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how do you organize your workspace and tools?

Old 06-05-14, 03:48 PM
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how do you organize your workspace and tools?

at the risk of opening myself up to a storm of abuse and ridicule (which I am ashamed to admit I would justly deserve), I was reading a blog post by Ben Serotta the other day in which he talks about the joy of choosing the tools necessary for a build or bike project, laying them out on the bench, visualizing their application to the task at hand.

And then I looked at my work station. It's appalling and I have to get it under some sort of control.


Part of my problem is that I have tried to store my tools in a tool box and then whenever I need something I find I have to unpack the whole darn thing to find one wrench. (this was a relatively cheap tool set I got in a hurry after my carefully curated tool collection was stolen) the original tool box has little foam slots for each tool. I find the idea of putting everything back into those slots after each use ridiculous.
Furthermore, I often take my tools away from the city to work on builds on the weekends. So, that means piling everything BACK into a huge tool box.

One fellow I visited when buying some parts had an upright mechanics tool cabinet with pull out drawers.
Many shops have a peg board on the wall with the various tools hanging from it.

So, shoot me a picture. How do you organize your work space and store your tools?

peter
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Old 06-05-14, 04:08 PM
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First, mine is a mess. But one thing I use that could help you is a 46 inch wide roller tool chest. The chest has at least a dozen drawers. A plywood top or similar can be mounted to it making it a work bench/tool box.

I bought mine on C/L, an older Craftsman one, for $65. Home Depot has theirs, it was $249 over Memorial Day, it has a wood butcher block top built into it.

Peg board is the common approach, I don't care for it.

I have the luxury of space. Living in Hooterville, space is relatively low (but so are paychecks). Of course, if you are not careful, whatever space you have fills up, and you are still space limited (my situation right now)...

Myself, I DO NOT mix my tools. Bike tools go into their own tool box (actually three, depends on how you count). House and car tools go into separate tool boxes.

While my work area is a mess, my tools are pretty well organized with specific tools going into specific drawers.

If you have enough room, another thing I like to do is use smaller tool chests as stands for truing stand, drill press, etc. I have found more than enough tool boxes used, typically off C/L.

For parts storage, my favorite thing to pick up are older metal card file cabinets. They look just like a file cabinet, but they have shallow drawers. Built strong, they can take a beating. I've picked mine up at garage sales and thrift stores over the years for very little.


Tool Chests - Tool Storage - Tools & Hardware*at The Home Depot

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Old 06-05-14, 04:10 PM
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I use both peg board and upright mechanics tool cabinet . the peg board is for everyday tools , cone wrenches , headset wrenches , bottom becket tools and such and the tool chest for tools not use for everyday ,such as cutters and such .
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Old 06-05-14, 04:19 PM
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I'm sorry to hear (no matter how long ago it happened) about your tools being stolen.

I'm definitely a fan of the popular-tools-on-the-wall-with-sharpie-outlines-so-you-know-which-tool-is-missing method, and I utilize it at home, in conjunction with a tool bag that holds my seldom-used tools. I have some tools which aren't readily hung on the wall that also go in that tool bag. The bag is really nice for when I need to take some tools to a friend's house and I typically don't require too many tools when travelling but that may just be a function of my novice skill level.

I have thought about buying a complete tool kit that comes in a neatly packed tool box but, aside from the redundancy in buying doubles of most of my tools, it doesn't seem very portable anyway. My tool bag is just a simple canvas bag with a shoulder strap and the capacity for all of my tools, should I need to bring them all (which I most likely never will).

