The Things they Carried (Cool Tools Everyday Carry Contest)

Kevin Kelly, editor of Wired magizine, runs an interesting blog on Cool Tools.  He recently held a contest looking for tools which are carried everyday.  This year, I’ve been refining my tool belt to carry the tools that make my job run.

So let’s start, shall we?  From right to left:

Canvas Tool Pouch:  It’s light, rugged and cheap.  An obvious catchall, I often put the small tools of the day in the various pockets.  A few tools reside permenently inside its pockets – #2 Phillips drivers, a hex wrench which tightens down the miter box, Moleskine notebook, digital camera, hand-held radio which I seldom use and some other odds and ends.

Retractable Box Cutter & Pen & Pencil – Marking cuts and cuttin’ strings.  And shaving pencil tips.  Pens to mark grades, pencils to mark lumber. 16oz Claw Hammer – I’m particular about my hammers.  I like wooden handles.  I wrap athletic tape on the handle to promote proper hand placement when it’s loaned out to students.  I wrap the top to cut down on the jingle-jangle as I walk the halls.  I sanded the handle to kill the oily feeling my hand gets after swinging it on a deck project.  16oz is about the biggest my smallest kids can handle without hurting themselves.  I have a similar 20oz framing hammer, but I rarely have cause to use it, much less carry it.

 Keys & Water Bottle: Keys to get back into school.  Water ’cause it’s hot in Texas.  Really hot.  Steamy greasy burrito hot.

Tape Measure: I can’t say enough good things about the Stanely 25′.  Cheap at Wal-Mart, rugged in metal.  I use this guy everyday and it’s still ticking.  In my home woodshop a 12′ tape is enough, but with the deck making, rose garden digging and such, a 25′ is where it’s at.

Milwaukee 12v Li-On Drill & Impact Drill:  OHHHHHH MAN.  These two little bad boys make my day.  I bought them on sale ($130) . The small size eases the weight on my hips.  The small handle means more students handle the tool safely than with a larger drill.  The power is plenty.  The driver slams 4″ lag screws into the wood without the need for pilot holes.  I recharge the batteries about twice a week, even under major use.  I love these guys.  My students love ‘em.  I’ll be purchasing a pair for the school as soon as I get a real classroom (this summer!).

I carry these tools everyday & use’m every day.  I’m a firm believer that the right tool means the job gets done right – and that principle isn’t limited to physical objects.  What tools do you use everyday?

Make it safe & keep the rubber side down.