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Old 11-02-2018, 08:54   #1
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Best self contained tool kit

Just wondering what kind of tool kits folks have and where they got them. Sears, Harbor Freight, Defender? Feel free to put links if you choose.
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Old 11-02-2018, 11:21   #2
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

I would definitely like to hear from people on this too. I'm a fair mechanic - I think anyone going away from a dock should know there way around most of their systems AND be able to effect some level of repair - but I love to see what other guys are carrying around.

Wait - that sounds funny huh ?

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Old 11-02-2018, 11:47   #3
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

There are different threads in the archives on this. What tools you need depends on what kind of sailing you do. I cruise long distances, so I have about a quarter ton (probably) of tools and parts on board, including a full set of power tools including a drill press. Hand tools are divided into Common, Big, Wrenches, Electrical, and Plumbing.

They say cruising is "boat repair in exotic places". Believe it! My next boat will have a proper workshop.
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Old 11-02-2018, 11:53   #4
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

There is no one tool kit that I have ever seen that was worth having.
All I have ever seen were junk, and life is too short to use junk tools
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Old 11-02-2018, 12:34   #5
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

I have ranted about this before, but expensive boats should be designed with a rationalized limited fastener set, and come with a custom tool kit, to address it. Not to mention a dedicated workbench/locker. Like the Honda motorcycle I used to have. It was designed so you could almost completely disassemble and reassemble it with the little tool roll that came with it.

Back in the day, a Sears mechanic’s toolset was a good start. But half the stuff in there has no application on your boat and the boat will require at least that many extra specialized tools. It doesn’t help that boats are loaded with components from unfriendly vendors who all have different ideas about what sorts of fasteners to use. Universal, Lewmar, Selden... each one requires different tools. It’s just dumb. Then previous owners came along, lost half the screws, and replaced them with truly random stuff.

Beyond mechanical stuff, you have carpentry, fiberglass repair, canvas repair, ropework, rigging, electronics, plumbing.

Probably a good exercise some windless day is to go from stem to stern and find every screw, nut, bolt, pin, wire, cable, etc on the boat and make sure you have the tool for that item. You’ll probably find about half of them. The rest you accumulate over time.

Another idea, maybe futile, is to try to retroactively rationalize the fastener set on board. E.g. As I repair and maintain items, I’m gradually replacing lots of random stuff with 8/32 Phillips-head machine screws, (or other appropriate size) when possible. Although in hindsight, since more of the add-on gear uses metric sizes than not, should have started trying using metric fasteners by default.
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Old 11-02-2018, 12:35   #6
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

I keep a $4 socket wrench set from Harbor Fright in the car. I've had cars burgled and stolen in the past, so it is convenient to have tools there but only "disposable" ones. I've also had "rugged simple dependable" basic wrenches and the like literally shatter in my hands, so if I need something REALLY simple and un-essential? Yeah, I sometimes buy it at HF, but I prefer tools that are made better, made more precisely, can be relied on for decades to come. All the more so on the boat.

Anyone can make a screwdriver, but a REALLY good Philips head, or even plain slotted, fits and locks into the screw head and never strips it. The cheap stuff? Yeah, not quite.
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Old 11-02-2018, 13:04   #7
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

I was fortunate enough to grab a surplus military mechanic set. Includes all snap on tools and is very similar to this one and is packed in a pelican case just like this. AWESOME kit, can still find some on ebay.

Armstrong GMTK Military Master General Mechanic Tool Kit Set Pelican 0450 Case | eBay

This one is a much better price and the same idea.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/General-Mec...4AAOSwzJ5XfS8e

Worth every penny, just run through it and make sure it has all the stuff you need for your boat and add what its lacking. For us the kit does almost anything we need and more.
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Old 11-02-2018, 14:39   #8
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

My husband and I have both worked with our hands for fun or for profit. He's a major gearhead, I grew up homesteading and prefer most of my life without a motor. Our skill sets overlap. We've never had just one source of our tools. For boat life, we look for corrosion resistance, or buy just-good-enough knowing we'll have to replace it.

I want to help answer this question, but I can't figure out how without hours of effort. Easy enough to say the hundred or so bits of kit for mechanical work, but what about electrical, plumbing, emergency repairs, fiberglass, upholstery, rigging, woodworking? If I had to guess, I'd say several hundred items are involved.

The standouts are: an 18v lithium ion rechargable tool kit (I use Ryobi bc it's cheeeeep and reliable), a basic socket set, a basic set of drill tips and bits, extra drill tips and bits, a drill tip extension and flexible extension, a hacksaw, a basic rigging kit or know how to make serviceable substitutes, a multimeter, proper crimp and heat shrink connectors, a basic sail repair kit, a pipe cutter, pipe repair tape, spare stainless hose clamps, a detail sander (I use Ryobi) and pads or know how to make a serviceable substitute, a selection of files for hand-filing, a selection of lubricants, gasket material or gasket-maker, tefgel, a good knife or two, a tape measure, zip ties, wire cutters, pipe wrench(es), hose remover tool, needlenose pliers, crescent wrench, visegrips, ice pick, small dental pick, sandpaper, tape measure, butane soldering iron with multiple tips (including one which can convert it to cutting canvas), SS seizing wire, a plastic putty blade, a wider metal grout blade, a shaped metal putty blade, rubber mallet, steel mallet, zip ties, micrometer, razor blades, hand sewing kit or sewing machine and accessories, infrared thermometer, brushes.