I must say that looking at your work station makes me cringe but 'to each their own!'
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Old 06-05-14, 04:47 PM
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No picture handy, but I have a Craftsman tool chest with 10 or 12 slideout drawers, each labeled - "sockets", "wrenches", "electrical", "cutting", "hammers", "measuring", etc. All my "mechanics" tools go in here - most of it is stuff for working on cars. The bike specific tools live in a drawer labeled "special tools", along with other weird stuff. There aren't that many bike specific tools in my quiver. Big stuff, which is mostly carpentry power tools, live in plastic storage tubs. Some stuff is freestanding or lives on the workbench - table saw, drill press, bench vise, truing stand, floor jack, air compressor, etc. I don't hang much on the wall - my garage is too small and most every wall is obstructed or otherwise spoken for - but looking around, I see various long carpentry clamps, extension cords, garden tools, etc. There is also one of those plastic storage thingys with dozens of little pull-out drawers for screws, nails, bolts, and whatever. My workbench varies from sort of tidy to terribly cluttered depending on how busy I am.
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Old 06-05-14, 05:15 PM
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UPDATE:
a bit of focus, and one Hour later and I can at least see the worksurface here.
It's incredible how over the the course of a couple of weeks (if you are foolish enough to have like I do bins with about... 20 stems, 20 seatposts, 20 sets of handlebars, 40 pairs of pedals....etc.) the bits and pieces can build up. I have to change a stem so, I pull 6 to measure and... they wind up on the bench. Ditto the handlebars to match... someone comes over to try a couple of bikes out, and so I have to pull out 3 sets of pedals... on the bench. and the pile piles up.

and then looking at this photo, I realize that my slapdash setup would make most bike people cringe.
problem is, we live in the city, in a town house with no garage and no real basement or work area to speak of. And so this "workbench" is by necessity ad hoc.

but thanks

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Old 06-05-14, 08:31 PM
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Taken a few months ago. It changes every week, depending on the project. If I'm working on a motorbike it changes suddenly and profoundly . . .

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Old 06-05-14, 10:00 PM
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I have a pegboard for most of my specialty bike tools, home-built drawers/boxes lined up on two shelves with the rest of the tools and the larger parts. The smaller parts are in a plastic toolbox and, usually, I can find what I need.
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Old 06-06-14, 05:59 AM
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I have pegboard for the tools and office cabinets for bike parts all in plastic boxes -- one for stems, one for brakes, one for reflectors, etc. I also have a couple of rolling tool chests with non-bike tools.
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Old 06-06-14, 06:23 AM
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I am guilty of mine being a mess right now. But my workspace is currently my apartment kitchen with a 5 drawer toolbox and a fold up plastic table. Been recycling free bikes and giving them away so the parts stock has gone up and need to reorganize.
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Old 06-06-14, 06:54 AM
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My work bench is organized by date.

1. I think back to the last time that I used a particular tool or item.
2. I dig down about that far.
3. There it is!
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Old 06-06-14, 07:07 AM
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I have a regular tool chest for my basic tools, and a tool box for cycling specific tools. That way when I do sag stops for our bike club, I can take the bike tool box along. Almost every time I have it with me, there is someone that needs something fixed.
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Old 06-06-14, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
My work bench is organized by date.

1. I think back to the last time that I used a particular tool or item.
2. I dig down about that far.
3. There it is!
glad I'm not the only one.

and you know, I have to say that I pretty much always find something pretty quickly, visual memory and all (lets see, the "doohickey", oh yeah, I put over on this side a few months ago, yup here it is under this crap)

I hesitate to put up a photo, mostly cuz it would look like my computer desk.
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Old 06-06-14, 09:53 AM
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I recently worked on my basement situation. I'm now using an old dresser. it has 3 drawers. I got plastic boxes of various sizes (no lids), mostly large that fit in the drawers, kind of like dividers. not many, just 2 or 3 per drawer. one drawer uses heavy tin turkey basting trays. this allowes me to be a little messy but still organize tools and parts. on top of the dresser I mounted the small 3 shelf bakers racks with more plastic boxes (no lids). these racks are for other things, like small parts, helmet gloves, computer, glasses, lights, bags and other things that I either use often or which don't fit in the drawers. I also had to clean off my work table and I bought some plastic boxes (w lids) and I use them for separating things like fasteners, nuts and bolts and nails, electrical, soldering & parts, glue *** & parts, plumbling, and another of just the loose small parts nuts washers and weird stuff I couldn't deal with. they are on 1/2 my work table.
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