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Trevor D. of Southern California Motorcycles writes: “So you’ve got alot of tools, but when you open your tool box you just don’t get the same warm fuzzy feeling you used to.  Here’s the fix!

“This is the sort of tool array that I’ve dreamed of having since I first discovered the excitement of tools.  Here are a few pictures of my pliers and screwdriver drawers.

“A few things to note about the install: This takes a while if you want it perfect.  The foam sheets are sized for the deeper Craftsman drawers and come with stick-on tracing paper.  Stick it on, lay out your tools, trace, and cut.  The kit comes with a knife, which is sharp and agile for smaller shapes, and the foam cuts suprisingly easy.  All told, my pliers drawer took about 3 hours, so there is a price to pay for such beauty.

“A trick for “thinner” tools – after you cut out the shape for your tool, take that piece of foam and cut it horizontally.  Stick it back in the hole in the foam sheet, and your tool will be easy to grab.”

Read past the jump for more photos for Trevor’s sweet-ass setup.

As promised:



Very nice.  I’m definitely going to look into these.  In the Toolmonger shop, our pliers drawer is a freakin’ mess.

The kit’s $17 at Sears.

Craftsman Tool Kit Organization [Sears]


20 Responses to Reader Find: Craftsman’s Foam Tool Kit Organizers

  1. kythri says:

    Looks great.

    I think I’ve got way too many tools ot make this worthwhile, though.

  2. Lorenzo says:

    Bah!! I just found a new project!!

  3. Myself says:

    So what do you do with all the cutout bits of foam?

  4. Lorenzo says:

    The bits of foam? Paint one end silver and mess with the folks at Sears…

  5. Greg Smith says:

    I have one of these kits. been setting on top of my craftsman toolbox for a while. i didn’t have the same luck cutting out the foam bits as trevor.

    I know SnapOn will do laser cut foam inserts for their own tools. They are pricey though.

    Someone should come out with a service that lets users submit their tools, they pull the tool outlines from their database and custom cut the foam pieces.

  6. Trevor D. says:

    I cut the tool-shaped cut-out pieces thinner, and put half back in the hole, effectively making the hole for the tool shallower, so the tools are easy to grab but still stay put.

  7. Tom says:

    The other advantage is that you can quickly see what is missing by where the empty spaces are instead of trying to remember what is supposed to be in the drawer.

  8. Chuck Cage says:

    That reminds me of the aircraft guys who used to paint sihlouettes of their tools on pegboard to avoid FOD.

  9. Rick says:

    This is sweet.. I think sometime in 2007 I’m shooting to get at least the top chest for a nice rollaway setup – and if I do, I’ll be getting this to put my sockets and wrenches all in there.

    Nice find!

  10. Jimbo says:

    This has been done with military tools for, as mentioned above, the prevention of Foreign Object Damage (FOD) to aircraft from tools that are lost during the job. The cutouts make it easier to account for your tools at the end of the job. It’s been done for 15-18 years in the Navy.

  11. sweetalker says:

    It has been done a lot longer than 15-20 in the air force. I have spent weeks cutting out foam. I find that a router works best.

  12. Old Donn says:

    Looks nice, but as someone else mentioned, I’ve got too many tools for this to work. Also, if you use your tools every day, don’t throw your template away.It won’t take long for the foam to stretch and tear.

  13. Marc says:

    Three hours to cut it out? That’s a lot. Too much hassle for me, and my cutting wasn’t as perfect as yours. Note that if you make one screw up, the whole sheet looks like crap.

    I did this for pliers: I took a scrap of wood about 20″ x 2″ and an inch thick. I put 1.5″ vertical dowels in it, spaced so the pliers would stand up on edge. The dowels are spaced about 1/2″ for the small pliers, and 1″ for the larger ones. The pliers stand up like a row of CDs. The pegs are spaced to get the pliers to lean over a bit so when I open my tool cab I can see the pliers tips and not just the sides. I can fit a lot of pliers in a small space. The wood strip is stained with polyurethane and Fasttacked to the metal drawer so it’s removable. Looks great, works great.

    I do like the Sears foam for screwdrivers and long hex T-drivers. I just Fasttack a 2″ wide strip of foam to a 1/4″ board, then cut thin slots in the foam for each screwdriver shaft. The same technique works for socket extensions and universal joints.

    For wrenches and sockets I use the Ernst Tool Organizers. Can’t beat that stuff. What I don’t like about regular socket organizers is that they are either too big or too small, or have no markings, or have markings but not the ones I want. The Ernst organizers are a supercharged version of the traditional metal socket rails, but the sockets come off with one hand, don’t rust, and they come with a zillion labels.

  14. Tony says:

    I bought these a few days ago and am already abandoning them. They take way too long to cut out and it’s too difficult to cut curves. Maybe if I had a Dremel or something to help. I only did cutouts for 3 screwdrivers and it took 1.5 hours. I don’t even want to think about the wrenches. I’m going to keep the foam, but cut out rectangles to make dividers, instead.

  15. Deltac says:

    There are a number of companies that can laser cut or cut the sheets with a water jet perfectly. Some of them will even laser mark your tools for you.
    Delta C Dynamics, LLC has the ability to cut foam sheets in just a matter of minutes.

  16. Tom says:

    The aviation industry, especially the military, has been doing this for years. That way, you can tell at a glance if a tool is missing and may have been left in a bad place on the aircraft where it could cause major problems. Ever since I learned about this while in the Air Force, my home toolbox has been set up this way (about 29 years). Very useful and I rarely have to search for a tool!

  17. Clint says:

    Here’s a tip. I have been in charge of the CTK program in my USAF shop for 3 years and just discovered the best way to cut out foam. Its called a hot knife or a glorified wood burning tool with an exacto knife on the end. Zips through foam like butter and cuts the time down considerably. It also looks way better with smoother edges. Then hot glue any edges and it looks professional. Weller make the “hot knife.

  18. JS says:

    I know its foam, but what kind of foam excatly??

  19. Dave says:

    Learned this trick in the Air Force: Cut the foam with a router. Cuts the time down to practically nothing.

  20. bill says:

    I have used the foam yoga mats, they come in multi colors.
    and generally cost less.

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