Tool Organization

hahnsottis

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Okay, so let me start off by saying, I'm a messy dude. Every now and then, it gets to be too much and I find myself trying to organize things. Just started this kick with my luthier tools and am looking for ideas.

Here are a few that I started but would love to see what others are doing.

1.) File storage. I use a lot of files. The top drawer of my tool box is just for guitar files (and leveling beams). I couldn't find anything to organize them aftermarket, so made this little caddy. Cost 97 cents for a dowel and a piece of MDF I had kicking around the shop. The top section is for storing different leveling beams, straight edges and the like, the rest is for files (fret crowning, nut slotting etc).
FileStorage.jpg


2.) The drawers are lined with foam with rough cuts outs for each tool, so they always go back where they are supposed to be.

drawers.jpg

Would love to see what others are doing for storage/organization.
 

smk506

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I have several nice heaps and a few piles :laugh2: .

I really like that file organizer, that’s a great idea and well executed.
 

Skyjerk

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I have several nice heaps and a few piles :laugh2: .
I just have one gigantic pile.

I've tried to get organized, tried to clean as I go, etc. It just doesnt work for me.

I clean up when it gets to the point I cant get anything done, then its good for a while, then the giant pile returns...
 

DaveR

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I have one overflowing drawer of my tool box devoted to luthier specific tools. And it’s a mess. The OCD part of my brain loves what you’ve done here, but I would need to redo it every week as I acquire new tools...

I’m also starting to get duplicates of certain tools. Most guitar work takes place in the garage, but usually setups are at the dining room table. It just made sense to keep doubles of some of the popular tools so I don’t have to run back and forth for a set of feeler gauges or a straight edge.
 

cmjohnson

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I'm currently in the process of cleaning up the shop of my friend and local amp building guru, who died on Sunday morning, May 2. The level of mess in his shop was LEGENDARY, almost worthy of an episode of Hoarders on TV. And it was a bit of a biohazard. (He had been in very poor health of late.) But he kept working and along the way acquired more and more tools. I've found about ten packs of needle files so far and lots of other duplicate tools. He went by the principle that if you have enough examples of specific tools scattered around, it won't take too long to find one of the right type.

Learning to organize your tools and KEEP them organized is, for some people, a difficult task. One I struggle with myself.

But if you do it, and get religious about putting everything back at the end of your work session, you'll be glad you did it.

My current method is to have a tray by the bench and when I'm done with a tool, it goes back in the tray. At the end of the work session, I then grab the tray and restore all the tools to their proper place before doing the dusting down and sweeping up.

My friend told me he wanted me to have his hand tools when he dies. Well...I've only taken a few that serve a purpose for me. Otherwise I'll have just too many duplicates. I'm not exactly running short on tools myself. I'm running short on space to put them all!
 

Freddy G

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I have found the handiest tool organizers are magnetic strips. They come in 2 foot lengths and I install them on the wall at every bench location. All of my most commonly used tools live on those strips, ready for plucking in an instant. If I had to fiddle with putting them away in their proper slots, or organizers or drawers.....yeah, they'd just end up in a pile on the bench. I love those magnetic strips.
 

Skyjerk

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I have found the handiest tool organizers are magnetic strips. They come in 2 foot lengths and I install them on the wall at every bench location. All of my most commonly used tools live on those strips, ready for plucking in an instant. If I had to fiddle with putting them away in their proper slots, or organizers or drawers.....yeah, they'd just end up in a pile on the bench. I love those magnetic strips.
Hi Freddy. Maybe I'll give that a try.

I'm even worse now that I'm trying to manage woodworking and metalworking tools in the same amount of space that once only held woodworking tools.

What I REALLY need is a bigger shop (plus magnetic strips)

Do you have a link to the kind of strips you use?
 

DaveR

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I have a couple of those 2 foot magnet strips above my bench. Got them at Harbor Freight. I keep scrapers, steel rules, razor blades and things stuck to them. I’m always a little worried about getting a case of butterfingers when reaching across a guitar to snatch up a tool, but so far haven’t dropped a chisel on one yet.
 

Freddy G

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hahnsottis

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I'm currently in the process of cleaning up the shop of my friend and local amp building guru, who died on Sunday morning, May 2
Sorry to hear about the loss of you friend CMJohnson. I recently joined the local luthiers guild in my area and over the past few months have seen several luthiers in the guild have passed as well.

I do like your process with the bin and putting things away later. Its funny how a process is often time the best remedy.


LTDave, I have that same buffer, but had to build a monster stand for it and still end up chasing it around the shop as I buff. Do you have issues with that thing "walking" on its own?
 

Freddy G

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As a bonus, if you can mount the mag strips offset from a wall (as I have in the pic) you can also attach lesser used tools to the backside of the magnet strip! Twice the real estate!

P1080493.jpg
 

Freddy G

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Probably a dumb question, but how strong are the magnets? I have one short magnetic strip I try to keep my chisels on, but if I even look at them too hard they fall off...

weak magnets
Chris....would I steer you wrong? :cool2:

P1080495.jpg


That's a No. 6....I have to give it a good tug to get it off.

Strong enough?
 

DaveR

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Wow. Those are likely a lot stronger than my harbor freight versions. I’ll probably pickup some of them big boys for the larger tools like screwdrivers and chisels where they don’t stick as well because of the smaller metal cross section. I’ll keep the cheap harbor freight magnets for razor blades and rulers where I don’t want as much strength.
 

bgrizz

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Okay, so let me start off by saying, I'm a messy dude. Every now and then, it gets to be too much and I find myself trying to organize things. Just started this kick with my luthier tools and am looking for ideas.

Here are a few that I started but would love to see what others are doing.

1.) File storage. I use a lot of files. The top drawer of my tool box is just for guitar files (and leveling beams). I couldn't find anything to organize them aftermarket, so made this little caddy. Cost 97 cents for a dowel and a piece of MDF I had kicking around the shop. The top section is for storing different leveling beams, straight edges and the like, the rest is for files (fret crowning, nut slotting etc).
View attachment 536812

2.) The drawers are lined with foam with rough cuts outs for each tool, so they always go back where they are supposed to be.

View attachment 536815
Would love to see what others are doing for storage/organization.
This is a great idea. Totally going to use it for inspiration. Right now all my guitar only tools fit in a large container used for organizing screws and what not. I just move the dividers to fit but it has limitations. All the files are jumbled together, measuring tools jumbled together etc.
 


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