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Old 26-06-2015, 13:51   #1
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Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

Hello everyone who ever worked on their (or anyone else's) boats!

I wasn't sure where to post this - so I'll try here.

i'm not a liveaboard, but keep all my tools on the boat (for lack of any other space). i'd like to come up with a storage solution that will keep tools organized and reasonably easy to deploy / stow away. what would you suggest? the boat is not very large, i don't have a dedicated workbench or area where i could set up permanent shop - so everything has to go in sail lockers or under settees.

i have: 110V power tools (sander, jig saw); 12V tools and small 110V tools which i can run off the small cigarette lighter inverter (dremmel, drill); large hand tools (saws, plumbing wrenches, spanners), smaller hand tools (wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, levels, measuring tapes, etc), varnishing stuff, fiberglass stuff, electrical stuff, and i'm sure i'm forgetting smth else very important.

it's safe to assume that when i'm repairing or building smth out of fiberglass, i'm probably not going to need the spanners; when i'm wiring smth up, i'm unlikely to need brushes and varnish; and so on (although there are projects which require more than one class of tools, no doubt). so i would like to segregate them by "likely to be used together" kind of classification, and have those stowed together in a reasonable way.

originally i tried lockable crates (from the container store) which works for storage but is awkward to deploy (i'm happy to keep this solution for varnish, 110V power tools, and epoxy related stuff). i also tried those green craftsman bags, but their metal parts rusted through the fabric and are not very usable now; and even they were still fine - access and organization were not stellar.

what is your solution?
thank you!
anton
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Old 26-06-2015, 14:19   #2
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Re: Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

Anton,

It depends partly on the sizes of the openings to the lockers. For instance, we need a longish opening to get at the cutters for rigging wire that have long handles for leverage.

On our 36 footer, the storage beneath the starboard quarter berth was all devoted to Jim's tools. He has one toolbox that is devoted to big tools, and one to the smaller ones he'd need to use if the engine stopped and he needed to work on it right then. Supplies (like epoxy and microballoons, paints and varnish) were in the lower levels of that area. I sewed up tool rolls and canvas bags for storing them, because we had little space and wanted more tools.

The principle was what we were most likely to need in a hurry was easiest to get to. The rest, inconvenient, no matter what you do, but it's what i call density packing.

If you do a CF google custom search (a drop down when you click the Search button at the upper right of the screen), there have been a number of discussions of the storage issues in the past, so while you wait for this morning's answers, there will be some previous ones for you.

Cheers,

Ann
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Old 26-06-2015, 15:47   #3
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Re: Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

Ann, thank you.

what sort of toolboxes? the standard bag type from home depot, or crates, or smth more fancy?

tool rolls are a good idea, but i suspect i don't have the resources for this (time being the most scarce).

thanks again!
Anton
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Old 26-06-2015, 15:59   #4
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Re: Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

On our little boat I have just one 'standard' 16" plastic toolbox with my our boat handtools, and one med size plastic parts tray with locking lid.

I also have a larger nylon toolbag that lives at home for when i'm doing serious servicing (ours or others; I occasionally do electrical/electronic or light mechanical work). Also a good socket set with its own plastic case, two sets of open wrenches in rollups, and come carryalls with consumables, hardware etc.

In your shoes I'd have some combination of toolboxes for common tools organized by purpose - eg a mechanical/general toolbox, an electrical toolbox, a wood/fiberglass toolbox, and then a series of plastic bins with good lids for the other tools, consumables, etc. Rollups can be great for wrenches, screwdrivers, nutdrivers, pliers... maybe Harbor Freight have some?


I guess salt air is an issue if you're coastal. Wrap stuff in oily rags maybe?
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Old 26-06-2015, 16:07   #5
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Re: Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

Where the Heck Do you Keep Tools?
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Old 26-06-2015, 17:08   #6
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Re: Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

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Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
<snip>
I guess salt air is an issue if you're coastal. Wrap stuff in oily rags maybe?
Treat tools with TC-11 New Page 0

In Practical Sailor and other tests, it really does pretty much live up to their claims, and it won't make your tools icky.
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Old 26-06-2015, 18:02   #7
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Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

Why not attach all the tools along the length of your anchor rode. Out of the way and they would act as a kellett or sentinel.and it'll save the effort of dropping them overboard one at a time.😀😀😀


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Old 26-06-2015, 19:04   #8
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Re: Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

Anton,

The big tool box is a plastic Sears one, with a fairly large top tray with a handle. The smaller one is on the order of light weight, like a large tackle box. We try to stay from stuff with metal as part of it, to avoid rust. If you have a wet bilge boat, I'd recommend some kind of plastic tubs with lids. Some lids are lower than the edges of the boxes they cover, we prefer the raised ones.

