23-2018 05:09 PM

plus this way you know there is a tool missing and what tool it is by the shape of cut out …. good project that I will never get around to doing it LOL GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View pottz's profile


9845 posts in 1754 days

#4 posted 10-23-2018 05:18 PM

i love the idea but with all the tools i have id need a hundred drawers to spread em all out,so it’ll never system is every few months i go through the drawers and cabinets to remind myself what i have and where it is-LOL!

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Peteybadboy's profile


1952 posts in 2719 days

#5 posted 10-23-2018 05:48 PM

I’m with pottz on this one. I would need a 2nd garage just for tool chests.

-- Petey

View Rayne's profile


1312 posts in 2309 days

#6 posted 10-23-2018 06:32 PM

Great write up. FastCap has a YouTube channel that has videos on how to make the proper cuts, use their pattern marker for the silhouette, their thin blade specifically to make nice even cuts, and even a product to easily make finger holes. I’m looking forward to finishing my miter station to install my Kaizen foam. I’ll probably follow some of your organization ideas. :)

View EarlS's profile


3730 posts in 3117 days

#7 posted 10-24-2018 04:49 PM

Since I’m an organization freak making these was more of a necessity. Gotta know where everything is so I can find it.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4104 days

#8 posted 11-05-2018 04:03 PM

Great review and how-to.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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