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What is the fastest way to organise a roll cab tool chest?
Shadow Foam Easy Peel
A question we get asked every day is – “How long does it take to cut Shadow Foam?” or “How long does it take to cut a drawer?”. So, what we decided to do, was to time exactly how long it takes to cut a full roll cab tool box out of Easy Peel. In our new unit, we have a Sealey roll cab retro tool chest that we’re using as a sign-in desk. Of course, we couldn’t help making it into an awesome demo box as well. That way, anyone that comes over to visit us, can take a peek at some wonderfully organised tools.
We set up the roll cab with a full set of tools, that are standard to a general purpose tool kit: spanners, screwdrivers, t-handles, allen keys, and some odd bits and pieces that are helpful to have, such as a calculator.
So, the challenge begins! First is the organisation of each drawer; it’s not too difficult as you can organise by categories or by how often you use certain tools. We chose our design based on a mix of the look, and good organisation. There’s no point of having a mish-mash of tools in one drawer. So we paired relevant tools together as much as possible. However, as we had a spanner set that went all the way from 6mm to 32mm we couldn’t fit them all into one drawer; so we split those over two drawers.
You can get very creative with the way you organise the tools, especially in a roll cab tool box. To maximise space we decided to have a diagonal layout for the spanners, so they can lie as close as possible to each other. But you can invert every other one in a straight line, or even cut them in sideways! The layout of a tool drawer is something that is definitely worth spending extra time on. It means you can find a spot for everything and use up as much space as you can.
Another tip we have is when cutting screwdrivers. Because the handle and blade are different thicknesses, it can be difficult to cut. However, using our technique of cutting the handle first, setting it into the foam, then cutting the blade is much better! When you have the handle set in the foam, it reduces any wobble or drift you might experience while cutting the blade. The blade can be flat to the foam, and can be pressed easier so it won’t move.
More about the foam
Easy Peel (as the name suggests) is an easy way to create a custom foam insert. You just place the item where you want it to go, then – holding the cutting tool at a 90° angle – trace cut around the item. This technique means that you don’t have to draw around your item with a pen, but you can do it however you wish. Remove the item, and peel back layers of foam to set the depth. Then place your item in the insert to check the fit.
Due to the rigidity of Shadow Foam Easy Peel, it is a requirement for some tools to have finger pulls. There is no point in organising in foam if you can’t get the item out easily. We like to create strips of finger pulls, instead of circular pulls on each item. It saves time in the long run, but it also gives the insert a splash of colour and makes it pop. The way we do this is just by putting a steel ruler where we want the strip, then making a cut on both sides. If you have a thick ruler, this might not work as well, so it might be best to measure yours.
So how long does it take?
We completed the first drawer of the roll cab in 12 minutes. That is some fast organising! Even if you think that is slow, just think that those tools are now organised forever. The foam is so durable that it will never have to be changed out, and the tools will always be in place. Good tool organisation is a requirement in many industries – one of these would be the tool control and accountability in the aviation industry.
All six drawers took just under two and a half hours. That’s an average rate of 25 minutes per drawer. The time it takes to cut will depend on the complexity of the tools you have, and how many items there are in each insert.
If you have a lot of small objects, like sockets, it can take a lot longer. But for something like a hammer drawer, it is much quicker, as the items are generally bulkier.
Obviously, each toolbox is going to be different sizes and your tools will vary. But 25-30 minutes per drawer is about how fast you can expect to take on an average size tool drawer. The important thing to remember though, it’s not about speed – it’s about how well organised it is!
Sealey Retro Roll Cab Tool Chest
We made a whole video exactly on this subject over on our YouTube channel. Check out the video on YouTube!