What you have already may be whatt will work best for you. Don't even bother with plastic bags, they tear too easily, you need sturdier.

Ann
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Old 26-06-2015, 20:58   #9
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Re: Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

I have separate small boxes for different things, plumbing, electrical, rigging, ect. General things I am a big fan of tool rolls. Harbor freight often times has them pretty cheap, and for the really rare use stuff I am a massive fan of vaccume sealing things.
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Old 26-06-2015, 21:16   #10
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Re: Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

I keep a small go-bag with my most frequently used tools and have four magnetic knife bars in two groups on a bulkhead wall where I keep my screwdrivers, Vice-grips, pliers, and some speciality tools. The magnetic bars are from Ikea; they look good and are super strong; I've never had a tool fall from a pair of them and the tools are instantly available.

Larger tools are in their cases in lazarettes.

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Old 26-06-2015, 21:19   #11
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Re: Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
I also followed this previous thread & bought several small plastic ammo boxes form Harbor freight. These will be segregated to types of tools & labeled or color coded. One box will be the tools that seem to come out every time. I also have a couple of cloth bags for the power tools. Boxes need to be small so that they are easy to store & so they are less likely to break. We were fortunate when we acquired the boat to find nearly a bushel of comingled SS fasteners of all types and sizes. It took months to sort them. We bought the most sturdy boxes we could find with small compartments for these fasteners and the like. These are stored deep and low, like ballast. (all SS).

The cloth roll-up sounds interesting but all other tools I have stored this way found their way loose and the bundle seemed very unmanageable. One advantage may be that you can oil the heck out of the cloth to protect the tools.
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Old 26-06-2015, 21:41   #12
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Re: Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

I also have been working on coming up with the best solution as to how/where to keep the tools. I'm getting very close to selling the house and moving aboard. So I've been going through all my tools trying to first figure out what I'll be taking. So far I've got a lot of small bags to sort the tools. There's an electrical bag for both small parts and tools. Then there are the separate bags for various types of tools - hammers and scrapers, wrenches, sockets, screw drivers. But I haven't figured out where/how to keep the power tools - sanders, drill, heat gun. I'm fortunate that I have a shop in what used to be a pass-through cabin so I can store most of them there. But it's more a question of how, not where. I think once I'm on board full time my plan may change a little. Probably I'll put together a basic tool bag for regular use and keep the other bags tucked away for when the "regular" tools aren't enough! Overall, I think bags are way more convenient than boxes.
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Old 26-06-2015, 21:48   #13
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Re: Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

One of the best upgrades I've made to my boat has been the installation of 2 long drawers in the dead space under the raised part of the floor in the pilot house.
I keep all my frequently used tools in here. The drawers are within easy reach of the engine hatch, so everything is at my fingertips.

The less frequently used stuff is divided into electrical/fibreglass/woodworking crates which only need to be dug out on bigger project jobs.
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Old 27-06-2015, 00:29   #14
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Re: Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

I break my tool sets into specific use bags.
One really heavy metal tool box for mechanical tools, socket sets, wrenches and special tools for mechanical work.
One (but probably another) canvas bag for carpentry.
One canvas bag for electrical.
They all have common tools such as plyers, screwdrivers, nut drivers and other universal tools needed for each task.
I like to have all the tools need for specific needs at hand.
Of course each bag also has consumable items to complete the job. Like the electrical bag will have zip ties, electrical tape, connectors, spare wire, fuses and so on. You get the idea. The power tools are stowed where I have the room.
Luckily, I'm in a trawler so space is more abundant that on a sailboat.
Theory is, try to have everything possible in one bag, and it helps make the job easier.
Now the spare parts is a totally different animal.
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Old 27-06-2015, 05:46   #15
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Re: Best Storage Solution For Tools etc?

Stu, thank you - will read that thread


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