I carry a .22LR for small game (may have to change that for something else as we travel) so I also carry gun cleaning tools.
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Old 11-02-2018, 14:56   #9
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

Personally, I dont like pre made kits. I think they are usually composed of a bunch of excess inventory someone needs to get rid of. They are often pitched by number of pieces...who cares how many pieces...I need the right pieces.

So...what Ive done is accumulate tools specific to the boat. Dont need it on the boat, get it off the boat (Ive got 2 workshops full of tools ashore...in 2 countries!)

My suggestion, buy some good basic tools and then accumulate the others as you need them.
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Old 11-02-2018, 15:41   #10
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

McGill,

Hi, there. I think you've just heard chapter and verse on the tools deal, in the above posts. What I did with/for some of Jim's tools, was to "re-manufacture" jeans legs (when you cut off the legs to make shorts) into tool rolls for nut drivers, files, wrenches, etc., and added ties. There is no reason why these rolls could not be labeled, and waxed or oiled. Most of our sockets are on socket bars in plastic toolboxes. Agree about cheap junk, it doesn't work as well as better tools. However, that said, someone broke my 10 mm Snap-On socket, replaced it with a Craftsman one, and that has lasted fine.

I think the idea of the Milspec Master Mechanic Kit would certainly bear looking into.

If you've never needed much in the way of tools, and you want to be a cruiser, expect to be buying them and learning how to use them, but I'd do it on an as needed basis. You would be overwhelmed by what some of us think we need on our boats, but that thought has been informed by years of prior tool use before we were associated with boats.

Ann
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Old 11-02-2018, 16:31   #11
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
McGill,

Hi, there. I think you've just heard chapter and verse on the tools deal, in the above posts. What I did with/for some of Jim's tools, was to "re-manufacture" jeans legs (when you cut off the legs to make shorts) into tool rolls for nut drivers, files, wrenches, etc., and added ties. There is no reason why these rolls could not be labeled, and waxed or oiled. Most of our sockets are on socket bars in plastic toolboxes. Agree about cheap junk, it doesn't work as well as better tools. However, that said, someone broke my 10 mm Snap-On socket, replaced it with a Craftsman one, and that has lasted fine.

I think the idea of the Milspec Master Mechanic Kit would certainly bear looking into.

If you've never needed much in the way of tools, and you want to be a cruiser, expect to be buying them and learning how to use them, but I'd do it on an as needed basis. You would be overwhelmed by what some of us think we need on our boats, but that thought has been informed by years of prior tool use before we were associated with boats.

Ann
Yes, tool bags are great and easy to make. Scrap clothing, canvas, sails...all good tool bag material.
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Old 11-02-2018, 16:41   #12
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

Ann-
I think tool rolls must be related to 17 year locusts. You turn over every rock, you can't find them, for years and years. And then all of a sudden, they're all over the place.
When I figured out a tool roll could organize my "screwdriverish" tools (accumulated over many years from many sources) there were none to be had. Two years later I checked bag, even Amazon was full of them. (Who knew, apparently motorcyclists were using them all along.) They don't solve every need, but now there's one for long slim things, and another for "plier-ish" things, and between the two it has gotten much simpler to keep those things organized. Stows easier than a big box, too.
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Old 11-02-2018, 16:53   #13
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjgill1 View Post
Just wondering what kind of tool kits folks have and where they got them. Sears, Harbor Freight, Defender? Feel free to put links if you choose.
After a period of time where I bought big perfect tools, I have learned to buy small tools with interchangeable bits that are Good Enough.

I have an 11-in-1 screwdriver with flippy ends that each have flippy ends. I like it a lot. Saves me a lot of trips back to the toolbox and keeps my tool belt light and small. Mine is from Klein Tools but there are other good ones. You can customize them to some extent by getting Torx or square drive bit pairs and so on.

They haven't kept it as up to date as I would like but the Xcelite Series 99 tools are also an excellent compromise between functionality and weight/space.

Over time I use fewer tools because there's a tradeoff between digging out that special perfect ideal whatsit vs. making do with what's already in your hand.
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Old 11-02-2018, 17:00   #14
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

Just remember, when you get all the 'necessary' tool in a box or container, someone has to pick it up to move it.
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Old 11-02-2018, 17:12   #15
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Re: Best self contained tool kit

I switched to tool rolls on the boat about a year ago and have gone right off them. Yes, they do store efficiently in the odd spaces of the boat. But you can’t take out just one screwdriver. You have to get out all the screwdrivers. And most little tasks end up requiring one tool from each of the tool rolls. Pretty soon every surface on the boat is covered with laid-out tool rolls and it takes 20 minutes to put everything away afterwards. I think they’re pretty neat for task-specific toolsets, such that every thing you need for the task is in one small roll and nothing else. I wish my tasks were that well organized.

I think the next attempt will involve some kind of custom cabinet that provides instant random-access to at least the most frequently-used tools, but still has a dedicated “nest” for each one.
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