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Old 01-05-2017, 05:38 PM   #1
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Sorting Out The Handtools

So I am a bit of a pack-rat when it comes to my hand tools. On top of that I am not very organized. I just chuck the tools into a plastic tote, and if I can't find what I need I just go and buy another one or set!

So this week I decided to dig everything off the boat and reduce it to what I need. And get it into a tool box.

After I get this done, I need to sort out the electrical spares, cleaning spares, and safety stuff. Then I need to pull all of the engine/genny/boat spares and take an inventory before the service in a couple of weeks.

My wife would also like her dining room table back!

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Old 01-05-2017, 06:39 PM   #2
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I struggle w this.
Bought a new tool box to help split up the tools. That for the boat, home and perhaps some for a car. It's still in a get around to it stage.

Got all I see in your pic plus more of course. Never seen those big fits all weird Cresent wrenchs. But a nut that big may quite likely require more leverage that it could stand. A big adjustable wrench is something we all will eventually need.

Most of my boating has been long or fairly long trips so I just put the whole toolbox in the boat. Down low where it can't move much. Sometimes for short trips in the head ... captivated.
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:41 PM   #3
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With a few exceptions, what you show on your dining room table is what I carry along when I go boating- no packing wrench (dripless seal), don't bother with an electric drill or buffer, only one filter wrench, no where near the number of screwdrivers. But everything else packs in a large tool bag.

I use the same bag of tools for home, car, camper or boat and just carry it from one to another.

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Old 01-05-2017, 06:44 PM   #4
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Yeah, it's fun figuring out where all those tools are going to go, then even more fun trying to remember where THAT tool is when you need it. I've given up on having one tool box - too heavy and difficult to fit into limited space. I've got a "General" tool bag, an "Electrical" tool box and a "Plumbing" tool box.

On one past boat I took some heavy canvas and sewed up tool holders which fit on the Engine Room bulkheads (pics attached). They were great for being able to reach things while in the ER, but not too handy when I had to use the tools elsewhere on the boat.
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:52 PM   #5
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Yes, the packing nut wrenches, about two thirds of the screwdrivers, half of the wrenches and pliers, two of the hacksaws, and all of the rusted allen keys, have gone into the garage tool box for further culling later. Most of the drill bits (drill and screwdriver bits) went back into the garage. I will consolidate the sockets sets into one complete set.

Need to buy replacements for the Allen keys, new hacksaw blades, and an additional larger pipe wrench (the one I have is to 10").

Should have it all sorted by tomorrow then start of the other things.

Heck I even found my drift parachute from the last boat!
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:32 PM   #6
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Looks like a good start.
Seriously, how do you get along with so few tools? Especially specialty tools, like that short handled 17mm open end that is the only wrench that can reach the back bolt on the starter? Or the 1 1/8" socket that the prop on the outboard from the last dinghy needed?
A bolt cutter? A swaging tool? Come on Menzies, get more tools. You need them!
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:38 PM   #7
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The tool you cull will be the one you need next trip.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:47 PM   #8
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Looks like a good start.
Seriously, how do you get along with so few tools? Especially specialty tools, like that short handled 17mm open end that is the only wrench that can reach the back bolt on the starter? Or the 1 1/8" socket that the prop on the outboard from the last dinghy needed?
A bolt cutter? A swaging tool? Come on Menzies, get more tools. You need them!
Hah!

Actually I was thinking of seeing if I could get a small sawsall!
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:49 PM   #9
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The tool you cull will be the one you need next trip.
Agree, which is why I am only culling tools that I have a duplicate(s) for!

Though that certainly does not mean I will have the tool I next need, it just means I never had it!
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:54 PM   #10
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Greetings,
Mr. M. My goodness! Surely on a 53' vessel you have room for sets of tools neatly packaged in their own cases. An actual place to put a specific tool goes a long way to help with organization. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Stanley-2...l-Set/21930758 just as an example. Use a tool and put it back in it's slot/cavity.

I also use a plastic tote for most all my tasks where I take a tool(s) from it's case, carry it to the work site in the tote, if other than the ER, use it and put it back in it's case right away (part of the clean up procedure). If I lose or break a tool, it gets replaced in short order and goes into the same place the original went.

Tools specific to a task (electrical/plumbing/painting etc.) are kept in their own labeled (on 5 sides) snap lock plastic bins like you show in the top left of your poor wife's DR table. Supplies (tape/nuts and bolts/electrical connections/wiring and misc. bits and pieces) are stored in a similar fashion...Yes, labeled on 5 sides so no matter how it sits on the shelf or in a locker, the contents can be identified.

