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Custom Tool Organization with Foam Inserts

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You should be able to locate every tool in your shop in 30 seconds or less, but think of how much time you've wasted by not being organized. When you're ready to commit to putting everything in its place, you'll really enjoy setting up your tool drawers just the way you like them. We'll show you 15 ways to organize or improve your drawers.

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Comments (17)
jeffropapa wrote:

I loned mine with a tool box liner from the Home Depot. 1/8" thick, cut to fit drawer, put in tools, re-arrange anytime. Tools do not slide. It's the greatest thing since the 7' fence rails for our table saws!

11/14/2015 08:53:30 AM Report Abuse
e_halbinger wrote:

For Woodworking foam is not a good idea, because the dust sticks to the foam.

6/13/2013 05:38:49 PM Report Abuse
jeff_08051 wrote:

Use the 2' x 2' foam floor tiles. They cut like hot knife through butter with a simple exacto knife. Then take the plug and turn it on ege and slice it in half. Put it back in the hole and now your tool is not fully recessed so it is easy to see and grab. I've been doing this for years in my slot car box. Works really well with small hobbyist tools.

6/13/2013 11:13:00 AM Report Abuse
rawey1 wrote:

WOOD tips are usually pretty good, but this one is just plain silly. In 3 minutes (not 3 hours) I can cut an anti-skid mat to fit the drawer and then simply lay the various tools on it. They stay put when the drawer is opened or closed, they are quickly rearrangeable as my work habits change, and I don't have to spend another 3 hours if I buy a new tool. If you want to "visually inventory" your stuff just spend another couple of minutes drawing outlines.

6/13/2013 10:56:51 AM Report Abuse
gblandrum3933209 wrote:

The Air Force has a computer system that allows you to scan your tools, them it figures the best lay out, and cuts the foam out with a router bit for you.

8/4/2012 01:59:00 PM Report Abuse
chiefofcontrol wrote:

I love these things! I too am Air Force and it is awesome to be able to know in an instant if you really did indeed take that wrench you were using out of the engine before you lock the toolbox. I haven't shadowed my home boxes quite yet, but I plan to soon. Those foam finger cutouts are only needed if you have firm foam and it is deep enough to submerge the whole tool. Our old boxes aren't. But in our new ones, you would not be able to pull the tools out without the finger cutouts.

8/6/2011 05:47:01 PM Report Abuse
Walter_Wpg wrote:

I agree that these kinds of drawers and similar peg-board setups, where there's "a place for every tool, and every tool in its place", look very neat and cool. But, what if you get another tool of the same type? Where does it go? I think I'm willing to trade off a bit of organization to gain some flexibility. I do have my tool chest drawers divided up into larger compartments, and just collect related tools in those compartments.

8/4/2011 11:53:03 AM Report Abuse
nathancorson wrote:

Used to have to make these all the time in the Air Force as an aircraft mechanic so you could account for all your tools. It is not a big waste of time if you appreciate tool organization and want to know if you are missing any tools. Foam finger cutouts are not necessary though.

6/19/2010 09:59:50 PM Report Abuse
netartsdave13 wrote:

I looked at the Bret St.Clair antifatigue floor foam tool boxes. He is correct, they do look pretty cool, with the diamond plate pattern and steel look. I'm not so sure they would look that cool in my red Sears tool chests; I will just stick with the plain Sears socket set divider. I set mine up and was using it in about 30 minutes. That included loading the sockets into it! Might not look so cool, but I would rather spend the time on my projects.

5/27/2010 02:22:08 PM Report Abuse
n5kzw wrote:

Nice, but if I went this route, the plier drawers alone would take up more than half of my roll-around toolbox.

5/27/2010 01:49:27 PM Report Abuse
mikedrums wrote:

1. An electric carving knife is great for cutting foam and at $10. 2. I'm not sure a heat gun is necessary with spray adhesive. Also, spraying *after* cutting, leaves a lot of adhesive overspray inside the cutouts. Spray the foam, before cutting, let dry, apply parchment or wax paper while, then mark out and cut. Spray the underlayment sheet, apply while stick tacky and it will reactivate the adhesive on the cut-out sheet. Or... if you're using that heat gun, it will reactivate it.

5/27/2010 11:18:42 AM Report Abuse
Brett St.Clair wrote:

I lined my toolbox with... wait for it... antifatigue floor foam. Most hardware stores carry 2' x 2' squares in packs of 6 or 8. It was only $24 or so per pack and as an added bonus the top surface had a diamond plate pattern which looks pretty cool in my toolbox. If you want to see the finished product please visit my project page located here:

5/27/2010 10:54:23 AM Report Abuse
mikedt wrote: is one possible supplier. google for closed cell foam

5/27/2010 10:13:53 AM Report Abuse
carlvoss wrote:

I had a blast as the publication editor for Great Garage Makeovers. Trevor Dyck supplied the photos and text for this article. Trevor, who works for a motorcycle dealer, loves working in his own shop, but he doesn't want to waste one minute searching for tools. That's why he carved out some time to organize each drawer of his tool cabinet. Now, Trevor shares the steps on how to lay out and cut foam for each drawer.

4/7/2010 04:03:52 PM Report Abuse
Marlen_at_WOOD wrote:

This slide show is part of the article The Coolest Drawers in Town in the Drawer Organizers chapter of the magazine Great Garage Makeovers. Learn more about this magazine from the editors of WOOD Magazine at:

4/7/2010 11:02:30 AM Report Abuse

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