Compressor is in the ER and air tools are in a bin beside. Electric drills 2 (one HD and one light), multi-tool, bench grinder (3"), Boroscope, 1 complete drill index to 1/2" plus misc specialty bits/hole saws, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016TQMSTE...SIN=B016TQMSTE
A couple of these wind up extension cords keeps them neat and compact.

Just a start.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:55 PM   #11
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Hah!

Actually I was thinking of seeing if I could get a small sawsall!
I keep one of those vibrating saws on board. Don't need it often but when I do, its there.

Same thing with my large cable crimpers, or the 1/2" drill and hole saw set.
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:39 PM   #12
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I keep one of those vibrating saws on board. Don't need it often but when I do, its there.

Same thing with my large cable crimpers, or the 1/2" drill and hole saw set.
Hey, this is supposed to be about hand tools. Don't get us started on power tools!

But as long as you brought it up, I have a multi-tool like yours that has been very helpful. Other favorites are a 3 inch grinder, heat gun, continuity tester, soldering gun, DVM and rechargeable drill kit with air pump and an AC cord for when the battery dies. Oh...almost forgot the portable jump start battery pack with 12V outlet and flood light. Works great as a portable 12V source for troubleshooting a 40 year old boat.
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:40 AM   #13
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All good replies. Go and sit in any space that may ever a tool, 30 minutes each is not to long. Measure and check all that might ever be needed. Metric or SAE. A big hammer and crescent wrench or visegrips are also handy
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Old 01-06-2017, 01:14 AM   #14
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I am working at reducing the tools on board to a similar amount in your photo, Menzies.
I also need a hacksaw, vice grips, deep socket set, magnet/mirror on a stick, a couple pipe wrenches, big & small crimpers, too many screwdrivers, scrapers, chisels, files, EZ-outs, drill bits, hole saws, utility knives. I won't mention screws, nuts, bolts, washers, rivets, pipe fittings .....

I was originally using a big toolbox but it was a pain to haul it out every time I needed a screwdriver. Then one day I noticed that there was a "dead" space under the saloon raised seating area. A 4 foot x 2 foot x 6 inch hollow boxed-in section containing nothing. I installed 2 large drawers in the space and it now houses all my hand tools. It's great! So convenient right next to the engine hatch.
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Old 01-06-2017, 02:35 AM   #15
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Truly an odd but sweet memory. When I went out on my own at 18 to the army dad gave me an ammo can of tools.
3 years later a goofy ass odd ball 11/32 twelve point saved my butt on the side of the road near Panama City.
How did he know? SS319, look her up
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Old 01-06-2017, 02:56 AM   #16
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Smile

CJ5 Jeep and the aft drive shaft had a u joint failure.Took it out and went to the party and back on front wheel drive
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Old 01-06-2017, 05:24 AM   #17
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Having spent my working life in the business of maintaining autos, I have tools.

Storage is always an issue and my solution is to have a staged approach to tooks.
On our Sabre, there was a tool drawer with some basic tools that was the go to for 90% of my daily mechanical chores. Although I ridiculed that drawer the first time I saw it, I quickly grew to love it!

The second tool set is in a tool bag and includes a set of the tools I might need to go deeper into a project. Metric and SAE wrench rolls (Snap-On of course!), saws, odd pliers, a chisel, my favorite brass hammer, oil filter wrench, nail set and the various odd supplies of sealers, stainless steel safety wire, zip tie assortment, razor blades, files, larger screw drivers etc.

I also keep an electrical bag with a DVO meter, test light, butane solder/heat shrink tool, various wire strippers, crimp tools, cutters and electrical supplies.

Socket sets are kept in their storage boxes. I keep SAE and metric 1/4" sets and 3/8" sets of deep and shallow sockets along with a couple of 1/2" drive sockets as needed. A good set of extensions for 1/4" and 1/2" along with swivels.

I typically keep a cordless drill aboard with a charger and a good drill index.
Tools, glorious tools!
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Old 01-06-2017, 07:09 AM   #18
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Greetings,
Mr. M. My goodness! Surely on a 53' vessel you have room for sets of tools neatly packaged in their own cases. An actual place to put a specific tool goes a long way to help with organization. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Stanley-2...l-Set/21930758 just as an example. Use a tool and put it back in it's slot/cavity.

I also use a plastic tote for most all my tasks where I take a tool(s) from it's case, carry it to the work site in the tote, if other than the ER, use it and put it back in it's case right away (part of the clean up procedure). If I lose or break a tool, it gets replaced in short order and goes into the same place the original went.

Tools specific to a task (electrical/plumbing/painting etc.) are kept in their own labeled (on 5 sides) snap lock plastic bins like you show in the top left of your poor wife's DR table. Supplies (tape/nuts and bolts/electrical connections/wiring and misc. bits and pieces) are stored in a similar fashion...Yes, labeled on 5 sides so no matter how it sits on the shelf or in a locker, the contents can be identified.

Compressor is in the ER and air tools are in a bin beside. Electric drills 2 (one HD and one light), multi-tool, bench grinder (3"), Boroscope, 1 complete drill index to 1/2" plus misc specialty bits/hole saws, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016TQMSTE...SIN=B016TQMSTE
A couple of these wind up extension cords keeps them neat and compact.

Just a start.
That's the plan. Initially I was thinking one multi-drawer tool box for everything but decided that once that was full it would be a nightmare to move it if I had to to access anything behind it etc. So I have decided on a number of lighter plastic tool boxes. Yet to be identified and bought. Will be doing that this weekend when I see what I am left with.
I am not a big fan of those plastic cases. The ones I have had before eventually wear out and lost their "grip" so you end up with the pieces rolling all over.
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Old 01-06-2017, 08:06 AM   #19
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Greetings,
Mr. M. I also have a multi drawer tool box in which I keep the "non-kit" items. One offs, small picks, odd wrenches and seldom used items. It is in a position where it is seldom necessary to move it as I agree, it's heavy and bulky.
As mentioned by Mr. Bruce B, I also have the two 90% go to tools close at hand. Multi-bit screwdriver, and a pair of needle nose pliers are in the "junk drawer". the rest are stored.
One of MY specific problems is I do not have just ONE area/shelf/locker where I can store ALL of my materials so the plastic bins are fitted into nooks and crannies throughout the boat. Frustrating at times but at least I know all my wiring and connectors, for example, are in one place. Now, If I only had an extra locker large enough to store everything in one place...Hmmmm....

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Old 01-06-2017, 08:24 AM   #20
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An actual place to put a specific tool goes a long way to help with organization.

I also use a plastic tote for most all my tasks where I take a tool(s) from it's case, carry it to the work site in the tote, if other than the ER, use it and put it back in it's case right away (part of the clean up procedure). If I lose or break a tool, it gets replaced in short order and goes into the same place the original went.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
Storage is always an issue and my solution is to have a staged approach to tooks.

The second tool set is in a tool bag and includes a set of the tools I might need to go deeper into a project. Metric and SAE wrench rolls (Snap-On of course!), saws, odd pliers, a chisel, my favorite brass hammer, oil filter wrench, nail set and the various odd supplies of sealers, stainless steel safety wire, zip tie assortment, razor blades, files, larger screw drivers etc.

I also keep an electrical bag with a DVO meter, test light, butane solder/heat shrink tool, various wire strippers, crimp tools, cutters and electrical supplies.

Building on these... I have 5 different "toolboxes" on board. Two in the ER. One of those has pull-out drawers and storage under the lid... so it's the one best organized. Wrenches in one drawer, screwdrivers in another, etc. The socket are all on snap-rails and stored with the ratchet drivers in the lid area. And so forth.

The other one in the ER is plumbing-related; engine flush adapters, spare zincs, and so forth... but it's actually also a Rubbermaid step-stool thing, for those few times I need to position it so I can get a bit more height... Both of these make OK "lounge chairs" in the ER, depending on what I'm doing.

The other three are smaller. One smallest for "near daily use" tools -- driver with bits, a couple allen key sets, small adjustable wrench, etc. Another for common "upstairs" tasks; really just an extension of the smallest box: hammer, small socket set, etc. And then the third is an "electrical" box, with associated tools, fittings, spare bulbs and fuses, etc.

The system has evolved, influenced by work that I've had to do over the years, and also influenced by likely storage areas on the boat, etc. Sometimes I have to get something from the ER to do an upstairs job, sometimes vice versa... but not so often, anymore. And I don't have to move very much, if anything, to get to a specific box.

Oh, and for the last 35 years or so, I've usually got a Swiss Army knife (Champion, decent tools, especially the toothpick) and a Leatherman tool on my person almost all the time. Surprising how much I can do just with those, without ever having to open one of the boxes.

-Chris
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